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Ohio Supreme Court task force issues death penalty report
Other headlines: House committee cancels vote on renewable energy freeze; High court sides with state in contempt request

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
  • House committee cancels vote on renewable energy freeze
  • High court sides with state in contempt request
  • Kasich proposes grants and penalties in school safety plan
  • Toledo to replace trees killed by road salt
  • Supreme Court task force issues death penalty report
    A panel set-up by the Ohio Supreme Court has issued dozens of recommendations to amend the state’s use of the death penalty.

    After a two-year study, the Joint Task Force released 56 recommendations today.

    Those include banning execution of the mentally ill, requiring DNA or video evidence for a capital-murder conviction, and reserving capital punishment for the “worst of the worst.” 

    The panel also calls for creating a statewide capital-litigation fund.

    Two county prosecutors and a member of the Ohio Attorney General’s office today issued a dissenting report, opposing half of the recommendations.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports that Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says many of the panel’s recommendations are “dead on arrival” in the Ohio legislature.

    High court sides with state in contempt request
    The Ohio Supreme Court is siding with the state in a case involving compensation for landowners for flooding losses near Ohio's largest inland lake.

    At issue is how fast the Ohio Department of Natural Resources responded to a court order to compensate 87 landowners near western Ohio’s Grand Lake St. Marys.

    Attorneys for the landowners, almost all farmers, argue the state is revoking previous good faith financial offers and saying it will make newer and lower offers.

    The Supreme Court today turned down a request by landowners' lawyers to hold the state in contempt of previous court rulings on the compensation.

    House committee cancels vote on renewable energy freeze
    A key House committee has canceled its hearing on legislation halting the phase-in of Ohio's renewable energy and efficiency standards.

    The House Public Utilities Committee had planned a vote today on the bill.

    The measure puts a two-year freeze on targets for how much renewable energy, such as solar and wind, Ohio utilities must generate by 2025.

    The bill's opponents have stepped up efforts this week. They aired a television ad, released research findings and lodged protests aimed at drawing the attention of lawmakers and the governor.

    Backers of the freeze say Ohio's clean energy standards need to be modernized to account for such factors as increased U.S. shale-gas exploration.

    It’s not known when the meeting would be rescheduled, or why it was canceled.

    Kasich proposes grants and penalties in school safety plan
    Ohio schools would see more grant money made available for security upgrades and face penalties for failing to submit safety plans under school safety initiatives proposed by Gov. John Kasich.

    State Superintendent Richard Ross said 3,000 schools took advantage of $12 million made available last summer for entryway security and communications. New grants would be available for security upgrades at both public and private schools.

    Kasich also proposes penalties for schools that fail to file a safety plan.

    Toledo to replace trees killed by road salt
    City of Toledo officials say it will cost thousands of dollars to replace dozens of trees killed by road salt over the winter.

    City arborists have documented 147 trees in the downtown area that are dead or dying from the heavy use of salt on the streets.

    The city also says the use of salt on the streets is largely unavoidable.

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