Karen Kasler (Ohio Public Radio)

Karen Kasler/Ohio Public Radio

As electronic cigarettes are becoming more popular, the numbers of medical crises involving the liquid nicotine refills they use are rising dramatically. These emergencies have sparked a bipartisan effort to crack down on the products.

E-cigarettes use containers of liquid nicotine, and some are easy to open, often with screw-on caps.

A national group that pushes for more traffic safety laws says Ohio is among 31 states getting a “caution” or “yellow” rating in its latest annual report.

But Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety says Ohio has only passed seven of 15 laws it considers necessary. President Jackie Gillan said Ohio needs a primary seat belt law and a law requiring helmets for all motorcycle riders, among others.

2015 has all the elements of an exciting year in the state capitol.

2015 is a budget year, and that potentially means battles over priorities. And Gov. John Kasich knows it.

“As executive, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t care if I have to break some china. But that’s not the best way to do things,” Kasich said. “The best way to do things is to get cooperation out of the people you work with.”

There was a lot that happened in the House in the final weeks of the last General Assembly. There were so many committee meetings it was hard to get a quorum sometimes, there were marathon sessions on the floor, and there was the almost-unheard-of failed vote on the Republican-backed abortion measure known as the Heartbeat Bill.

But when Republican House Speaker Bill Batchelder of Medina and Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard of Columbus sat down to talk about the lame duck session, they had different impressions about whether the climate was confrontational or cooperative.

This election year was a relatively slow year for the Ohio legislature as lawmakers spent most of the year campaigning.  That changed in the last few weeks.

Several bills zipped through the lame duck session, but none in a more dramatic fashion than the last minute agreement on a way to change the process of drawing lawmakers’ district boundaries.

There were rumors of the resolution’s success and demise for days.  And after 17 hours of negotiations on the last day the Senate met, at 4 a.m. a vote was taken and it passed with only one "no" vote.  

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