Ohio’s speed limit is going up to 70 on July 1 on some highways

Published: Monday, April 01, 2013 @ 10:40 AM
Updated: Monday, April 01, 2013 @ 5:17 PM


            Ohio lawmakers reached a deal this week on a transportation budget bill that includes bumping up the highway speed limit to 70 miles per hour.
            Nick Daggy
Ohio lawmakers reached a deal this week on a transportation budget bill that includes bumping up the highway speed limit to 70 miles per hour.(Nick Daggy)

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The top speed limit in Ohio is officially going up this summer to 70 miles per hour.

Gov. John Kasich on Monday signed into law a two-year, $3.87 billion transportation budget. Among provisions of the law is the higher max speed limit, which will apply to interstates outside of urban areas starting on July 1.

That means Ohio’s top speed limit will match those of bordering states except for Pennsylvania, where the top speed limit is still 65 miles per hour, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Under the law, motorists will also be allowed to drive 65 mph on urban outer belts such as I-675, I-275, and I-270. Drivers can also go 60 mph on all two-lane state highways outside city limits and 55 on interstates in congested areas.

The Ohio Department of Transportation still needs to figure out which roads qualify as “outside of urban areas,” said agency spokesman Steve Faulkner. Until that vetting process is done, Faulkner said he couldn’t say where exactly the speed limit would go up to 70 miles per hour.

ODOT doesn’t know how much it will cost to change or replace speed limit signs, but the Ohio Legislative Service Commission last year estimated it would cost $80,000 to change the speed limit signs on all of Ohio’s interstates.

Legislators have floated increasing the speed limit in the past, including on a 2012 bill that resulted in the $80,000 estimate, but proposals were always scuttled over concerns from law enforcement. This year, although insurance and environmental groups expressed concerns, the Ohio State Highway Patrol chose not to oppose the measure.

Among other provisions of the transportation bill include authorizing the state to issue $1.5 billion in bonds backed by future Ohio Turnpike tolls. Ninety percent of the bond revenues would have to be spent in Northern Ohio.

The remaining 10 percent of the turnpike money could hypothetically be spent on road projects in southwestern Ohio. State Rep. Ross McGregor, R-Springfield, said any benefits to the Miami Valley are more likely to be indirect.

“What it’s going to do is take a lot of these (highest-priority) projects in northern Ohio off the (top of the state’s funding list), allowing other projects to move forward in the process.”

Kasich was more interested in talking about his turnpike bonding plan, which he said would help create 65,000 construction jobs and help improve Ohio’s infrastructure. But he offered faint support for the higher speed limits.

“I see the patrol said they were fine with it … so I’m fine with the speed limit going up. It pretty well matches everybody up in the surrounding area,” Kasich told reporters.

Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:38 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:32 PM


            Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system
Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system

Ohio is rolling out the next generation of a powerful prescription drug monitoring system to help fight the opiate addiction crisis, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced.

Started in 2006, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System tracks controlled substances prescribed by doctors, provided by pharmacies and taken by patients. The upgraded version will calculate a patient’s risk for addiction or overdose, provide red flag alerts on potential safety issues, offer real time messaging between health care providers, and include a search tool for drug treatment programs.

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Health care providers will be able to access the new, upgraded OARRS system via electronic medical records and the OARRS website starting Nov. 20.

The system is designed to track prescriptions of controlled substances, such as painkillers, and prevent the practices of over-prescribing and “doctor shopping” — where addicts fill opioid prescriptions from several doctors at multiple pharmacies.

In 2006, the top doctor shopper in Ohio received prescriptions from 105 different doctors and filled those at 50 different pharmacies. In 2016, the top doctor shopper received prescriptions from 45 different doctors and filled those at 19 different pharmacies. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy agents investigate such patterns.

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Likewise, doctors and pharmacies are required to check OARRS before writing or filling certain prescriptions. Physicians and dentists who write controlled substance prescriptions without checking the system are contacted by the Board of Pharmacy.

Beginning at the end of December, doctors will be required to add diagnosis information to OARRS so regulators have a better idea about why patients are being prescribed powerful pain killers.

