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Ohio Archives for 2017-03

Ohio graduation rules work group suggests more flexibility

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A work group that reviewed Ohio's new graduation requirements tied to more demanding exams recommends giving the first affected high schoolers more flexibility in how they can earn a diploma in a points-based system.

 



Educators say too many current juniors are at risk of not graduating in 2018 under the requirements, which outline three paths to earn a diploma: through college entrance exams, or through points systems for end-of-course exams and career-readiness. The work group suggests allowing the class of 2018 to earn points for alternatives such as "capstone" projects, community service or strong attendance.

Ohio's superintendent will review the recommendations before giving his own to the state school board.

The board could alter the number of required points, but changing the three diploma pathways themselves would require legislative approval.

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Ohio Democrats push proposal setting up equal pay hotline

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Two Democratic state lawmakers in Ohio are proposing an equal pay hotline that they say could help fight wage discrimination.

State Reps. Kent Smith, of Euclid, and Janine Boyd, of Cleveland Heights, introduced legislation Tuesday establishing the hotline.

Their bill would establish a toll-free number where workers could anonymously report instances of alleged wage discrimination. The phone line would also provide information to workers on whether they could be victims of pay discrimination.

The bill is unlikely to get far in the Republican-dominated state Legislature, where Democrats have long pushed measures to close the pay gap between men and women.

A 2016 study by the American Association of University Women found Ohio had one of the nation's biggest gender wage gaps, ranking 42nd nationally in pay equity.

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Ohio House panel nears vote to eliminate renewable mandates

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A repeat proposal seeking to eliminate Ohio's renewable energy requirements is headed toward a crucial committee vote.

The House Public Utilities Committee has set a Wednesday hearing on the measure, which is likely to clear the panel and head to a House floor vote this week.

Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) vetoed a similar bill last session, but fellow Republicans in the Legislature are determined to try again.

The latest bill would lift mandates requiring utility companies to generate or buy and sell a percentage of power from alternative and advanced sources, such as solar and wind, by set dates. It would also eliminate penalties utilities face for non-compliance.

House approval would send the bill to the GOP-led Ohio Senate, where its fate is uncertain.

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New system estimates Cleveland airport security wait times

 

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland's main airport is developing a system to help travelers more accurately compare wait times at its security checkpoints and better plan their trips.

Cleveland.com reports the system is being developed in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration. It allows travelers to view wait times at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport's three checkpoints.

The TSA currently offers wait time estimates for airports nationwide on its website and mobile app. But that information is based on traveler feedback and is sometimes unreliable.

Airport spokeswoman Michele Dynia says the new system should begin testing in early April. Implementation is targeted for later in the month.

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Ohio imposes 3-foot rule on motorists when passing cyclists

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio motorists are now required to provide at least three feet of clearance when passing bicycles.

The Plain Dealer reports a law that took effect this past week expands on efforts by municipalities that had already imposed the three-foot passing rule.

The new law that cleared the state Legislature in December updates an earlier law that required drivers to pass cyclists at an unspecified safe distance.

Ohio joins more than half of U.S. states that now have three-foot passing laws in place. The standard is supported by the American Automobile Association and the League of American Bicyclists.

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Columbus area, not Cleveland, has most residents in new data


CLEVELAND (AP) — New U.S. Census Bureau estimates indicate that Ohio's most populous county is no longer the one that includes Cleveland but the one that includes Columbus.

The estimates have Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County losing about 5,700 people last year while Franklin County gained over 14,000 residents. That would leave each county with a population of more than 1.2 million people, with Franklin County ahead by roughly 15,000.

Cleveland.com reports that a big factor in the Cleveland area's population loss was people moving elsewhere. The bureau estimates that more than 10,000 Cuyahoga County residents moved elsewhere in Ohio or to another state. The counties anchored by Akron, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo also lost residents to so-called domestic migration, in smaller numbers.

The statewide population held relatively steady at more than 11.6 million.

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Ohio attorney general program to help children of addicts


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced a program to help families hurt by parents' addiction to painkillers and heroin.

The $3.6 million program unveiled Wednesday will aid children abused or neglected due to parental drug use in 14 southern Ohio counties.

Parents of children referred to the program will also receive drug treatment.

The Public Children Services Association of Ohio says one of every two children placed into foster care in 2015 were there because of abuse and neglect associated with their parents' drug use.

The Franklin County Coroner said last week that nearly a person a day is dying in central Ohio by overdosing on the painkiller fentanyl.

The Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County Medical Examiner says a record 60 people in that county died from opiate overdoses in February.

 

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Ohio municipalities challenge law allowing wireless antennas


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Dozens of Ohio municipalities are challenging a law that allows four telecommunications companies to place wireless antennas on municipal buildings within city limits.

Lawsuits to be filed in Columbus, Cleveland and elsewhere Monday say the new law prohibits cities from effectively managing where wireless facilities are placed in local communities.

Mayors and city managers argue the provision violates the so-called Home Rule rights guaranteed municipalities in the Ohio Constitution.

They also argue the law was improperly tucked into an unrelated bill that dealt with pet store regulation in Ohio.

Cities challenging the law include Columbus and several central Ohio suburbs along with Cleveland and numerous northeastern Ohio municipalities.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office is reviewing the claim but didn't immediately comment.

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Victim's mom asks Ohio lawmakers for criminal registry


TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The mother of an Ohio college student who went missing while bicycling and was found dead days later is asking Ohio lawmakers to create a public registry that tracks people convicted of violent crimes.

