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May 1st, 2013 By German Lopez | News | Posted In: News, Unions, Streetcar

Morning News and Stuff

'Right to work' returns; memo details streetcar funding; more money, less mowing

ohio statehouseOhio Statehouse

Two Ohio House Republicans are preparing to introduce so-called "right to work" (RTW) legislation, a deceptively named type of law that would ban collective bargaining agreements between unions and employers that require union membership to be hired at a job. Since states began adopting the anti-union laws, union membership has dropped dramatically. Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald, were quick to condemn the bills, invoking 2011's voter rejection of S.B. 5, a bill backed by Gov. John Kasich and Ohio Republicans that would have limited collective bargaining rights for public employees and hindered public sector unions' political power.

The city released a memo yesterday outlining how the streetcar project's $17.4 million budget gap will be funded. The memo emphasizes that the capital funds being used for the streetcar project can't be used to balance the city's $35 million operating budget deficit because of state law, so the streetcar project is not being saved at the expense of cops, firefighters and other public employees being laid off to balance the operating budget. CityBeat will have a more thorough analysis of the memo shortly after this article is published.

The state auditor released an audit yesterday that shows the Ohio Department of Transportation could save $7.4 million in taxpayer money by mowing the lawn less often.

"We need to cut back by mowing less," State Auditor Dave Yost said in a statement. "Sometimes, it’s the simplest solutions that have the greatest impact."

A Policy Matters Ohio survey confirmed Ohio schools are making cuts as a result of Kasich's education funding cuts. In total, 70 percent of schools slashed budgets for the 2012-2013 school year.

The mayor and city manager held a roundtable with the press yesterday explaining the merits of the city's plan to lease its parking assets to the Port Authority. The city officials made the same arguments heard before about how it would help balance the budget and bring economic development to the city, which CityBeat covered in further detail here.

If estimates are correct, this year's Flying Pig Marathon will bring $9.5 million into Greater Cincinnati's economy.

In light of grim drug addiction and overdose statistics recently released, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman says it's time to call the "war on drugs" something else. The most recent data found one Ohioan died of a drug overdose every five hours on average in 2011.

Next Tuesday is primary election day in Ohio, but there isn't much to vote on in southwest Ohio.

Steve Smith, who admitted to raping and killing a six-month-old in Mansfield, Ohio, will be executed by the state today, but his relatives insist he didn't do it.

Gladys, the unfortunately named gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, recently got a look at her new home.

Antimatter is the opposite of matter, but it's unclear whether it falls up or down.

 
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