Google Agrees to Nearly $400 Million Settlement with 40 States over Location-Tracking Probe

Google agreed to a $391.5 million settlement with 40 states after an investigation found that the tech giant participated in questionable location-tracking practices, state attorneys general announced Monday.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong called it a “historic win for consumers.”

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Ohio Easily Passes Constitutional Amendment to Bar Noncitizens from Voting

Ohio voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a state constitutional amendment, Issue 2, to ban noncitizens from voting.

It was one of many ballot initiatives dealing with election integrity in this year’s elections. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Issue 2 had passed with 77.1% support from Ohioans with more than 92% of the vote counted.

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Ohio Approves Tax Incentives for Honda, LG EV Project

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority officially approved Monday tax credits for a new electric vehicle battery plant in southwest Ohio, even as critics call the deal crony capitalism and believe the money could be better spent.

The incentives were part of three economic development deals given the green light by OTC for projects the state says will create more than 3,000 new jobs and retain more than 8,000 others.

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U.S. Senate Hopeful Tim Ryan Dodges Questions on Abortion Limits

Throughout the 2022 election cycle, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) has refused to answer questions regarding whether there should be restrictions placed on abortions.

This summer Ryan was asked multiple times in an interview if there should be any restrictions on abortions, but he refused to answer the question. Ryan’s shift to the Left on life stands in sharp contrast to his record while in office.

At one time Ryan was an outspoken pro-life member of Congress. In 2009 frequently discussed his pro-life standpoint that included his support of pro-life legislation.

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Advocates Press Lawmakers to Pass Ohio Bill Lifting Statute of Limitations for Rape Cases

A group of parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens are backing a bill in the Ohio legislature that would lift the statute of limitations on rape cases in addition to a bill that aims to provide age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention education to school children.

A group of Ohioans, who call themselves Ohioans for Child Protection, gathered at the Statehouse on October 20th, to urge lawmakers to pass House bills (HB) 266 and 105 into law in the state of Ohio.

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Ohio Officials Hope to Recruit Younger Poll Workers

With the upcoming Midterm election on November 8th, Ohio election officials want young people to register to vote, but they also need them to come and be trained to be poll workers.

According to the Pew Research Center, older people are the primary individuals serving as volunteer poll workers in U.S. elections.

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Board of Elections Reminds Ohio Voters to Bring Identification

Person with mask on at a computer.

As early voting is well underway in Ohio, the Board of Elections reminds voters to bring a form of identification to the polls.

The law in Ohio requires that every voter upon appearing at the polling place to vote on Election Day, must announce his or her full name and current address and provide proof of identity.

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Ohio Secretary of State Warns Voters: Absentee Ballots Cannot Be Returned to Precincts

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose cautions voters that Ohio law does not allow them to return their absentee ballots to their precincts on Election day.

Those who elect to hold onto their paper ballots until November 8th must deliver them to their county board of elections office. According to LaRose, poll workers at precinct-level voting locations cannot accept them.

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Tim Ryan Unsure If Illegal Immigrants Should Be Permitted to Vote in Ohio

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) says that he is still undecided on two major issues on the Ohio midterm ballot, including one deciding if illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote in Ohio elections.

Under two weeks from the midterm election, Ryan says he doesn’t know his standpoint on Ohio’s two ballot initiatives. State Issue 1 if passed would require judges to consider public safety when setting bail amounts for criminal defendants. State Issue 2 would prohibit non-citizens from voting in state and local elections.

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Ohio Scores Fall in Math, Reading for Both Fourth Graders, Eighth Graders

Ohio recorded three-year decreases in scoring across the board for fourth graders and eighth graders in math and reading, respectively, according to a national study released this week.

The Nation’s Report Card, a product of the National Assessment of Educational Progress which began producing the report in 1969, cited an overall trend of decline in the United States. It comes in the COVID-19 era, when schools were closed by governments and students scrambled to learn remotely or get back into classrooms.

