Ohio News Briefs

560K signatures submitted toward Ohio victims’ rights effort

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment giving crime victims and their families the same rights as the accused say they’ve delivered enough signatures to Ohio’s elections chief to make the fall ballot.

About 306,000 of the 560,000 signatures delivered Thursday to Secretary of State Jon Husted must be valid.

The proposal is dubbed Marsy’s Law for Ohio. It would require that victims and their families be notified of all court proceedings and allowed to tell their accounts of the crime. It also would give victims input on plea deals and declare full and timely restitution a right.

The measure is named for a California woman stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. The accused was released on bail a week after her murder without her family being told.

Democrat Connie Pillich proposes public health care buy-in

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Democratic governor candidate in Ohio is laying out her vision for a buy-in option that makes government health care benefits available to the public.

Former state Rep. Connie Pillich announced her “Medicaid-for-All” plan Thursday, ahead of an expected vote in the U.S. Senate on Republican health care legislation.

Pillich’s proposal calls for Ohio to offer consumers two buy-in options on the state exchange — one offering Medicaid coverage, the other offering coverage under the state health insurance plan available to state employees and lawmakers.

It’s an idea that emerged, but was rejected, during negotiations on the federal Affordable Care Act. Pillich says, because consumers would pay for the insurance, establishing the program would not require tax dollars.

Pillich is among four declared candidates seeking the 2018 Democratic nomination.

2 badly decomposed bodies discovered in Ohio home

PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — Police searching for a missing woman have found two badly decomposed bodies in an Ohio home.

Parma Heights Police Capt. Steve Scharschmidt says the two bodies were found around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Police had arrived at the home to search for 50-year-old Regina Capobianco, who was reported missing from the Stark County area.

Police have not confirmed the identities of the two bodies, but Scharschmidt says officials are treating the case as a double homicide.

The discovery is still under investigation.

Man charged after threatening Ohio congressman

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man has been charged with threatening to “assault, kidnap or murder a United States official” after leaving several threatening voicemail messages with Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers’ office.

Officials say a voicemail left Sunday mentioned the shooting at a June 14 baseball practice that left Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise critically injured and four others injured in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the 68-year-old caller was warned about his messages before his arrest.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Kelley says they were forced to take the messages seriously when the man mentioned the baseball game.

A judge ordered the man to be held without bail during his federal court hearing Wednesday. If convicted, the man could face up to 10 years in prison.

Online school fighting $60M repayment plans to lay off 350

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — One of the nation’s largest online charter schools plans to lay off 350 employees next month and possibly more later after Ohio officials determined it must repay $60 million from the 2015-16 school year.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow will lay off about a quarter of its workers, including teachers, administrators and support staff.

ECOT spokesman Neil Clark says the layoff decision was made after the Department of Education proposed that the money be deducted from the school’s monthly allocation over two years. Clark says ECOT probably will close if the repayment timeframe is less than five years.

The school of some 15,000 students still has a pending, multi-pronged legal fight over the repayment demand and how the state counted attendance to determine funding.

Imprisoned politician again seeks conviction overturn

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland-area politician sentenced to 28 years in prison on federal bribery and corruption charges is again asking a judge to overturn his conviction.

Cleveland.com reports an attorney for former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora wrote in a motion filed Tuesday that the conviction was based on a definition of an official act the U.S. Supreme Court rejected last year in vacating former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s bribery conviction.

The motion also argues U.S. District Judge Sara Loi should have allowed Dimora to present ethics reports listing the gifts he received while in office.

Dimora was sentenced in 2012.

Federal prosecutors said Dimora accepted more than 100 bribes, tried to fix eight court cases and had contractors do work at his home for free or reduced prices.

Senate drops plan on injury benefits to undocumented workers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Senate has rejected a House budget provision that would deny injury benefits to workers living in the U.S. illegally.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Sen. Jay Hottinger, a Newark Republican, said after a hearing Tuesday that the provision is a “pretty big policy issue” that should be reviewed more thoroughly. He says the Legislature needs to ensure the requirement doesn’t have unintended consequences for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, said during a House floor debate in May that money paid to people living in the U.S. illegally are dollars taken from businesses and workers who are here legally.

Hottinger says the workers’ compensation bureau doesn’t collect Social Security numbers and isn’t positioned to know whether someone is in the country illegally.

Charges to be dismissed for students in swastika incident

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Five Ohio students accused of defacing a high school locker room door with a swastika and a racial slur have resolved their case through a diversion program after making a public apology.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the students wrote a letter apologizing to the city of Akron and Ellet High School. They read it aloud during a meeting at an Akron church, with a juvenile court judge and the mayor in attendance.

They had faced charges of misdemeanor criminal mischief and ethnic intimidation. Those charges will be dismissed when they complete the diversion program.

The boys wrote that they intended the vandalism as a joke.

An assistant basketball coach offered his forgiveness. He said the boys are young and did not understand what they were doing.

Body of 17-year-old boy recovered from river in Ohio

BELLBROOK, Ohio (AP) — Search crews have found the body of a 17-year-old boy who went missing after apparently falling into the Little Miami River in southwestern Ohio.

Authorities say several agencies had joined the search for D’James Moore, of Bellbrook, after he was reporting missing in the river about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Sugarcreek Township Fire Chief Jeff Leaming says Moore’s body was found Wednesday in a pocket of the river about 12 feet deep and about 12 to 15 yards from where witnesses last reported seeing him.

Witnesses say a group of about 15 teens were rope swinging on the river near the area where Moore apparently fell into the water. Friends who were with Moore say they didn’t realize at first that he was in trouble and then couldn’t locate him.