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Ohio Lawmakers Weigh Bills On Ex-Felons, Exotic Animals

Two identical plans to help ex-felons get jobs are slated for committee hearings this week in both the house and the senate. Felons are currently barred from getting professional licenses for jobs like teacher, plumber, and hearing aid fitter. But these bills would drop the ban on a case-by-case basis. Under another proposal getting committee hearings this week, those convicted of sex crimes would have to pay an extra court cost of $100. The money would be channeled to rape crisis centers across Ohio. Last week, the Ohio Senate  approved the idea of tougher restrictions on the private ownership of lions, tigers, bears and other exotic animals. This week the plan gets hearings in a house committee. Meanwhile, behind the scenes negotiations are expected to continue over election changes republicans enacted last year. Democrats charge the changes amount to voter suppression and they've gathered enough petition signatures to force a November referendum. Republicans have now offered to repeal the law themselves. But Democrats worry the repeal would still allow a key change to remain,an end to in person voting the week-end before election day.