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New Baby Box Allows for Safe Surrender of Infants in Northwest Ohio

St. Rita’s Medical Center in collaboration with Safe Haven Baby Boxes will be implementing Ohio’s eighth Safe Haven Baby Box on Wednesday.

The Safe Haven Baby Box is a safe place for an infant to be securely and legally surrendered while maintaining the mother’s anonymity.

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Mandatory Dyslexia Screenings to Begin in Ohio Schools

Starting with the 2023-2024 school year, Ohio students in kindergarten must participate in annual dyslexia screenings aimed at identifying student learning disabilities at an early age.

House Bill (HB) 583, sponsored by State Representatives Adam Bird (R-New Richmond) and Don Jones (R-Freeport), became law on September 23, making changes to the prior dyslexia support law, HB 436.

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New Tool Tracks Ohio’s American Rescue Plan Funds

Ohio has 35 percent remaining of the $5.4 billion that the U.S. Department of the Treasury allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). A new tool is being used to track how the state utilizes the funds.

Advocates for Ohio’s Future, in partnership with the Ohio Poverty Law Center (OPLC), have launched a tool called the Ohio ARPA Tracker. This tracker provides up-to-date, detailed information on how Ohio spends its money.
Advocates for Ohio’s Future in partnership with the Ohio Poverty Law Center (OPLC) have launched a tool called the Ohio ARPA Tracker. This tracker provides up-to-date detailed information on how Ohio’s dollars are being spent.

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Ohio Election Officials Warn Voters to Apply Enough Stamps to Absentee Ballots

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose requires that county boards of elections specify to voters how much postage is required to mail in an absentee ballot. However, the Secretary of State’s office does enumerate that it’s the voter’s responsibility to make sure that the ballot has enough postage required by federal law.

The required postage to return a ballot by mail can differ depending on the number of items on the ballot. The more items to vote for, the longer a ballot will be which means more weight which may require more stamps.

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Early Voting Higher in Ohio than in 2018

More Ohioans have requested absentee ballots and voted early in-person as of the close of business Tuesday than at the same point in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial election, Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced.

“While not a significant increase over the same point in the 2018 election, Ohioans are showing confidence in Ohio’s abundant early voting opportunities,” said LaRose. “Our bipartisan boards of elections have done an incredible job making their early voting centers ready, and lines are short for anyone who wants to make sure their voice is heard.” While combined the number of ballot requests and in-person early voting totals pass the 2018 total 21 days before the election, the jump comes from in-person early voting.

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Northeast Ohio School Districts Add Cameras to Catch Motorists Illegally Passing Buses

School districts in Northeast Ohio are adding cameras to their buses to increase precautions for student safety.

School bus cameras typically attach to the outside of the bus next to the stop sign that swings outward to alert motorists that children are either boarding or unboarding the bus. These cameras encompass two lenses one facing to the back and one to the front of the bus so they can record any motorist who illegally passes. Some buses also have a camera mounted on the inside of the bus to read license plate numbers.

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Ohio Legislative Committee Passes Rule Defining Fetal Heartbeat

An Ohio legislative committee passed a rule on Monday regarding methods to identify a fetal heartbeat despite a court case holding back the abortion ban and Democratic objections.

The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) passed an administration rule from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) known as “appropriate methods for determining presence of fetal heartbeat,” despite the fact that the rule matched language in a previously passed abortion law and that the law is not currently enforceable.

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Ohio Secretary of State Pushes Prosecutions for Illegal Voters

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose referred 75 people to the Ohio attorney general and county prosecutors for additional investigation and potential prosecution based on accusations that they illegally voted during the 2020 general election.

LaRose’s office states that individuals who allegedly voted in one state and then cast an additional vote in Ohio, violating state law, have been identified.

