Karen Kasler (Ohio Public Radio)

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Two Ohio lawmakers are backing a package of bills they say will help crack down on drug overdoses – especially involving heroin, which state stats show is responsible for nearly half of all overdose deaths.

Karen Kasler/Ohio Public Radio

The largest provider of mental health services in Ohio has become the state’s prison system. And the state is hoping to work with advocates in the mental health community to figure out how to deal with that.

Gary Mohr started in the prison system in 1976. He’s now its director. And Mohr says in those almost 40 years, the growth in the number of inmates coming into the system with mental health issues has shocked him.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

After spending time in the key presidential primary state of New Hampshire, Ohio Gov. John Kasich took more questions about his possible presidential campaign on national TV this weekend.

It comes amid increasing signs that he is serious about running.

On NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday - where 16 years ago Kasich announced he’d formed an exploratory committee to run for president in 1999 – Kasich said he still hadn’t decided, but was weighing his options with two main thoughts in mind.

As Ohio House leaders put forward a budget that they say will help people out of poverty, the directors of the state’s job and family services agencies say they have some answers as to why people need public assistance.

Substance abuse problems, lack of transportation and high school diplomas are the issues that people on welfare or public assistance face.

That’s the conclusion of a survey done by a task force with the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors Association.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Six of the nine Ohioans who were exonerated after being sentenced to death want state lawmakers to consider changes to capital punishment in Ohio.

Joe D’Ambrosio spent 22 years on death row for a Cleveland murder he didn’t commit.

“If it can happen to me, it can happen to you, or your children, or your grandchildren,” D’Ambrosio said.

He and five other exonerated former death row inmates want state lawmakers to seriously consider the 57 recommendations made by an Ohio Supreme Court task force on capital punishment last year.

The controversial bill that would ban abortion after the first detectable fetal heartbeat passed the Ohio House, largely on a party line vote. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports the emotion was no surprise, but one revelation was.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

A new law now allows access to birth records to 400,000 adoptees from around the world who were born in Ohio between 1964 and 1996. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler met a few who traveled from 14 states to gather in Columbus last night, to prepare to be first in line at the Ohio Department of Health on the first day of the new law.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
State of Ohio

Secretary of State Jon Husted has said several times that voter fraud is rare but it exists – and that’s why he says he reviews the voting rolls in Ohio’s 88 counties.

Husted has found hundreds who shouldn’t be registered to vote, and wants the federal government to help him find more.

Some of them are in southwest Ohio.

Husted’s latest review found 145 non-citizens registered to vote, with 27 of them actually casting ballots. This brings the total number of non-citizens registered in Ohio to 436, out of about 7.7 million registered voters.

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.