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Morning headlines: Kasich proposes workers' comp payback
Also: Legalization of marijuana could head to the ballot, teens get probation for Steubenville tweets
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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  • Kasich proposes $1 billion workers comp payback
  • Marijuana legalization could end up before voters
  • Two teens sentenced to probation for Steubenville tweets
  • Judge rules Columbus school board can’t claim attorney-client privilege to close meetings
  • Ohio Supreme Court sends death row case back to Portage County
  • Petition to allow prayer in schools rejected
  • Slashed federal budget means big cuts at Wright-Patterson
  • Hearing set for next week looks to find ways to get people off Medicaid
  • LeBron James donates $1 million to renovate SVSM gym
  • Kasich proposes $1 billion workers' comp payback
    Gov. John Kasich is proposing that the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation pay out $1 billion to employers who contribute to the injured workers system. The governor’s plan would give rebates to about 210,000 employers equal to about half of the premiums they paid most recently. Kasich also wants lawmakers to change how employers are billed, allowing them to pay in advance. He estimates that will save employers 2 to 4 percent. Workers' comp has been under fire since March, when a Cuyahoga County judge ruled that it had overcharged some employers to give unearned cut-rates to others. The judge ordered the system to pay out nearly $860 million to the overcharged employers, a ruling the state is appealing. The new plan is not directly related to the lawsuit.

    Marijuana legalization could end up before voters
    Ohio voters could decide whether to legalize marijuana and tax it like alcohol under the latest attempt in the state to ease access to the drug.  Youngstown Democratic State Rep. Robert Hagan, the proposal's sponsor, says revenue generated by a 15-percent state excise tax on marijuana could help restore cuts to public education and local government. Hagan also reintroduced legislation decriminalizing marijuana for medical use. The measure joins two similar proposals that have been certified for the statewide ballot but lack the signatures to proceed. Hagan's bills lack support from majority Republicans.

    Two teens sentenced to probation for Steubenville tweets
    Two teenage girls have been sentenced to probation after guilty pleas in the case of threatening Tweets sent after a guilty verdict in a Steubenville rape case. The tweets sent in March had threatened homicide and bodily harm against a girl raped by two high school football players. The tweets were sent the day a judge found the two teenage boys guilty of raping the West Virginia girl in a case that’s divided the community and garnered national attention. A grand jury looking at whether others could be charged in relation to the case wrapped up its first batch of meetings on Thursday and will take a three week break.

    Judge rules Columbus school board can’t claim attorney-client privilege to close meetings
    A judge has ruled that the Columbus school board can't legally close its meetings to the public simply by having an attorney in the room and claiming attorney-client privilege. The Columbus Dispatch had challenged the claim, saying the board was circumventing Ohio's open meetings laws as members discussed an ongoing attendance data scrubbing scandal. The newspaper reports that the school board used the tactic to close seven meetings last year.

    Ohio Supreme Court sends death row case back to Portage County
    The Ohio Supreme Court has ordered a Portage County judge to decide whether to order new DNA testing in the case of Tyrone Noling, who’s been on death row for 15 years. Noling insists he did not kill an elderly Portage County couple. Earlier DNA testing of a cigarette butt found at the scene excluded Noling, but he wants the additional testing to see if the DNA points to someone else. 

    Petition to allow prayer in schools rejected
    A petition to amend the state constitution to allow prayer in schools has been rejected by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. DeWine says the petition submitted by the Coalition to Return Prayer to Our Public Schools failed because it did not contain the actual language for the amendment, and was missing the signatures of the petition circulators. Prayer in public schools is prohibited in the U.S. under the First Amendment’s establishment clause and has been repeatedly struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The organizers of the petition drive also want to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow school prayer. The Ohio Attorney General's Office is advising the group on how to correctly submit petitions for the Ohio ballot.

    Slashed federal budget means big cuts at Wright-Patterson
    Officials at Ohio’s largest military installation say federal budget cuts will force a 40-percent reduction in the budget but no jobs are expected to be lost. The cuts amount to $30 million. The Dayton Daily News reports about 13,000 civilian employees at the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton are due to receive 14-day furlough notices beginning early next week. The cuts have led the base to withdraw support for the popular Dayton Air Show for the first time in nearly four decades.

    Hearing set for next week looks to find ways to get people off Medicaid
    Ohio lawmakers will hold a hearing next week looking at ways to help people move off Medicaid and into private health care plans. The hearing will feature briefings on the status of Medicaid in Ohio from directors of Gov. John Kasich's offices of Health Transformation and Medicaid. Republican lawmakers have rejected Kasich's proposal to use federal dollars to expand Medicaid in Ohio but promised to keep attention focused on the issue.

    LeBron James donates $1 million to renovate SVSM gym
    LeBron James has donated $1 million to renovate the gym at his alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron. The Beacon-Journal reports that the re-named LeBron James Arena will have new lighting, bleachers, training rooms and a regulation-sized floor.  The gym, which opened in 1959, is currently one foot short on either end. The former Cavalier and three-time MVP is currently marshaling the Miami Heat through the playoffs.  Completion of the new gym is slated for this November.

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