Karen Kasler (Ohio Public Radio)

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

Republican Bill Seitz of Cincinnati has long crusaded against red light and speed cameras.

His bill to ban them outright passed the House and Senate in 2006 – only to be vetoed by Republican Gov. Bob Taft in his last days in office, with the reasoning that a statewide prohibition on the installation of those cameras by cities violated the principle of home rule.

There’s never been a better time to start a company in Ohio – especially a technology company. That’s the bottom line of a study done for VentureOhio, a group of venture capitalists. But VentureOhio chairman John McIlwraith of Allos Ventures of Cincinnati says there’s a problem with funding start-up entrepreneurs in Ohio.

“There’s about $520 million in need and about $260 million in capital available, and that capital is going to be deployed not just in Ohio but throughout the Midwest and potentially across the country,"  says McIlwraith.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Temperatures are soaring, and so too are road salt prices.

It may seem odd to think about snow and ice right now but transportation departments are buying now for the winter. They're finding steep prices.

Hamilton County Engineer Ted Hubbard says the county paid $45 per ton last year. This year the county is paying $104 per ton.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

After weeks of bad headlines, low poll numbers and disappointing fundraising, there’s a major shakeup rattling the campaign of the Democratic candidate for governor.

Ohiohistorycentral.org

For 160 years, Ohio has had a public school system. Now, an appointed panel of lawmakers, former public officials and well-connected experts are examining how the Ohio constitution can resolve the debate over how to pay for it. The group is called the Constitutional Modernization Commission.  It could dramatically change language dealing with public education.

The state ended the first half of the two-year budget in the black – in a big way. State budget director Tim Keen says the fiscal year ended with an $800 million surplus:

"We were able to close the year with tax receipts coming in modestly above estimate, about one percent above estimate; and spending, led by Medicaid spending, below the appropriated levels."

The US Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case was a win for those who objected to the federal health care law’s requirement that the company offer insurance that covers contraceptives for women – and that includes Ohio’s Attorney General.

Mike DeWine is an avowed opponent of the Affordable Care Act and wrote a brief that was signed by Republican Attorneys General from 19 other states. DeWine said though it was a narrow decision, it was a significant one:

Gov. John Kasich has signed the controversial bill freezing Ohio's alternative energy standards for two years – becoming the first state in the country to pull back on green energy mandates.

The Ohio Supreme Court will hear a big case on the red light and speed cameras that some 15 Ohio communities are using.

The issue is not whether setting up cameras to catch red light runners and speeders is legal. It’s about whether requiring appeals of traffic camera citations to be heard by administrative hearing officers instead of in municipal court is legal. That is how most cities across the country deal with appeals of traffic camera tickets.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

U.S. Senator Rob Portman said he thinks most Ohio veterans are getting good care, but he’s still concerned about the scandal over patient delays and falsified waiting lists at Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics across the country. Ohio’s Republican Senator toured a VA center in Columbus Friday, and said he got a good report on what’s happening there.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

The first new memorial in decades on the Statehouse grounds is just a few weeks away from being completed.

Mark Urycki / WKSU

Gov. John Kasich gave his fourth State of the State speech last night in Medina, and as perhaps fitting for an election year, it was unlike any other he’s delivered.

At a little over an hour, it was John Kasich’s shortest State of the State. And it was certainly the most surprising – for one reason. And it wasn’t political. “I’m humbled to present the 2014 Ohio Courage Medals to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight – three extraordinary women" said Kasich.

In Ohio on Friday, a hearing in federal court could decide whether that state will become the first to use a particular cocktail of deadly drugs to execute an inmate. It's the latest chapter in what's become a troubled history of capital punishment in that state.

While Texas is far and away the busiest state in the nation for executions, Ohio is just seven spots behind it. It has carried out 52 executions since 1999 and three so far this year, with another one scheduled in two weeks. And that one, the execution of Ronald Phillips, could use a new drug cocktail.

Karen Kasler

There were more than 41,000 domestic violence related arrests in Ohio last year. Though that number is down from 2011, advocates say they need more help from lawmakers to lower that stat even further. But they say a bill on teen dating violence passed a few years ago is helping.

The gamble that internet cafe backers have taken to try to stop a law effectively banning those establishments may not pay off. The supporters of those cafes, also called sweepstakes parlors, launched a petition drive to stop the law and put it before voters. But early estimates show that they may not have the 231,000 signatures they need to get the law onto next year’s ballot. Secretary of State Jon Husted said his office will know next week.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

The only thing that’s left for the state budget is a signature from Governor John Kasich.  A signing ceremony is scheduled for Sunday night.

Though the budget that passed the House and Senate is markedly different than the one he proposed in February, Gov. John Kasich says he’s happy with it. But he says the phased in income tax cuts of 8.5%, 9% and 10%, and the 50% tax cut for small businesses, along with the increase of the state sales tax to 5.75% aren’t enough.
 

The Big Story

Jun 21, 2013

This week we present two stories from the Statehouse New Bureau.

Ohio lawmakers are close to a new State Tax Reform Plan.  Jo Ingles reports:

A new bill that would ban indoor tanning for anyone under the age of 18  even if they have parental consent - is being considered.  Karen Kassler has more:

Governor John Kasich speaks one-on-one with Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kassler about his proposed state budget which is not being well-received in the statehouse.


Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

As Democrats from across the state gathered in Columbus for their annual Legacy Dinner, they were still absorbing the news that Youngstown area Congressman Tim Ryan will not be running for governor next year.

Among the disappointed was state Rep. Bob Hagan.

“I think he could have won," he said. "I think it’s going to be a tough campaign – we needed someone that can shout and can scream and get people up on their feet and I think he can do that. On the other hand, I’m disappointed because, in a selfish way, I was going to run for Congress myself in his seat.”

Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kassler was invited to view the Ohio Department of Agriculture's new Exotic Animals Facility in Reynoldsburg, near Columbus.  She has this report:


Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

The continuing controversy over a Facebook posting by the president of the State Board of Education was the first order of business at Monday’s board meeting.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

With all the construction that’s likely to start up on Ohio roads this spring and summer, this may be some good news for drivers from ODOT.

The transportation department is launching ohgo.com, where ODOT director Jerry Wray says travelers can customize their trips within six major Ohio cities and between different regions of the state.

For thousands of voters in Ohio, Election Day is going to be a day of rest — because they worked hard to vote on Sunday.

Thousands stood in long lines at voting sites in northeast Ohio, in southwest Ohio and in central Ohio. But the Franklin County Early Voting Center may have had the most carnival-like atmosphere.

Ohio has been a key swing state in the last three presidential races. As with many elections, there are reports of stolen yard signs and clashes between supporters of the candidates at rallies.

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