Good morning all. Here’s what’s up today.
Call it preemptive karmic solace for hosting what is sure to be a chaotic GOP national convention: Cleveland got its first major sports championship in more than half a century last night as the Cavaliers won the NBA finals. The Cavs did it after coming back from trailing the Golden State Warriors three games to one earlier in the series. No other team has ever done that. Even though we’re all from Cincy and we’re not supposed to like Cleveland, I think we should all admit that was pretty epic and have some shared Ohio pride. Just one word of caution to Cleveland: Please don’t accidentally set your river on fire again as you celebrate.
• More sewer troubles: Here’s an article outlining yet more questions about dealings at the city’s Metropolitan Sewer District, this time involving a private foundation set up to run an internship program there. A number of companies awarded contracts with MSD donated to that program, leading to concerns about conflicts of interest at the district. Records also show that taxpayers paid a lot of the bills at the private nonprofit and that the children of some connected city employees and officials, such as City Councilman Christopher Smitherman, landed internships there.
• Will the University of Cincinnati’s high-profile search for a new president give us a peek at a possible mayoral candidate in the making? Some think so. UC Board of Trustees Chairman Rob Richardson Jr. will lead the school through the search process for its next head. As he embarks on the task of wrangling the disparate interests of a $1 billion a year entity that is the city’s largest employer, Richardson has been floated as a potential challenger to Mayor John Cranley in the 2017 election. Replacing UC’s mega-popular outgoing president Santa Ono will be a tough bit of bureaucratic and public relations magic to pull off — just the kind of political show of strength that might make someone look very mayoral. Richardson hasn’t ruled out running but has said he’s very focused on the job at hand and isn’t thinking about politics just yet.
• Ohio Gov. John Kasich has vetoed a bill that would have required those requesting extended time to vote post a bond when doing so. That bill, filed in response to controversial decisions both last November and in the March primaries by Hamilton County judges to extend polling hours due to traffic and technical difficulties, was authored by state Sen. Bill Seitz, who represents Green Township. Democrats, and even some Republicans, balked at the bill, saying it would create a chilling effect that would keep voters from requesting necessary extensions to voting hours, making voting more difficult. Kasich agreed, and now the bill is dead.
• Finally, the U.S. Senate might vote on not one but four different gun-related bills today in the aftermath of one of the worst mass-shootings in U.S. history. Following the deaths of 50 people at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, a bevy of gun control bills and counter bills will flow through the Senate. Among them are Democrat U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s legislation that would block gun sales to those on terrorist watch lists or to those an attorney general has “reasonable belief” are engaged in terrorism. An alternative bill offered by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a Republican, would simply alert attorney generals and delay gun sales for three days if a person has been investigated for terror in the past five years as a court investigates the purchase. A sale could be blocked if the court finds probable cause to do so, a higher standard than the Feinstein bill. In addition, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, is proposing legislation that would make it more difficult to add people with mental illness to background check databases and give citizens a means by which to challenge the “mentally ill” determination. Finally, another bill championed by Democrats would close a loophole that allows firearms purchases at gun shows without background checks.