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Ohio Law Enforcement Relaxing Uniform Protocols in a Move to Help with Recruitment Shortage

In an attempt to bring in more recruits, boost morale, and become more relatable to the community, law enforcement departments around the state have begun to relax their uniform protocols.

For several years now law enforcement departments have struggled to recruit, hire, and retain officers. The combination of increases in retirements and resignations, fewer applicants, and negative portrayals of and attitudes toward law enforcement has only increased the difficulty of bringing in new recruits.

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Ohio Law Enforcement Relaxing Uniform Protocols in a Move to Help with Recruitment Shortage

In an attempt to bring in more recruits, boost morale, and become more relatable to the community, law enforcement departments around the state have begun to relax their uniform protocols.

For several years now law enforcement departments have struggled to recruit, hire, and retain officers. The combination of increases in retirements and resignations, fewer applicants, and negative portrayals of and attitudes toward law enforcement has only increased the difficulty of bringing in new recruits.

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Additional Security Protocols Put into Place as Thousands of Ohioans Request Absentee Ballots

As early voting began on Wednesday for the 2022 General Election, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose enumerated an increase in absentee ballot applications to date from prior years and assured Ohioans that security checks are in place to make absentee voting secure against fraud.

According to LaRose, the applications for absentee ballots so far reflect a 4.4 percent increase over the gubernatorial statewide election in 2018. So far Ohioans have requested 812,200 absentee ballots, including 4,938 requests from military and overseas voters whose ballots began to be mailed last month.

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Bishop of Steubenville Diocese Seeks Merger with Columbus Diocese

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville is looking to potentially merge with the Catholic Diocese of Columbus. The merger is being considered for several reasons such as a declining Catholic population in the Steubenville diocese, an aging population of priests and Catholics, and economic struggles in the Ohio Valley.

“It is with sadness of heart that I share with you the continued decline in the Ohio Valley population and how it adversely affects our future sustainability. Furthermore, we are all too aware how the population is aging as well, to our ministerial detriment,” Bishop Jeffrey Monforton of Steubenville said.

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Ohio Will Appeal Hold on ‘Heartbeat Law’

The state will appeal a court’s decision to stop Ohio’s heartbeat law while abortion-rights groups challenge it in state court, Attorney General Dave Yost announced.

As expected, the state filed its notice of appeal of Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Christian Jenkins’ temporary restraining order that stopped the law from going into effect while a lawsuit challenging it continues.

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Ohio Law Enforcement Utilizing New App for Anonymous Tips

Law enforcement around the state has begun implementing a new app to help residents find information about their department, view alerts, and submit anonymous tips from their smartphones.

The app is known as tip411 through CitizenObserver. It allows law enforcement to engage with the public by creating awareness through community alerts, expanding social media, and allowing the public to share anonymous tips and information with law enforcement. Officers are also able to reply back to these tips in real-time in an anonymous two-way conversation.

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Ohio Debate Commission Will Not Hold Any Debates for the Midterm Elections as Candidates Decline to Participate

The Ohio Debate Commission (ODC) intended to hold debates for the U.S. Senate, Governor, and Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court prior to the November 8th midterm election.

However, the candidates have declined to participate resulting in the cancellation of these planned debates.

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Ohio Hospitals Using Robot Pharmacy Dispensers to Minimize Errors

Hospital Pharmacies around the state have begun implementing robots to distribute inpatient medication orders to minimize human error.

The XR2 Automated Central Pharmacy System, manufactured by Omnicell was first introduced in 2017. The 30-foot-long robot is capable of dispensing thousands of inpatient medication orders daily.

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Ohio Fall Festivals to Explore in October

As it is now autumn, Ohio is bustling with fall festivals and activities for the whole family to participate in.

Fall in Ohio is an autumnal wonderland of foliage, festivals, and all things pumpkin no matter what area of the state you are visiting. Outside of classic apple picking, hayrides, and pumpkin patches Ohio is full of unique activities to make the season memorable.