Ohio congressman leaving office

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 10:23 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 10:23 AM

Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, attends a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Caucus in the Capitol, June 10, 2014. Getty Images
Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, attends a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Caucus in the Capitol, June 10, 2014. Getty Images

Congressman Rep. Pat Tiberi announced Thursday that he will be leaving Congress by the end of next January, capping 16 years representing his central Ohio congressional district.

In a statement released at 10 a.m., Tiberi said he would not be seeking re-election. Instead, he’ll serve as president of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

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“It has been the most remarkable honor of my life to serve the people of the 12th District,” he said. “As the son of Italian immigrants, I am forever grateful for the opportunity my parents gave me by coming to America and raising our family in Ohio. It was because of their pursuit of the American Dream that made it possible for me to serve 17 years in the halls of Congress representing my home. This truly is the greatest country in the world.”

He said his new job would allow him “to continue to work on public policy issues impacting Ohioans while also spending more time with my family.” Tiberi and his wife Denice have four daughters.

While the timing of his announcement is unclear, Tiberi, a Genoa Township Republican, plans to leave by the end of next January.

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Tiberi will replace Richard Stoff, the founder and current president of the Ohio Business Roundtable, who announced in July that he was retiring at the end of this year. Stoff’s compensation totaled $692,038 in 2015, according to the group’s IRS filings.

Sources close to Tiberi said a variety of factors played into his exit. His mother died earlier this year and his father is in ill health. House Speaker Paul Ryan last year bypassed Tiberi to select Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, as the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, despite the fact that Tiberi had support from the majority of his colleagues on the Republican Steering Committee.

Another loss: the retirement of House Speaker John Boehner in 2015. The two were close political allies, with Tiberi benefiting politically from his close friendship with the West Chester Republican.

And a dysfunctional political environment in Washington made him “miserable” said a source close to Tiberi.

The veteran congressman, who represents Ohio’s 12th congressional district, had considered running for the U.S. Senate in 2018. He ended that speculation in May, announcing that he didn’t want a Senate campaign to take time away from working on tax reform from his position as a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Tiberi had more than $6.6 million in campaign funds at the beginning of the month.

Tiberi, 54, was elected to the House in 2000, replacing John Kasich, who had once hired him as an aide in Kasich’s congressional office in Columbus. Tiberi, who grew up in Columbus, also served four terms in the Ohio House in the 1990s.

He is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on health and is currently chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, a House-Senate committee that examines economic issues. And earlier this year, he became the chairman of the House “Main Street Caucus,” a group of moderate Republicans who billed themselves as the “governing” wing of the Republican Party.

Only two other members of the 16-member Ohio delegation have served longer: Rep. Marcy Kaptur was elected in 1983 and Rep. Steve Chabot in 1995, save for a two-year period when Chabot’s seat was held by a Democrat.

While it’s unclear when Tiberi would vacate his House seat, sources told the Dispatch that it might not be until the end of this year.

Gov. John Kasich, whose term expires in January 2019, is not interested in running for his old House seat, said Chris Schrimpf, his political spokesman.

Tiberi, who won his seat in 2016 with nearly 67 percent of the vote, faces Democrat Ed Albertson and Republican Brandon Grisez if he runs next year.

Tiberi’s decision to leave puts him in a growing club of Republicans who are opting to leave Congress: Reps. Dave Reichert of Washington, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Dave Trott of Michigan and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania have announced their plans to leave in recent days, as has Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

If Tiberi resigns before the end of his term, special elections, including a primary, would be staged to fill his seat. When Speaker John Boehner of Ohio resigned from his seat in late 2015, it took four and one-half months to stage the March 15, 2016 primary and nearly another three months for the June 7, 2016 election won by Republican Warren Davidson.

The reliably Republican 12th District takes in northern Franklin County suburbs and all of Delaware, Morrow and Licking counties. It includes parts of Marion, Muskingum and Richland counties.

Dispatch reporter Randy Ludlow contributed to this story.

What Ohio lawmakers are saying about the Iran nuclear deal

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 5:47 PM
Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 9:04 AM

President Trump Addresses Iran Nuclear Deal

Ohio lawmakers split down party lines Thursday not only on whether President Donald Trump should have refused to certify the Iran nuclear agreement but whether the Obama administration should have backed the deal in the first place.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D–Niles, acknowledged that the pact is not “perfect,” but said it “remains our best chance for lasting peace and nuclear nonproliferation in Iran.” He called Trump’s decision to not certify the agreement “a grave mistake.”

