Lawmakers' Pot Task Force Brings In Surprising Members, And Both Sides Debate Coal Plant Plans As Stability Deals Or "Bailouts"

Republican House leaders have announced a task force on medical marijuana - and this effort includes two leaders who'd been involved in the failed investor-backed proposal to legalize pot last fall. The Ohio primary less than two months away, and Secretary of State Jon Husted says his office is renewing efforts to help recruit and train poll workers as the closely watched battleground state prepares for another presidential election this fall. Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld is continuing his attack on former Gov. Ted Strickland's stance on background checks on guns - which Strickland has said he's supported since the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook. But Sittenfeld says he has evidence that's not true.

State regulators are looking over similar proposals put forward by two electric utilities that have turned out to be controversial. American Electric Power and FirstEnergy want the Public Utilities Commission to allow them to hike customers’ monthly bills for the next eight years so they can keep costly coal power plants and a nuclear power plant running. The companies say there are benefits for their 3.5 million customers from the higher bills. But other environmental, consumer and electricity generator groups are speaking out against the plans, which they call “bailouts”.  Two of the most knowledgeable people in Ohio when it comes to these plans share their thoughts on them. Bill Ridmann is the vice president of rates and regulatory affairs for FirstEnergy.  Todd Snitchler is the spokesperson for the Alliance for Energy Choice, a coalition of electricity generators and others that the group says “promotes fairness and competition in the electricity market”. He's also the former chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, which will decide on these plans in the next few months.

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