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Cleveland kidnapping suspect Castro back in court today
Other morning headlines: Three more Pilot Flying J employees plead guilty; Ohio Republican lawmakers propose new abortion measure
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Cleveland kidnapping suspect Castro back in court today
  • Ohio Republican lawmakers propose new abortion measure
  • Ohio House leader says Medicaid resolution unlikely this month
  • Ohio will have $400 million left over in current budget
  • Three more Pilot Flying J employees plead guilty
  • Ashland trio arrested on suspicion of slavery
  • New trial date for Cleveland sleepover arson death suspect
  • EPA says no fracking water report until 2016
  • Ohio appeals court upholds juvenile sex offender provision
  •  

    Cleveland kidnapping suspect Castro back in court today
    The Cleveland man accused of kidnapping three women and imprisoning them in his house over a decade has another court appearance today. It’s unclear if Ariel Castro will appear in person for his preliminary hearing as he did for his arraignment last week. He’s pleaded not guilty to the more than 300 counts of rape and kidnapping. Castro’s attorneys have hinted they would consider a plea if talk of death penalty charges is taken off the table. Also today lawmakers in Columbus plan to discuss a bill that would provide the three women --- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight years of relief payments, college tuition and medical assistance.

    Ohio Republican lawmakers propose new abortion measure
    Majority Republicans in the Ohio House are proposing a new legislative measure they say would curb abortions by helping women make a more informed decision. The proposed bill to be discussed at a House committee hearing today would force women seeking an abortion in Ohio to listen to their doctors describe "all relevant features" of their fetus. Women would also have to wait longer to undergo the procedure. The GOP's most recent attempt to decrease the state's abortion rate would also require doctors to tell women the procedure increases the risk of breast cancer and may cause pain to the fetus. Critics say some of the information doctors will be forced to tell patients is untrue, saying for example that there is no link between cancer and abortions.

    Ohio House leader says Medicaid resolution unlikely this month
    The leader of the Ohio House says proposed changes to Medicaid are unlikely to pass by June 30. House Speaker William Batchelder said Tuesday he expects the work to continue after the Legislature recesses for the summer. The Republican said he had no time frame in mind for the work to be finished. He said legislators wanted to gather additional information. Lawmakers have been trying to find common ground on changes to the federal-state program for the poor and disabled. An Ohio House committee is slated to hear two Medicaid proposals Tuesday afternoon. One bill is aimed at curbing Medicaid costs and making the program more efficient while neither expanding it nor cutting beneficiaries. A separate measure would extend Medicaid eligibility to cover thousands more low-income Ohioans.

    Ohio will have $400 million left over in current budget
    The state budget director has told a legislative committee that Ohio should have nearly $400 million in uncommitted funds left at the end of the current budget year. The news comes as lawmakers head into final negotiations over Ohio's next two-year budget. Budget Director Tim Keen and legislative analysts delivered updated state revenue and Medicaid caseload projections to a six-member conference committee on Tuesday. Keen told the panel that the governor believes the ending balance should be returned to taxpayers. The two chambers have separate tax plans that must be reconciled. The Senate dropped a 7 percent statewide income tax reduction passed by the House in favor of small-business exemptions.

    Three more Pilot Flying J employees plead guilty 
    Three more employees of the truck stop chain owned by Cleveland Browns' owner Jimmy Haslam have pleaded guilty in an alleged fuel rebate scheme. Regional sales manager Kevin Clark pleaded guilty to mail fraud in federal court in Knoxville on Tuesday. An account manager and a salesman entered similar pleas later in the day. Prosecutors allege that the sales team of Pilot Flying J, the country's largest diesel retailer, short-changed trucking companies to boost profits and commissions. Two other Pilot employees pleaded guilty last month.

    Ashland trio arrested on suspicion of slavery
    Authorities in Ashland have arrested three people on charges of enslaving a mentally disabled young mother and her daughter over a two-year period. Federal agents and Ashland police said Tuesday the trio forced the woman to do housework, threatened her and the girl with violence and fed their pets better than the victims. The break in the case came when Ashland police, checking an abuse allegation made by one suspect against the mother, went to the apartment where the trio allegedly enslaved her. The suspects, Jordie Callahan, Jessica Hunt and Daniel Brown of Ashland, were charged with forced labor. They were held to await a federal court hearing.  The names of the victims rescued last month were withheld.

    New trial date for Cleveland sleepover arson death suspect
    A November retrial has been set for the man suspected in the 2005 arson deaths of a woman and eight children at a birthday sleepover in Cleveland. The federal judge on Tuesday set the Nov. 1 trial date for 29-year-old Antun Lewis. Lewis' conviction at his first trial was overturned over testimony from jailhouse informants denounced by the defense as unreliable. Lewis has always maintained his innocence. He knew some of the victims and says he would never harm a child.

    EPA says no fracking water report until 2016
    A U.S. EPA official tells a fracking conference in Cleveland that a study of the threat to drinking water from the shale-drilling process won't be completed until 2016. The EPA says it’s a complex study but that a preliminary report could be available late next year. Congress in 2010 directed the agency to investigate the threat to groundwater and air from the controversial hydraulic-fracturing process in Ohio and other states.

    Ohio appeals court upholds juvenile sex offender provision
    An Ohio appeals court has upheld a provision that allows some minors convicted of sex offenses to be required to register as sex offenders beyond their 21st birthday. The ruling stems from the appeal of a 16-year-old Cincinnati boy convicted of a sex charge, with a sentence requiring him to register as a sex offender until he's at least 24 years old. The teen's attorneys had argued the requirement was a violation of his constitutional rights. The 1st District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati disagreed in a ruling last week, saying that juvenile offenders do not have a fundamental right to be free from punishment after the age of 21. The decision upholds a provision of the Adam Walsh Act, named for a 6-year-old boy killed in Florida in 1981.

     

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