“There is no doubt that this deal is in the best interests of the United States and helps to neutralize a potential nuclear threat to the world,” he said.

He called Trump’s announcement “yet another example of the egregious mismanagement of our foreign policy (that) does nothing to reassure our allies that the United States is leading with a steady hand.”

The decision does not end the agreement outright, but instead sends it to Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Ryan called for Congress “to do the right thing” to avoid an international crisis.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D–Ohio, meanwhile, worried that while Trump’s decision doesn’t end the agreement, it could lead to its unraveling. He said failure to adhere to the Iran deal might make allies and North Korea question whether the United States will stand by its commitments.

“There is no question we must crack down on Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, including its support for terrorism — which is exactly why Congress enacted tough new sanctions this summer,” he said. “The president should use those sanctions, instead of leading us down a path toward unraveling the Iran nuclear agreement, which his own defense secretary has said would not be in our national interest.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the multi-nation agreement under Obama “has empowered Iran to increase its destabilizing activities throughout the region, while at best pausing — not dismantling — Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons and delivery systems.”

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He said he would like the U.S. to implement a comprehensive regional strategy to combat Iran’s influence “and hold it accountable for both its nuclear program and its destabilizing non-nuclear activities, including its support for sectarian militias and terrorist groups like Hezbollah, human rights violations, and increasing involvement in conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere.”

Republican Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, one of four GOP candidates for governor, tweeted, “Obama’s disastrous Iran nuclear deal shipped billions to the world’s #1 state sponsor of terrorism & green lighted their nuclear weapons program. It threatens both America’s security & Israel’s existence. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for taking a critical step towards ending it.”

Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, said Trump’s decision should force Congress to develop a strategy “with stricter enforcement to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

“The Iranian regime has consistently remained hostile to Israel, violated multiple UN resolutions to build their ballistic missile program, and has posed a wide range of threats to the region and our own national security,” he said.

Rep. Bill Johnson, R–Marietta, said the U.S. should never have agreed to the deal.

“It only temporarily restricts Iran’s nuclear program, and does little to deter Tehran from continuing its thirst for nuclear weapons and technology — all while filling the regime’s coffers,” he said. “Not only has Iran repeatedly displayed a disturbing pattern of behavior while continuing to recruit and fund terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq, but the Iranian regime’s continued nuclear testing on military sites also undermines the standards set by the international community to promote security and regional stability.”

Rep. Steve Stivers, R–Upper Arlington, said he, too, was never comfortable with the Iran deal.

“From the very beginning, I had concerns about the Iran Deal because it is based on the failed North Korea Deal and did not include restrictions on the development of technology used to weaponize nuclear energy, such as triggers, fuses, and ballistic missiles,” he said. “I believe this decision will allow a new agreement to be negotiated which will include language to prevent a nuclear armed Iran.”

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said the deal had “an insufficient inspection regime, insufficiently addresses long range ICBM missile development, and is limited to 10 years, giving the appearance of permission to develop nuclear weapons during the 11th year.”

However, he said, he believes that Iran is “materially complying with the provisions that require Iran abandon pursuit of the development of nuclear weapons.”

“After the President’s statements today, the international community and Congress must provide sufficient leverage for amending the agreement in ways that could ensure Iran never obtains nuclear weapons,” he said.

Kasich criticizes President Trump actions on health care as ‘outrageous’

Published: Sunday, October 15, 2017 @ 2:10 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 15, 2017 @ 2:10 PM

Gov. John Kasich
Ron Schwane
Gov. John Kasich(Ron Schwane)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said it is “outrageous” President Donald Trump and lawmakers from both parties have not forged a compromise aimed at both stabilizing the 2010 health law and continuing federal dollars to help middle-income Americans afford their federally subsidized policies.

 

During an appearance Sunday on NBC’ Meet the Press Kasich assailed Trump’s decision last week to end those federal payments, saying the move will “impose higher costs on” on families who bought individual insurance policies made available through the law which is known as Obamacare.

