Karen Kasler (Ohio Public Radio)

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.  

2014 brought several big cases to the Republican-dominated Ohio Supreme Court, which delivered opinions that surprised some observers.

The Ohio Supreme Court ended the year by deciding one of the highest-profile cases of the year – ruling 4-3 that traffic camera programs are constitutional, and specifically that Toledo can allow appeals to go through an administrative hearing process and not municipal court. But Republican Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati, the sponsor of a bill to regulate traffic cameras, says the ruling is basically moot.

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

Republican Bill Seitz of Cincinnati has long crusaded against red light and speed cameras.

His bill to ban them outright passed the House and Senate in 2006 – only to be vetoed by Republican Gov. Bob Taft in his last days in office, with the reasoning that a statewide prohibition on the installation of those cameras by cities violated the principle of home rule.

There’s never been a better time to start a company in Ohio – especially a technology company. That’s the bottom line of a study done for VentureOhio, a group of venture capitalists. But VentureOhio chairman John McIlwraith of Allos Ventures of Cincinnati says there’s a problem with funding start-up entrepreneurs in Ohio.

“There’s about $520 million in need and about $260 million in capital available, and that capital is going to be deployed not just in Ohio but throughout the Midwest and potentially across the country,"  says McIlwraith.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Temperatures are soaring, and so too are road salt prices.

It may seem odd to think about snow and ice right now but transportation departments are buying now for the winter. They're finding steep prices.

Hamilton County Engineer Ted Hubbard says the county paid $45 per ton last year. This year the county is paying $104 per ton.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

After weeks of bad headlines, low poll numbers and disappointing fundraising, there’s a major shakeup rattling the campaign of the Democratic candidate for governor.

Ohiohistorycentral.org

For 160 years, Ohio has had a public school system. Now, an appointed panel of lawmakers, former public officials and well-connected experts are examining how the Ohio constitution can resolve the debate over how to pay for it. The group is called the Constitutional Modernization Commission.  It could dramatically change language dealing with public education.

The state ended the first half of the two-year budget in the black – in a big way. State budget director Tim Keen says the fiscal year ended with an $800 million surplus:

"We were able to close the year with tax receipts coming in modestly above estimate, about one percent above estimate; and spending, led by Medicaid spending, below the appropriated levels."

The US Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case was a win for those who objected to the federal health care law’s requirement that the company offer insurance that covers contraceptives for women – and that includes Ohio’s Attorney General.

Mike DeWine is an avowed opponent of the Affordable Care Act and wrote a brief that was signed by Republican Attorneys General from 19 other states. DeWine said though it was a narrow decision, it was a significant one:

Gov. John Kasich has signed the controversial bill freezing Ohio's alternative energy standards for two years – becoming the first state in the country to pull back on green energy mandates.

Pages