Morning News and Stuff

Medicaid expansion approved, local LGBT rights champion dies, judge's victory costs county

Ohio Statehouse
Ohio Statehouse

A seven-member legislative board yesterday

accepted federal funding

made available through Obamacare to expand Ohio’s Medicaid program to cover more low-income Ohioans for the next two years. Gov. John Kasich went through the Controlling Board, an obscure panel that typically handles less contentious budget issues, to get the federally funded Medicaid expansion after months of failing to convince his fellow Republicans to back the policy in the Ohio House and Senate. Most Republican state representatives, including local Reps. Lou Terhar, Louis Blessing and Peter Stautberg,

signed a letter

in protest of the tactic, and some groups are already discussing lawsuits. The Health Policy Institute of Ohio

previously found

the expansion would insure between 300,000 and 400,000 Ohioans through fiscal year 2015. If legislators approve the expansion beyond that, the institute says it would generate $1.8 billion for Ohio and insure nearly half a million Ohioans over the next decade.

John Arthur, the Cincinnati man who helped lead a legal battle for same-sex marriage in Ohio,

died today at the age of 48

. Arthur was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2011, and the fatal neurodegenerative disease pushed Arthur and his partner Jim Obergefell to hasten their battle for LGBT equality and recognition in the eyes of the law. After the couple married in Maryland, they sued the state to recognize their marriage on Arthur’s death certificate — a request granted in July by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black, less than one month after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which previously barred same-sex marriages at the federal level.

The 18-month legal battle over the 2010 juvenile court election between Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter and the Hamilton County Board of Elections will cost the county more than $920,000. Hunter, a Democrat, ultimately won the lawsuit and recount. Her 2010 opponent, Republican John Williams, eventually got another seat in the juvenile court through an appointment and subsequent election.

Teen drivers remain one of Ohio’s most at-risk groups for traffic accidents, according to the

Ohio State Highway Patrol

(OSHP). Between 2010 and 2012, teen drivers were at fault for nearly 101,000 accidents resulting in more than 44,000 injuries and 299 deaths. In total, teens were responsible for roughly 10 percent of fatal crashes. To address the issue, OSHP is advising teen drivers and their parents on safety basics, such as following the speed limit and wearing a seatbelt, and promising to encourage better behavior through enforcement.

Speaking to investors on Friday, Caesar’s Entertainment, the operator of Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino,

disclosed the details of a federal money-laundering investigation

and said it previously withdrew a request for a gaming license in Massachusetts after investigators there questioned past business practices. Ohio officials reportedly told WCPO they’re reviewing the investigations.

In September, Cincinnati year-over-year home sales

increased for the 27th consecutive month

.

Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery

removed

a SpongeBob SquarePants headstone for an Iraq War veteran because officials deemed it inappropriate.

The Cincinnati Reds will replace former manager Dusty Baker with pitching coach Bryan Price, reports

The Cincinnati Enquirer

.

A new study

found

no known species matches the expected profile of a shared ancestor for humans and Neanderthals.

Early voting for the 2013 City Council and mayoral elections is now underway. Find your voting location

here

. Normal voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some days are extended.

On Oct. 29, local residents will be able to

give feedback

to Cincinnati officials about the city budget — and also nab some free pizza. The open budgeting event is from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 at

1115 Bates Ave.

, Cincinnati.

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