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Morning news headlines for March 18, 2013
Two Steubenville football players found guilty of rape; Kasich's budget could be in trouble; T.J. Lane to be sentenced tomorrow.
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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  • Steubenville football players found guilty of rape; investigation continues
  • Statehouse leaders signal trouble for Kasich’s budget plan
  • T.J. Lane sentencing set for tomorrow
  • Recidivism rate falling in Ohio
  • Racing commission wants more seats at new racinos
  • Mahoning County implementing new jail reception fee
  • Small businesses worry about state plan to contract out prison food service
  • Gas prices rising
  • Steubenville football players found guilty of rape; investigation continues
    Ohio's top law enforcement official says the investigation of wrongdoing in Steubenville where two high school football players raped a 16-year-old girl is far from over. Attorney General Mike DeWine says a grand jury will look into whether other teens, along with coaches, parents and school officials broke the law by not speaking up after the attack. DeWine said Sunday after a judge convicted the two boys of raping the girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer that convening a grand jury is the only way to bring finality to the matter. 16-year-old Ma’lik Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year in juvenile detention and 17-year-old Trent Mays a minimum of two years. Both teens face possible maximum sentences to age 21.

    Statehouse leaders signal trouble for Kasich’s budget plan
    The moment of reckoning has arrived for Gov. John Kasich's tax plan. State budget hearings resume Tuesday and Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Keith Faber, both Republicans like Kasich, signaled last week the plan is faltering and urged supporters to come forward. Kasich proposes lowering Ohio's income tax by 20 percent and reducing the rates on consumer sales and small businesses. But he does so with a pair of increasingly unpopular actions: raising the severance tax on large-scale oil and gas drilling, and applying reduced sales taxes in new areas including for lawyers, accountants, amusement parks and concerts. Kasich's spokesman says legislative changes to the governor's plan were expected and Kasich sees strong agreement for tax cuts to help create jobs.

    T.J. Lane sentencing set for tomorrow
    The teenager who pleaded guilty in the Chardon High School shooting rampage faces up to life in prison at his sentencing on Tuesday. Victims of 18-year-old T.J. Lane and relatives of the murdered victims will have a chance to address the sentencing judge on his guilty plea to killing three students and wounding three more. The shootings occurred 13 months ago. The hearing before Judge David Fuhry will offer families their first public chance to describe the pain inflicted by the shootings. It’s unclear whether Lane will address the judge.

    Recidivism rate falling in Ohio
    The rate at which Ohio ex-convicts are being sent back to prison has been going down, to well below national rates. The Dayton Daily News reports that the recidivism rate for Ohio was nearly 29 percent in 2009. That's the last year for which that statistics are available, because the rate measures the number of inmates returned to prison within three years. The rate in 2003 was nearly 40-percent. For each inmate who doesn't return, Ohio saves some $24,000, plus the long-term costs of building more prisons.

    Racing commission wants more seats at new racinos
    The Ohio State Racing Commission is asking developers of two new racinos in Ohio to add more seating for people who want to watch live horse racing. Commissioners say the tracks near Youngstown and in Dayton that will feature slots-like video terminals need to put a little more attention on live-racing. Officials of Penn National Gaming say they'll come back to the commission on Wednesday with more information and plans. But a company official says the developers think the current plans have enough seats to meet demand.

    Mahoning County implementing new jail reception fee
    Crime will be more costly soon for inmates in a northeast Ohio county jail. Mahoning County commissioners in Youngstown have approved a one-time $40 reception fee for newly convicted and sentenced jail inmates that goes into effect next month. Sheriff Jerry Greene says the fee can be collected from inmate commissary funds. He tells The Youngstown Vindicator the fees could mean up to $60,000 in annual revenue for the county. The sheriff also wants to raise money by accepting federal inmates in the county jail at U.S. expense.

    Small businesses worry about state plan to contract out prison food service
    Small businesses are concerned they may be hurt financially by Ohio's plan to contract out prison food service. The Kasich administration hopes to save up to $15 million by using contractors to provide meals for prisoners in Ohio. Bids to provide the food-service contract are due next month. Some private vendors that sell to the state are concerned that they will be shut out if a big company takes over food service. In addition, the union representing prison employees is working on an alternative money-saving proposal. The state says vendors will have a chance to work as subcontractors and suppliers.

    Gas prices rising
    Ohio drivers are seeing a bump in gas prices at the pump compared with a week ago. A gallon of regular gas in Ohio was listed at an average of $3.67 in today's survey. That's nine cents more than last Monday's average of $3.58.

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