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Executions on Hold; Traffic Cameras Back on Track; Spending Money on Parks

The State of Ohio
Friday, May 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm
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Two executions delayed; Ohio wants help in deciding how to spend $88.5 million on parks.

Ohio’s next two scheduled executions are on hold at the order of a federal judge, who wants to hear about the state’s proposed changes to the lethal injection process. This is an election year, so polls are becoming pretty common. But a new poll from the University of Akron asked voters not about candidates and contests, but three big issues – redistricting, term limits and early voting. The Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments this week on two cases involving media requests to law enforcement for public records. And the state has a new website OhioMeansJobs.com to help the thousands of Ohioans who are looking for jobs, and the employers who need to hire workers.

Ohio is set to be the first state in the nation to halt its renewable energy standards law. This week, debate in the House didn’t go on as long as some might have expected. Rep. Peter Stautberg (R-Cincinnati) started off the debate by saying lawmakers had to make some type of change to the current standards, which he says aren’t as effective as they seemed to be at the start, and that consumers are taking on too much of the burden to pay for these standards. But House Democrats, including Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) warned that the bill could pose long-term consequences on the environment and job creation. The House passed the measure 55-42, with five Republicans voting against it and two Democrats voting for it.

Months after a ban on traffic cameras used by cities was passed by the House, it hasn’t moved in the Senate. There’s now a new traffic camera proposal that would ban cities from using traffic cameras unless law enforcement officers are posted with those cameras to witness the violations, and it would set up a process by which drivers could appeal their citations to municipal court. This week a group of municipal, law enforcement and safety advocates came together to share their concerns about the bill - including Sue Cave of the Ohio Municipal League, Sue Oberhauser of Somerset, who lost her daughter Sarah to a crash in which a driver ran a red light, Mike Weinman is with the Fraternal Order of Police, and Columbus Police Lt. Brent Mull.

It’s starting to look like it’ll be a tough summer for Ohio's largest inland lake. Signs went up last week at Grand Lake St. Marys to warn visitors that toxic blue-green algae has made the water unsafe for swimming. This comes as state officials start deciding how to use $88.5 million in capital improvement dollars for updates and upgrades to the state's 74 parks. Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer talks about that pool of money and how it will be used.