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DEA Seized More than 4 Million Deadly Doses of Fentanyl in Northern Ohio

A four-month-long operation led by federal prosecutors and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) resulted in the seizure of 4,766,788 deadly doses of fentanyl in northern Ohio.

The agencies announced on Tuesday that the operation was part of the nationwide initiative “One Pill Can Kill.”

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Ohio Law Officers Enforce New Law Making Lights Mandatory on Amish Buggies

A new Ohio law HB30 that went into effect at the end of August is requiring Amish buggies and other animal-drawn vehicles to display a new type of high visibility tape and a yellow flashing light when on public streets.

As law enforcement in Northeast Ohio begins to enforce this law they have strived to educate the Amish community about the new requirements.

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Proposed Ohio House Bill Looks to Eliminate ‘Third Grade Reading Guarantee’

House Bill 497 sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Phil Robinson (D- Solon) would eliminate student retention under Ohio’s Third-Grade Reading Guarantee.

Ohio’s Third-Grade Reading Guarantee is a program utilized to identify students who are behind in reading from kindergarten through third grade. Since the 2013-14 school year, third graders must obtain a 685 score or higher on a standardized reading test or they will be held back a grade.

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Ohio House Bill Attempts Regulation of All Non-Licensed Community Midwives

House Bill 496, sponsored by State Representative J. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield), seeks to regulate the practice of certified midwives and certified professional midwives.

“Currently, non-nurse midwives in Ohio are legally prohibited from administering lifesaving pharmaceuticals, despite their extensive training. By licensing midwives, we are allowing midwives the opportunity to legally practice at the top of their scope and provide the safest care possible,” Rep. Koehler told The Ohio Star.

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Ohio Law Enforcement Agencies Add Eyes in the Skies with Drones

Several counties in Ohio are looking to use drones to respond to calls for critical injury, surveillance, security, accident reconstruction and measuring, evidence gathering, and fatal crashes.

Drone Pilot, Helicopter Pilot, and Supervisor of the Traffic Unit, Sargent Steven Poff with Butler County Sheriff’s Office, told The Ohio Star that there is a time and place to use a drone.

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Ohio Senate Bill Looks to Expand Paid Parental Leave for State Employees

A new bill in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 360, aims to increase paid parental leave for state employees.

State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) introduced the bill which would extend paid parental leave for state employees from six weeks to twelve weeks for parents of newborn or adopted children. This bill would also eliminate the waiting period of two- weeks which is required prior to accessing paid parental leave.

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Forbes Selects Three Ohio Cities to Host Flagship Under 30 Summit Events Through 2025

Global Media Company, Forbes, announced Wednesday that Ohio will be the host of the Under 30 Summit from 2023 through 2025.

The annual Summit, presented by JobsOhio will occur in three different Ohio cities over the next three years. It will first be held in Cleveland in 2023 and will then be followed by Cincinnati and Columbus in the following two years.

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Ohio Senate Bill Looks to Address Teacher Shortage by Employing Veterans

A new bill in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 361, aims to address the current teacher shortage by allowing veterans to become teachers without having a background in education provided they pass a particular set of criteria set forth in the bill.

State Senator Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction) sponsored the bill, which allows a veteran to become an educator by completing four years of service, being honorably discharged, or receiving a medical separation.

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Three Ohio School Districts Take Part in Pilot Program to Teach Students About Where Their Food Is Grown

Three local school districts in Ohio are teaching students about where the food they eat at school is grown, as well as adding to the overall menu variety, as part of a pilot program through Feed Our Future’s Local Menu Takeover.

This pilot program started last year in Northeast Ohio, and this year, three Cincinnati school districts have committed to serving only locally sourced meals this week as part of Farm to School Month.

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Ohioans Gather from Across the State to March for Life

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio March for Life – together with the Center for Christian Virtue – held the first of what they hope to be a new tradition of annual gatherings to march for life on the Capitol Square in front of the state House on Wednesday.

