Ohio House approves Kasich's midterm budget bill
Written by JULIE CARR SMYTH, AP Statehouse Correspondent   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 06:15

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio representatives from both political parties criticized Republican Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday for saddling them with a midterm budget bill heavily loaded with disparate proposals they called unsuited to a non-budget year.

Rep. Terry Boose, a Norwalk Republican, said Kasich's practice of introducing voluminous off-year budgets in a state accustomed to a two-year cycle has effectively allowed him to take control of the state's legislative branch.

The 1,620-page document Kasich introduced earlier this year was the second of its kind since he took office in 2011, mirroring the annual federal budgets he oversaw as U.S. House finance chairman in the 1990s. The House split the legislation into 14 separate bills, nine of which cleared the House Wednesday.

House Democrats were particularly upset over a last-minute amendment to the largest of the bills that changed campaign finance law. The bill lifts a disclosure requirement applied to independent political expenditures and relaxes political-giving restrictions on state contractors.

Ohio man pleads guilty to trying to buy girl, 10
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 06:13

CLEVELAND (AP) — Federal authorities say a northeast Ohio man has pleaded guilty to charges alleging he tried to buy a 10-year-old girl to engage in illegal sexual activity.

U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach in Cleveland said Wednesday that 37-year-old Robert W. Thomas Jr. pleaded guilty to enticement and receiving and distributing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Thomas' attorney hasn't commented. A phone message was left after business hours at his law office.

The Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) Falls resident was arrested in January after an online sting. He was accused of asking an undercover officer in Alliance to arrange a marriage between him and the officer's daughter.

The officer says Thomas told him he wanted the girl for sex.

Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced July 24.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ohio man accused of theft of student financial aid
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 02:17

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland man is being accused of fraudulently collecting up to $55,000 in student financial aid funds.

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that 35-year-old Robert Williams has been indicted on one count of theft of federal student financial aid money.

Court records do not list an attorney for Williams.

According to the federal indictment, Williams enrolled in approximately six different Ohio colleges between 2007 and 2012 in order to get financial aid benefits from the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Prosecutors accused him of using the money for his own personal use and enjoyment, while having no intention of obtaining a degree.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ohio lawmakers: College athletes aren't employees
Written by AssociatedPress   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 02:18

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Republican-controlled Ohio House has approved a proposal that says college athletes are not employees under state law.

The measure was approved as part of a broader bill Wednesday that heads next to the Ohio Senate.

It comes after a landmark National Labor Relations Board decision last month involving Northwestern University's football team. That ruling says full scholarship players can be considered employees and thus are eligible to form a union.

If it holds, the ruling could have widespread repercussions in the multibillion-dollar college sports industry.

Ohio lawmakers are among the first in the nation to react legislatively to the ruling. The provision's supporters say it clarifies state law and could have little effect.

The Ohio AFL-CIO accuses majority Republicans of trying to "engineer punitive proposals."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ohio prosecutor appealing ruling on GPS tracking
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:28

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A prosecutor said he will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to consider whether police can use GPS devices to track vehicles without a warrant.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien will request an appeal of last week's ruling by a county appeals court that threw out evidence in a burglary case because a detective placed a GPS device on a suspect's car without asking a judge for a warrant, according to The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1oLKQ00 ).

Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Holbrook ruled in February 2013 that some evidence against 22-year-old burglary suspect Montie Sullivan was inadmissible because it violated his constitutional right against illegal searches.

Holbrook relied on a 2012 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that found that placing a GPS device on a vehicle and tracking it constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. That ruling, however, did not address the need for a warrant.

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