Portion of Cuyahoga's sin tax could be tied to sports team performance
A portion of Cuyahoga County’s sin tax could be tied to how well Cleveland’s sports teams play. The Plain Dealer reports that County Executive Ed FitzGerald wants to tie 20 percent of the tax to the Indians’, Cavs’ and Browns’ performance. No word yet on how this will be measured or graded. FitzGerald has a press conference scheduled for this morning. Voters in May overwhelmingly approved a 15-year extension of the sin tax on alcohol and cigarettes to maintain and upgrade Cleveland’s pro sports facilities.
Midterm budget bill clears Ohio Legislature
The Ohio Legislature has cleared a final version of the governor's midterm budget bill that includes a package of tax cuts. Passage came last night after an amendment was added to a separate bill to ensure legislative control over a $300 million Medicaid reserve fund in the budget measure. The fund covers unexpected expenses for the taxpayer-funded health program. The budget bill includes a package of tax cuts backed by Gov. John Kasich. It would double Ohio's earned income tax credit from 5 percent to 10 percent for low-income taxpayers and increase personal income-tax exemptions for residents making under $80,000 a year.
Stow native will be on California gubernatorial ballot in November
A Stow native will be on the November ballot for Governor of California. Republican Neel Kashkari placed second in the new, multi-party primary system, beating out a Tea Party competitor by 4 percent of the vote. Kashkari will face incumbent Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. Kashkari notably ran the federal banking bailout for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The former investment banker says his platform will focus on jobs and education.
Canton businessman claims he did not willfully commit election fraud
Attorneys defending a Stark County businessman say he did not willfully break the law when he reimbursed employees and others with company funds after asking them to donate to two prominent politicians. Seventy-two-year-old Ben Suarez is on trial in federal court in Cleveland on charges that include conspiracy to violate federal campaign laws, obstruction and witness tampering. Suarez and his North Canton-based Suarez Corporation Industries are accused of funneling donations to the 2012 Republican campaigns of Congressman Jim Renacci and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel's unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid, hoping they would help him with a California civil matter. A prosecutor said in her opening statement Wednesday that Suarez was politically savvy and understood how the system works. Suarez could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
Ohio red-light cameras targeted in two more lawsuits
Red-light cameras are facing more lawsuits in Ohio. The most recent lawsuits target cameras in the Dayton suburbs of Trotwood and West Carrollton. The suits claim the cameras deprive drivers of due process of law. Cleveland’s cameras were ruled unconstitutional in an Appeals Court and Toledo will be in the Ohio Supreme Court defending their cameras next week. The Ohio legislature also is working on a couple of bills to change how the cameras are used.
Ohio Legislature passes new graduation requirements for class of 2018
Ohio high school students beginning with the class of 2018 will see new graduation requirements and receive free college-admission testing under a legislative compromise approved by lawmakers. Legislators approved a bill Wednesday that Gov. John Kasich says he'll sign. New rules would begin with this fall's ninth-graders. They reduce elective requirements and establish seven end-of-course exams in English, math, science, and U.S. history and government to replace the Ohio Graduation Test. A state Education Department spokesman says the bill also provides families a timetable for the planned replacement. Students taking accelerated options, such as Advanced Placement, would be exempt from end-of-course exams in that related subject. A remediation-free score on a nationally-recognized college admission test or an industry-recognized credential also could substitute for end-of-course testing.
Solon couple sentenced to prison and over $800,00 in restitution for Medicaid fraud
A Solon couple who owns an ambulette company will get jail time for Medicaid fraud. Antwain and Temeca Hamilton will both get 2 ½ years in jail for billing Medicaid for rides that either did not qualify or ever happen. Temeca got 3 more months for tampering with evidence and the couple will have to pay over $800,000 dollars in restitution.
Ohio Legislature passes budget proposal stating student athletes are not employees
Ohio lawmakers have passed a budget proposal that says college athletes are not public employees under state law. The idea cleared the state Legislature Wednesday as part of a broader bill now headed to the governor's desk. Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign it. The employee status of full-scholarship football players became an issue in March, after a federal labor official ruled Northwestern University football players are employees and have a right to unionize. If the appealed ruling holds, it could have widespread repercussions in the multi-billion-dollar college sports industry. Supporters of the Ohio provision say it could have little immediate effect but would clarify state law if the issue arises.
Oberlin includes e-cigarettes in public smoking ban
Ohio Senate bill would keep shooting range requirement for concealed carry permit holders
Oberlin is expanding its public smoking ban to include electronic cigarettes. The e-cigarettes are now banned in public. However, they can be used in private residences, separate smoking patios or designated smoking rooms, just like regular cigarettes. First-time violators can be charged up to $150.
An Ohio Senate bill would uphold a live-firing requirement for concealed-carry permit holders. The legislation originally proposed to reduce the required training from 12 to 8 hours and drop mandatory two-hour range shooting. However, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joe Uecker, added the live-firing requirement back after feedback from instructors. The bill will likely go to a vote in the fall.