Trial date set in Ohio dispute over early voting
Written by ANN SANNER, Associated Press   
Friday, 21 March 2014 13:50

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An August trial date has been set in a dispute over early voting in Ohio that goes back to the last presidential election.

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and Democrats filed a lawsuit in July 2012 against the state's elections chief over an Ohio law that cuts off in-person, early voting for most residents three days before Election Day.

The two sides have been unable to resolve the litigation. This week, a federal court in Columbus set an Aug. 19 trial date.

The law, passed by the General Assembly in 2011, ends in-person voting on the Friday evening before a Tuesday election. But it allows an exception for military and overseas voters to cast a ballot in person until Monday. Democrats claimed that amounted to unequal treatment of voters and said everyone should have the chance to vote on the three days before Election Day.

Greenpeace activists plead not guilty in Ohio
Written by DAN SEWELL, Associated Press   
Friday, 21 March 2014 10:09

CINCINNATI (AP) — Attorneys have entered not guilty pleas for nine Greenpeace activists facing felony charges following a protest at Procter & Gamble Co. headquarters in Cincinnati.

They were arrested March 4 after protesting the consumer products company's use of palm oil from a supplier Greenpeace says is tied to tropical forest destruction. Protesters slipped past security and used ziplines to unfurl giant banners from P&G's two towers.

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted them on burglary and vandalism counts carrying possible sentences of nine-plus years in prison and $20,000 in fines with convictions.

Veteran First Amendment attorney Lou Sirkin Friday joined the activists' defense team. All nine live out of state and are free on $50,000 bonds.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Winkler set May 5 for the next court hearing.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Big businesses fight over Indiana energy program
Written by RICK CALLAHAN, Associated Press   
Friday, 21 March 2014 06:30

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two giant corporations which sell products that save electricity have weighed in to try to rescue an Indiana program designed to promote energy efficiency, pitting them against other big businesses who want Gov. Mike Pence to kill it.


Honeywell and Ingersoll Rand, which both have operations in Indiana, warned in a joint statement this week that it would "set the state back years," if Pence signs legislation passed by the Republican-dominated legislature to halt the program called Energizing Indiana at year's end.

Ingersoll Rand sells energy-saving heating and air conditioning systems while Honeywell makes products that help industrial motors power up and down more efficiently. Both benefit from rebates under the Indiana program.

Those rebates and other incentives are financed through fees utility customers pay. The Indiana Manufacturers Association, which represents some 1,400 companies, including big steelmakers such as ArcelorMittal and Nucor Steel, lobbied to kill the program. The industry group said the program has increased its members' electricity bills by 1 to 3 percent.

Ohio unemployment rate in February was 6.5 percent
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 21 March 2014 09:39

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent last month, the lowest rate in nearly six years, according to numbers released Friday by the state.

The seasonally adjusted rate was down from 6.9 percent in January and 7.1 percent in December, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The rate is the lowest since June 2008, when it began trending upward as the Great Recession took hold. It also dipped below the national rate, which was 6.7 percent in February. That was up from 6.6 percent in January but well below the 7.7 percent national rate in February 2013.

The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in February was 377,000, down 18,000 from 395,000 in January. The number of unemployed has decreased by 44,000 in the past 12 months.

Ohio judge dismisses lawsuit against police
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 21 March 2014 06:21

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A judge in central Ohio cited procedural problems in dismissing a wrongful-death lawsuit against two police officers involved in the 2011 fatal shooting of a suspect.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Stephen McIntosh ruled this week that the two-year statute of limitations had expired on the complaint because of procedural errors by the attorneys for dead suspect's estate.

The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/NzrABK ) reports that the attorney for Obbie Shepard's estate says he will appeal the judge's decision.

The Columbus officers had chased the 21-year-old Shepard on foot after responding to a report of a stolen bicycle. One of the officers told investigators that he shot Shepard between two houses after Shepard reached into his waistband.

Officers found a handgun in a backyard along the path Shepard had run.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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

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