Morning News and Stuff

Seelbach calls for Voting Rights Act rework, 3CDC upkeep criticized, politics in budget veto

click to enlarge Councilman Chris Seelbach
Councilman Chris Seelbach

Councilman Chris Seelbach and other local leaders are calling on Congress to rework the Voting Rights Act following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down key provisions. Supporters of the Voting Rights Act argue it’s necessary to prevent discrimination and protect people’s right to vote, while critics call it an outdated measure from the Jim Crow era that unfairly targeted some states with forgone histories of racism. “Within 24 hours of the Supreme Court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act, five states are already moving ahead with voter ID laws, some of which had previously been rejected by the Department of Justice as discriminatory,” Seelbach said in a statement. “The right to vote is one of the most sacred values in our nation and Congress should act immediately to protect it”.

Nonprofit developer 3CDC says it’s

restructuring staff and guidelines to take better care of its vacant buildings

following criticisms from residents and the local Board of Housing Appeals. The board has fined the 3CDC three times this year for failing to maintain Cincinnati’s minimum standards for vacant buildings, which require owners keep the buildings watertight and safe for emergency personnel to enter.

Gov. John Kasich said the funding allocation belonged in the capital budget — not the operating budget he signed into law — when he vetoed money going to State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s office, but The Columbus Dispatch reports it

might have been revenge

for Mandel’s opposition to the Medicaid expansion and an oil-and-gas severance tax. Kasich spokesperson Rob Nichols says the allegation is “silly” and “absurd,” adding that Kasich said he would work with Mandel on allocating the money during the capital budget process. The state treasurer’s office says it needs the $10 million to upgrade computers against cyberattacks. Mandel was one of the first state Republicans to come out against the Medicaid expansion, which CityBeat covered

here

and

here

.

A series of mandatory across-the-board federal spending cuts was supposed to take $66 million from Ohio schools, but state officials say they’ll be able to

soften the blow with $19 million in unspent federal aid

. The federal cuts — also known as “sequestration” — were part of a debt deal package approved by Congress and President Barack Obama that kicked in March 1. Prior to its implementation, Obama asked Congress to rework sequestration to lessen its negative fiscal impact, but Republican legislators refused. CityBeat covered some of sequestration’s other statewide effects

here

.

The mayoral race officially

dropped down to four candidates

yesterday, with self-identified Republican Stacy Smith failing to gather enough signatures to get on the ballot.

Check out the Cincinnati Zoo’s latest expansion

here

.

Headline from The Cincinnati Enquirer:

“Where does John Cranley live?”

It’s

now legal

to go 70 miles per hour in some state highways.

Cincinnati-based Kroger and Macy’s

came in at No. 2 and No. 14 respectively

in an annual list of the nation’s top 20 retailers from STORIES magazine.

The Tribune Co. is buying Local TV LLC in Newport for $2.7 billion to

become the largest TV station operator in the nation

.

Human head transplants

may be closer than we think

(and perhaps hope).
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