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Pro-guns bills dominate Ohio Statehouse this week
Other noon headlines: Minor party access, housing sales, drug tests

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
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In The Region:
  • Guns and Ohio lawmakers
  • Minor parties and Ohio ballots 
  • Ohio housing contracts climb, again
  • Do drug tests for welfare benefits work?
  • Gas prices dip below $3 
  • Guns and Ohio lawmakers
    Ohio lawmakers will consider three pro-gun bills this week.

    An Ohio House committee is expected to vote on a bill that includes a “stand your ground” provision, giving people an option of using deadly force instead of retreating in cases of self-defense.

    Democrats liken it to the Florida law that led to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin killing. Proponents say there are significant differences.

    Another House committee is considering a bill to allow concealed weapons in Ohio’s day care centers, government buildings and churches, as well as colleges and universities. And Rep. Ron Hood of southeastern Ohio is sponsoring a third gun bill that would charge any police officer with a first-degree felony if he or she enforces any new federal laws or executive orders that restrict guns.  

    Minor parties and Ohio ballots 
    Meanwhile, the Ohio Senate Oversight Committee will consider a bill to make it harder for minor parties to get onto the ballot. Both the Libertarian and Green parties say the GOP lawmakers are trying to keep them out of next year’s elections.

    Ohio housing contracts climb, again
    Ohio’s Realtors say the number of contracts signed for single-family houses and condos grew again this September compared to last. That marks the 29th consecutive month of growth in year-to-year comparisons.

    The September pending home sales climbed more than 10 percent, and the index shows the number of sales is more than 40 percent higher than when housing prices first started to collapse  in 2008.

    Do drug tests for welfare benefits work?
    Ohio lawmakers are considering proposals to require drug testing for people who get welfare benefits. But according to the New York Times, similar laws in other states have had limited effect. In the four months of testing in Florida, just 108 of more than 4,086 welfare applicants failed drug tests, for which the state paid more than $118,000. Oklahoma showed similar numbers over seven months of testing.

    In Ohio, Republican State Sen. State Tim Schaffer wants to establish a pilot program to test welfare recipients in three counties. Schaffer says the program could expand depending on what the pilot statistics show. The bill would require applicants to say whether they’ve used drugs in the past six month. Those who answer yes must take a drug test. Those who answer no don’t.

    Gas prices dip below $3
    Gas prices continue to plummet in Ohio, coming in at $2.94 in Canton and other parts of Stark County. That’s down 30 cents from a week ago.  The reasons include high supply, more fuel-efficient vehicles and a switch to cheaper winter-formula fuel.

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