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2018 was a big election year in Ohio. Republicans held onto all five statewide executive offices including governor and super majorities in both the Ohio House and Senate. But there were a few bright spots for Democrats, among them the reelection of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and the election of two Democrats to the Ohio Supreme Court.With election 2018 over, the focus now shifts to governing. Stay connected with the latest on politics, policies and people making the decisions at all levels affecting your lives.

Morning Headlines: Report: Rape Kits Lack Reinvestigation; Brown, Renacci Clash Again in Debate

photo of Jim Renacci, Sherrod Brown
Democrat Incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican Congressman Jim Renacci

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, October 22:

  • Report: Thousands of rape kits lack reinvestigation;
  • Brown, Renacci spar again in 2nd Ohio U.S. Senate debate;
  • State lawmakers push for teen driving permits to last 1 year;
  • Gun owners trade in over 100 firearms at Cleveland's annual buyback event;
  • State says NE Ohio well linked to quakes has way to reopen;
  • Celebration of Neil Armstrong's moon walk starts in hometown;

Thousands of rape kits lack reinvestigation
A Cleveland.com statewide surveyshows that in most cases, police and sheriff departments aren’t reinvestigating thousands of rape kits. The survey was sent to nearly 300 Ohio law enforcement agencies —152 responded. Results show that over 7,000 rape kits had been submitted for testing and over 2,000 of those had DNA matches. But only a few dozen were reinvestigated and ended in conviction. Testing rape kits for DNA became an Ohio law in 2015, but it isn’t mandatory for departments to reinvestigate the crimes.

Brown, Renacci spar again in 2nd Ohio US Senate debate
Candidates in Ohio's U.S. Senate campaign on Saturday argued in a second debate over different positions on taxes, immigration, gun control, climate change, the influence of money on politics and health care.  Sherrod Brown is the two-term incumbent Democrat, while Jim Renacci is a Republican congressman from Wadsworth. Both took different positions when asked about the impact of thefederal tax cuts. Brown repeated his criticism of the law, saying three-fourths of the benefits help the country's wealthiest 1 percent. Renacci said the tax cuts are working and boosting the economy. Asked about the federal health care act, Brown once again targeted Renacci for votes to eliminate the law, which would have ended coverage for preexisting conditions. Renacci said the health care law is too expensive, but he denied opposing preexisting conditions.

The two candidates disagreed on gun control, in a question that addressed keeping weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill. Renacci said the mentally ill need more of a safety net, and that applies to the issue of gun violence. Brown said Congressional Republicans refuse to address basic loopholes in gun laws, such as allowing people on a federal terrorism watch list to buy assault weapons. He also said that Republicans who oppose Medicaid expansion are hurting the very mental illness coverage of the type Renacci supports.

Midway through the debate, Renacci once again accused Brown of a different standard of conduct on domestic abuse, raising Brown's divorce in the 1980s when his then-wife accused him of domestic violence. Brown's ex-wife, Larke Recchie, and her second husband have held fundraisers for Brown and repeatedly asked Republicans to stop using the divorce in political campaigns

State lawmakers push for teen driving permits to last 1 year
Sponsors of an Ohio bill that would increase the amount of time new drivers would be required to hold permits say they want to see it become law by year's end. Reps. Gary Scherer, a Circleville Republican, and Michael Sheehy, an Oregon Democrat, recently promoted the proposal ahead of Teen Driver Safety Week. Drivers under the age of 18 would be required to hold an instruction permit for one year instead of six months under the plan. Probationary permit holders would also be prohibited from driving from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. unless they're accompanied by a parent or guardian. Backers including the PTA and AAAhope for House approval after the November election. That would send the measure to the Ohio Senate.

Gun owners trade in over 100 firearms at Cleveland's annual buyback event
Gun owners had traded in 185 firearms at Cleveland’s 12th annual gun buyback event over the weekend. Cleveland.com reportsthe event ended after about two hours when police ran out of $100 gift cards to Target, Dave's Supermarkets and Shell gas stations. All the guns will be melted down at Cleveland’s Arcelor-Mittal plant and transformed into other consumer goods.

State says NE Ohio well linked to quakes has way to reopen
The state has suggested that a shuttered injection well linked totwo small earthquakes in Youngstowncould resume operations. The state urged the Ohio Supreme Court in a filing this month not to hear American Water Management Services' appeal of a lower court decision regarding the company's well. The company owned by Howland-based Avalon Holdings has argued the state abused its discretion in shutting down the well following earthquartes in 2014. Regulators said a process exists for re-opening the well if the company submits a comprehensive plan for safely restarting it. The filing also said Ohio no longer plans to develop statewide injection well guidelines but will use a "case by case approach."

Celebration of Neil Armstrong's moon walk starts in hometown
The Ohio hometown of the first man to walk on the moon has begun a months-long celebration honoring the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's achievement. The Wapakoneta native stepped onto the moon July 20, 1969. A community-wide celebration began last week in Armstrong's western Ohio hometown, kicking off with a red-carpet preview showing of "First Man." The film recounts Armstrong's role in the space race. Wapakoneta isn't in the movie, but community leaders hope the publicity will attract people to the town of about 9,800. Officials said several dozen bus tours prompted by the anniversary already are scheduled to stop in the town beginning in the spring.

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