Charter School Reform Passes; Experts Predict Green Energy Future

A long awaited charter school reform bill that promises sweeping new performance, accountability and transparency requirements has cleared both the Ohio House and Senate.  The bill got unanimous support in the Senate, but six lawmakers in the House voted against it - a few because of a provision related to a provision requiring charter operators be in the Social Security system, not the state pension system.

And a quick look at the latest polls from Quinnipiac University shows Gov. John Kasich’s numbers falling, and widespread support for medical marijuana, with a slim majority of voters saying they're fine with legalizing pot for personal use. But the poll didn’t ask about the specifics of Issue 3, which also would put into place 10 official growing sites, a system of taxes and regulations, and the possibility of up to 1,100 retail stores to be approved by local voters.

The state’s green energy standards freeze didn’t thaw last week. As expected, a group of state lawmakers issued a report that recommended that the alternative energy goals and benchmarks for utilities be halted indefinitely.  The panel determined the standards – or mandates, as some refer to them – had escalated energy costs. And the group said as long as there was uncertainty about federal energy policy and some lawsuits over it, the standards should remain frozen, and that the state should move away from energy mandates to what it called “energy incentives”.   But Gov. John Kasich, who had taken credit for getting the freeze put into place, said the continued hold on the standards was “unacceptable”.

Andy Chow sat down with the leaders of two groups very interested in those green energy standards: Ted Ford, the president of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, which represents more than 400 renewable and energy efficiency companies, and Sam Randazzo, general counsel with Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, which represents big and small companies such as McDonald’s and Marathon Refinery.

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