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Kasich vetoes nearly two dozen items in state budget
Other morning headlines: Ohio's mental health and addiction services agencies merge; Davis-Besse plant still offline

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Kasich vetoes nearly two dozen items in state budget
  • Ohio's mental health and addiction services agencies merge
  • Davis-Besse plant still offline
  • Speed limit increases on many Ohio highways 
  • Northeast Ohio tick problem on the rise
  • Gas prices continue to fall ahead of holiday
  • Mayfield Heights gets national attention over phony "drug checkpoints"
  • Ohio accepts more drilling waste 
  • UA to provide tablet computers to all athletes
  • Kasich vetoes nearly two dozen items in state budget
    Gov. John Kasich has vetoed a piece of the two-year budget that would bar the state's Medicaid program from covering the additional low-income residents allowed under the Affordable Care Act. The Republican governor also vetoed 21 other provision in signing off on the $62 billion spending plan Sunday night. Kasich's proposed budget had initially called for expanding Medicaid. But GOP leaders stripped the idea from the House version of the state spending plan in April. The House went even further, inserting a provision blocking the expansion. More than 350,000 Ohioans will be eligible for coverage beginning in 2014 if the state expands Medicaid, a key component of President Barack Obama's federal health care law. Click here for the governor’s executive order outlining his vetoes:

    Abortion restrictions remain
    Kasich let stand in the budget controversial language to limit abortions. That includes cutting funding for Planned Parenthood while increasing it for pregnancy counseling centers that are often opposed to abortion, requiring abortion clinics to do ultrasounds for fetal heartbeats and prohibiting public hospitals from signing transfer agreements with abortion clinics

    Environmentalists call budget a mixed bag
    The budget also doubles the funding for the state agency that regulates oil and gas drilling. And environmentalists are pleased with other provisions. Jack Shaner with the Ohio Environmental Council, says the budget increases funding to fight toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, and adds $52 million dollars to the Clean Ohio Fund that allows park districts to purchase land. But Shaner says the budget does not do enough to regulate radioactive waste from the oil and gas drilling industry. He says fracking brings up large amounts of radioactive minerals from deep underground that under the new law are treated like ordinary waste. Shaner says Ohio lawmakers are using a narrow definition for radioactive minerals that exempts the majority of material brought up during fracking from being tested for radioactivity. 

    Davis-Besse plant still offline
    The Davis-Besse Nuclear Power plant is down after electrical problems with one of its four reactor coolant pumps over the weekend. The plant automatically shut down Saturday night and FirstEnergy tells the Toledo Blade there are no injuries and no threats to public safety. Workers were on site figuring out what caused the problem and how to fix it. Officials say customers will see no power interruption and said the incident was reported to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Davis-Besse is located east of Toledo along Lake Erie. 

    Ohio's mental health and addiction services agencies merge
    Ohio's agencies for mental health services and for alcohol and drug addiction are merging into one entity. The merger of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services becomes effective today as part of the state's just passed two-year budget. The combined department includes nearly 500 alcohol, drug and gambling addiction prevention and treatment providers, 400 community mental health agencies and six regional psychiatric hospitals. 

    Mayfield Heights gets national attention over phony "drug checkpoints"
    Police in the Cleveland suburb of Mayfield Heights are making national headlines for setting up fake drug checkpoints. Police recently posted large yellow signs along I-271 that warned drivers that there was a drug checkpoint ahead. There was no such checkpoint, just police officers waiting to see if any drivers would react suspiciously after seeing the signs. The Plain Dealer reports that a civil rights group and at least one person pulled over by police are questioning the tactic. A Mayfield Heights assistant prosecutor says it's legal and a legitimate effort in the war on drugs.

    Speed limit increases on many Ohio highways 
    The speed limit goes up today to 70 mph on rural stretches of Ohio interstate highways, including parts of I-76 in Portage County, I-90 in Ashtabula County and I-77 in Stark County. Ohio already raised the speed limit on sections of its turnpike, and is the 35th state to post 70 mph speed limits on other highway sections. The state is also more forgiving starting today if you're late renewing your registration. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles is cutting the late fee today from $20 to $10, and the one week grace period will become one month.

    Northeast Ohio tick population on the rise
    Ohio's tick population is reportedly on the rise, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has posted warnings about what park officials say is the worst level of the blood-sucking pests there in years. This is the second time the 33,000-acre park has posted such warnings. Summit County Public Health typically gets one or two ticks submitted by residents for analysis, but had already received a dozen in the first two weeks of June. The Ohio Department of Health reports that 93 cases of tick-borne human illnesses were reported statewide in 2012, including 67 cases of Lyme disease.

    Ohio accepts more drilling waste
    The amount of waste from the shale gas and oil drilling process injected into disposal wells in Ohio is continuing to rise. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says that about 14 million barrels of fluids and other waste from the process of hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — were injected into disposal wells in the state in 2012. That was up 12 percent from the previous year. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the increase was driven by waste removed from shale wells in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In fact, Ohio data show that disposal wells here injected roughly 8 million barrels of waste from other states — a 19-percent increase from 2011. Environmental advocacy groups are concerned. They say fracking pollutes water and damages the environment.

    Gas prices continue to fall ahead of holiday
    There's more good news at the pump for Ohio drivers planning a road trip for the Fourth of July holiday. Gas prices are down again. The state average for a gallon of regular gas is $3.30 in today's survey from auto club AAA and its partners. That's down 20 cents from the same time last week, and is 44 cents lower than two weeks ago. The Ohio price is well below the national average of $3.49.

    UA to provide tablet computers to all athletes
    The University of Akron is planning to loan tablet computers to about 500 athletes within a year, with plans to eventually do the same for all its students. The university began the pilot program last spring to about 30 men's and women's basketball players and plans to add students in other major sports over the next year. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the school began with athletes because they face time crunches that other students don't have. Other schools have similar programs, including Ohio State.   

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