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Local senator to run for lt. governor, audit clears JobsOhio, House OKs "stand your ground"

State Sen. Eric Kearney
State Sen. Eric Kearney

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald

selected State Sen. Eric Kearney of Cincinnati as his running mate

for his bid against Gov. John Kasich in 2014. Although Kasich is widely perceived as a favorite as the incumbent, recent polling

found the race is tied

. (The poll was commissioned by Ohio Democrats, but the firm behind it

was deemed the most accurate national pollster of 2012

.)

Republican State Auditor Dave Yost’s

long-awaited audit of JobsOhio

found no substantial conflicts of interests at the privatized development firm established by Gov. Kasich and Republican legislators to replace the public Ohio Department of Development. But the audit found 113 items totaling nearly $69,000 in inadequately documented expenditures financed through the state’s leased liquor profits and insufficient safeguards to identify potential conflicts of interest. In a statement, John Patrick Carney, the Democratic candidate for state auditor running against Yost in 2014, claimed the audit was “a whitewashed attempt that fails to give taxpayers a full accounting of JobsOhio” and touted it as evidence the state auditor’s office needs change. CityBeat previously wrote about criticisms towards JobsOhio in further detail

here

. (Updated at 10:45 a.m.: Rewrote paragraph to add Carney’s comments.)

The Ohio House yesterday

approved sweeping gun legislation

that would impose “stand your ground” rules in the state and automatically recognize concealed-carry licenses from other states. “Stand your ground” rules remove a duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense when a person is in areas in which he’s lawfully allowed; current Ohio law only removes the duty to retreat when a person is in his home or vehicle. The bill is particularly controversial following Trayvon Martin’s death to George Zimmerman in Florida, where a “stand your ground” law exists but supposedly played a minor role in the trial that let Zimmerman go free. The bill now requires approval from the Ohio Senate and Gov. Kasich to become law.

Commentary: “False Equivalency Confuses Streetcar Debate

.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio

says it opposes new early voting limits

that would shorten the in-person early voting period from 35 to 29 days and remove a “golden week” that allows Ohioans to simultaneously register and vote in person. The Ohio Association of Election Officials claims the limits are necessary to establish uniform voting days across all counties without placing too much of a burden on smaller counties. But Democrats claim the limits aim to suppress voters. The Ohio Senate yesterday

cleared the new early voting limits

, which now require approval from the Ohio House and Gov. Kasich to become law.

If property and business owners along the planned streetcar line sue over the cancellation of the $133 million project, legal experts

say they have a very slim chance of winning

. The threat of litigation is one of the potential back-up options discussed by streetcar supporters if Mayor-elect John Cranley and the incoming City Council agree to cancel the project, as CityBeat covered in further detail

here

.

Hamilton County commissioners

agreed to increase the tax return local property owners will get

as part of the deal funding Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park. The deal boosts the rebate to $13 million in 2014, up from $10 million in 2013 but still below the $20.5 million promised to property owners after voters approved a sales tax hike to fund the stadiums. Commissioners estimate property owners will receive nearly $46 for each $100,000 of property value from the boosted rebate, up from $35 this year, but Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes told CityBeat that the exact number is unclear until the tax commissioner approves new tax rates.

College campuses generally struggle with too-frequent cases of sexual assault, but one lawsuit from an alleged victim

is targeting Miami University

for supposed negligence and a breach of the student code of conduct. The female student claims she was raped by former Miami University student Antonio Charles, but she says that multiple red flags could have prevented the alleged incident. Charles was eventually expelled from Miami University for “sexual misconduct” in response to the incident involving the plaintiff, but that was after he was investigated for multiple other accusations related to sexual misconduct. Miami University Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Rebecca Getson defends some of the university administration’s actions regarding sexual assault cases as a strict adherence to protocol and blames some of the public perception on the administration’s lack of awareness about the atmosphere.

Cincinnati’s economy

will grow more slowly than the nation’s economy

next year, according to Cincinnati USA Partnership for Economic Development’s panel of five regional economists.

Al Neyer

plans to build

a $22 million luxury apartment tower in downtown Cincinnati.

Cancer research done on mice might get screwed up by standard laboratory temperatures

.

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