Medicaid expansion will bring less than $400 million expected savings
The State budget director says Medicaid expansion in Ohio is not going to bring the $400 million in savings the Kasich administration had planned.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the money was expected to come from cuts in reimbursement rates, medical care for inmates and sales taxes from people switching to Medicaid managed care. Budget Director Tim Keen says there were several stumbling blocks. Last year’s budget bill stopped some rate cuts at hospitals; federal changes kept people on Medicaid longer, and there was a delay in expanding Medicaid. All those things affected the savings. Keen says he does not have a new savings estimate yet, only that the savings will be less than expected.
New contact options for birth parents
Birth parents in Ohio have a new way to say whether they wish to be contacted by the child they put up for adoption. The Contact Preference Form allows birth parents to request that they be contacted directly by the adopted person, through an intermediary or not at all.
The forms became available today and are part of the implementation of a new law that will allow children who were adopted between 1964 and 1996 access to their original birth certificates. In addition to the Contact Preference Form, birth parents also have the opportunity to have their names removed from their child’s birth certificate before the child is granted access.
Predatory towing bill passes House
A bill aimed at cracking down on predatory towing practices unanimously passed the Ohio House yesterday. The bill would put several new regulations into place when cars are towed from private parking lots. The goal is to end price gouging through excessive fees, create safety standards for the industry and provide for more detailed signs in lots where tow trucks operate. Tow truck companies and property owners will also have to have a written contract that explains exactly why, when and where vehicles will be towed.
Activists concerned about freshwater use by drillers
By the end of the year, drillers in eastern Ohio are expected to need nearly 6 billion gallons of fresh water a year to continue to hydraulically fracture wells for natural gas and oil. That number has Ohio environmental activists worried. FracTracker Alliance told the Beacon Journal within five years, drillers could need up to 16.9 billion gallons of water every year. Activists worry the activity is going to hurt Ohio’s water resources and say drillers aren’t being charged enough for the water. State officials are not concerned, and say Ohio has enough water to support drilling operations.
Ohio State Students support bill to remove parental rights from rapists
A national women’s rights group is pushing to remove parental rights from rapists. Yesterday, students from Ohio State presented a Senate committee chairman with 60,000 signatures from an online petition in support of Senate Bill 171. The students are working with feminist group UltraViolet, which posted the petition. S.B. 171 would prevent rapists from seeking custodial rights in Ohio. Right now a rapist is allowed to sue their victims for custody of a child resulting from the rape.
Graham Road reconstruction begins
The Graham Road reconstruction project in Stow is getting underway. It took seven years of planning for the $6.1 million project. Crews will widen lanes and intersections between State Route 8 and Bath Road. The Beacon Journal reports the project is expected to affect up to 30,000 motorists a day. Eighty property owners will also be affected. The project is expected to wrap up with a final resurfacing sometime next year.
Cleveland re-branding campaign launched
Cleveland’s re-branding campaign launched yesterday. Its goal is to draw more business and leisure visitors, while featuring some of the city’s lesser-known attractions. Positively Cleveland wants to give people something to talk about, and make the city known as a world class travel destination. One of the new slogans says “Never Conventional. Never meant to be. And for that, you’re welcome.”
The campaign is expected to spend nearly $2.4 million by the end of the year collecting data about outsiders’ views of Cleveland. The campaign started in 2011.
Group opposing sin tax meets for first time
The grassroots campaign against the Cuyahoga County “sin tax” launched last night. The Plain Dealer reports the Coalition Against the Sin Tax met with about 50 people in the basement of the Market Garden Brewery in the Ohio City neighborhood. The group wants to dissuade voters from approving a 20-year renewal of the county’s alcohol and cigarette tax that funds maintenance to the city’s professional sports venues.
Cleveland City Council moves forward on jail merger
Cleveland City Council’s Public Safety Committee has approved a measure that would merge the jail operations for the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. The Plain Dealer reports the measure will now head to the Workforce Committee to see what the administration plans to do to help find new work for the employees that will lose their job as a result of the merger. About 50 people are expected to lose their jobs. The city spends about $14 million a year on the jail.
Democrats want budget meetings broadcast
As Ohio lawmakers consider Governor John Kasich's midterm budget, House Democrats have proposed requiring the Legislature to broadcast its committee hearings on the plan. Currently, recording is left up to committee chairs. The Democrats' plan would also require public records to be turned over in 20 days and would set up an independent ombudsman to mediate state records disputes.
Prade to find out if he will be jailed again
Former Akron Police Capt. Douglas Prade today could find out today whether he'll again be jailed. Prade spent nearly 15 years in prison for his ex-wife's killing before being released on a judge's order 14 months ago. But a panel of appeals judges ruled yesterday that there is plenty of evidence of Prade's guilt in the murder of Margo Prade, and the lower-court udge was wrong to free him based on new testing of a bite mark. A judge in Akron has set a hearing for this morning on what happens next.
More mumps at Ohio State
Four more cases have been added to the count of a mumps outbreak at Ohio State. Columbus public health officials say the new cases involve three students and one staff member at the university. Officials are still trying to trace how those sickened acquired the viral infection. Of the 32 people infected, 26 are students, two are staff members and one is a student's relative. Health officials say the other three cases involve people who don't study or work at Ohio State but have links to the university community. Mumps is a contagious infection that often starts with fever, fatigue and body aches.
Two Columbus City Schools principals sue for jobs
Two principals who are being fired amid the Columbus schools attendance data-scrubbing investigation are suing to get their jobs back. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Tiffany Chavers and Pamela Diggs on Wednesday sued the school board, former and current superintendents and other district administrators. They're also asking for $400,000 each in damages.