Kasich budget plan gets mixed reviews, poll finds

Published: Friday, March 01, 2013 @ 3:40 PM
Updated: Friday, March 01, 2013 @ 3:40 PM

Gov. John Kasich’s biggest plans in his two-year state budget proposal are getting mixed reviews from Ohio voters, according to a poll released Friday by Quinnipiac University.

Voters say 48 percent to 42 percent that cutting the income tax and collecting more revenue from the sales tax is a bad idea. But the same percentages agree with the idea of opening up Ohio Medicaid to more people.

“Gov. John Kasich is popular, but voters don’t like his view that the income tax should be cut and the sales tax broadened as a preferable way to raise state revenue,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “When it is explained to them that Kasich wants to cut the income tax from 5.5 to 5 percent and increase the services that would be subject to the sales tax, they like that idea even less, 51 percent to 40 percent.”

Kasich is asking lawmakers to approve expanding Ohio Medicaid to add another 265,000 Ohioans. Currently, 2.2 million poor and disabled people are enrolled in the program, which costs $19 billion a year in state and federal funds. The federal government promises to pick up 100 percent of the cost of expanding the program for the first three years and then dial it back to cover 90 percent of the cost in outlying years. The expansion is part of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The poll found that Obamacare is unpopular: 48 percent of Ohio voters disapprove of it, 39 percent approve of it, 39 percent say the health law will hurt rather than help them and 39 percent say it won’t affect them.

Expanding Medicaid appears to be a partisan issue with 71 percent of Democrats supporting it, 65 percent of Republicans opposing it and 48 percent of independents supporting it, the poll found.

Although not part of Kasich’s budget proposal, the poll asked Ohioans about gun control and found:

* 90 percent favor background checks for all gun purchases;

* 86 percent of households where there is a gun favor background checks for all gun purchases;

* 53 percent favor a nationwide ban on assault weapons;

* 60 percent of gun owners oppose an assault weapon ban;

* 57 percent say gun ownership makes people safer.

The poll also found that 49 percent to 40 percent say the National Rifle Association rather than President Obama best reflect their own views on guns.

“On gun policy public opinion might be seen as a paradox,” said Brown. “Voters overwhelming favor background checks for those buying guns and want to ban assault weapons and ammunition clips with more than 10 bullets - positions that are in opposition to those espoused by the NRA. Yet, they see the NRA more in tune with their views on gun policy than President Barack Obama, who favors background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Moreover, on the key question of whether guns make society safer or less safe, by almost 2-1 voters see them as making society safer. Asked whether they would favor stricter gun control laws, 41 percent say yes, while 11 percent say they should be made less strict and 44 percent say existing laws are about right.”

Meanwhile, Ohio voters are split in their opinion of Barack Obama’s performance, giving him a 48 percent - 47 percent job approval rating.

The poll surveyed 1,011 registered voters from Feb. 21 to Feb. 26. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

6 local students nominated for military academies

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 4:54 PM
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 4:54 PM

Congressman Mike Turner, R-Dayton, today announced that six local students have been nominated for the military academies.

The local nominees are

*Abigail Arestides, Beavercreek, Air Force Academy;

*Caleb Boon, Beavercreek, Air Force Academy;

*Kyle Roshong, Dayton, Air Force Academy;

*Holden Rushing, Kettering, Naval Academy;

*Kasen Stephensen, Bellbrook, Naval Academy;

*Marie Docken, Kettering, U.S. Military Academy.

“Every year, bright young patriots volunteer to serve their country,” Turner said in a statement. “I am proud to recognize these six students ...

Ohio may exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 5:54 PM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 5:54 PM

            Ohio may exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty

Breastfeeding mothers would be exempt from jury duty under a bill introduced in the Ohio Legislature by Rep. Ann Gonzalez, R-Westerville.

She introduced the bill after hearing from a constituent who could not get excused even though she needed to breastfeed her baby.

