Ohio Gov. Kasich proposes tax, education changes
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Governor John Kasich (KAY'-sik) has rolled out an ambitious election-year policy document that cuts Ohio's income tax through increases in drilling and tobacco taxes and streamlines government services for the poor and unemployed.
Details of the Republican governor's mid-biennium review, or MBR, were released Tuesday. Testimony is set to begin Wednesday in the GOP-led Ohio House. The bill's prospects amid campaign season are uncertain.
Kasich, who faces re-election this fall, proposes cutting income taxes by 8.5 percent over the next three years, taking the top tax rate to 4.88 percent by 2016. Commercial activity, cigarette and drilling taxes would rise to pay for the reduction.
He also proposes streamlining Ohio's workforce development and poverty programs, tying all public-college funding to graduation rates and expanding vocational and dropout education offerings.
Ohio bill allowing firearms silencers clears panel
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A state legislative committee has approved a bill that would let Ohio hunters use firearms silencers, sending the measure to the full Ohio House.
Last month, lawmakers and their aides got a hands-on look at the devices and listened to silenced and unsilenced weapons.
The measure cleared the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday with bipartisan support.
It would allow licensed Ohio hunters to use the silencers while hunting certain birds and other wild game, including squirrels, rabbits and white-tailed deer. Only those authorized under state and federal laws could use the suppressor, which must be properly registered.
Backers of suppressors say they protect hunters' hearing, make field commands easier to hear and reduce disruptions to neighbors. Opponents say quieter weapons are less safe and easier to use illegally.
DRUG DEATHS-OVERDOSE ANTIDOTE
Ohio law increases access to overdose antidote
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) has signed a bill into law allowing friends or family members of addicts to administer a drug overdose antidote without the fear of prosecution.
The legislation is aimed at reducing the state's record-high number of fatal overdoses from heroin and painkillers - which is now the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio, surpassing car crashes.
The bill signed Tuesday allows licensed prescribers to provide the drug naloxone (nuh-LOX'-ohn) to an addict's friends or family members. People administering the drug would be immune from prosecution as long as they call 911 immediately before or after giving the antidote. It also must be obtained through proper channels.
In addition, the bill would make it easier for police and emergency responders to administer the drug.
WINTER WEATHER-OHIO SCHOOLS
Ohio calamity-day bill clears conference committee
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - State lawmakers have struck a compromise on what to do about missed school days around Ohio brought on by the season's extreme winter weather.
A House-Senate compromise committee approved a bill Tuesday to provide four extra snow days. The panel removed a provision that would have required teachers to undergo professional development training.
The decision followed an impasse last month over two competing versions of the bill.
Snow, ice and bone-chilling temperatures have led many districts across Ohio to exhaust the school year's five allowable calamity days, in which schools can close without making up the lost instructional time.
Many districts have canceled classes for nine or more days this year.
Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) backed adding extra snow days on a one-time basis.
DRUG DEATHS-CLINIC CHARGES
Ohio lawyer admits tax evasion in pain pill case
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A lawyer has pleaded guilty to a single count of tax evasion after authorities decided not to retry him following a hung jury last year on more serious charges related to alleged Ohio pill mills.
The original charges against 68-year-old Steven Hillman of suburban Columbus were part of a 2012 indictment against eight individuals that alleged dozens of customers a week would travel hundreds of miles to visit clinics in southern and central Ohio and pay $200 per visit for painkillers.
The indictment said prescriptions were written without meaningful physical exams and contributed to the deaths of at least two patients.
A jury deadlocked after Hillman's trial last August.
No sentencing date has been set.
Hillman's attorney says his client accepts full responsibility for failing to pay taxes.
BRIBERY CONVICTION UPHELD
4-year bribery sentence upheld for Ohio man
CINCINNATI (AP) - An Ohio construction contractor serving four years in prison for bribing a federal government official has lost his bid to have his conviction thrown out or his sentenced reduced.
