The morning newsletter of the Ohio Capital Journal by David DeWitt | Editor

Good morning Ohio!

Emails and texts between Republican state Rep. Brian Stewart and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose shed light on the behind-the-scenes maneuvering to advance a resolution to make it harder for voters to amend the Ohio Constitution.

The Ohio Ballot Board verified Monday that a proposed amendment for the November ballot to cement abortion rights in the Ohio Constitution can now move forward to the full signature-gathering stage.

After convicting Larry Householder and Matt Borges of felony racketeering, U.S. Attorney Ken Parker wouldn’t answer when asked about future indictments, but Case Western Reserve University criminal law professor Michael Benza thinks it is very likely.

Experts say Ohio’s House Bill 6 criminal corruption case and convictions are notable for what it all has revealed about the systemic nature of political corruption in Ohio.


Ohio Republicans are so eager to protect the rights of firearms over the lives of Ohioans that they’re promoting legislation to preemptively prohibit commonsense gun regulations to stop the ongoing epidemic of gun violence, writes columnist Marilou Johanek. Read more


The Ohio Capital Journal this week is running a series of three pieces from former PUCO Commissioner Ashley C. Brown analyzing the failures and deficiencies in Ohio’s utility regulation and anti-corruption guardrails.

“Perhaps the most notable — but least commented on — aspect of the House Bill 6 bribery scandal is the almost complete absence of any meaningful state guardrails against corruption,” Brown writes in his first piece. Read more


The Ohio Capital Journal has a new reporter starting this week! Megan Henry has spent the last five years reporting on various topics including education, health care, business, and crime at The Columbus Dispatch, part of the USA Today Network. She is a graduate of Ohio University and grew up near Toledo. Follow her on Twitter for breaking news updates, and email her at with any tips or story ideas.

How the bid to make it harder to amend Ohio’s constitution fell apart

In an exchange three days before announcing their proposal to raise the threshold for voters to pass Ohio Constitutional amendments, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose texted Brian Stewart about support from the leader of the Center for Christian Virtue.

By Nick Evans | Read more
Ohio Ballot Board moves abortion amendment initiative forward
By Susan Tebben
More indictments ‘likely’ in Householder bribery scandal, legal expert says
By Morgan Trau, WEWS
What the guilty verdicts in Ohio’s corruption case mean for energy policy and good government
By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network
Ohio Republican gun law proposal is unconstitutional, performative, and needlessly dangerous
By Marilou Johanek
Analysis: Where are Ohio’s guardrails against corruption?
By Ashley C. Brown, former PUCO commissioner
President Joe Biden reassured Americans early Monday that their money is safe in U.S. banks, after a tumultuous weekend following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and a move by regulators to shut down a second lender.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told Iowa Republicans Friday that standing strong in the culture wars around issues like education, criminal justice, and health care in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic will help their party win elections.
Biden says U.S. bank deposits are safe despite tumult over California bank collapse
By Ashley Murray
DeSantis, in Iowa, says GOP stance in culture wars will help win elections
By Robin Opsahl

Catching our eye:

FirstEnergy CEO.’s Jake Zuckerman is reporting, “Ousted FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones again asserts his innocence, after Householder guilty verdict.”

One day after a jury convicted ex-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder of taking a bribe, the former CEO accused of orchestrating it denied wrongdoing.

Charles “Chuck” Jones, former CEO of FirstEnergy Corp., denied breaking either the law or company policy in a statement Friday. This comes after prosecutors presented evidence over the course of a seven-week trial accusing Householder of heading up a racketeering conspiracy fueled on bribe money from FirstEnergy that Jones directed.

Jones has not been charged with any crime.

In a statement, Jones’ attorney, Carole Rendon, said if he were ever called upon to defend himself, he would demonstrate he didn’t do anything wrong.

“Mr. Jones did not make or authorize any payment of any money to any public official in exchange for any official act,” she said. “He did not engage in any unlawful activity or violate any of FirstEnergy’s policies. Mr. Jones is not aware of any other FirstEnergy employee engaging in unlawful activities in their dealings with government officials.”
· Mental health. The Statehouse News Bureau’s Erin Gottsacker is reporting, “In Ohio health care deserts, schools step up.”

In parts of rural Ohio where the closest doctor is hours away, telehealth can be a godsend for accessibility.

But there’s a problem.

“We are in these dead zones in terms of broadband,” says Dr. Mike Fuller, the director of school psychological services for the Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center. “People go to McDonald’s to get on WiFi.”

While high speed internet is commonplace in Ohio’s major cities, nearly a million Ohioans in rural parts of the state are still without broadband access.

“Particularly in the Appalachian counties, the topography is very hard for wireless technologies to connect,” says Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

Because of this, private internet providers have little incentive to invest in rural communities.

That’s where the state comes in. It’s partnering with telehealth administrator OCHIN to bring health care access to kids right where they’re at – local schools.