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Emergency officials assess damage from spring storms
Ohio House votes on 2.5 percent oil and gas severance tax; 
Supreme court upholds death sentence despite improper remarks 

by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
  • Ohio House votes on 2.5 percent oil and gas severance tax
  • Supreme court upholds death sentence despite improper remarks 
  • Ohio retailers can soon hand out free drinks
  • Emergency officials assess damage from spring storms
    Cities around the region are dealing with the aftermath of violent storms that swept through northeast Ohio last night.  Officials are still assessing damage.

    Up to five inches of rain fell in parts of the region.  Flooding closed roadways and caused power outages.  Around 900 FirstEnergy customers are still without power.

    The Beacon Journal reports several funnel clouds were seen in Summit and Medina counties last night, but the National Weather Service has not confirmed any tornadoes.

    More than a dozen roads in Medina county are still closed after last night’s flooding.  Bill Viovode with the county highway department says crews worked over night to clear debris.  He says several culverts were washed away and it could be a couple of days before some roads are reopened.

    Bath Township in Summit County was hard hit by Monday’s storms.  Several roads in Bath remain closed today.

    Archbishop Hoban High School and schools in Cuyahoga Falls are closed after several buildings were damaged by flooding. 

    Dozens of people in North Ridgeville were evacuated from their homes last night due to Flooding.  Most are back in their homes.

    Flood waters closed North Ridgeville Middle School. North Ridgeville high school also saw significant damage.

    A flood watch remains in effect for most of Northeast Ohio with more storms in the forecast for later today.


    Ohio House votes on 2.5 percent oil and gas severance tax
    An Ohio House panel is preparing to vote on legislation raising Ohio's tax on large oil-and-gas drillers in a compromise that returns more of the proceeds to local governments.

    The bill before the Ways & Means Committee today imposes a 2.5-percent tax on operations with significant volume, including fracking in eastern Ohio.

    The House panel is expected to amend the bill to reserve 20 percent of tax proceeds, after the first $21 million, for communities — up from the 15 percent proposed earlier.

    Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich has long pushed a drilling-tax hike as a way to offset modest statewide income-tax reductions he's proposed. The drilling industry brought revisions to Kasich's plan to the House.


    Supreme court upholds death sentence despite improper remarks
    A divided Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a man who killed two teenage girls in Cincinnati despite what the court called improper remarks by a prosecutor arguing for death.

    A jury convicted Anthony Kirkland in 2010 of aggravated murder and other charges in the deaths of two Cincinnati teenagers.

    Before his trial began Kirkland also pleaded guilty to the slayings of two women.

    The court's 4-3 decision today rejected arguments by Kirkland’s attorneys that the prosecutor's remarks — which included implying that without a death sentence the girls' deaths would go unpunished — inflamed the jury to the point he should have been resentenced.


    Ohio retailers can soon hand out free booze
    A new state law will allow Ohio retailers to hand out free samples of beer and wine.

    Existing state law allows sampling of beer, wine and spirits at retailer such as grocery stores and wine shops, but customers have to pay for their samples.

    The new measure — which takes effect July 10 — allows retailers to host free tastings. But it preserves a minimum 50-cents-per-sample charge for liquor stronger than 42 proof.

    State Sen. Jim Hughes, a Columbus Republican who sponsored the legislation, says the law will increase liquor sales and "ultimately aid in job creation."

    Hughes says no opposition emerged to the bill as it made its way through the Legislature.

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