A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati turned down 62-year-old Samuel Mays' appeal on Tuesday.
The judges say that the Cincinnati man failed to prove that the criminal indictment against him was deficient or that the district judge gave him an overly harsh sentence.
A jury found Mays guilty of bribery, embezzlement and other charges in September 2012.
Prosecutors say that Mays and another contractor provided substantial home improvements and cash bribes worth more than $175,000 to the operations officer for the Cincinnati offices of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in exchange for contracts.
Instructor charged in Ohio gun class shooting
LANCASTER, Ohio (AP) - A central Ohio instructor who accidentally shot an adult student in the arm during a concealed-carry firearms class has been charged with misdemeanor negligent assault.
A special prosecutor earlier determined 74-year-old Terry Dunlap Sr. should not be charged with any felony for the August shooting during a demonstration near Lancaster.
The Violet Township trustee told The Columbus Dispatch he didn't know about the misdemeanor charge filed in Fairfield County Municipal Court, and he declined to comment. Court records listed no attorney for him, and he didn't immediately return a call Tuesday.
Dunlap was certified to teach such classes. He said he would not teach for at least a year after the shooting under an agreement with the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission.
Dunlap's arraignment is scheduled April 1.
DAYCARE WORKER ARREST
Man enters insanity plea in Ohio day care rape
ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) - The boyfriend of a northern Ohio day care worker suspected of raping four children has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to related charges.
Prosecutors allege the worker raped the children last spring at the urging of her boyfriend, 34-year-old James Osborne of Elyria (eh-LEER'-ee-uh), who is a registered sex offender. He is charged in Lorain County with dozens of counts, including complicity to rape and kidnapping and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.
Defense attorney Michael Duff has requested an evaluation of whether Osborne is competent for trial.
Duff tells local reporters that Osborne told him he's heard voices for some time. Duff wouldn't discuss details of that.
A judge has granted prosecutors' request that Osborne and his girlfriend be tried together.
AIR FORCE-SEXUAL ASSAULT TRAINING
Ohio Air Force base addresses sexual assaults
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Ninety service members at Ohio's largest military base are taking sexual assault self-defense training and will in turn instruct their colleagues in the techniques.
Col. Cassie Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, says it's in response to the Air Force's call to re-emphasize the culture of respect and dignity amid pressure to improve the military's handling of sexual assault issues.
The Dayton Daily News reports that the 90 Air Force members, along with 10 employees of nearby Wright State University, are taking the self-defense training from martial arts teachers.
Barlow said those trainees will then be certified for a two-year period to train their colleagues.
Teen will be tried as adult in Ohio slayings
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A judge has ruled that a 15-year-old boy will be prosecuted as an adult in the bludgeoning deaths of a northeast Ohio couple.
The boy was barely 14 when he was arrested last year as an accomplice in the slayings of Jeffrey and Margaret Schobert in their home in New Franklin, near Akron. Authorities said they were beaten with a sledgehammer.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Summit County Juvenile Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio cited the "the brutal and heinous nature of this crime" in binding the teen over to the adult court.
The principal defendant, 19-year-old Shawn Eric Ford Jr., is charged with multiple counts of aggravated murder and could face the death penalty if convicted. Police say he had dated the couple's teenage daughter.
JEEP PLANT-PART-TIME WORKERS
Ohio Jeep plant hiring part-time workers
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Chrysler says it plans to hire up to 1,000 part-time employees to give exhausted full-time workers a break at its Toledo Jeep assembly plant.
The (Toledo) Blade reports that record demand for the Jeep Wrangler and launch of the new Jeep Cherokee last year is driving the move to spell full-time employees who are regularly working 60 hours a week.
A company spokesman said Monday that Chrysler has hired 380 temporary part-time employees this year, though 50 have been converted to regular, full-time employees. Chrysler has collected applications for all the jobs and is in the process of assessing them.
Most of the new hires will get between 10 and 30 hours per week. They'll be paid $15.78 an hour, the same rate as new full-time hires.
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