Ohio AG defends use of facial recognition analysis
Ohio's attorney general is convening a group of judges, prosecutors and others to study whether the state should have additional protocols in place for law enforcement officers using facial recognition technology. Attorney General Mike DeWine says that since June, local and state law enforcement officers could use the facial recognition software to match images of possible suspects or victims with their driver's license photos. He says it's been used almost 2,700 times. DeWine, a Republican, told reporters on Monday that the working group will make recommendations to him in 60 days. His comments come after The Cincinnati Enquirer first reported the use of the facial recognition software. DeWine's Democratic challenger says in a statement that it's far too late for working group review. David Pepper also calls the technology's use intrusive.
Appeals court orders new trial for Youngstown man on death row
Ohio's attorney general is convening group of judges, prosecutors and others to study whether the state should have additional protocols in place for law enforcement officers using facial recognition technology. Attorney General Mike DeWine says that since June, local and state law enforcement officers could use the facial recognition software to match images of possible suspects or victims with their driver's license photos. He says it's been used almost 2,700 times. DeWine, a Republican, told reporters on Monday that the working group will make recommendations to him in 60 days. His comments come after The Cincinnati Enquirer first reported the use of the facial recognition software. DeWine's Democratic challenger says in a statement that it's far too late for working group review. David Pepper also calls the technology's use intrusive.
Grand jury in Steubenville rape case awaits forensic work
The state's attorney general says a Steubenville grand jury is waiting on outside forensic work before reconvening in a rape case. The grand jury adjourned earlier this month after three days spent considering whether other crimes might have occurred in the rape of a 16-year-old West Virginia girl a year ago. A judge in March convicted two high school football players of raping the girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer. One of the key issues before the grand jury meeting in Steubenville is whether adults who are required to report crimes knew early on of the rape last August but didn't say anything. Attorney General Mike DeWine said Monday that forensic work involving cell phones and computers had yet to be completed by third parties, including Microsoft.
Former Ohio Gov and US Rep. John Gilligan dies
Former Ohio Gov. and U.S. Rep. John Gilligan, a liberal Democrat who won creation of the state income tax, has died. He was 92. Gilligan's daughter Kathleen Sebelius, a former Kansas governor, in 2009 became Health and Human Services secretary under President Barack Obama. Gilligan, a teacher, became the state's 62nd governor in 1970, a year in which Republicans suffered from a loan scandal in the state treasurer's office. He inherited a school funding problem in which 24 districts had closed for lack of operating money and more were expected to follow suit. Gilligan persuaded legislators to enact the state's first corporate and personal income tax in 1971 to raise money for dealing with those and other government priorities.
Ohio lawmakers hold painkiller info hearings
Lawmakers are gathering information from people around Ohio about the personal impact of the state's prescription painkiller epidemic and looking for solutions to the problem. The House Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Committee plans a discussion today with individuals and families at the Hardin County Courthouse in northwest Ohio followed by a committee hearing. The committee chaired by Rep. Robert Sprague, a Findlay Republican, held a similar event earlier this month in Jackson County and plans additional hearings in Cuyahoga and Lucas counties. Overdose drug deaths driven largely by painkiller addictions have surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio.
Ohio activists to rally against "Obamacare"
Tea party activists and other Ohio conservatives opposed to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul will rally against it at one of House Speaker John Boehner's district offices. The "Pull the Plug" rally against what they call "Obamacare" is planned this afternoon at the West Chester Republican's congressional district office in Troy, outside of Dayton. Among those expected to participate is former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, along with leaders of tea party, anti-abortion and other groups.
Ohio senators continue health care field hearings
State lawmakers exploring possible changes to Ohio's health care system are expected to hear from a health plan today. The Senate's Medicaid subcommittee will meet in Dayton at CareSource, one of the largest Medicaid managed care plans in the country. Topics at the field hearing will include payment reform and behavioral health integration. The Senate panel traveled to Cleveland last week to see how a mini-Medicaid expansion model works at MetroHealth Medical Center. Legislators have been trying to find common ground on whether to expand Medicaid health coverage to more low income people since Republican Gov. John Kasich proposed an extension of the program in February. GOP leaders pulled it from the state budget, and the issue has yet to gain traction.
Ohio lawmakers ask watchdog to probe JobsOhio
Two Democratic state lawmakers have asked the state watchdog to investigate possible conflicts of interest at Gov. John Kasich's privatized job-creation office, JobsOhio. State Reps. John Patrick Carney and Connie Pillich filed their complaint Monday with Ohio Inspector General Randall Meyer. The request follows the Ohio Ethics Commission's recent rejection of a Democratic request to review business ties between JobsOhio board members or Kasich and firms receiving state economic development help. The law that created JobsOhio limits Meyer's powers, requiring investigations to be initiated from the outside, not by Meyer himself. It also labels JobsOhio "a person who does business with the state," which impedes some of Meyer's evidence-gathering abilities. A Kasich spokesman said JobsOhio has a proven track record and Democrats' attacks are political.
FBI began probe of aide at Ohio treasury in 2010
Records show then-Ohio Treasurer Kevin Boyce learned just after losing the 2010 election that a top aide was under federal investigation. The Columbus Democrat proceeded to recommend his deputy treasurer, Amer Ahmad, to become Chicago's comptroller. Ohio Republicans say given the timeline, it was dishonest of Boyce to describe himself as "shocked and forever stunned" at Ahmad's indictment last week. Ahmad and a Columbus bank lobbyist were charged with conspiracy and wire fraud. Ahmad also was charged with money laundering, conspiracy to launder money, bribery and making false statements. Both men pleaded not guilty. Boyce said Monday the issue can't be resolved in the political arena and the criminal justice process "will answer all questions."
Ohio tax chief: Businesses should adjust tax rates
Ohio's tax chief is reminding businesses that reduced income-tax rates are about to kick in. Tax Commissioner Joe Testa told employers in an alert Monday that new withholding rates take effect for payrolls ending on or after Sept. 1. His advisory directs businesses to updated state tax tables and how-to instructions. The two-year state budget Gov. John Kasich signed June 30 cut Ohio's income tax rates by 8.5 percent in 2013, another half percent in 2014 and another 1 percent in 2015. These are Ohio's first downward revisions since 2009. Testa said changing withholding rates now will allow workers to benefit right away from the tax reductions. Taxpayers will receive the full benefit when filing state tax returns next spring.