Ohio

User: Benjamin Chun / Flickr/Creative Commons

A group of Ohio teachers is reviewing the questions that will appear in this year’s American Institutes for Research, or AIR, standardized test. It replaces the controversial PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, exam. Both tests are tied to the Common Core standards.

A Republican group is coming to Ohio this week, just days after a conservative group’s national conference left.

The national Republican political action committee GOPAC will host its state legislative leaders’ summit in Columbus this week, bringing in state senate presidents, house speakers, and elected leaders from around the country.

Dayton Right to Life will take part in a National Day of Protest Against Planned Parenthood on Saturday. The effort is being lead by a coalition of national pro-life groups. The local organization will hold a rally outside the Planned Parenthood health center on N. Wilkinson St. downtown.

Ohio Secretary of State

More groups are jumping on the redistricting reform bandwagon, in advance of a vote this fall on a plan to create a bipartisan commission to draw state lawmakers’ districts.

Supporters of the redistricting plan now include the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, which says it’s an “accountable approach” for “effective reform and fair districts”. And the liberal group Nuns on the Bus says it’s joined up too.

Sister Carren Herring in Cincinnati says too many people on the margins are disenfranchised by a gerrymandered map that favors people with power and influence. 

A child receives immunization for polio
United States Agency for International Development

Ohio has had some of the worst numbers in the country when it comes to immunizations. And as school starts back up, health advocates say new laws are making kids safer. But, others want parents to know they still have options.

Ohio now requires essentially every child to be immunized against 14 different diseases before going into daycare facilities. Then there are a few more vaccinations added for kids going into grade school and throughout their education.

A proposal to drug test Ohioans who receive state assistance is making its way around the Statehouse again. Though this time, there is a difference in the measure.

Republican Representative Tim Schaeffer’s bill to drug test Ohioans receiving assistance didn’t go anywhere in two previous general assemblies but this time around, he says this bill is not punitive. He says instead of taking benefits away, Ohioans on the Ohio Works First program who test positive under this bill would be given drug treatment while their dependents could still receive the benefits.

Black Infant Mortality Rate Still Higher Than White Infants

Jul 28, 2015

State health leaders say their effort to bring down the infant mortality rate is working. But they still have a long way to go.

The number of infants that passed away in 2013 decreased by two-tenths of a percent compared to the previous year. But black infants are still dying at more than twice the rate of white infants.

Renewed Effort Underway To Abolish Ohio's Death Penalty

Jul 16, 2015
Ohio House of Representatives

One state lawmaker is finding new allies in her fight to get rid of the death penalty.

State Rep. Nickie Antonio has been down this road before. The Democratic lawmaker from Lakewood has tried several times to pass a bill that would eliminate the death penalty.

“The state of Ohio needs to take the compassionate pragmatic and economically prudent step to abolish capital punishment,” Antonio said.

Changes To Ohio's Foster Care System Still Possible

Jul 15, 2015
Woman spend up to $200 a year on taxes for feminine hygiene products.
Flickr Creative Commons

Before state lawmakers went on their summer break, they were discussing changes to Ohio's foster care system. 

About 1,000 foster care kids turn 18 and age out of the program every year. Republican State Rep. Dorothy Pelanda of Marysville is sponsoring a bill that would extend the age out age to 21 to give those youth more time to develop the skills they need to be independent.

Algae Forecast Grim This Year For Lake Erie

Jul 10, 2015
Satellite view of toxic algal bloom on Lake Erie
NASA Earth Observatory

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an especially bad year for Lake Erie algae. But that doesn't necessarily mean there will be more water shutdowns like the one in Toledo last year.

The updated forecast for this year’s algae bloom in western Lake Erie is grim. NOAA scientist Rick Stumpf says the bloom will undoubtedly be worse than last year.

"We are looking at more severe than 2014, not as bad as 2011," he said. "But potentially this could be the second worst bloom that we have seen on Lake Erie."

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