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Ohio may pay tuition, medical care for Cleveland kidnapping victims

Published: Thursday, June 06, 2013 @ 4:05 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 06, 2013 @ 4:05 PM

Ohio lawmakers want to award free college tuition and lifetime medical care to the women held captive for a decade in a Cleveland man’s house.

A bill introduced this week in the Ohio House would also award at least $25,000 annually for each year of captivity to anyone who is abducted for eight years or more and to children born as a result of such a kidnapping.

The bill is named the Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus Survivors of Abduction Act for the three women who were held captive for around a decade or more in the home of Ariel Castro, 52, and rescued on May 6.

Berry gave birth to a daughter, now 6, while in captivity.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Barnes, D-Cleveland, said he wants to make sure that the three women are compensated for their lost opportunities while they were in captivity, including their right to a public education.

Barnes said he doesn’t want to do anything to discourage private philanthropic efforts to give to the three victims, but is concerned that the giving may not continue once the story fades out of headlines.

“This was perhaps one of the most tragic and protracted crimes in the history of our community and the state of Ohio,” Barnes said. “Those three families have a very long road to recovery.”

The benefits would be paid for out of the Ohio Attorney General’s Victims of Crime program, which is funded through federal grants, court fines and license fees. The women would be able to attend five years’ worth of classes at a state college, university, community college or technical school with their living expenses paid, and would receive free health care for life.

The legal-crisis management team representing the women said they continue to spend quiet time with family and friends and preferred not to comment on the bill.

But their attorney, Jim Wooley, said, “Anything the community does to support these women is greatly appreciated.”

The bill has support from both sides of the aisle and from outside northeast Ohio.

“It seems to me as a society that we need to do what we can to help compensate for the horrible situation that they lived in,” said Rep. Cheryl Grossman, R-Columbus, who is also a sponsor of the bill.

Castro, a former bus driver for Cleveland city schools, is held in Cuyahoga County Jail awaiting trial, and faces charges of kidnapping and rape. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty has said he plans to pursue the death penalty against Castro, hoping to charge him with aggravated murder for forcing one of the women into multiple miscarriages.

Staff Writer Jackie Borchardt and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Husted for Governor endorsed by gun-rights group

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 12:13 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 12:13 PM


            Lebanon Councilwoman Wendy Monroe and, at center, Kim Campbell of Ohioans for Concealed Carry announced the group’s endorsement of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for Ohio governor.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s gubernatorial campaign was endorsed today by Ohioans for Concealed Carry.

The endorsement was announced at 22three Outfitters, a gun range and store outside Lebanon.

“If you care about your Second Amendment rights, Jon Husted is your man,”said Kim Campbell, a board member with the gun-rights group.

RELATED: How much are the candidates for governor worth?

Husted said he led a gubernatorial override of Ohio’s Concealed Carry law for the first time since the 1950s.

“Law-abiding citizens have the right to protect themselves, their family and their property,” Husted said.

Joining Husted and Campbell in the announcement was Lebanon Councilman Wendy Monroe.

22three Outfitters is a gun store and training facility outside Lebanon owned by Monroe and her husband, Warren County GOP Chairman Jeff Monroe.

Who’s in? A look at who is running for governor

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley responded to the endorsement.

DeWine emphasized his support for the 2nd Amendment.

“DeWine expanded concealed handgun license reciprocity rights for Ohioans to 38 states. He has also pushed Congress to pass a nationwide concealed carry reciprocity law and filed an amicus brief urging the US Supreme Court to strike down a ban on modern sporting rifles and so called “high capacity” magazines,” according to a statement from DeWine’s campaign.

Whaley called the endorsement “political pandering at its most obvious.”

“As a mayor, I don’t have the luxury of participating in acts of political theater like Husted. I go to work every day to ensure our streets and our communities are safe and to create jobs.”

We will have complete coverage of the race for Ohio governor to help you make an informed choice in 2018. Get the latest on our Ohio Politics Facebook page

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman: ‘This is a dangerous world’

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 1:32 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 1:32 PM

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman made the rounds on cable TV today. He was on Fox News and CNBC.

He talked mostly about President Trump’s trip to Europe, the bombing tragedy in England and the administration’s budget proposals.

On the tragedy in Manchester, Portman said “this is a dangerous world.”

