Cuyahoga County Council to vote on absentee ballot application mailings
Ohio's largest county will decide tonight whether to assert its home-rule powers and mail unsolicited, absentee-ballot applications to registered voters there. The proposal from Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald comes in response to a state law that bars county elections boards and other public officials from mailing such ballots. FitzGerald is a Democratic gubernatorial candidate. His Republican rival, Gov. John Kasich, signed a bill allowing the secretary of state to send the applications for general elections, only if the Legislature directs the money for it. FitzGerald's proposal is expected to be considered at the county council's meeting Tuesday evening. Republicans in the Ohio House have proposed cutting a county's local government funding by 10 percent if the county does not follow state procedures for providing absentee ballots.
Republicans add amendments to budget bill
Ohio's House republicans have added a slew of amendments to the off-year budget bill. Among them is an attempt to keep college athletes from unionizing in Ohio. That amendment is a reaction to a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board that would allow football players at Northwestern to form a union. There's also a move that would cut a county's local government money by 10 percent if they don't follow the state's new law banning them from mailing unsolicited absentee voter applications. That legislation looks to be targeted at Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald who is planning to do just that.
Consumers could foot bill for utility cleanup costs
A new proposal in the Ohio House could make consumers foot the bill for cleanup costs of abandoned natural-gas plants. The Columbus Dispatch reports the measure has been added to the budget bill that's already being discussed. Utility companies say the costs would be reasonable and regulated, spreading customer payments out over 10 years. But opponents say it could set a dangerous precedent of putting consumers on the hook for bad business decisions by utilities, and later extend to other cleanups like ash ponds and coal-fired power plants.
Turner under fire for misinformation
State Senator Nina Turner of Cleveland is coming under fire for an email sent by her campaign for Secretary of State. The email encouraged supporters to register to vote and vote early in the May primary. According to the Columbus Dispatch, it also told voters they could turn in their absentee ballots at their local polling place or board of elections, which was incorrect. The board of elections is the ONLY place absentee ballots may be submitted. As Secretary of State, Turner would become head of Ohio’s elections if she won in November.
Tuesday final day for voter registration
Today is the last day for you to register to vote in the May 6 primary. It’s also the final day of the “golden week’ when you can register and vote on the same day.
Kent State shooting suspect pleads not guilty
A Kent State student suspected of prompting a campus lockdown after shooting himself in the hand has pleaded not guilty to carrying a concealed weapon. A judge on Monday set bond at $40,000 and told 24-year-old Quavaugntay Tyler of Cleveland to stay away from the northeast Ohio campus.
Condemned killer's attorneys say health problems put him at risk
Attorneys for a condemned Ohio killer scheduled to die next month say multiple health problems put him at risk for harm during lethal injection. The attorneys say Arthur Tyler has a history of heart problems and diabetes and risk factors including hypertension, breathing difficulties and being overweight. Tyler was sentenced to die for killing Cleveland produce vendor Sander Leach during a 1983 robbery.
Mumps outbreak continues in central Ohio
Health officials tracking a mumps outbreak in central Ohio say 100 of the 153 confirmed cases have been linked to Ohio State University. Local health agencies in the area say that those infected by the viral illness range in age from 9 months to 69 years. They include 78 Ohio State students and nine staff members. The cases span from early January through late last week. State and local health officials are urging residents to make sure they're properly vaccinated with two doses of measles-mumps-rubella, known as MMR. Mumps often starts with fever, fatigue and body aches. Those infected are urged to stay home for a few days, cover their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and frequently wash their hands.
Future of Concourse D to be discussed
United Airlines is not only closing its hub at Cleveland Hopkins, it is moving out of Concourse D all together beginning June 5th. The Plain Dealer reports the airport now plans to work with United's concession manager—Airmall Cleveland, Inc.—to look at what impact that move is going to have. Leaders will then come up with a plan to help lessen the impact the closing of the concourse will have on other Hopkins carriers. United's Hub will leave Cleveland in phases over the next two months. The airport will lose most of United's regional flights, and be left with flights to about 20 nonstop destinations.
Lawmaker calls for federal judge's impeachment
A state lawmaker has reiterated his call for the impeachment of a federal judge who plans to order Ohio to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. Southwest Ohio Republican Rep. John Becker first called for Cincinnati-based Judge Timothy Black's removal in September, after Black issued an order in a separate lawsuit involving gay marriage. On Friday, Black said he plans to issue a ruling April 14 forcing the state to recognize the marriages of gay Ohio couples who have wed in states that allow same-sex marriage. Becker said in a news release Monday that Black has allowed "personal political bias to supersede jurisprudence." Becker has filed a resolution for Congress to impeach Black. Congress has removed only eight federal judges in history.
Juvenile court judge to appear on felony charges
A southwest Ohio juvenile court judge accused of misusing county credit cards and backdating court documents is scheduled to appear in court Today for a trial date to be set in her case. Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter has pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges of tampering with evidence, forgery and theft in office. At her indictment, Hunter suggested she was being targeted for being a black Democrat.
Penelec lockout appears nearly over
A lockout of union employees at a Pennsylvania offshoot of Akron-based First Energy appears to be ending. The Beacon Journal reports that Penelec employees are being told return to work next week under the company's "last, best and final offer." That lockout has been underway since November, with union workers' jobs being performed by managers and supervisors. Members of the Utility Workers Union of America Local 180 had been without a contract since August 31st. Union leaders say they still have not agreed to a contract. Instead, workers were told in a unilateral move by FirstEnergy to return to work and what their new job assignments would be. FirstEnergy says there are still some points that need negotiated, but that the final offer will lead to a contract being signed.
Frozen teen died of heroin overdose
A teenager who was found frozen inside his truck back in January did not die from the elements, according to police. WKYC reports 19-year-old Andrew Norris died from a heroin overdose. His frozen body was found inside his truck, which was parked in his family’s Willoughby Hills driveway back on January 27. He was thought to have been in the truck for several days.
Former AG says prisoner may have been wrongly convicted
A former Ohio attorney general says a man serving a life prison sentence may have been wrongly convicted. Former Attorney General James Petro asked a federal judge in Cleveland Monday to grant Alfred Cleveland's petition for release or for a new trial in the 1991 slaying of a prostitute. Petro, who was attorney general from 2003 to 2007, said in a court filing that he was concerned Mr. Cleveland was convicted and sentenced to life in prison almost exclusively on the testimony of an admitted drug addict who was paid $6,000 to cooperate with authorities. The Plain Dealer reports that the man has since admitted that he lied about seeing Cleveland and three other men commit the 1991 murder. The judge did not say when he will rule.
Casino revenue up in March
Revenue figures show March was a good month for Ohio's four casinos. The numbers released Monday show each casino had a significant increase from February. The bump mirrors a similar boost in casino revenues last March following winter slumps. This year, the Cincinnati and Cleveland casinos saw the largest jumps. Cincinnati's revenues rose more than 22 percent, from $16.5 million in February to $20.2 million in March. Cleveland's revenues jumped about 21 percent, to $21 million. The voter-approved casinos have drawn a combined $206 million this year, with the state collecting about one-third in taxes and distributing the money to Ohio's 88 counties, school districts and host cities, among others.