“So many people in our lives said that Roe v Wade would never be overturned. Now we have the opportunity to say no more holding us back. The fight in Ohio is just beginning. All of us together using our voices to ensure abortion will no longer happen here in Ohio. We need pro-life, pro-family policies where families flourish and children are protected. We need to be able to say that not only is abortion illegal in Ohio it’s unthinkable. We want to make Ohio the most pro-life state in the nation,” State Representative Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) told the exuberant crowd.

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Ohio Secretary of State Creates Public Integrity Division to Maintain Voter Confidence in State Elections

Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Wednesday the establishment of the Public Integrity Division. The newly-formed office, he said, will be dedicated to maintaining secure, accurate, and accessible elections in the state of Ohio.

“It’s time that we have it. We are consolidating several things that already exist. All of those are existing functions in our office but by putting them all under one roof with trained professionals we can do this work much better,” LaRose told The Ohio Star.

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Popularity Increases for Toy Lending Throughout Ohio Library Systems

Several Ohio public libraries are implementing toy lending where families can use their library cards to check out not only books but also developmental toys and educational materials.

Toys can be expensive to purchase which can be difficult for some parents and it’s hard to know which toys a child will connect with, enjoy, and want to play with over and over again.

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Many School Buses in Northeast Ohio Amass Violations, State Inspectors Report

According to state reports, many Northeast Ohio school district buses are not passing their state inspections.

The Ohio Star viewed numerous reports of state bus inspections from Northeast Ohio school districts from June 2021 through August 2022. These reports update monthly, and the reports obtained only reflect percentages from June 2021 to last month.

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Many School Buses in Northeast Ohio Amass Violations, State Inspectors Report

According to state reports, many Northeast Ohio school district buses are not passing their state inspections.

The Ohio Star viewed numerous reports of state bus inspections from Northeast Ohio school districts from June 2021 through August 2022. These reports update monthly, and the reports obtained only reflect percentages from June 2021 to last month.

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New Ohio Senate Bill Aims to Make ‘Swatting’ a Felony

In response to 8 Ohio schools going into lock down on Friday, due to an internet hoax that sent false reports about active shooters on their campuses, additional support has been gathered for Senator Andrew Brenner’s (R-Delaware) bill (SB292) to stop ‘swatting’ and making fake emergency calls a felony in the state.

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, ‘swatting’ is: to make a false report of an ongoing serious crime in order to elicit a response from law enforcement (such as the dispatch of a SWAT unit)

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Ohio Task Force 1, First Responders, and AEP Deployed for Hurricane Ian Relief

Ohio Task Force 1 along with Ohio First Responders and American Electric Power “AEP” are deployed to Florida for Hurricane Ian relief. Hurricane Ian is anticipated to make landfall between Wednesday and Thursday and preparations are being made.

As a result of Hurricane Ian strengthening to a Category 4, on Saturday morning at 7:00 am the Federal Emergency Management Agency known as “FEMA” deployed Ohio Task Force 1.

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Cities Across Ohio Establish ‘Safe Exchange Zones’ for Internet Trades, Purchases

Cities throughout the state have been responding to safety concerns from residents about online purchases by creating monitored safe zones at police stations for transfers of goods.

There are several online platforms such as online auctions, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace, where buyers and sellers will need to meet in person to make a transaction.

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New Ohio Law Gives All Women Access to Preventive Breast Screening

House Bill (HB) 371 “The Breast Cancer Bill” was signed into law Friday by Governor Mike DeWine. The new legislation brings more access to additional breast cancer screenings for all women throughout the state.

“The bill originally passed the Ohio House with zero opposition testimony, and 89 representatives voting in favor and only two against – a rarity for politics, even in Ohio. With bipartisan support, and unanimous support from Ohio’s medical community, HB 371 is a powerful example of what laws can accomplish,” the bill’s joint sponsor and State Representative Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) said.

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