Covering the Land of Lincoln

Tim Ryan to tout natural gas in new advocacy gig: Capitol Letter

Got gas? Former US Congressman Tim Ryan announced Thursday that he’s joining the leadership council of a political nonprofit that promotes the natural gas industry, where he pledges to boost the role of natural gas in meeting climate goals “securely, reliably and affordably,” Sabrina Eaton reports. Ryan, a Niles-area Democrat who lost a hard-fought battle for US Senate to Republican JD Vance last year, will serve alongside former Democratic US Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana at Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future, the organization announced.

Cracking the code: Gov. Mike DeWine’s budget will seek to eliminate more than 5 million words from the Ohio Administrative Code that he and Lt. gov. Jon Husted say are outdated or redundant. As Jeremy Pelzer reports, the proposed changes include streamlining the state’s building codes, which business leaders say would make it easier for small businesses to understand and comply with the rules.

High numbers: Over 308,000 Ohioans were on state medical marijuana rolls in December as registered patients who had purchased product at least once, according to state records. Laura Hancock reports that this is higher than in November and a substantial jump from December 2021. The amount of plant material Ohio patients purchased also increased.

Short list: The nominating council for the scandal-plagued Public Utilities Commission of Ohio sent Gov. Mike DeWine a list of four names to choose from for an open seat. Jake Zuckerman reports they include two former state lawmakers, one clean energy attorney, and one current staffer at the PUCO.

China syndrome: Vance told FoxNews on Thursday that he’s concerned providing so much military aid to Ukraine’s fight against Russia will make the United States more vulnerable if it has to fight a war against China. “What worries me is that the focus on Russia comes at the expense of China,” said Vance. “Unfortunately, we cannot fight two enemies at once. And whether we fight the Chinese, God forbid, directly down the road or indirectly over the next 20 or 30 years, we need to focus where the real problem is, and in my view that’s China.”

New chair: US Rep. Bill Johnson, a Marietta Republican, will chair the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Minerals. Its jurisdiction includes regulation of solid, hazardous, and nuclear waste, including mining, nuclear, oil, gas, and coal combustion waste, emergency environmental response, and all matters related to soil, air, and water contamination. “I look forward to holding this administration accountable for onerous regulations that curtail American energy production, stifle American industry, and threaten our electric grid,” said a statement from Johnson.

Drug donations: Unused prescription drugs can be donated to charitable pharmacies and clinics starting April 6 under a new state law. The Canton Repository’s Paige Bennett reports that House Bill 558 gives charitable pharmacies, hospitals and nonprofit clinics the ability to accept donations of prescription drugs that can then be redistributed to Ohioans who don’t have insurance or otherwise can’t afford them.

He’s running: Matt Mayer, a conservative researcher and commentator, announced Thursday he is running for governor in 2026. Mayer, a first-time candidate, is very early to announce, but other expected candidates could include Lt. gov. Jon Husted.

Question: The Ohio Statehouse is home to two mural-sized paintings of early US and Ohio military history that hang separately inside the Rotunda and just outside of it. What do they depict?

Email your response to [email protected]. The first correct respondent will be mentioned in next week’s newsletter.

Thanks to everyone who answered last week’s question:

This Ohio village was settled in 1790 after a group of European refugees were swindled into believing they had purchased land there. What is the town, and what is the name of the fraudulent company?

Answer: “The French 500″ were a group of urban French residents who believed they had purchased land in the Ohio territory as they fled political violence associated with the French Revolution, according to the Gallia County Genealogical Society. Officials with the Scioto Company did not actually own the land they “sold,” and their deeds were worthless. They ended up settling in Gallipolis, which meant “City of the Gauls.” Other American settlers at the time referred to it as “French Town.”

David Glass, chairman of the Ross County Republican Party, was the first to provide the correct answer!

The first US House Judiciary Committee hearing chaired by Champaign County GOP Rep. Jim Jordan will be on Feb. 1, titled The Biden Border Crisis: Part I. “Ready to get to work,” Jordan said on Twitter.

Caitlin Johnson is departing as communications director for Policy Matters Ohio to become a senior consultant with Burges & Burges, a Cleveland-based political strategy firm.

Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo has released her list of committee assignments for House Democrats this session. The appointments include naming freshman Democrats as ranking members on several committees.

Friday, 1/27: Matt Eiting, legislative aide to state Rep. Mark Johnson; State Rep. Adam Miller; Brian Hester, Butler County Democratic Party chair

Saturday, 1/28: None

Sunday, 1/29: Ex-President William McKinley (1843-1901)

“The direction of where we think the state should be going, priorities, we’re not changing. We’re still headed in the same direction. The only difference really is going to be (that) we were going 50 miles an hour, and I think if you look at the budget, you’ll see we’re trying to go about 100 miles an hour.”

– Gov. Mike DeWine, talking to reporters Thursday about his state budget plan, which he intends to outline in his state of the state address next Tuesday.

Capitol Letter is a daily briefing providing succinct, timely information for those who care deeply about the decisions made by state government. If you do not already subscribe, you can sign up here to get Capitol Letter in your email box each weekday for free.

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