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This Week in Politics: Week Ending May 25, 2024

We know you're busy, so we've highlighted some of the most important political stories from this week. From a controversial new bill in Ohio to a major legal development involving former President Trump, here's what you need to know. Plus, see how economic misconceptions could impact the upcoming election and the latest on the conservative group's campaign strategies in swing states.

This Week in Politics

This Week In Ohio...

Libraries Under Attack! Proposed Ohio bill would charge teachers, librarians with felonies for ‘pandering obscenity’

A new Republican-led bill in the Ohio House, introduced by State Rep. Adam Mathews, seeks to criminalize teachers and librarians for distributing material deemed "obscene" without clearly defining what constitutes obscenity. House Bill 556 aims to amend existing statutes to create criminal liability, but its vague language has raised concerns among educators and library groups about potential misuse. Critics, including the Ohio Federation of Teachers and the Ohio Library Council, are wary of the bill's ambiguity and its exclusion of "educational" as a defense for distributing such material, fearing it could be weaponized against public schools and libraries.



Top court denies Ohio’s attempt to reinstate transgender medical ban in hotly worded opinions that could point to future abortion decisions

The Ohio Supreme Court has denied a request to narrow a lower court's order blocking a law that bans transgender youth from accessing healthcare and participating in girls' and women's sports. This decision means the temporary ban remains in place, allowing transgender youth to continue their activities under existing guidelines. The ruling included concurring opinions highlighting a potential future legal issue about the scope of temporary restraining orders, with Justice Pat DeWine suggesting the court might need to address the broad application of such orders, while Justice Jennifer Brunner criticized his stance as politically motivated and contrary to judicial principles.



Ohio AG says he sides with retired teachers in lawsuit to remove STRS board members they backed

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is suing to remove two newly elected members, Rudy Fichtenbaum and Wade Steen, from the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) board. Both members were supported by retired teachers who recently gained a majority on the board, seeking more transparency and changes to the pension fund. Yost, who aligns with retirees' concerns, alleges that Fichtenbaum and Steen aim to benefit from placing the private investment company QED in charge of the fund. This move follows a critical report on STRS by forensic investigator Ted Siedle, which called for greater transparency and highlighted underperformance and high fees, though a subsequent audit found no fraud.



This Week Across the U.S.


Even More Classified Documents Found After Mar-A-Lago Raid, In Trump’s Bedroom

Former President Donald Trump's attorneys found more classified documents in his bedroom at Mar-a-Lago, months after the FBI's raid on his residence. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell's 87-page opinion, unsealed recently, noted that additional documents were discovered in various locations, including a leased storage unit and Trump's office, after he had claimed to have returned all classified materials. This finding was used to justify questioning Trump's attorney Evan Corcoran, despite attorney-client privilege, as it was shown Trump knew his representations were false. Trump's attorneys provided the newly found documents to the FBI in January 2023. This development is part of Trump's ongoing legal battles, including a 40-count federal indictment related to his handling of classified documents.



Majority of Americans wrongly believe US is in recession – and most blame Biden

A recent Harris poll for the Guardian reveals that nearly 60% of Americans mistakenly believe the US is in a recession and primarily blame the Biden administration. Despite growing GDP, low unemployment, and a rising stock market, misconceptions persist, with many wrongly thinking the economy is shrinking and unemployment is at a 50-year high. This disconnect, termed a "vibecession," reflects the public's pessimism about inflation and cost of living, which remain their top concerns. The survey underscores the challenge for President Biden, as economic sentiment is deeply divided along party lines, impacting his re-election campaign despite some approval of his economic policies.



Moms for Liberty Is Coming for the Swing States

Moms for Liberty, a conservative "parents' rights" group known for advocating against pronoun usage in schools and promoting book bans, plans to spend over $3 million on ads in swing states before the upcoming election. The group targets Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, with potential expansion to Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. While not endorsing specific presidential candidates, they aim to criticize President Biden's Title IX rules supporting LGBTQ students. The group's funding sources remain undisclosed, though they have affiliations with well-funded conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation. Despite recent controversies and negative press, co-founder Tina Descovich claims their support remains strong. Critics, including American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, argue the group's opaque funding suggests they are not grassroots but rather backed by influential operatives.


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