Ohio

traffic camera red light camera
Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr/Creative Commons

One provision that’s likely to stay in the final version of the state budget being worked on now is a proposal to deduct state money from cities still using traffic cameras. Officials in those affected cities are frustrated by the move. 

Traffic cameras are a topic that revs up contentious debate for Republicans and Democrats.  But last year, camera opponents prevailed and this March, a law took effect requiring cities to station police officers with cameras to observe violations. Cities say those cameras are important safety tools, and they sued.

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

Republican Senators have made dozens of changes to the budget they unveiled last week, with a final vote by the full Senate likely Wednesday.

Senators eliminated language that would have banned using state money on any projects that require specific agreements negotiated with unions – that ban had angered Democrats. But state agencies would have to hold public hearings when so-called Project Labor Agreements are involved. 

An online charter school in Ohio has been cleared of allegations lodged in an anonymous email that it failed to withdraw hundreds of chronically truant students to pad its rolls. 

Lawmakers scrapped Gov. Kasich's proposal that would have given schools less money.
User: Thoth188 / Flickr/Creative Commons

The State Senate has released its version of Ohio's budget. The chamber plans to send $71.3 billion over two years, which is about one billion less than both the House and Gov. John Kasich's proposed spending plans. 

Senate President Keith Faber of Celina is happy with his caucus’ proposal – which he says has a smaller bottom line than the previous two budget plans. Tax cuts are the big feature in the proposal.  

“We are continuing today to build on our commitment to fund what matters and return to the taxpayers what’s not essential,” Faber said.

Attorney General Mike DeWine made the settlement announcement during a news conference Wednesday. Ohio Dept. of Transportation Director Jerry Wray was at his side.
Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

Many of Ohio’s cities and townships will soon be getting a check from a court settlement with companies that provide road salt.

Under the agreement, the Morton and Cargill companies will pay a combined $11.5 million. Most of the money will be distributed to local governments that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says spent too much on road salt for about a decade.

Kasich Still Fighting To Get 'Fracking' Tax Approved This Year

Jun 2, 2015
Lawmakers scrapped Gov. Kasich's proposal that would have given schools less money.
User: Thoth188 / Flickr/Creative Commons

Senate leaders are talking about possibly creating a so-called "fracking" tax through this year’s budget plan. The fight over increasing the oil and natural gas tax has been a long battle on many fronts.

The Senate plans on releasing a revised budget any day now and it might include an increase to what’s known as the severance tax—this is a tax on the oil and gas extracted from Ohio’s shale. 

If that happens, it could be Gov. John Kasich’s closest shot at getting an increase to pass in three years.

Flickr Creative Commons User Claudio Toledo

The three new data and cloud computing centers that Amazon is bringing to Ohio will affect shoppers in the state who use the site. 

Amazon buyers in Ohio beware – if you’re not paying state and local sales taxes on your purchases from the retailer now, as state law says you should, you will be starting Monday, June 1.

“If you’re buying an Amazon product, they’re going to start charging Ohio sales tax and collecting it right when you are checking out,” Gary Gudmundson with the state tax department said.

Vandalia-Butler School District

Officials with the Vandalia-Butler School District have plans to take more local control over the district’s curriculum and assessment process.

The district is one of several in Ohio that want to radically change their relationship to the state.

Funding Levels For State's School Districts In Limbo During Budget Talks

May 29, 2015

The deadline for a new two-year state budget is just a month away. The House and the Governor have different proposals and the Senate is expected to deliver their version in about two weeks. Local school districts will have to wait to see what finally gets adopted.

Gov. John Kasich wants to change the school funding formula to put more state money into the hands of poor districts. He wants the state to look at the average income in a district, not just its property values, to decide how much money the district gets.

State Lawmaker Wants To Remove Time Limits On Rape Convictions

May 27, 2015

A freshman lawmaker wants to crack down on cases of rape and domestic abuse in Ohio.

State Rep. Greta Johnson of the Akron area says her bill would get rid of the statute of limitations altogether for rape crimes. It would also make all spousal rape and sexual battery illegal.

Johnson, a former prosecutor, says there’s only one way to describe rape.

“It is a murder of the soul. It is something that every victim defines their life in as everything that happened before and everything that happens after,” Johnson said.

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