- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 31, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Latest on an annual legislative forum sponsored by The Associated Press(all times local):

2:10 p.m.

Ohio’s state auditor says he’s pushing legislation that would allow a one-time audit of the state’s privatized economic development office.

Republican Auditor David Yost says he’s talked with the Ohio Senate president about the bill allowing the examination of JobsOhio.

Yost called the proposal the right thing to do for Ohio and he plans to lobby lawmakers about it.

Yost is a candidate for attorney general in November. He announced his plan Wednesday at an annual legislative preview forum sponsored by The Associated Press.

Yost said he thinks the audit will show JobsOhio is doing well but has room for improvement.

The announcement comes five years after Yost pursued access to JobsOhio’s private books, clashing with fellow Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik).


This story has been corrected to show that JobsOhio is a privatized economic development office, not an agency.


1:45 p.m.

Ohio’s elections chief is predicting the U.S. Supreme Court will side with the state in a dispute over the pruning of voter rolls.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted) said Wednesday he was surprised the voter roll case ended up with the nation’s high court.

Husted blamed outside groups trying to shape Ohio elections law in the federal courts. He said the issue hasn’t been controversial within the state.

Ohio is among a handful of states that use voters’ inactivity to trigger a process that could lead to their removal from voter rolls. The high court heard a challenge of the system earlier this month.

Husted is a candidate for lieutenant governor in the May primary. He spoke to editors and reporters at an annual forum sponsored by The Associated Press.


11:50 a.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) wants to provide state money for community centers in rural areas to help fight the state’s opioid crisis.

The Republican governor says he’ll ask for the money in his upcoming capital budget. He wants to aim it at places like Boys and Girls clubs that serve children who sometimes have no place else to go.

Kasich says he was moved by a recent visit to rural Pike County and the stories of struggling teens he heard there.

The governor spoke to editors and reporters Wednesday attending an annual legislative preview sponsored by The Associated Press.

He answered a question about another presidential run by saying he doesn’t know what he’ll do at the end of his term.

Kasich called the press an essential American institution.


11 a.m.

The Republican speaker of the Ohio House says he was uncomfortable with offensive remarks made by fellow GOP lawmakers during a top House staffer’s going-away party that made light of recent sexual misconduct scandals and disparaged female lawmakers.

Rep. Clifford Rosenberger says he’s taking responsibility for what happened last week and has apologized on behalf of House Republicans. Rosenberger says he isn’t looking at further discipline against Rep. Bill Seitz, who has apologized for his remarks.

Rosenberger says he’s putting together a bipartisan committee to address concerns about such behavior.

Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof said there might be more consequences for Sen. Matt Huffman, who also made crude remarks involving women at that event. Huffman has also apologized.

The lawmakers spoke Wednesday at an annual Associated Press forum.


10:50 a.m.

The Republican president of the Ohio Senate says he’s cautiously optimistic lawmakers can work out a redistricting plan soon.

Sen. Larry Obhof says that while there are disagreements to how to reach a resolution, everyone is looking at the same goals over all.

Obhof criticized a proposed ballot initiative creating a redistricting plan, saying it would institutionalize gerrymandering derived from preconceived notions based on voting patterns.

Rep. Fred Strahorn, Democratic leader in the House, said fair redistricting would involve districts of linked communities of interest anchored by the district’s most populous county.

A pending legislative proposal would create a 10-year map that requires a three-fifth vote in each chamber and a one-third minority vote to be enacted.

The lawmakers spoke Wednesday at a forum sponsored by The Associated Press.


12:10 a.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) and other statewide officeholders and political party leaders are scheduled for remarks at an annual forum sponsored by The Associated Press.

Democratic and Republican legislative leaders also plan to attend the legislative and elections preview event in downtown Columbus on Wednesday. They will be joined by the state’s auditor and secretary of state.

Leaders representing the state’s Republican and Democratic parties are slated to address Ohio reporters and editors about the upcoming midterm elections. Those elections include races for the Ohio General Assembly, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.

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