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News Recap: Week Ending January 20, 2024


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We realize everyone is busy, here's a news recap for what you might have missed this past week.


Ohio News Recap


Transgender Ohio House Candidate Cleared to Run Amid Controversy Over Name Change Disclosure Law

In Ohio, transgender Democratic candidate Arienne Childrey, initially at risk of disqualification for not disclosing her former name as per a little-known state law, was cleared to run for the state House. The Mercer County Board of Elections made this decision despite a challenge by a local Republican official. This law, which is not clearly outlined in the candidate requirement guide and is rarely enforced, has affected several transgender candidates in Ohio. Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, has called for amending the law, arguing against disqualifying transgender candidates on these grounds. Read more from PBS


Senator Brown Leads Bipartisan Push for Tax Relief Bill Benefiting Ohio Families and Businesses

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) held a news conference with former Republican U.S. Representatives and Ohio business leaders to advocate for the swift passage of the Bipartisan Tax Deal. This deal, negotiated with Senate and House committee chairs, aims to cut taxes for Ohio parents by expanding the Child Tax Credit, support Ohio manufacturers with incentives for domestic investment, protect East Palestine residents from unexpected tax bills following the Norfolk Southern incident, and enhance affordable housing through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, funded by ending the Employee Retention Tax Credit program and not adding to the federal deficit, also proposes tax cuts for Ohio businesses, emphasizing innovation and competitiveness, especially against global rivals like China. Read more from Senator Brown's site


Controversy Arises as Ohio's Marijuana Tax Revenue Could Fund Proposed 'Cop City' Police Training Facility

The possibility that tax revenues from newly legalized recreational marijuana could fund a proposed police training facility, referred to as "Cop City," is causing controversy. Emily Cole, Executive Director of Ohio Families Unite for Political Action and Change, highlights concerns that the Ohio GOP, including Attorney General Dave Yost, might divert these funds to law enforcement training, following the introduction of a bill by State Rep. Cindy Abrams. Issue 2, which legalized recreational marijuana, passed with 57% voter approval, signifying a significant shift in public attitude towards cannabis. Despite this, there's skepticism about the legislature respecting the will of voters, with fears that marijuana tax revenues could be allocated to law enforcement instead of other areas. Governor DeWine and Attorney General Yost have shown interest in improving police training, further fueling speculation about the future use of these funds. Rep. Abrams' bill proposing to use marijuana taxes for a Law Enforcement Assistance Fund has stalled in committee, but the debate continues over the best use of this new revenue source.


Read more from Columbus Free Press


National Recap


Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Cap Bank Overdraft Fees, Aiming to Protect Consumers

The Biden administration has proposed a new rule to significantly reduce bank overdraft fees, potentially lowering them to as low as $3. This initiative, led by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), aims to align fees with the actual costs banks incur for overdrafts or to adhere to a new benchmark. Currently, overdraft fees can exceed $30, disproportionately impacting low-income customers. CFPB Director Rohit Chopra criticized the excessive use of overdraft fees by banks, noting their transformation into a major revenue source. President Biden echoed this sentiment, labeling the fees as exploitation rather than a service. The rule targets large banks with assets over $10 billion, which typically charge around $35 per overdraft. The proposal is estimated to save consumers over $3.5 billion annually. However, it must undergo a public-comment period and could face legal and political challenges from the financial services industry. Overdraft fees have been declining due to regulatory attention, but the prevalence of households incurring these fees remains constant.


Read more from The Huffington Post


Report Highlights Corporate Profits as Major Contributor to Inflation, Calls for Stronger Measures

A report by the Groundwork Collaborative think tank claims high corporate profits significantly contribute to ongoing inflation, with corporations maintaining high prices despite decreasing input costs. It states that 53% of recent inflation can be attributed to corporate profits, a stark increase from the pre-pandemic era. The report criticizes businesses for not lowering prices in line with reduced costs, a practice described as implicit collusion. Highlighting the example of the diaper industry, it shows that price decreases are not matching the drop in key input costs like wood pulp. The findings challenge the need for further interest rate hikes and call for stronger measures against corporate profiteering, including potential government intervention in pricing and revisions in the tax code to address the disparity between corporate profits and workers' earnings. Read more from The Guardian


Biden Announces Debt Forgiveness for Select Student Loan Borrowers Under SAVE Plan

President Biden announced that some student loan borrowers enrolled in the Saving on Valuable Education (SAVE) plan will have their debts cleared next month. This applies to those who borrowed less than $12,000 and have been in repayment for 10 years. SAVE, an income-driven repayment plan, has already resulted in zero-dollar monthly payments for around 3.6 million borrowers. The decision, which advances the plan's next phase from July to February, affects 6.9 million enrolled borrowers. While Biden highlights this as relief for borrowers, especially those from low-income backgrounds, the move has been criticized by Republicans like House Education Committee Chair Virginia Foxx as an "election stunt" and fiscal irresponsibility. The Penn Wharton budget model estimates SAVE's net cost at $475 billion over 10 years. Democrats, including Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have praised the announcement as a significant step in addressing student debt. Read more from Fox Business

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