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Around Ohio for Sept. 11, 2016

Published: September 11, 2016 12:00 AM

Group submits

paperwork for issue to prohibit abortion

Columbus -- A group has submitted the initial paperwork to the attorney general's office to amend the state constitution to criminalize abortions.

The initiative petition for the amendment would "prohibit abortion of all unborn human beings, without exception" and classify the procedure as "aggravated murder."

The proposed amendment would not affect "genuine contraception that acts solely by preventing the creation of a new human being," "human 'eggs' or oocytes prior to the beginning of the life of a new human being" or reproductive technologies or procedures "that respect the right to life of newly creating human beings."

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Three individuals submitted the amendment to Attorney General Mike DeWine late last week. That office will review the amendment language, and local elections officials will check petition signature.

If certified by the attorney general and OK'd by the state Ballot Board, backers would have to collect 305,000-plus valid signatures to place the issue before voters.

-- Marc Kovac, Capital Bureau

Ohio pays off debt, saves businesses from tax penalties

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Columbus -- Ohio paid off the remaining $271 million on its recession-era debt to the federal government last week, a move officials say will save employers hundreds of millions of dollars in tax penalties.

The debt came from a loan needed to cover benefits to jobless workers and was paid off prior to last week's deadline to avoid additional interest payments from the state, The Columbus Dispatch reported. It also means the state dodged another tax hike on the state's businesses ahead of a November deadline.

The payoff will help employers, who have been paying higher federal unemployment taxes under a mandatory repayment system. Employers will save about $351 million next year, said Bruce Madson, assistant director of the state Department of Job and Family Services.

Under the repayment system, businesses in the state have paid higher unemployment taxes since 2012 to pay down the loan's principal, and the state has paid interest on it. The debt reached $3.4 billion at one point.

-- Associated Press

4 teens flee

treatment center,

attack employees

Canton -- Authorities in Northeast Ohio say an employee at a treatment center for juveniles had his neck fractured when he and a colleague were beaten as four teenagers escaped the facility.

The Repository reports the boys who fled the secured residential facility near Canton on Sept. 4 were caught nearby by law enforcement within a couple of hours. They're expected to face charges related to the assault and escape.

The 59-year-old assistant supervisor who suffered the neck fracture says he and his co-worker were attacked as they conducted a nighttime check of two wings of the facility.

The head of the juvenile system that oversees the center says it will review what happened and how, but no immediate changes are being made because of the incident.

-- Associated Press

City asks to close backlogged lead poisoning cases

Cleveland -- Officials reviewing Cleveland's backlog of unresolved lead poisoning cases have asked the Ohio Department of Health to close more than 1,100 of them, a move the city says shows progress in its effort to fix its troubled lead poisoning program.

If the state agrees to the request, it would no longer hold Cleveland responsible for finding guardians of children poisoned in those cases and ensuring the contaminated homes are fixed, The Plain Dealer reported .

The request to close 1,162 cases -- more than one-third of the total cases -- was sent last week and is the first of its kind in the months city officials have spent working through them. The cases arose from 2003 to 2013.

Lead hazards have been fixed in about one-third of the cases that Cleveland wants closed. Another third involve homes that were inspected but not cleaned up. In the rest of the cases, the homes weren't inspected because the city never found the parents or guardians of the poisoned children.

-- Associated Press

Analysis shows 21-year-olds most ticketed drivers

Cleveland -- A newspaper investigation has found that 21-year-olds received the most traffic citations out of any age group in Ohio, despite not being the most licensed drivers.

The analysis by The Plain Dealer of more than 612,000 traffic tickets from the Ohio State Highway Patrol in 2015 shows troopers wrote nearly 23,000 citations last year to 21-year-olds.

Male drivers accounted for 70 percent of those tickets.

The analysis found that drivers in their 20s accounted for 196,456-- or nearly a third --of tickets written by troopers. Drivers age 21 to 25 were in the most fatal accidents-- 193 --last year, according to the state Department of Public Safety. At nearly 66,000, they also had the most crashes that damaged property.

There are 125,567 licensed drivers who are 21-years-old in Ohio. With almost 160,000 licensed drivers, 58-year-olds are the most registered group of drivers of any age in the state, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Those drivers received 70 percent fewer tickets than 21-year-olds.

According to state patrol records, more than 80 percent of ticketed drivers live in the state.

-- Associated Press

Two Ohio Supreme Court justices hear last oral arguments

Columbus -- Two Ohio Supreme Court justices have heard oral arguments from that bench for the last time as they head toward retirement due to mandatory age limits.

The court ended its oral arguments for the year on Aug. 31 so Paul Pfeifer and Judith Lanzinger can help resolve undecided cases, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The pair of Republicans are expected to stay on the court until the end of the year. They must then leave due to the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70. Two new justices will be elected in November.

Pfeifer, 73, has served since 1993 and is the court's oldest member. He said he plans to tend to the cattle on his farm.

"I need that," Pfeifer said.

Lanzinger, 70, has served on the state's high court since 2005. She said she plans to teach or serve as a judge by assignment.

Alternatively, she said with a laugh, she might "sing in a bar."

-- Associated Press

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