“Some people will not be able to afford health insurance, or people will have to make very significant choices,” Kasich said. “And I’m talking about hard-working people, trying to work their way up and out of their situation.’’

But Kasich, who has emerged as a sharp critic of Trump, expanded his disapproval to include congressional Democrats and Republicans, charging Democrats are not showing much interest in a potential compromise to stabilize Obamacare, an accord being negotiated by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.

“You know, Alexander and Murray . . . were out there doing things, and then they, like, disappeared,” Kasich said.

“It's a shame on everybody,” Kasich said. “And who gets hurt? People. And it's just, it just, it’s outrageous.”

Kasich and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper outlined a plan last month aimed at stabilizing the exchanges and preventing the federally subsidized individual market from collapse.

Kasich’s attack on both parties fueled speculation he is considering an independent bid for the presidency in 2020. Although Kasich said he did “not know what I’m going to do tomorrow,” he pointedly said his wife Karen told him last week, “John, I wish you were president.”

“That's how I knew the country was in trouble,” Kasich joked.

Kasich’s comments on Obamacare represent a shift from his presidential campaign rhetoric. As governor, he accepted hundreds of millions of dollars made available through Obamacare to expand Medicaid health coverage to more than 700,000 low-income people in Ohio.

But he refused to establish a state marketplace established by Obamacare where middle-income people could buy federally subsidized individual policies. Instead, people in Ohio had to buy their policies through a marketplace – known as an exchange – established by the federal government.

During a testy exchange with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush during a Republican presidential debate last year in South Carolina, Kasich defended his decision to expand Medicaid coverage, but declared he “did not set up an exchange. And (Bush) knows that I’m not for Obamacare, never have been.”

Obamacare cut the number of Americans without health insurance or government-provided coverage by 40 percent. The law expanded Medicaid and provided federal subsidies to allow middle-income people could buy individual plans through exchanges established by the states or federal government.

A family of four earning as much as $98,000 a year could use federal tax credits to buy any of those plans.

For families of four earning up to $61,000 a year, there was an additional benefit. If they bought a silver plan, the federal government offered cost-sharing subsidies to reduce deductibles or other out-of-pocket expenses.

Congressional Republicans never agreed to spend money for the cost-sharing subsidies and Trump last week said they would be ended later this year.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health-research organization in Washington, calculated that 7.1 million of the 12.2 million people who bought policies through the exchanges receive cost - sharing payments, concluding the payments reduced out-of-pocket expenses for the typical family by roughly $5,500 a year.

Some people will not be able to afford health insurance, or people will have to make very significant choices,” Kasich said. “And I’m talking about hard-working people, trying to work their way up and out of their situation.’’

But Kasich, who has emerged as a sharp critic of Trump, expanded his disapproval to include congressional Democrats and Republicans, charging Democrats are not showing much interest in a potential compromise to stabilize Obamacare, an accord being negotiated by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.

“You know, Alexander and Murray … were out there doing things, and then they, like, disappeared,” Kasich said.

“It’s a shame on everybody,” Kasich said. “And who gets hurt? People. And it’s just, it just, it’s outrageous.”

Kasich’s attack on both parties fueled speculation he is considering an independent bid for the presidency in 2020. Although Kasich said he did “not know what I’m going to do tomorrow,” he pointedly said his wife Karen told him last week, “John, I wish you were president.”

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Some people will not be able to afford health insurance, or people will have to make very significant choices,” Kasich said. “And I’m talking about hard-working people, trying to work their way up and out of their situation.’’

But Kasich, who has emerged as a sharp critic of Trump, expanded his disapproval to include congressional Democrats and Republicans, charging Democrats are not showing much interest in a potential compromise to stabilize Obamacare, an accord being negotiated by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.

“You know, Alexander and Murray … were out there doing things, and then they, like, disappeared,” Kasich said.

“It’s a shame on everybody,” Kasich said. “And who gets hurt? People. And it’s just, it just, it’s outrageous.”

Kasich’s attack on both parties fueled speculation he is considering an independent bid for the presidency in 2020. Although Kasich said he did “not know what I’m going to do tomorrow,” he pointedly said his wife Karen told him last week, “John, I wish you were president.”