Cleveland renews push for residency requirements
Cleveland officials are reviving a controversial proposal to ban city employees from living out of state. The residency requirement legislation has been under review by the city for nearly a year and is now back in a council committee for consideration. It was introduced after a series of city audits found payroll abuses in the fire department --- where some firefighters were found to be living outside the state for months at a time. The proposal includes stricter residency rules for safety forces. Cincinnati officials have passed a similar law, but it was struck down by an appellate court over the summer. The Ohio Supreme Court refused to hear the case in December.
Ohio school board approves seclusion room policy
The Ohio Board of Education has approved a policy on how educators seclude and physically restrain students in schools. The rules in effect beginning next school year allow for students to be physically restrained or put in seclusion rooms only if they're a danger to themselves or others. The plan is meant to ensure those tactics aren't used for a child's punishment or for the staff's convenience. Previously, there was no such policy, and the Ohio Department of Education didn't oversee how seclusion rooms were used. The plan had drawn criticism from schools that feared being overburdened with training, testing and paperwork.
Former Cavs owner George Gund III dies
George Gund III, former owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers has died after a battle with cancer. The 75-year old bought the Cavs along with his brother Gordon in 1983 for $20 million. They sold the team in 2005 to current owner Dan Gilbert. Gund also owned several hockey teams, including the Cleveland Barons that played two seasons at the Richfield Coliseum and he was the first owner of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks when he moved to the San Francisco Bay area. He was a founding trustee of the Cleveland International Film Festival and served as a trustee of the Cleveland-based George Gund Foundation, which was founded by his father. He died Tuesday in Palm Springs, California.
More sentencings in Cuyahoga corruption probe
A Cleveland-area attorney has pleaded guilty and a former port authority board member has been sentenced to prison in the ongoing Cuyahoga County corruption scandal. Attorney Anthony Calabrese III pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Akron on racketeering and bribery charges related to several alleged schemes. He faces nine years in prison when he is sentenced in June. Also Tuesday, former Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority member Robert Peto was sentenced to more than four years in prison. The 58-year-old Peto had pleaded guilty to charges alleging he solicited and received bribes from an electrical contractor and an investment broker.
Lawmaker wants Kasich's annual speech kept in Columbus
A Youngstown-area state lawmaker is protesting Gov. John Kasich's plans to deliver his State of the State speech outside Columbus again this year. In a letter sent Tuesday, state Rep. Ronald Gerberry asked House Speaker William Batchelder to reject any request by Kasich to change the speech's venue. Kasich made history last year by delivering the address in Steubenville. Because the Ohio Supreme Court was in session that day, justices didn't attend. Neither did all statewide officeholders. This year, Kasich wants the address in the western part of the state. He hasn't named a city, but says it makes an important statement.
New state website helps drivers navigate through traffic
The Ohio Dept. of Transportation hopes to help drivers navigate through six big Ohio cities and throughout the state with a new website, ohgo.com. The site features maps with travel times, road speeds, construction information, traffic alerts and winter road conditions from November through April. ODOT project manager Todd Wolfhurst says it’s a revamp of ODOT’s old traffic website buckeyetraffic.org. The state spent $260,000 to change the website’s name and add the features, which ODOT says is more up to date and accurate than those provided by other websites or apps.
Ohio Democrats set priorities
Democrats in the Ohio Senate say they'll work this session on bills to curb gun violence, improve ballot access and support healthy, financially stable families. The legislative agenda of the Senate's minority caucus was announced Tuesday. It also includes proposals to extend hot meals for low-income children year-round and to establish a commission that would explore ideas such as reduced-price marriage licenses for those who get counseling and 30-day timeouts before a divorce. Sen. Shirley Smith, of Cleveland, is gathering input from all sides of the gun debate ahead of introducing legislation to reduce gun-related crimes. The legislation may include limits on assault weapons. Republican Senate President Keith Faber said he’s working with Democrats to identify at least five bipartisan priority bills.
CSU set to trim credit hour standards
Cleveland State University students may soon be required to take fewer credit hours to graduate, putting the school more in line with others in the state. The Plain Dealer reports a board of trustees committee is expected today to approve trimming the required number of credits to graduate by about 10, saving students time and money. The move also comes with reducing the credit hours for general education courses from four to three, which is standard at other four-year colleges in Ohio. CSU requires about 128 credits to graduate, more than the 120 recommended by the Ohio Board of Regents.
New study shows expanding Medicaid will net $1.4 billion to start
A new study says that expanding Medicaid in Ohio under the federal Affordable Care Act could net the state $1.4 billion over the next decade. The findings say most of that money would come to Ohio in the early years of the Medicaid expansion. But the study released Tuesday by a nonpartisan health policy organization also notes that the savings would dwindle and even out by 2022. That's when Ohio's share of the Medicaid price tag increases. Gov. John Kasich is to decide soon whether to expand Medicaid and its health care services for poor and disabled people. The report says that about 456,000 uninsured Ohioans would gain health care coverage by 2022 if the state expands Medicaid to cover more people just above and below the poverty line.
FirstEnergy buys Browns Stadium naming rights
The Cleveland Browns have confirmed that the naming rights of their stadium have been sold to FirstEnergy, but they won’t say for how much. The stadium will now be known as “First Energy Stadium, Home of the Cleveland Browns.” The deal prevents any other electric company from advertising within the stadium, and FirstEnergy has the freedom to print its logo on tickets and any advertisements for events. The agreement must be approved by Cleveland City Council, but Browns owner Jimmy Haslam says he is confident council will say yes.
Ohio AG sets background check limits
The Ohio Attorney General is advising employers about limits to the information the state provides through criminal background checks. The warning follows a new state law that shields information about individuals who have been arrested but not convicted. Beginning this week, the state will include a warning in its completed background checks that the information only includes convictions and guilty pleas, not arrests or charges.