A controversial bill about abortion got its first hearing in a House committee this week - featuring some unusual events that supporters called testimony - but others suggested it were theater. A major animal rights group is threatening to try again for an Ohio ballot issue against animal cruelty because of a new state rule on the treatment of veal calves. Gov. Kasich signs a bill to create the Common Sense Initiative, or CSI, Office - it would revise the process for making rules and regulations on businesses, and the bill would require agencies to consider how regulation impacts business in Ohio, and whether the benefits of regulation outweigh the cost of complying with it.
The hotly debated bill on collective bargaining reform - which some say is one of the toughest in the country - is halfway toward becoming law, after a very quick and somewhat unexpected trip to the Senate floor this week. Senators debated it for more than three hours - among those joining in were Shannon Jones (R-Springboro), Kevin Bacon (R-Columbus), Tom Sawyer (D-Akron), Joseph Schiavoni (D-Boardman), Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood), Nina Turner (D-Cleveland), Keith Faber (R-Celina) and Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland). Though the bill was pushed by the Senate GOP leadership, and Republicans dominate in the Senate by a more than 2 to 1 margin, in the end, the bill passed by one vote.
Proponents of the bill are of course pleased that it's made it through the Senate. Chris Littleton is president of the Ohio Liberty Council, a Tea Party organization based in southwest Ohio. But the head of an organization representing 1,600 local unions - both in the public sector and in private industry - is predictably unhappy. Tim Burga is the head of the Ohio AFL-CIO, and says - quoting here - the will of Ohioans was completely disregarded.
The bill wouldn't have made it to the Senate floor for a vote if Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus hadn't moved a couple of Republicans from key positions on committees. Niehaus explained his decisions to Jo Ingles with Ohio Public Radio and Television.
The bill now goes to the Ohio House, where Republicans hold a 59-40 majority. Speaker Bill Batchelder talked with Bill Cohen of Ohio Public Radio and Television.
The man who was one Ohio's top prosecutor is now on a surprising new crusade. One is to free people who are wrongly convicted and to stop them from being locked up in the first place - a tragedy which he says happens far more often than most people think, and an amazing statement from the man who was once Ohio's attorney general. Jim Petro is working on this cause with the help of his wife Nancy - they are co-authors of the "False Justice - Eight Myths that Convict the Innocent". Petro has also been named by Gov. Kasich as Chancellor of the Board of Regents.