Julie Carr Smyth

State data reviewed by The Associated Press show eight in 10 unionized government workers in Ohio would pay more toward their health insurance premiums if voters retain a new collective bargaining law in November. Figures from the State Employment Relations Board show state workers and many county and health-district employees already pay more than the 15 percent share required under the law. Unionized township and fire district employees pay the lowest percentages on average, between 2.2 percent and 5.6 percent. They would see the biggest jump in costs.

Columbus, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a liberal policy group's lawsuit challenging certification of a fall ballot measure that seeks to exempt the state from parts of the federal health care overhaul. The court's decision clears the so-called Health Care Freedom Amendment for the Nov. 8 ballot. Progress Ohio had argued that Secretary of State Jon Husted counted petition signatures that should have been rendered invalid on technicalities.

A document obtained by The Associated Press shows Ohio's public colleges and universities have cash reserves nearing $3 billion, a significant chunk of the state's $8 billion budget gap. The sum is at the heart of debate emerging in the Ohio Senate over tuition limits and state aid to higher education. The chamber begins hearings today on a $55 billion, two-year state budget. Senate Finance Chairman Chris Widener questions authorizing tuition increases when universities are sitting on so much cash.

An Ohio man has pleaded guilty to charges that he tried to force his pregnant girlfriend at gunpoint to get an abortion. Dominic Holt-Reid entered his pleas in a Columbus courtroom Thursday to attempted murder, weapons and abduction charges. He was charged under a 1996 fetal homicide law. Police say Holt-Reid pulled a gun Oct. 6 on his girlfriend, Yolanda Burgess, who was three months pregnant, and forced her to drive to an abortion clinic. Burgess did not go through with the procedure but slipped a note to a clinic employee, who called police.

An apparent loophole in legislation creating Ohio Gov. John Kasich's new semi-private job creation board could allow panel members to enjoy job-seeking junkets without having to report the trips to the public.

The bill establishing JobsOhio requires that only "actual expenditures" on travel be reported. That phrasing would seem to exclude plane rides, dinners, and hotel rooms paid for by corporations.

A closely divided Ohio Supreme Court has rejected an effort by a former Republican fundraiser to overturn his conviction in a state investment scandal.

The court on Wednesday declined to hear an appeal by Tom Noe, whose criminal conviction engulfed Ohio Republicans five years ago.

Just three justices made up the majority in the decision. Two justices dissented and two others recused themselves because of having a past relationship with the defendant.

A group fighting November's casino ballot issue is asking a central Ohio prosecutor to determine whether a rival campaign illegally accessed their latest TV spot before it aired.

TruthPAC submitted as evidence a Friday letter from the rival committee's lawyer urging them not to air the ad because it contained false and misleading information. TruthPAC also pointed Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien to public statements by the pro-casino campaign's spokesman acknowledging they got a copy of the ad from Time Warner. Time Warner produced the ad for TruthPAC.

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