Sheila Vaculik told lawmakers this past week that she doesn't know if a registry could have prevented her daughter's death. But she says it might help someone else.

The idea came about after the death this summer of University of Toledo student Sierah Joughin (JAW'-gihn) and the arrest of a neighbor who was convicted of abducting another woman in 1990.

Two state lawmakers have proposed making a registry that tracks people convicted of crimes including murder, kidnapping and abduction.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association support the idea.

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Ohio lawmakers again seek to eliminate renewable mandates


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Majority Republicans in Ohio's state Legislature are again seeking to eliminate the state's renewable energy requirements.

A House bill introduced this past week would get rid of requirements forcing utilities to generate or buy and sell a percentage of power from alternative and advanced sources, such as solar, wind and clean coal.

Under the legislation, utilities would no longer face penalties for not meeting annual benchmarks for purchases of renewable energy and would instead have optional goals. The measure has more than 50 co-sponsors.

Republican Gov. John Kasich vetoed similar legislation last session, but the House GOP now has enough votes to override a governor's veto.

If the bill clears the House, it would still need to go through the Ohio Senate, where its fate is not yet clear.

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Ohio panel suggests changes in system for bail release

 

CLEVELAND (AP) — A state panel is recommending changes to Ohio court practices that keep defendants in jail because they can't afford bail.

 

A special committee of the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission wants the state to create a system that determines release based on a defendant's likelihood of committing new crimes or skipping hearings.

 

The commission says release shouldn't depend on defendants' ability to pay for their freedom.

 

Cleveland.com reports the committee plans to present its recommendations to the Sentencing Commission on Thursday. The commission is expected to vote on the proposal in June.

 

A committee report says the reality is defendants with money can buy their freedom regardless of any danger they present to the community. The report says poor defendants, meanwhile, remain in jail before trial.

 

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Ohio delays submitting education plan, will review feedback

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State officials will spend more time reviewing public feedback before sending federal regulators Ohio's education and accountability plan under the law that replaced No Child Left Behind.

 

Ohio intended to submit the plan next month, but educators raised criticisms about the draft, particularly about not reducing standardized testing. State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria says Ohio will wait until a September deadline to submit the final plan and will carefully consider feedback in the meantime.

 

He says he'll convene an advisory committee to consider the testing issues. Ohio has 24 tests, more than required in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives states more control over schools and education policy.

 

DeMaria rebuffed critics' claims that the draft ignored public feedback, noting that its development took a year and involved 15,000 Ohioans.

 

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Revenue at Ohio's 4 casinos down compared with year ago

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Casino Control Commission has reported that revenue last month was down at the state's four casinos, but up at Ohio's seven racinos, compared with the same time last year.

 

Commission authorities announced Tuesday that casino revenue decreased 6.8 percent statewide to $67.2 million, compared with $72.1 million in February 2016. That marks the 10th consecutive month in which year-over-year revenues were lower.

 

Last year, total gambling revenue from Ohio's casinos totaled $797.9 million, down from $812.3 million in 2015.

Revenue at the state's racinos, which feature horse tracks with video slot machines, rose 8.4 percent to $78.3 million this February, compared with $72.2 million in February 2016.

 

Experts say racinos have been aided by their location and successful efforts to draw in gamblers.

 

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Ohio's income tax revenue falls short again in February

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's state income tax revenue has come up short of estimates in the past several months, and state tax revenue overall is nearly 3 percent below estimates for the fiscal year.

 

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the state collected almost $280 million in February income taxes. That was 27.5 percent short of estimates, leaving total income tax collections $352 million short for the fiscal year. The total is also 5 percent behind revenue from the same period last year.

 

The newspaper reports that collections were short $71 million in November, $29 million in December, $92 million in January and $77 million in February.

 

The state's tax revenue overall is $412 million below estimates. Ohio's unemployment rate is currently at 5 percent.

 

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High winds shut down interstate bridge, affect air travel

 

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — High winds topping 50-60 mph in northern Ohio have shut down a bridge that carries Interstate 280 through Toledo and affected air travel in Cleveland.

 

Ohio's Department of Transportation posted a video showing a tractor-trailer toppling over Wednesday after crossing the Veterans' Glass City Skyway bridge. Crews later stopped traffic from crossing the bridge on I-280, a heavily traveled connector for trucks going between Detroit and northern Ohio.

 

The Ohio Turnpike banned some large vehicles because of the wind. The ban stretched from the Indiana-Ohio state line to Interstate 71 near Cleveland.

 

High winds also led some airlines to divert flights from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to avoid any dangerous landing conditions from wind gusts.

 

Power lines and trees were reported down across various parts of northern Ohio.

 

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Ohio sees record number of concealed carry permits issued

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State officials say a record number of concealed carry licenses for handguns were issued last year.

 

The Ohio Attorney General's Office said Wednesday that nearly 118,000 new permits were issued in 2016 along with 41,000 renewals. The total of 159,000 permits is the highest number since the state began issuing concealed carry licenses in 2004.

 

The previous high for new and renewed permits was 145,000 in 2013.

 

The state also saw new highs last year for the number of licenses suspended after someone was arrested or charged with certain crimes, licenses revoked and license applications denied.

 

Each county sheriff must report concealed handgun license statistics to the state on a quarterly basis.

 

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