The State of Ohio is a weekly news program spotlighting the latest happenings at the Statehouse, in the Governor’s office, at the Ohio Supreme Court and throughout the Buckeye State, hosted by the award-winning Karen Kasler.
Opinions on medical marijuana; anger over lack of hearings on charter school law changes.
The four executions that were scheduled to happen over the next five months have been halted, with an order from a federal judge extending his moratorium on executions from three months ago. Meanwhile, an anesthesiologist working for McGuire’s family says the inmate experienced pain and suffering before he lost consciousness. The findings of a toxin from an algal bloom in the drinking water supply of 400,000 people in the Toledo area is putting a big spotlight on how it got there, and how to prevent that in the future. The state announced this week it’s making available millions in zero-interest loans and grants, including $100 million in loans for local wastewater plants and $50 million in loans for drinking water plans to improve their facilities, and a million dollars in grants for local water systems to check for dangerous toxins. More than 185,000 public and private employers are expected to receive another round of rebates from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Ohio drivers can now buy a POW/MIA license plate to help raise awareness of service members missing in action. And flags are flying at half-staff around Ohio in honor of Republican former state Representative and Senator Merle Kearns, formerly of Springfield, who died this week.
Medical marijuana didn’t make the ballot this year, but the issue will be back - soon. This week a passionate supporter of medical marijuana and an outspoken opponent of the issue debated before a few hundred people from the Columbus Rotary Club and the Columbus Kiwanis Club. Robert Ryan of Cincinnati heads the Ohio chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – known as NORML. And Paul Coleman is the president and CEO of the Columbus rehab facility Maryhaven.
As Ohio kids start going back to school this week and for the next two weeks, some 600 students won’t be going to the school they were planning to. The VLT Academy in Cincinnati is the 22nd community schools to have closed in this fiscal year. Democrats have long raised concerns about charter schools in Ohio, and have said there needs to be more transparency and oversight of them. Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni of Boardman near Youngstown is among them, and has proposed a few measures to change the law on charter schools. Republican Sen. Peggy Lehner of Kettering, who’s the chair of the Senate Education Committee, said state leaders do need to take a new look at Ohio’s charter school laws, particularly around issues of accountability and transparency. She says she's convened a group of people she called education thought leaders to look at the laws on charter schools in Ohio, including the ones that have been passed recently. But Lehner says there will be no attempt to amend or to change Ohio’s charter laws in the lame duck session.