Executions Delayed; The State Works to Fight Opiate Crisis

The state has pushed back execution dates for a dozen condemned killers, because of a problem that’s no surprise to anyone in law enforcement or criminal justice – a lack of drugs for lethal injections.  Lawmakers passed a measure last year sponsored by Rep. Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) that would allow certain pharmacies to make the drugs, but Ernie Boyd with the Ohio Pharmacists' Association says pharmacies would have to be able to compound sterile products, and only a few in Ohio can do that, and that pharmacists take an oath to "do no harm".

State senators have passed a bill to erase a small business tax increase that ended up in the state budget, apparently by accident. And they added extra funding for schools that had been vetoed by Gov. John Kasich. And the Senate also passed a bill backed by Senate President Keith Faber, which would defund Planned Parenthood. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor confirms that paperwork has been filed to create a political action committee for her – a very clear sign she wants to run for governor. Election Day 2015 is less than two weeks away. And a new poll shows that the three statewide issues on the ballot will likely pass, but there are still a lot of undecided voters on each of them.

With a little under two weeks to go, the backers of Issue 1 should be feeling good. The issue would create a seven member commission to redraw state lawmakers’ district lines with incentive for bipartisan support.  The co-chairs of Fair Districts for Ohio, former Reps. Matt Huffman, a Republican of Lima and Vern Sykes, a Democrat of Akron, are well aware of that.

Cops, local officials, judges and advocates for the poor have been on the front lines of the war against opiates in Ohio – prescription painkillers as well as heroin. In the last few years, lawmakers and state officials have joined in. But the state’s opiate crisis rages on, and people are still dying in bigger numbers each year.  Attorney General Mike DeWine talks about what the state is planning next in this war.

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