Marijuana, Abortion, Drug Prices And Executions Make News, And Toxic Algae Still A Threat To Ohio's Water

Ohio is now the 25th state to officially have a medical marijuana program, but just because the law took effect this week doesn’t mean those who want to try or recommend medical marijuana can do so anytime soon. A proposal for a total ban on abortion in Ohio has been filed with the Attorney General’s office. Lawmakers will look over a plan to cap on the price Ohio pays for drugs it buys for Medicaid, prisons and other state-run programs. Advocates against the death penalty say the recommendations of a task force on how to change the state’s capital punishment trial and execution process aren’t being put into place. The leader of the Ohio Association of Prosecuting Attorneys suggesting that Ohio consider lethal amounts of nitrogen gas as a method of execution.

The entire Ohio House and half the Senate are up for re-election this year. And that means the seats occupied by Ohio’s 34 House Democrats are on the ballot, along with those of their 65 Republican colleagues. But Democrats aren’t letting their low numbers set them back as they think about what bills they plan to push, including raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing equal pay for women, expanding paid family leave, lowering college costs and spending on clean energy and infrastructure. Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) says he doesn’t feel Democrats have to have the majority to make things change.

The tail end of summer can mean big problems for many of Ohio’s lakes. The combination of farmland runoff and high temperatures is ideal for algae growth, and this algae can then produce toxins in the water, like the one that turned the Lake Erie western basin green two years ago.

Marijuana, abortion, drug prices and executions all in state news this week.

Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports.

Earlier this year the state transferred soil and water conservation and storm water issues from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture. We reached out to Ag Director David Daniels for a conversation on this subject, but his office said he would not be able to make an interview work due to scheduling conflicts. But, Jim Zehringer, the director of the agency that used to be in charge of water quality was available to talk about water quality, improvements to state parks, repairs on the Buckeye Lake dam and fracking wastewater disposal wells.

The panel of lawmakers, attorneys and other experts who’ve been looking over Ohio’s constitution for possible changes came together for its monthly gathering this week. The Constitutional Modernization Commission has talked about a lot of issues, including whether to reform the way lawmakers’ districts are created. Republicans and Democrats have both balked at the idea, but last fall redistricting advocates had success with a ballot issue to change the way the boundaries are drawn for Statehouse districts. Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio led last year’s ballot issue effort, and talks about why arguments for changing Statehouse redistricting aren't going over for Congressional redistricting changes.

We close this week with images from the Statehouse, where volunteers have set up nearly 3,000 flags for the annual 9/11 memorial display.

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