In December, Ohio lawmakers passed a new redistricting process to put on the Ohio ballot this fall. But that plan doesn’t affect all redistricting, only legislative districts. Democratic State Rep. Mike Curtin has come up with a similar redistricting plan for congressional districts too.

“The 16 congressional districts in Ohio are even more badly hyper gerrymandered than our state legislative districts. They are all absurdly drawn districts. Everyone acknowledges that. And yet we are not dealing with it,” he said. 

Group Asking Kasich To Focus On College Student Debt

Feb 26, 2015

In his State of the State address, Gov. John Kasich made another big push for his budget plan, which includes policies directed at higher education. But at least one group says the plan doesn’t do enough for college students.

Kasich’s budget plan includes a cap and freeze on tuition increases. But the group “Young Invincibles” believes that will only shift more of the burden onto the students in the long run.

A new set of evaluation rules for the state’s school counselors is included in Governor John Kasich’s proposed operating budget. And the Ohio School Counselors Association, or OSCA, supports the idea.

State and federal lawmakers are considering requiring childproof containers for liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes.
American Herald

The numbers of medical crises involving liquid nicotine refills used in e-cigarettes are rising dramatically and there are efforts underway to crack down on their packaging.

Public health experts say liquid nicotine poisoning calls have increased 40 times in the last three years, and that includes the first known death, of a toddler in New York in December. State Sen. Shannon Jones of Springboro in southwest Ohio says these refills should have child-proof packaging. 

State testing under the new Common Core standards starts next week and school officials are expecting very low scores.

The effect the results could have on teachers, students and districts is unclear.  

The panel of state lawmakers looking over the budget had questions during a House Finance Committee meeting Wednesday about Medicaid, including about a proposal to require almost 100,000 Ohioans making above the federal poverty level to pay premiums. 

State Medicaid Director John McCarthy said the premiums will be $20 a month, which he said will teach recipients about monthly payments when they make enough money to buy insurance on the federal marketplace. 

Task Force Investigates Higher Education Costs in State

Feb 11, 2015
Governor John Kasich speaking at Sinclair Community College Thursday.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Republican Gov. John Kasich is challenging Ohio’s college and university leaders to lower costs to students by creating a new affordability and efficiency task force. 

Governor Kasich says the creation of this task force is the next step in the journey to bringing down the cost of higher education. He noted shared services, space utilization and commercialization as some ideas that could be considered. 

“Anybody who is not living on the moon understands the fact that everybody feels the pressure of rising college and university costs,” Kasich said. 

Gov. John Kasich recently announced his $72.3 billion dollar, two-year budget. It includes a series of tax cuts and increases as well as a change in the education funding formula.

Activists, lobbyists and other budget watchers are still tearing into Gov. John Kasich’s third two-year spending plan, trying to figure out who will be helped by it, and who it will hurt. Some Ohio Statehouse veterans have very different opinions on the budget’s overall impact.

The $5.7 billion in tax cuts and benefits in the spending plan are paid for with $5.2 billion in tax increases on oil and gas drillers, on cigarettes, on businesses through the commercial activity tax, and through a half-percent increase in the state sales tax.

Kasich Receives Mixed Reaction For Severance Tax Proposal

Feb 4, 2015
Ohio Statehouse News Bureau

House leaders are looking over Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal which includes a big swing of the bat when it comes to a tax increase on oil and gas drilling. But the industry is ready to fight the plan.

Kasich is trying again to raise the so-called severance tax, this time proposing to move it to 6.5 percent, which he says would raise $325 million. 

Shawn Bennett with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association says the industry is already hurting because of a drop in prices. He claims a higher tax rate will further discourage investment. 

Office of Governor John Kasich

Today’s the day Gov. John Kasich unveils his third budget, which is expected to include $500 million in tax cuts plus benefits to lower-income Ohioans. But he has yet to talk about how he’ll pay for those.

Kasich wants to cut taxes on many small businesses and increase some tax benefits for lower-income Ohioans. And he’ll likely pay for those plans with a proposal to hike the tax on oil and natural gas drillers. But Kasich also suggested in December that he’ll take another swing at an increase in the tobacco tax.