Bill Cohen (Ohio Public Radio)

Bill Cohen is now in his 40th year of news reporting for Ohio's public radio and TV stations. Over the years, he's covered hundreds of different public policy issues ...from tax hikes, budget crunches, and soaring college tuition to capitol punishment, abortion, and gay marriage. Among the most high-profile developments he's covered: the 1993 Lucasville prison riot, the long-running legal battle over school funding, dozens of elections for governor and president, and the rise and fall of political legends such as Governor James Rhodes and House Speaker Vern Riffe.

When Ohio news merits national attention, you can hear Bill's radio reports on National Public Radio programs like "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition," and on another national radio show, "Marketplace."

In addition to interviewing newsmakers on the weekly public TV show, "The State of Ohio," Bill is also an occasional guest on "Columbus on the Record" on WOSU-TV and on "Capitol Square" on the Ohio News Network. Bill's freelance reporting also appears on Stateline.org, a website that reports on state government action across the nation. Bill's reports have won numerous first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters and the Cleveland Press Club. In 2006, the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors gave him all four of its first place awards for his reporting on state government. In 2004, Bill was honored with the Carl Day Outstanding Achievement Award from the Ohio Associated Press.

Ohio Governor John Kasich was lauded Wednesday by dozens of state legislators and parents of children with autism. They celebrated the Governor's order that, starting next year, will require health insurance policies in Ohio to cover autism treatment.

Michael Wasmer has a daughter with autism. He said the governor's move would help families with autistic children AFFORD the thousands of dollars worth of annual treatment that can bring those kids into the mainstream.

Environmental activists and consumer advocates are breathing a sigh of relief. Ohio lawmakers apparently are NOT going to change the state’s energy efficiency program during the last days of the current legislative session.

The program requires electric companies to lower overall power usage by giving money to people and businesses that buy energy-saving appliances and equipment. To fund the program, all electricity customers pay a surcharge on their monthly electric bills.

Ohio consumer advocates and environmentalists have been worrying out loud that state legislators might water down or wipe out a 4-year old program that encourages electricity customers to be more energy-efficient. Now, as statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports --- some comments by the top man in the Ohio Senate show those activists have good REASON to worry.

Thousands of Ohio food stamp users are getting some good news --- their monthly food stamp allotment WON’T be cut as severely as earlier planned. Ben Johnson of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services explains.

Ohio’s official unemployment has dropped once again and it now at 6.9%.  The October rate represents a drop of only two-tenths of 1% compared to the revised rate in September.

Still, it means Ohio now has its lowest jobless rate in more than four years.  You have to go back to August of 2008 to find a jobless rate in the same 6% range. 

Ohio is facing a catch-22. Because the state's official unemployment rate has dropped to a full percentage point below the national average, the federal government is cutting back its share of emergency unemployment benefits to jobless Ohioans.

Ben Johnson, with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, says people will notice the cutback at the beginning of December.

If you've got unused prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet, Ohio doctors, pharmacists, businesses, and police are hoping you'll turn them in April 28. 

Small business owners are salivating at the prospect Ohio might raise up to $1 billion over five years by hiking taxes on natural gas liquids drillers and using the revenue to pay for a general income tax cut. 

Seven states, including Ohio, are asking a federal judge to block an Obama administration mandate that requires birth control coverage for employees of religious-affiliated hospitals, schools and outreach programs.

Thousands of jobless Ohioans are in danger of running out of their unemployment benefits early next year, if Congress doesn't renew a federal extension of benefits. Ben Johnson is with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

"70,000 people will exhaust their unemployment compensation in January, another 36, 000, almost 37,000 in February, about 58,000 in March and more than 10,000 between March and June but the numbers are smaller," says Johnson.

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