Morning Headlines: Medicaid Expansion's Future Opens to Debate; Offshore Wind Farm Hearing Postponed

Oct 30, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, October 30th:

  • The future of Ohio's Medicaid expansion is up for debate;
  • Ohio Supreme Court Justice O'Neill steps into the governor's race;
  • Proposal to release Ohio grand jury records opens to public comment;
  • State regulators postpone hearing on "Icebreaker" offshore wind farm;
  • Air is safe to breathe after recycling facility fire, officials say;
  • Man turns himself in after stabbing his mother to death;
  • Memorial held for slain Girard officer;
  • Cash reward offered for information about teens who assaulted, robbed off-duty cop;

The future of Ohio's Medicaid expansion is up for debate
A Medicaid expansion championed by Gov. John Kasich over many fellow Republicans in Columbus and Washington is hanging in the balance again. A powerful legislative spending panel must decide today whether to re-authorize spending for the expansion, which now provides health insurance coverage for more than 700,000 low-income adults. The Kasich administration needs the state Controlling Board to release the state's $264 million share to qualify for $638 million in federal matching funds. Four years ago, Kasich allies stacked the panel to win initial approval for the expansion option made possible under the federal Affordable Care Act. The GOP-led legislature included language in this year's state budget bill freezing expansion and preventing those who drop off from re-enrolling. Kasich vetoed the language. A threatened veto override hasn't materialized.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice O'Neill steps into the governor's race
The lone Democrat holding statewide office in Ohio joined the governor's race Sunday on a liberal platform of tax incentives for solar power, expanded mental health care and legalized marijuana. Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill pitched his candidacy as a response to what he sees as an over-managed Democratic political organization that has lost touch with its roots. Not all of his ideas are out of the Democratic mainstream, including support for boosting the minimum wage to $15 and taking on for-profit charter schools. But O'Neill's plans further call for legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana. At 70, O'Neill must retire from the Supreme Court when his current term ends in January 2019 because of age limits. O'Neill said he plans to leave the bench by the Feb. 7 candidate filing deadline.

Proposal to release Ohio grand jury records opens to public comment
The public can submit comments on a proposed rule change that could lead to some Ohio grand jury records being released to the public. The Columbus Dispatch reports a task force appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor in the wake of police shootings recommended the rule change last year concerning secret grand jury proceedings. The aim of the task force was to increase the public's confidence in the grand jury system following fatal police shootings of blacks that resulted in no criminal charges against officers. The change would allow members of the public to petition a court to open records of grand jury proceedings. The Supreme Court has until mid-January to decide whether to submit the change to the Ohio Legislature for approval.

State regulators postpone hearing on "Icebreaker" offshore wind farm
A state board has postponed a hearing to consider plans for a Lake Erie wind farm. The Ohio Power Siting Board says it postponed the scheduled Nov. 17 meeting so more information can be gathered about how the wind farm's impact will be monitored. A new date for the hearing hasn't been set. Plans call for developers to build six wind turbines in Lake Erie about 8 to 10 miles off Lakewood's shores. The siting board says a Nov. 8 public hearing at Cleveland City Hall will be held as scheduled.

Air is safe to breathe after recycling facility fire, officials say
Cleveland officials say air quality tests done at a former landfill that caught fire don't show any health concerns for nearby residents. Firefighters from several communities responded to the former Arco Recycling facility in East Cleveland early Saturday after reports of smoke. It took hours to get the fire under control. Officials issued a statement saying as a precaution they sent staff to install air quality monitoring equipment at the site and in the surrounding community. They say none of the results showed any cause for concern. The city has been working with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to oversee the cleanup and removal of material from the landfill. The Ohio EPA has allocated more than $6 million for the work.

Man turns himself in after stabbing his mother to death
Police have arrested a 22-year-old man and charged him with murder after his mother was found stabbed to death in Stow. Authorities were called to the home Saturday evening after the man called 911 to report the death of 56-year-old Susan Reeves. Police say Jason Reeves was released after questioning and turned himself in to police Sunday.

Memorial held for slain Girard officer
Hundreds gathered over the weekend to pay their respects to a Trumbull County police officer killed in the line of duty. Justin Leo, 31, of Girard was fatally shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call about a week ago. Leo had worked in Girard for five years. Hundreds of officers from all across Ohio and surrounding states filled a Youngstown State University gymnasium, which was converted to a makeshift cathedral for the service.

Cash reward offered for information about teens who assaulted, robbed off-duty cop
A cash reward is being offered for information about the assault of an off-duty Cleveland police officer. The officer was beaten and robbed of her gun last Thursday while working security at a Taco Bell in Cleveland’s Lee-Miles neighborhood. Cleveland.com reports she was beaten nearly unconscious by the attackers. Cleveland police are saying the attackers were likely in their late teens. Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County is offering $2500 dollars for information about the incident.