Ohio Politics Explained: Trump arrested, state Supreme Court hears transgender case

Former President Donald Trump in court for his arraignment on April 4, 2023.
Former President Donald Trump in court for his arraignment on April 4, 2023.
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Ohio Republicans disagreed on what former President Donald Trump's indictment means for his presidential ambitions while the state's highest court heard a case on transgender birth certificate changes.

We break down what it all means In this week's episode of Ohio Politics Explained. A podcast created by the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau to catch you up on the state's political news in 15 minutes or less.

This week, host Anna Staver was joined by statehouse bureau chief Anthony Shoemaker.

1) The indictment watched around the world

The former president pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts in a Manhattan court on Tuesday, stemming from allegations he falsified business records to conceal payments to Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election.

Trump called the case “political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history."

But former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran for the GOP nomination against Trump in 2016, said when this case is combined with two other pending investigations, “there’s no way” Trump is returning to the White House.

“He’s like the master of escape, and we just have to wait and see,” Kasich said. “But here’s what I do know. There’s no way the guy is gonna be president.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, had a different take.

The long-time Trump supporter issued his first subpoena this week in a House investigation he's conducting into the Manhattan district attorney’s indictment.

2) How to change a birth certificate

Ohio's highest court heard oral arguments this week over how transgender Ohioans should change the sex markers on their birth certificates.

In 2020, a federal court ruled that the Ohio Department of Health had to process requests from transgender residents to amend their birth certificates. Advocates for LGBTQ rights celebrated the victory, but that wasn't the end of the story.

Ohio law says any change to a birth certificate (adoption, mistakes, transgender requests) goes through county probate courts. Basically, you petition the probate court for a change, the court sends it to ODH, and ODH issues a new certificate.

There is no other way to do it, at least not in Ohio. But the state's 88 probate courts have differing opinions about whether Ohio code gives them the authority to process "amendments" instead of "corrections."

Clark County denied the petition of a woman named Hailey Adelaide, and she sued.

3) New voter ID law in effect for May election

Voters planning to vote in person in the May election must show valid photo ID thanks to a law passed by Ohio's Republican legislature. Previously Ohioans could use utility bills and other documents to verify their identities.

The list of approved forms of photo identification includes an Ohio driver's license, state ID, U.S. passport, passport card, military ID or interim identification issued by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

And it's important to note that the ID doesn't need your current address.

The new law lets Ohioans 17 and older get a state-issued identification card for free, providing they don't have a driver's license.

4) Long waits for Medicaid

Ohio sets its own reimbursement rates for Medicaid providers, and the agencies who receive them say they're way too low.

For example, Nurses can earn an additional S10 per hour by working in a hospital or nursing home.

The discrepancies have led to statewide staffing shortages, long wait times and people ending up in more expensive kinds of care like nursing homes.

Listen to "Ohio Politics Explained" on Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts and TuneIn Radio. The episode is also available by clicking the link in this article.

The USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau serves The Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Politics Explained podcast: state court hears transgender case