Ohio News Briefs


Disqualified governor candidate in Ohio mounting challenge

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A late entrant into the Ohio governor’s race is challenging the state elections chief’s decision to keep him off the ballot because he lacks the required number of signatures on petitions.

Democrat Jon Heavey late Wednesday called the signature review by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted) “rigged.” Husted is GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine’s running mate.

Heavey, a Cleveland physician and venture capitalist, says his campaign gathered more than twice the required 1,000 signatures and cross-checked them against voter databases. Heavey says hundreds of signatures were wrongly disqualified for illegibility. He says his campaign staff double-checked petitions and were able to read the signatures.

Husted certified statewide candidates Wednesday. Heavey was among three Democrats kept off the ballot.

Ohio senator seeks review of medical pot program after error

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A state lawmaker is moving to force a thorough review of Ohio’s medical marijuana program after alleged and acknowledged mistakes occurred in selecting grower applicants.

Republican Sen. Bill Coley, of Cincinnati, proposed legislation Thursday requiring State Auditor Dave Yost to conduct and release a performance audit of the program. The program is supposed to be up and running by September.

The Ohio Department of Commerce acknowledged last week that a scoring error led to one company’s inadvertent exclusion from the dozen big marijuana growers on its proposed list of license recipients.

The agency says it identified the mistake after Yost expressed concern that two employees had complete access to the scoring data.

Some unsuccessful applicants for grower licenses have sued over alleged failures in the licensing process.

Treasurer candidate wants private prison spending study

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A candidate for state treasurer says the current office holder should examine the impact of private prisons on Ohio taxpayers.

Democrat Rob Richardson in a letter Wednesday asked Republican State Treasurer Josh Mandel (man-DEHL’) to study the issue.

Richardson is an attorney and former University of Cincinnati board chairman. Richardson says he has a deep “personal concern” over Ohio’s high incarceration rates.

He says Ohioans deserve to know how much tax money is being paid to operators of private prisons. Richardson says some of that money would be better spent on education and affordable health care.

A spokeswoman for Mandel’s office didn’t return a message seeking comment.

Army Corps reaches settlement over Cleveland harbor dredging

CLEVELAND (AP) — The federal agency that maintains shipping channels along Lake Erie has settled a lawsuit with the state of Ohio over the dredging of Cleveland’s harbor.

Cleveland.com reports the settlement revealed in a court filing Wednesday requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cover the cost of placing sediment from the harbor into containment dikes in 2016 and 2017.

The Corps previously argued the sediment could be dumped into Lake Erie, saying it would not harm the lake’s ecosystem.

A spokeswoman for Ohio’s environmental agency says they are happy to put the dispute behind them.

An Army Corps spokesman said they could not discuss the settlement, but they plan to dredge the harbor in May.

Students tell police school shooting plot was a joke

ALLIANCE, Ohio (AP) — Police have arrested five Ohio high school students for a school shooting plot that the students claim was a joke.

Authorities say the five Alliance High School students, all freshmen, were overheard discussing their plan by other students. Police say the students talked about details such as how to get weapons and how to stop students from leaving the school.

School administrators called police Wednesday, and the students were immediately detained. The school did not go into lockdown.

Police say the students told investigators there was no intent to carry out an attack. They say there is no evidence the students tried to get weapons.

All five students have been charged with a misdemeanor of making a false alarm.

State high court to hear arguments on promotions tax dispute

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court says it will hear arguments in a dispute over promotions offered by the Cincinnati Reds to ticket buyers including bobbleheads and other items.

At issue is whether the Reds are exempt from paying tax on the purchase of the promotional items.

Attorneys for the Reds argue they don’t have to pay tax on the purchase of promotional items because they resell them as part of the ticket package.

Ohio law exempts companies from paying tax on items they buy to resell.

The state tax commissioner says the promotional items should be taxed because the Reds bought the items as giveaways and they aren’t selling them with the tickets.

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hold oral arguments. No date was set.

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