There was an unusual, last minute development before the scheduled execution of 53 year old Abdul Hamin Awkal, as Gov. John Kasich issued a rare two-week reprieve to give a judge time to rule on his competency to be executed. Gov. John Kasich signed 17 bills into law, including the exotic animal ban and the law that puts into place rules for Ohio as part of the multi-state Great Lakes Compact. An ODOT panel has voted to move up most major road projects that were delayed by several years, but officials know it might not be enough to satisfy communities that are depending on those projects to get done. The Ohio Supreme Court dealt a blow to public school districts this week, ruling that they are not allowed to keep charter schools from buying their property and using it for classes. One racino is open, and another is on its way down the stretch as video lottery terminals will be coming to Thistledown racetrack southwest of Cleveland. A former chief of Ohio's rail commission was one of two people killed in boat accident in Canada last weekend.
Ohio is breaking down a bureaucratic obstacle to low income pregnant women seeking medical care. The process to determine Medicaid eligibility can take 45 days, and if a pregnant woman who's applied for Medicaid needed care during that time, she might end up at an emergency room, where the care is at its most expensive. But with a new pilot program, pregnant women go through an initial screening process and then work with providers to complete the full Medicaid application. Ohio's Medicaid chief John McCarthy, Sandy Oxley of the advocacy group Voices for Ohio's Children and Sen. Dave Burke (R-Marysville) speak about it.
It's been a blockbuster few weeks for Ohio movie buffs. "The Avengers", which was shot in part in Cleveland, has been raking in money since it opened on May 4. And this week, Gov. John Kasich signed a bill that not only extended the tax credit the state offers to moviemakers who film in Ohio, but doubled it - from $10 million to $20 million a year. One of the leaders in the movement to push the motion picture tax credit is Ivan Schwarz, the executive director of the Cleveland Film Commission, which helps to connect moviemakers with those who work with the industry in northeast Ohio. But Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) was one of the few lawmakers who voted against it, and says it's because he disagrees with the concept behind the program.
The governor is still hoping to change and increase the tax on oil and natural gas drillers in Ohio to fund his income tax cut. Wachtmann says he and other Republicans are working on a plan related to that severance tax now. But it's splitting fiscal conservatives on the national level.
June 8, 2012