by German Lopez
Turnpike could remain public, asbestos bill passes, $150 million bid for parking services
The Ohio Turnpike will remain a public asset, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Many Ohioans have been worried Gov. John Kasich would attempt to privatize the
Turnpike in order to pay for transportation projects; instead, the
governor will try to generate revenue for state infrastructure projects
elsewhere, perhaps by using the Turnpike’s tolls. Kasich will unveil his
full plans Thursday and Friday.
The asbestos lawsuit bill is heading to Kasich to be signed.
The bill attempts to curb duplicate lawsuits over on-the-job asbestos
exposure. Supporters of the bill say it will prevent double-dipping by
victims, but opponents say the bill will impede legitimate cases. Ohio has one
of the largest backlogs of on-the-job asbestos exposure cases.
City Manager Milton Dohoney has released some of the potential bids for the city’s parking services, and one bidder is offering $100 to $150 million. Dohoney says the budget can only be balanced if parking services are privatized or the city lays off 344 employees.
But Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld is speaking out against the
privatization of the city’s parking services. In a statement, Sittenfeld
said, “Outsourcing our parking system robs the city of future revenue,
and also will mean higher parking rates, longer hours of enforcement,
and more parking tickets.”
LGBT rights are becoming “the new normal,” but not for Western & Southern or American Financial Group.
In the 2012 Corporate Equality Index, the Human Rights Campaign gave 252
companies a 100-percent score for LGBT rights.
Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble got a 90 percent, Macy’s got a 90
percent, Kroger got an 85 percent, Fifth Third Bank got an 85 percent, Omnicare got a 15 percent,
American Financial Group got a 0 percent and Western & Southern got a
0 percent. The rankings, dubbed a “Buyer’s Guide,” can be found here.
The Sierra Club says Cincinnati has some of the best and worst transportation projects.
In its annual report, the environmental group praised the Cincinnati
streetcar, claiming the transportation project will attract residents
and business owners. But the organization slammed the Eastern Corridor
Highway project because of its negative impact on the Little Miami River
and the small village of Newtown. The Sierra Club says the purpose of
the report is to shed light on the more than $200 billion spent on
transportation projects every year.
University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono is getting a 10-year contract.
The disease-carrying Walnut Twig Beetle has been discovered
in southwest Ohio. The beetle is known for carrying Thousand Cankers
Disease, which threatens the health of walnut trees. So far, no trees
have been determined to be infected.
Ohio Gov. Kasich, Ky. Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will meet today
to discuss funding for the Brent Spence Bridge project. If the bridge
project starts in 2014, northern Kentucky and Cincinnati could save $18
billion in fuel and congestion costs, according to the Build Our New
Bridge Now Coalition.
Following the defeat of Issue 2, the Ohio Senate is taking on redistricting reform,
but opponents in the House say there isn’t enough time to tackle the
issue. The current redistricting system is widely abused by politicians
on both sides of the aisle in a process called “gerrymandering,” which
involves politicians redrawing district lines in politically beneficial
ways. The First Congressional District, which includes Cincinnati, was
redrawn during the Republican-controlled process to include
Republican-leaning Warren County, heavily diluting the impact of
Cincinnati’s Democratic-leaning urban vote.
Ohio employers are more aware
of wellness than employers in other states, a new survey found.
Wellness programs are one way employers can bring down health-care
expenditures as cost shifting feels the pinch of diminishing returns.
However, Ohio ranked No. 35 in a nationwide health survey.
Ohio district didn't win federal Race to the Top education funds in the latest competition.
Internet cafe legislation is dead for the year.
Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus announced the legislation, which
essentially puts Internet cafes and sweepstakes parlors out of business.
State officials, including Attorney General Mike DeWine, have been
pushing for regulations or a ban on the businesses because they see them
as a breeding ground for criminal activity.
The final 2011-2012 school report cards will not be available until 2013. The report cards were originally delayed due to an investigation into fraudulent attendance reports.Michigan may have approved its anti-union right-to-work law, but Ohio is not eager to follow.
State Democrats are already preparing for a possible battle over the issue,
but even Republican Gov. John Kasich says he’s not currently interested in a
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is loosening
hazardous waste reporting requirements for companies. If the rules go
into effect, regulated facilities will report on hazardous waste once
every two years instead of once a year. The rule changes will get a
public hearing on Dec. 19 in Columbus.
In a question-and-answer session Monday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia asked,
“If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it
against murder? Can we have it against other things?” (Hint: The answer
to both questions is yes.) The Supreme Court recently agreed to tackle the same-sex marriage issue. CityBeat wrote about same-sex marriage in Ohio here.Dogs are now capable of driving, and parrots now have vehicles too. But can our new animal overlords shoot magic foam into the body to stop major bleeding? Because we can.