Ohio Legislature

The Ohio Controlling Board approved funding to expand Medicaid in a 5-2 vote Monday afternoon.

That means beginning this January, over 300,000 Ohioans could become newly eligible for the state-run health insurance program, and around 275,000 are expected to get covered in 2014. The expansion extends state Medicaid programs to cover all adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or a little less than $16,000 for an individual.

Ohio Governor John Kasich announced last week he’ll circumvent the legislature to try to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, state legislators are considering two separate Medicaid reform bills—and health care providers have their fingers crossed.

A newspaper analysis finds an increase in the number of gun-related bills brought forth by the Ohio Legislature.

The report by the Cincinnati Enquirer says lawmakers have introduced 19 firearm-related bills since taking office in January, 11 of them expanding gun owners' rights.

The paper says in a story Thursday that that's five more than the 14 firearm-related bills introduced in 2011 and 2012.

Some Ohio doctors and medical clinic managers say if the Ohio legislature passes some anti-abortion bills now under consideration, it’s very possible there will be a shortage of doctors and medical facilities to serve the needs of Ohio women. And they warn more Ohio women will die due to complications from pregnancies.

A group of Democratic lawmakers in Ohio say domestic-violence deaths can be prevented by taking guns away from people served with restraining orders.

Legislation introduced by Rep. Bob Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat, would require those subject to domestic-violence protection orders to temporarily give up their weapons to law enforcement within 24 hours of being served.

The bill would also give defendants the option to sell their weapons to a licensed federal dealer instead of handing them over.

Ohio prosecutors say they're not giving up in their efforts to pass a law that would allow them to demand that criminal defendants undergo a trial by jury.

The proposal by the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association targets defendants suspected of waiving their rights to a jury trial because they believe a judge will be more sympathetic.

Prosecutors want the ability to demand a jury trial if they believe a judge is biased in favor of the defendant.

Connecticut Shooting Leads to Examination of Ohio Gun Laws

Dec 17, 2012

With the shootings in Connecticut fresh in mind, members of faith community in Ohio are speaking out.  The Rev. Tracey Lind at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland is leading the charge against a loosening of gun restrictions.

Many pastors throughout Northeast Ohio Sunday began their sermons with prayers for the 28 people who died last Friday, 20 of them 6- and 7-year olds. But Tracey Lind quickly switched gears to talk about an Ohio bill lawmakers passed Thursday, which is awaiting Gov. John Kasich’s signature.

A bipartisan proposal to change the way Ohio draws state legislative and congressional lines has cleared the state Senate with almost unanimous support.

The resolution would create a seven-member commission to draw all maps, and at least one minority party member would have to approve the boundaries.

The House isn't expected to act on the proposal and that chamber's vote is needed to put the measure before voters.

Sen. Frank LaRose, a co-sponsor, said the Senate plan could serve as a roadmap for discussion next year.

The Ohio House has passed a bill to require training and certification for a new group of professionals who will be available to guide consumers through the new health insurance exchange.

The measure cleared Wednesday on a 56-32 vote, and it now heads to the Senate.

These so-called health navigators will help educate consumers and small businesses about the new online markets created by the federal health care law. Through these exchanges, consumers will be able to buy individual private policies and apply for government subsidies to help pay their premiums.

The so-called "Heartbeat Bill" is dead in this session of the legislature, according to Republican Senate president Tom Niehaus. But its backers say they won't give up, and are still hoping for a last-minute maneuver to get it to the Senate floor before the end of the year. But one supporter of restrictions on abortion who's not getting involved is Gov. John Kasich.

"I let the legislature do its job, and then I respond.  I try not to wade into the legislature," says Kasich.  "I don't get in the middle of legislative activity."

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