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Morning news headlines for December 13, 2012
Ohio will not sell Turnpike; Senate gives the green light to school letter grades; Brown named to Senate Finance Committee

by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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  • Kasich to announce Ohio won’t sell Turnpike
  • Senate approves letter grades for Ohio schools
  • Brown named to Senate Finance Committee
  • Senate amendment could allow guns in Statehouse parking garage
  • Ohio reaches agreement on “dual-eligible” medical care plan
  • GE plans oil and gas drilling hub in Canton
  • More people moved out of Ohio than in last year
  • Kasich to announce Ohio won’t sell Turnpike
    Ohio's governor is to announce a proposal to make new money from the Ohio Turnpike. John Kasich has planned stops in Cleveland, Youngstown and Toledo today to discuss the 241-mile road and how he'll close a $1.6 billion highway funding gap through cost cutting and the sale of bonds. Lawmakers briefed late Wednesday said the governor decided against sale or lease. They say Kasich will pursue toll increases for through traffic, but freeze rates for local trips. Many county leaders along the northern Ohio road didn't want a private company to take over, predicting higher tolls and lost jobs for turnpike workers. The governor wants to see cash from the turnpike used to pay for construction projects around Ohio. Diverting toll revenue will require changes in state law.

    Senate approves letter grades for Ohio schools
    The state Senate has approved a bill to bestow A through F grades on Ohio school districts, buildings and specialty programs. The legislation calls for developing a letter-grade scale based on more than a dozen performance measures. Letter grades would be phased in to replace the current five tiers ranging from excellent to academic emergency. No overall grades for districts would be given this coming year. The House passed an earlier version of the proposal and will have to sign off on Senate changes.

    Brown named to Senate Finance Committee
    Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown will have a key role in decisions on taxes, federal health care policy and foreign trade. The newly re-elected Democrat has been named to the Senate Finance Committee, becoming the first Ohio member on that committee since Robert Taft 60 years ago. Senate Republicans have yet to make their committee picks, but Ohio's other senator, Republican Rob Portman, is trying to get on the Finance Committee as well.

    Senate amendment could allow guns in Statehouse parking garage
    Ohio lawmakers and visitors to the Capitol could leave guns in vehicles parked in the Statehouse garage under a bill before the state Senate. The measure cleared a Senate committee Wednesday, sending it to the full Senate for a possible vote this week. The bill would let gun owners leave weapons in their cars in the parking garages beneath the Statehouse and under a building that houses the governor's office and many legislators' offices. Sen. Larry Obhof, who offered the amendment, said many Senate Republicans are gun owners who like hunting and shooting at ranges. The measure is part of a bill updating Ohio's concealed weapons law.

    Ohio reaches agreement on “dual-eligible” medical care plan
    Ohio has reached an agreement with the federal government on a plan aimed at better coordinating medical care for some of the state's sickest and most expensive patients. Ohio has created a three-year demonstration project aimed at better linking the care of these so-called "dual-eligible" individuals. The project would affect almost 114,000 beneficiaries living in seven urban regions. Federal officials had to sign off on the project before the state could move forward. The agreement makes Ohio the third state — after Massachusetts and Washington — to finalize such a proposal.

    GE plans oil and gas drilling hub in Canton
    Canton is emerging as a location of choice for energy companies look to tap eastern Ohio’s Utica Shale for oil and gas drilling. GE Oil & Gas has finalized plans with the city to build a $5 million, 24,000 square foot complex at a southwest Canton business park. The industrial service center would serve as a regional hub for all of GE’s Marcellus and Utica shale operations. GE joins Chesapeake Energy that’s leasing two suits in downtown Canton and is putting a corporate campus in Louisville east of the city. To the west, Baker-Hughes Oil Field Services bought 108 acres for a facility in Massillon. 

    More people moved out of Ohio than in last year
    More people moved out of Ohio last year than moved into the state. According to U.S. Census data, Ohio lost about 14,000 more people than it gained in 2011. But, that’s the lowest net loss since 2005. Experts say the slowing net outflow corresponds with improvements to Ohio's job market and unemployment rate.

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