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Republican introduces Medicaid cost-cutting bill
Other morning headlines: Medina school board moves to fire superintendent; abortion clinics likely to close; four indicted in identity theft scheme

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:
  • Republican introduces Medicaid cost-cutting bill
  • New poll shows Boehner, Obama, congress performing poorly
  • Power outages grow in northeast Ohio
  • Medina school board taking steps to fire superintendent 
  • More Ohio abortion clinics likely to close
  • Four indicted in identity theft scheme
  • Husted Pushing for limits to early voting
  • Former leader of JobsOhio wanted OPERS to invest in venture fund
  • Republican introduces Medicaid cost-cutting bill
    A Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill she says would discourage fraud and help cut costs in Ohio’s new expanded Medicaid program.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports that the bill sponsored by Rep. Barbara Sears from Sylvania includes increasing civil penalties for defrauding Medicaid, requiring recipients to identify ways to improve their health, and creating a legislative oversight panel.

    The Ohio Senate is considering a bill to cap Medicaid spending.

    All of this comes just days after Governor Kasich got approval from the state Controlling Board to expand Medicaid through a federal program.

    New poll shows Boehner, Obama, congress performing poorly
    According to a new poll from CNN, 63 percent of Americans want Ohio Rep. John Boehner ousted as Speaker of the U.S. House.

    Approval wasn’t much better for President Obama. Only 44 percent of Americans are happy with the job he is doing.

    The biggest loser in the poll is Congress as a whole. 86 percent of people polled disapprove of how Congress is handling its job.

    Power outages grow in northeast Ohio
    Thousands of people remain without power in Northeast Ohio, after a snowstorm brought several inches of heavy snow and toppled trees on to power lines Thursday.

    More than 15,000 First Energy customers were out of service Friday morning. A majority of homes without power were in Cuyahoga county. About 5,000 were in Geauga County.

    The company says it expects to have power restored to most customers by 4 p.m. today.

    Medina school board taking steps to fire superintendent 
    The Medina school board has taken the first step to formally fire its superintendent.

    At a meeting Thursday night, the board gave Randy Stepp until Monday at 1 p.m. to present evidence on why he should not be fired. The board suspended Stepp with pay in April after questions arose about an $83,000 signing bonus the board gave him and $250,000 in college loans and tuition it paid. A state audit this week raised questions about other spending, including gift cards and travel.

    Stepp has said the board approved of his expenditures and it suing the board.

    More Ohio abortion clinics likely to close
    More abortion clinics in Ohio are expected to be forced to shut down because of new state laws and regulations.

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that three have already closed this year, and two more are in danger of closing… leaving large portions of the state with no abortion providers at all.

    The Cleveland Center for Women’s Health closed because of Ohio’s ban on late-term abortions. The Capital Care Network of Cuyahoga Falls closed after failing a state health and safety inspection.

    The other clinics—two in Toledo and one in Cincinnati—are experiencing problems or had to shut down because of a provision in the state budget that prevents public hospitals from signing transfer agreements that the state requires from abortion clinics. Pro-choice supporters say the regulations are an abuse and will hurt women’s health, and some are fighting restriction in court.

    Four indicted in identity theft scheme
    Four people from Northeast Ohio have been indicted, accused of operating an identity-theft scheme which they used to defraud six states out of more than $361,000 in unemployment and other benefits.

    The US attorneys office says Darnell Nash, Kennard Berts and Justin Davis, all of Cleveland Heights, and Dwayne Buchannan Jr., age 22, of Cleveland are named in the 33-count indictment. The charges include conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

    Nash, Berts, Buchanan and Davisare accused of  distributing flyers in low-income areas that touted  assistance vouchers for rent, food, furniture, clothing and cash to individuals.  The flyers directed people to call a toll-free number where they provided their names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, according to the indictment.

    Husted Pushing for limits to early voting
    Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is pushing state lawmakers to limit early voting hours, including eliminating the voting on the Monday before Election Day. Husted is a Republican, and Democrats say his claim to want to make voting hours uniform is an attempt to clamp down on days when Democrats are more likely than Republicans to vote. 

    In his presentation to lawmakers, Husted also advocated for online voter registration and constitutional requirements for the recognition of minor party candidates.

    Current law and  federal court decisions now begin early voting 35 days before the election and include the Monday before Election Day.

    Former leader of JobsOhio wanted OPERS to invest in venture fund
    The former head of  JobsOhio approached the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System in January to invest in his new Drive Capital venture capital firm, but the retirement fund turned Mark Kvamme down.

    In contrast, Ohio State University is putting up $50 million for the fund run by a close friend of recently retired OSU President Gordon Gee and Gov. John Kasich.

    The Plain Dealer is reporting the state’s largest pension fund decided against the investment, saying it is focused on a different venture capital market. OPERS has about $80.4 billion in assets.

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