“A constituent came to us and she was forced to be in a broom closet, that was the location for her to breastfeed,” said Alex Landefeld, legislative assistant for Gonzalez. “We saw many other states have laws that put nursing mothers on the physical hardship (exceptions list) so they can be excused from jury duty.”

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court officials do not recall a potential juror asking to be excused because of the need to breastfeed, but said they already accommodate nursing mothers for regular jury duty as well as the longer grand jury term.

“We’ve not had that issue here. The jurors that are breastfeeding are allowed to bring their machines – they come with their pumping machines and bottles. We have a place for them to pump and the jury rooms are equipped with refrigerators so they can store their milk,” said Vanessa Carter, deputy court administrator for Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

Facilities are also available for court employees.

Gonzales’ bill, known as House Bill 13, would require the nursing mother to bring a signed affidavit to the judge making the request to be excluded because she is breast-feeding.

Breastfeeding would become one of the types of physical or financial hardship that can get a person excused from jury duty.

Current law requires a prospective juror to provide documentation for being excused based on “undue or extreme physical or financial hardship,” according to an analysis of the bill by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

Gonzales could not be reached for comment.

Lawmakers: Medicaid should cover pediatric drug addiction services

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 12:04 PM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 12:04 PM

            Lawmakers: Medicaid should cover pediatric drug addiction services. Photo by Chris Stewart

Ohio’s two senators are introducing a bill aimed at helping newborns born addicted recover in a supportive setting.

Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Rob Portman, R-Ohio along with Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. and Angus King, I-Maine, have reintroduced a bill that would recognize allow Medicaid to cover pediatric drug addiction recovery services in both hospitals and residential pediatric recovery facilities.

SPECIAL PROJECT: Addicted at birth

The bill - which costs taxpayers nothing - would allow babies suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome - or withdrawal - to receive quality care in residential facilities. The syndrome is a withdrawal condition often caused by use of opioids and other addictive substances in pregnant women.

In the House, Reps. Tim Ryan, Niles, Mike Turner, R-Dayton and Reps. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., and Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., have introduced a companion bill.

Among the facilities currently treating babies born with withdrawal is Brigid’s Path, in Dayton.

Traditionally, babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome have been treated in the neonatal intensive care unit, where treatment costs are more than five times the cost of treating other newborns. The lawmakers say that the NICU - with its bright lights and loud noises - is not the ideal place for babies suffering from withdrawal. Residential pediatric recovery facilities, they argue, offer an alternative more conducive to treating newborns with the syndrome.

Portman said the Ohio Department of Health estimates roughly 84 babies are being treated for drug withdrawal in Ohio hospitals every day.

RELATED: More help aimed at helping babies, mothers

“We must ensure that Ohio moms and babies have access to residential treatment facilities that specialize in giving them the specific kind of care they need and at a lower cost to taxpayers,” said Brown.

In 2015, the Ohio Department of Health released data that there had been 2,174 hospital admissions for neonatal abstinence syndrome, and reported that an average of 84 infants were being treated for drug withdrawal by Ohio hospitals every day.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown not a big fan of Joe Lieberman to lead FBI

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 11:05 AM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

Former senator and 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman is getting a lot of attention lately.

The one-time Democrat-turned-independent senator is being listed as one of President Donald Trump’s possible picks to lead the FBI.

RELATED: Ohio lawmakers react to latest in Comey investigation

Some may think that going with Lieberman is a way for Trump to win some support across the aisle.

Well, it doesn’t sound like any of that support will come from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Here’s what Brown said to POLITICO:

In an interview, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) fumed about Lieberman’s efforts to undercut more generous Medicare benefits in Obamacare and his relative closeness to Trump. After a monologue on Lieberman’s faults, Brown ended by telling a reporter: “That’s all on the record.”

“Joe Lieberman has no real law enforcement credentials. Look where he works now, a Trump law firm. That tells me a lot,” Brown said, referring to the law firm where Lieberman now works that represents Trump.

Read the full POLITICO story here

Joe Lieberman. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images