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Pot to fraud: Nuggets of news from Statehouse



Published: Sat, May 25, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

COLUMBUS

Another medical marijuana initiative has been cleared for petition activity, paving the way for organizers to gain the 385,000-plus signatures they’ll need to qualify for the general election.

It’s the third proposed constitutional amendment on the issue reviewed by the attorney general and state ballot board to date, though there’s little indication that the previous two were making much headway.

The latest was offered by the Ohio Rights Group and proposes the legalization of marijuana use in treating debilitating medical conditions, including “glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, cancer and Crohn’s disease.”

Eligible residents would be allowed to “grow, process, distribute, transport, purchase or sell therapeutic cannabis,” according to the proposed amendment.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture would determine eligibility for producers and sellers, and users would not be allowed to drive while under the influence. Also, a new Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control would ensure statewide compliance.

BONUSES FOR VETERANS

Ohio military men and women who served during the Persian Gulf conflict from Aug. 2, 1990, through early March 3, 1991, have until the end of the year to claim voter-approved bonus payments, according to the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.

Deadline for Iraqi War vets who served from March 19, 2003, through Dec. 31, 2011, is the end of 2014. Information is available online at www.dvs.ohio.gov.

FOOD BANK AID, ALCOHOL WARING

Gov. John Kasich signed a new executive order this week providing an additional $1.57 million in funding through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for summer food distribution to needy youngsters.

The funds will go to food banks around the state to provide food for youngsters who will be away from subsidized meals in school.

Also, last week, the Ohio Department of Public Safety saw fit to warn parents about allowing underage high schoolers to consume alcohol at graduation parties.

Simply put, parents cannot provide alcohol to children younger than 21, and they can’t allow minors to consumer in their homes. Those caught doing so could face six months in jail or $1,000 fines.

2014 statewide races shape up

A third Democrat confirmed her intentions to seek statewide office last week. Rep. Connie Pillich, from the Cincinnati area, hopes to challenge Treasurer Josh Mandel.

She joins Ed FitzGerald and David Pepper, who have declared their candidacies for governor and attorney general, respectively.

That leaves state Sen. Nina Turner and state Rep. John Carney to make declarations of their own.

Turner wasn’t offering anything definitive when asked in a Statehouse hallway last week about whether she was ready to announce her expected run against Secretary of State Jon Husted.

“It’s coming, stay tuned,” she said.

Carney, expected challenger of Auditor Dave Yost, continued to hammer on JobsOhio and the need for greater public scrutiny of the private nonprofit created by Kasich.

TOLL OF VOTER FRAUD

A total of 135 cases of potential voter fraud during the 2011 presidential election have been referred to law enforcement for possible prosecution, Husted announced last week as part of a final report detailing such issues.

The list included 20 individuals who were registered to vote in Ohio and another state and who cast ballots in November.

“This report demonstrates that voter fraud does exist; but it is not an epidemic,” Husted said in a released statement.

Republicans often cite voter fraud when attempting to move photo identification requirements and other election-related law changes.

But Democrats had a slightly different take on the results.

“I hope this process shows the secretary’s fellow Republicans in the legislature that there is no need to revive the photo ID bill that died last general assembly,” Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Democrat from Kent and frequent critic of Husted’s handling of election matters, said in a released statement.

Marc Kovac is The Vindicator’s Statehouse correspondent. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.


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