Morning Headlines: Kasich Calls for Common Ground in Gun Debate; Delinquent Taxes Get Amnesty Period

Nov 13, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, November 13th:

  • Kasich calls for common ground in gun control debate;
  • Cleveland City Council president plans to hold vote for reappointment;
  • Ohio Department of Taxation institutes amnesty window for delinquencies;
  • Ohio could continue to be one of nation's biggest wine producers;
  • Resolution seeks to make it more difficult to amend state constitution;
  • Ohio Department of Health warns against ticks in cold weather;

Kasich calls for common ground in gun control debate
Ohio Gov. John Kasich says gun owners and backers of gun-control measures need to find common ground on ways to reduce violence. The Republican governor in an editorial published by Cleveland.com and during an interview Sunday on ABC's "This Week" said it's time to bring together reasonable people on both sides of the debate. Kasich points to a similar approach in Ohio where those in law enforcement and community leaders held forums aimed at building trust between police and residents. That resulted in new standards for police on use of deadly force, body cameras and other issues that have been adopted by hundreds of departments across Ohio. Kasich says he doesn't know if bringing together both sides of the gun debate will work. But he says arguing hasn't been effective.

Cleveland City Council president plans to hold vote for reappointment
The president of Cleveland City Council plans to move ahead with a vote to keep him in that role. But the vote, scheduled for this morning, would not include two city wards whose election results from last week are not yet final. Ward 1 includes the Lee-Harvard neighborhood, and Ward 7 includes parts of the Hough neighborhood. So far, it appears the incumbents in both wards were defeated in Tuesday’s election. But the outcome of those two races could flip after late and special ballots are counted. Council President Kevin Kelley tells Cleveland.com he has the votes to be reappointed without the two missing wards. Some council members are calling for Kelley to delay the vote.

Ohio Department of Taxation institutes amnesty window for delinquencies
Ohio taxpayers with unreported or underreported tax debts will get an amnesty period in which they can pay a reduced amount of interest and avoid owing further penalties if they settle up. Ohio's Department of Taxation is promoting the six-week amnesty program for residents and businesses, which runs from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15. During the amnesty window, eligible taxpayers who fully pay their delinquencies will pay half the normal interest and no extra penalties. It applies only to tax delinquencies that were due before May 1, 2017, and are currently unknown to the department. That means the department isn't sure how many taxpayers might be eligible or what the total of their delinquencies might be. The department says Ohio's last amnesty period, offered in 2012, brought in $27 million.

Ohio could continue to be one of nation's biggest wine producers
A winemaking expert says Ohio needs more vines to continue its growth as one of the country's biggest wine producers. Todd Steiner directs the winemaking program in Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. He says it's important to ensure there's enough fruit for the state's many wineries. Steiner says tough winters are hard on vineyards, especially since newly planted vines take at least four years to produce grapes. A report from the government's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau earlier this year says Ohio is now the country's sixth biggest producer of wine with about six million gallons annually. Ohio lags well behind states ahead of it, including California, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Resolution seeks to make it more difficult to amend state constitution
An Ohio state lawmaker wants to make it more difficult to put constitutional amendments before voters, saying the goal is to keep out-of-state interests out of Ohio politics. The resolution would amend the Ohio constitution to increase the number of signatures needed to get an item on the ballot. Republican State Rep. Niraj Antani of Miamisburg made the proposal a week before the Nov. 7 election. The resolution also would increase the vote total needed to pass from a majority to 60 percent of the vote. The measure would ban campaigns from paying people who collect signatures for ballot petitions. Ohio had a similar ban that was struck down as unconstitutional in 2006. The proposal has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the legislature.

Ohio Department of Health warns against ticks in cold weather
The Ohio Department of Health says hunters and those trekking in wooded areas should use bug spray and take other precautions even in cold weather to prevent being infected with tick-borne Lyme disease. The state agency reports that 241 cases of Lyme disease have been reported in 60 of Ohio's 88 counties this year. The number of cases has risen steadily the last five years, with 160 reported last year after only 93 in 2013. Lyme disease is passed to humans by deer ticks and can cause flu-like illnesses, muscle pain and headaches. A rash shaped like a bull's-eye is often seen around tick bites. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recommends people walk in the middle of trails and tuck in clothing to prevent bites.