Kasich's approval at all-time high
A new poll finds that Gov. John Kasich's job approval rating is its highest since taking office two years ago. It's also the first time his approval rating has been above 50%. The poll released this morning by Quinnipiac University shows 53% of Ohioans give Kasich a passing grade while 32% disapprove of his performance. Just a year ago, his approval rating was under 40%. The poll taken over the last week also finds that several Democrats mentioned as possible challengers to Kasich in 2014 have fairly weak name recognition around the state.
Chardon shooter and family sued
The families of three students killed at Chardon High School a year ago are suing the teenage gunman and his family. The wrongful-death case filed Wednesday came on the anniversary of the shootings. It alleges negligent supervision by gunman T.J. Lane's parents and grandparents. The case seeks damages for the relatives of 16-year-olds Daniel Parmertor and Demetrius Hewlin and 17-year-old Russell King Jr. Their attorneys say the families hope the case will resolve unanswered questions and ensure that Lane doesn't profit from his crimes. The 18-year-old pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and other charges Tuesday. He could face life in prison at his sentencing March 19.
Lawmakers consider employer Facebook password ban
Hearings are underway in the Ohio legislature on a bill that would make it illegal for your employer to ask you for your Facebook password. The practice is currently allowed in Ohio….and Columbus Democratic Representative Charletta Tavares, who introduced the bill says what someone puts on their social media account is not relevant to employment. Five states have passed similar legislation banning bosses from asking for Facebook passwords. Bills in at least 14 other states were defeated.
Foreclosures, short sales nearly half of Ohio’s 2012 home transactions
New numbers show foreclosures and short sales accounted for nearly half of Ohio’s home transactions last year. The foreclosure data and listing service RealtyTrac found that nearly 20% of Ohio’s 2012 home sales were foreclosed properties, while an additional 27% of homes were sold for less than the balance on their mortgage, known as short sales. Meanwhile, The Ohio Association of Realtors says the number of single family homes and condos sold in January rose 20% from the same month of 2012.
Senate passes elections bill aimed to helped disabled Ohioians
The Ohio Senate has unanimously approved a bipartisan elections bill aimed at improving access to the polls for disabled voters. Wednesday's vote comes after an election cycle filled with tense, partisan debate over voting rules. The bill would require polling locations to be compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. It also would ensure blind, disabled or illiterate voters may be helped in marking their ballots. Under the proposal, voters would have more time to use a voting machine. The legislation also would ensure that early voters could cast ballots even if they are still waiting in line when a polling place closes. The bill now goes to the House.
Witness list tops 40 for upcoming Steubenville rape trial
A court official says at least 40 witnesses could testify at the upcoming trial of two Steubenville high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl. The chief probation officer for Jefferson County Juvenile Court says the March 13 trial will likely last three or more days and stretch into a weekend. Presiding Judge Thomas Lipps has previously ruled to keep the case in Jefferson County and open it to the public, with some restrictions on photographing witnesses. The two players have been on house arrest since last fall, when Lipps ruled the case should stay in juvenile court. The case has garnered national attention and divided the community.
House panel signs off on Kasich's turnpike bond sale
An Ohio House panel has signed off on Gov. John Kasich's proposal to raise around $1.5 billion for state highway projects through Ohio Turnpike bonds. In an 18-13 vote Wednesday, the House Finance Committee approved the bill. A floor vote could come today. Democrats unsuccessfully offered a series of amendments. They wanted Kasich's pledges in writing to freeze tolls for short-range trips and to spend 90 percent of the deal's proceeds in northern Ohio. The administration says it will deliver on Kasich's promises, but placing precise spending targets in the law would limit flexibility. The Ohio Senate, led by Kasich's fellow Republicans, has begun hearings on the bill.
Concealed carry permits set record
Ohio's attorney general reports the number of licenses issued for carrying concealed weapons reached a record of more than 76,000 in 2012. That's the most since 2004, when such licenses were first issued in Ohio. The statistics released Wednesday are reported by sheriffs around the state. There were 64,650 new licenses and 12,160 renewal licenses issued last year for a total of 76,810. The number of new licenses also was the largest in a single year since 2004. The largest total number of licenses for a single year issued previously in Ohio was more than 73,000 in 2009. That included new and renewed licenses. A total of 49,828 new licenses and 4,193 renewals were issued in 2011. Attorney General Mike DeWine's office compiles the annual report on licenses each year.
Zips win again, streak at 19
Demetrius Treadwell scored 21 points and Jake Kretzer came off the bench with a career-high 19 as Akron men's basketball extended its winning streak to 19 games, the nation's longest this season, by defeating Ohio 88-81 in overtime last night. The Zips overcame a 21-3 first-half Ohio run. Zeke Marshall and Alex Abreu scored 16 each for Akron.