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“It’s a three pronged approach. One is the military part we talked about and that is important to go after ISIS and that’s happening now in Syria and also in Iraq. Second, we have to do more in terms of ensuring the people who come to this country are not here to do us harm. There are a lot of foreign fighters who have gone into the fight, more from Europe than from the United States. But many of these European countries have a Visa waiver program with us where it’s easier to come into our country because they are allies because we’re generally not concerned about it. But we have to be more concerned now. About 5,000 of these foreign fighters can go back to European countries and then have relatively easy access to the United States. We do need to tighten up on the Visa waiver programs and ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect the country. 

 “Finally, homegrown terrorism. Let’s face it, that is probably the toughest of all. And there I think it’s law enforcement, the FBI, even local law enforcement. But it’s also having better relationships with the Muslim community in this country. That’s what’s been successful in finding some of these terrorist threats. In my own home state of Ohio, we had the first foreign fighter who was arrested on terrorist charges because the Muslim community worked with local police to identify the threat and to be able to stop somebody before he committed an atrocious crime. This is a dangerous world.”

Gov. John Kasich criticizes Trump budget during CBS interview.

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 9:34 AM
Updated: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 9:34 AM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich criticized President Donald Trump’s budget this morning during an appearance on CBS This Morning.

The interview aired this morning on WHIO-TV Channel 7.

Kasich said “millions” of Ohioans would be impacted by proposed cuts, especially to Medicaid.

“The problem here is you can’t just take stuff away when people need to be healthy, they need to be fed,” Kasich said.

Check out the full interview here:

Ohio moves a step closer to changing how congressional lines are drawn

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 1:50 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 3:53 PM

Ohio step closer to changing how congressional lines are drawn

An effort to reform how Ohio redraws congressional district lines every 10 years moved forward this week after the petition for a state constitutional amendment was certified by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The next step is the Ohio Ballot Board, which must approve the proposed language before supporters can begin gathering the necessary signatures to get the issue on the ballot.

Changing the process for how congressional districts are drawn has gathered momentum since Ohio voters in 2015 approved an amendment reforming how state legislative districts are drawn.

“What’s good for the Statehouse is good for Congress,” said Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio, one of the coalition partners in Fair Districts Fair Elections, the group seeking the reform measure.

The new proposal would essentially mirror what voters approved for the state legislature with a few modifications, said Carrie Davis, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, another coalition partner.

RELATED: Ohio may change the way congressional lines are drawn

States must redraw both legislative and congressional districts after each 10-year U.S. Census to reflect population changes. States use different methods to determine which voters are represented in each district, though few states are immune from allegations of politics tainting the process.

In Ohio, Democrats have long argued that districts are unfairly drawn. They say Republicans, who have controlled the process through several Census cycles, pack Democrats into a few districts while keeping Republican districts safe. Of the state’s 16 congressional districts, 12 are held by Republicans.

RELATED: How many Republicans and Democrats can you shove into a congressional district

Gov. John Kasich and Secretary of State Jon Husted — both Republicans — have said the process is in need of reform, but not all Republicans agree with them. Some have argued to hold off and see how legislative redistricting reform works out before moving ahead on changing how congressional districts are redrawn.

RELATED: Kasich backs redistricting reform

Because Husted is chairman of the Ohio Ballot Board, he said he would withhold specific comments on the reform proposal until the board’s review is completed. But, he said, “as a longtime advocate for redistricting reform…we’ve got to change the incentive for partisanship that gerrymandering creates.”

This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against North Carolina’s state legislature in a racial gerrymandering case. Other cases too are pending before the high court.

RELATED: High court ruling may give voter rights groups a strong tool

DeWine certified the petition for the Bipartisan Congressional Redistricting Reform Amendment, which had the required 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposed amendment. The group had amended an earlier petition that had been rejected by DeWine’s office.

Within 10 days the petition will go before the Ohio Ballot Board, which will determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues.

Once that is done the group can move forward to gather the necessary 305,000 signatures needed to put it on the November ballot. If the signatures are gathered by July 5 it would go on the 2017 ballot. Otherwise the group would push for November 2018, Davis said.

“The reality is we need to get this reform done before the lines are redrawn in 2021. So practically this needs to get done by 2020,” she said.

RELATED: Issue One would change how legislative lines are drawn