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Portman and Trump: Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, wants President Donald Trump to ask the Chinese president to help stop synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, from being made in China and sent to the United States, Columbus Dispatch reporter Jessica Wehrman writes.
“During your bilateral meeting with President Xi, it is paramount that you send a clear message that the United States will work tirelessly to prevent fentanyl and other synthetic drugs produced in China from entering the United States," Portman wrote Trump in a letter.
Wehrman writes that “Portman is currently trying to pass a bill in the Senate that would require the U.S. Postal Service to provide advanced electronic data to U.S. Customs and Border Protection in order to help stop such drugs from entering the United States."
Reporting from Youngstown: Mahoning County Democrats believe the Democratic Party remains out of touch with working voters, Washington Post reporter William Wan writes. That frustrates Democrats here, who feel ignored.
They feel their party hasn’t “learned from what they saw as the biggest message from November’s election: Democrats have fallen completely out of touch with America’s blue-collar voters," Wan writes.
“Since the election, Democrats have been swallowed up in an unending cycle of outrage and issues that have little to do with the nation’s working class," Mahoning County Democrats say, Wan writes.
Transgender bathroom rights. The refugee ban. Women’s marches.
“Meanwhile, they think few are talking about issues that really matter to people in places such as Youngstown: Stagnant wages, vanishing jobs and sputtering economies. Even the Democrats’ recent success in blocking Trump’s attempt to repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act matters little in the face of those core interests, local party leaders said. And unless the party begins addressing those blue-collar issues, they said, there will be real and dire consequences in states like theirs," Wan writes.
Best friends: Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, a Republican, apparently really likes his Democratic counterpart, House Democratic leader Fred Strahorn, Columbus Dispatch reporter Jim Siegel writes.
“It’s no secret. I have a bromance with Fred Strahorn," Rosenberger said on Tuesday. “He may not think that. But I love Fred Strahorn. We’ll continue to have a great relationship."
Strahorn was more reserved in his praise of Rosenberger, Siegel writes.
“We’ve been able to carve out some space to work with the majority and be relevant and get a lot of stuff done together," Strahorn said.
Economic recovery: U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, a Republican who’s considering running for U.S. Senate, wants to better understand Ohio’s uneven economic recovery, the Dispatch’s Wehrman writes.
“Tiberi wondered why some parts of the state have recovered, drawing in new business and seeing its unemployment rate drop, while other parts have struggled. Appalachia, for example, continues to be left behind," during a Joint Economic Committee meeting on Wednesday, Wehrman writes.
John Lettieri of the think tank Economic Innovation Group, which identified Cleveland as the nation’s most distressed city in a study last year, provided some insight, cleveland.com reporter Sabrina Eaton writes.
Ohio is having a hard time transitioning from “legacy industries to the knowledge economy,'" Lettieri told the committee.
“Ohio’s recovery from recession has lagged other parts of the country because its economy lacks ‘dynamism’ and the state has a poor rate of rate of new business formation," Eaton writes.
“New businesses, when they are born, set off a chain reaction in the economy that create labor market churn and bring innovation to industries," Lettieri told the Joint Economic Committee. “We see all those things going in the wrong direction in some parts of the country."
Getting Sassy: “Rep. Thomas Massie isn’t afraid to get sassy when it comes to President Trump. In fact, he’s made it a hashtag: #sassywithmassie," Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Carl Weiser writes. “On Twitter, the Northern Kentucky Republican has called out Trump, fellow Republicans, even the occasional constituent."
“If Exec branch tells Legislative branch ‘when 2 vote’ ‘how 2 vote’ & ‘what it will b allowed 2 work on if vote fails,’ is that a republic?" Massie wrote on Twitter on March 24.
Backyard barn: A bill introduced in the Ohio Legislature Wednesday would allow Ohioans to keep chickens, goats, rabbits and other small livestock in their backyards.
“State Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati, and 20 co-sponsors are backing House Bill 175, which aims to sidestep local zoning laws that limit or prohibit keeping backyard chickens and other farm animals," Dayton Daily News reporter Laura A. Bischoff writes. “Brinkman’s bill prescribes a limit of how many small livestock can be kept in a residential backyard based on overall acreage and the type of animal. If you live on one acre, you could have up to 50 chickens, 50 rabbits or three goats. If you live on a quarter-acre, your fowl or small animal limit would be a dozen and goats wouldn’t be allowed."
But don’t worry about being awakened at the crack of down by a neighbor’s crowing rooster. The bill doesn’t allow them.
Falling short: “Ohio tax revenues fell about 33 percent short of projections last month, fueled by another month of less personal income tax than expected," cleveland.com reporter Jackie Borchardt writes. “Income tax revenue estimates were revised downward in July, but revenues have failed to meet the mark every month since. In March, the state collected $442.6 million in personal income tax — about $95 million less than expected."
Godspeed: Former U.S. Senator John Glenn will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, the Associated Press reports. Glenn, a former astronaut who was the first American to orbit Earth, died on Dec. 8 of last year.
ICYMI: In case you missed out on Gov. John Kasich’s “State’ of the State" address on Tuesday in Sandusky, we’ve got you covered. Check out the full text of the speech here, brought to you by cleveland.com’s Andrew J. Tobias.
“As I’ve said many times before throughout my career, our greatest moral purpose as governmental leaders is to create an environment of job creation in which people can have work, in which people can support their families," Kasich said.
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