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Around Ohio for Aug. 21, 2016

Published: August 21, 2016 12:00 AM

Backers seek

second look at

drug-price ruling

Columbus -- Backers of a proposal aimed at controlling prescription drug prices are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider requiring their issue to be re-submitted to the Legislature after adequate signatures are collected.

Supporters of the Drug Price Relief Act, who include the California-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, say the requirement imposed in a ruling Aug. 16 would be unconstitutional and result in "extreme prejudice." Their proposal aims to keep state entities from buying drugs at prices higher than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays.

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They asked Aug. 17 for the issue to bypass lawmakers and go straight back to voters once enough names are collected.

Justices ruled election officials erroneously counted 10,303 signatures submitted last year, leaving backers short by 5,044 valid signatures. Backers have until Aug. 25 to resubmit new signatures.

-- Associated Press

Committee studies


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Columbus -- A new committee of state lawmakers has been tapped to review Ohio's unemployment compensation system.

Legislative leaders announced the joint panel of senators and representatives on Aug. 15. They say its members will see whether the jobless benefits system for workers is sustainable and determine if any solvency issues should be addressed.

Senate President Keith Faber and House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger say the group will emphasize getting input from labor groups, businesses and Ohio's workforce. They say the committee will help craft legislation to be considered this fall.

The panel of six appointed Republicans and two appointed Democrats is being co-chaired by two Republicans, Sen. Bob Peterson of Washington Court House and Rep. Kirk Schuring of Canton.

-- Associated Press

200 endangered


to be released

Toledo -- More than 200 eastern hellbenders will be released into Ohio streams in an ongoing effort to offset a decline in the endangered aquatic salamander.

The Toledo Zoo will participate in releasing the endangered salamanders into Ohio River and Muskingum River drainages next week as part of the Ohio Hellbender Partnership. Hellbenders are native to the state. But they are endangered in Ohio primarily because they are very susceptible to pollution, siltation and general disturbance of their stream-bed habitat.

The Blade in Toledo reports that the zoo hatches hellbender eggs collected from the wild and raises the young until they are large enough to avoid most predators.

Surveys of hellbenders in the late 1980s and again in the late 2000s showed an estimated population decline of 82 percent.

-- Associated Press

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