Political briefs – June 24

Politics briefs

HUSTED PRAISES SENATE PASSAGE OF VOTER REGISTRATION – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today praised the Ohio Senate for their passage of Senate Bill 63, sponsored by State Senator Frank LaRose (R–Copley), which seeks to grant authorization to the Secretary of State to implement an online voter registration system in Ohio.

“This is another step in making it easy to vote and hard to cheat in Ohio by improving voter access and implementing additional security measures,” Secretary Husted said.

Online voter registration would create a more secure and efficient registration system while also serving as a significantly less costly way to register new voters. An analysis of other states shows that online voter registration can save between 50 cents and $2.34 per registration when compared to the traditional paper form. If an online system had been in place in Ohio between 2011 and 2014, the state’s local governments could have saved between $2.8 and $13.2 million.

Secretary Husted also announced his initiative has so far garnered support from county commissioners in 45 of Ohio’s 88 counties, the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the Ohio Association of Elections Officials, and election officials from across the state.

BROWN CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN MANAGEMENT OF FORECLOSED HOMES – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – called on federal regulators to investigate reports of disparities between the way financial institutions manage and market foreclosed homes in communities of color compared to predominantly white neighborhoods.

Brown joined more than a dozen senators in a letter urging the nation’s top financial, housing, and consumer protection regulators to examine allegations that bank-owned properties in white neighborhoods are better maintained and marketed than those in African-American and Latino neighborhoods. The letter asks the regulators to take appropriate actions to stop any unequal treatment and violations of the Fair Housing Act. The full text of the letter can be found here.

“The same communities of color that were victimized by predatory lending may now be facing the double whammy of racial bias when it comes to the upkeep of foreclosed homes,” said Brown. “This is a problem that pushes down property values and erodes the quality of life in these communities. Federal agencies should ensure that the financial institutions managing these foreclosed properties use the same maintenance and marketing standards regardless of the race, color, or ethnicity of the homeowners who live in the neighborhood.”

SENATE TO VOTE ON BROWN’S LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD ACT – The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today to move forward trade legislation that includes U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) bill to level the playing field for U.S. companies by giving them new tools to fight against unfair trade practices.

“This bill helps restore strength to important laws that help U.S. companies fight back against unfair trade practices like dumping,” said Brown. “This is key to making sure our workers – including Ohio’s steel workers – can compete in a fair marketplace.”

The Leveling the Playing Field Act, which Brown introduced in March, would restore strength to antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) statutes that allow businesses and workers in the United States to petition the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission (ITC) when foreign producers sell goods in the U.S. below market price or receive illegal subsidies. In May, the Senate passed the Leveling the Playing Field Act in its legislation to reauthorize U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The House also passed the bill in its customs bill.

This would benefit Ohio’s steel companies including: Picoma Industries in Cambridge, Sharon Tube in Niles, Wheatland Tube in Warren, and Vallourec Star in Youngstown.

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