Ohio news briefs

Kasich wants to see unity

COLUMBUS (AP) — Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he wants to see unity, healing and leadership this presidential election cycle.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Kasich told guests at the Ohio Republican Party’s annual state dinner on Saturday that he did not know how the election would go or what his plans would be.

Kasich was the last candidate in Donald Trump’s path to the GOP presidential nomination when he left the race last month, largely for lack of financial support.

At the GOP dinner in downtown Columbus, Kasich told guests to remember “we are Americans in this country before we are Republicans and Democrats.”

Kasich also urged attendees to take responsibility and be accountable for the country’s future. He told them not to wait for somebody else.

Rep. seeks to force vote on act

COLUMBUS — A state lawmaker has made a procedural move that could force a vote during this fall’s lame duck session on a proposal to allow Ohio churches and pastors to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

The Columbus Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1RMPFP50 ) state Rep. Paul Zeltwanger pulled a discharge petition on the last day of session before summer break. It is intended to force the so-called Pastor Protection Act out of committee and onto the chamber floor.

Fifty House members need to sign the document for it to be successful, a goal that’s rarely met.

The bill says no clergy could be required to solemnize a marriage or have their church property used to host a ceremony that’s against their religious beliefs.

Opponents say state and U.S. constitutions already protect religious freedom.

Hate crime reporting sporadic

COLUMBUS — An investigation by The Associated Press has identified more than 16 percent of police agencies in Ohio that have not filed a single hate crime report to the FBI in past six years.

Ohio’s numbers fall in line with national statistics. The AP investigation showed more than 2,700 city police and county sheriff’s departments have not filed a single hate crime report with the FBI during those years. That’s about 17 percent. Other agencies have reported them only sporadically.

Advocates worry that the lack of a comprehensive annual accounting allows society to overlook the extent of racism and other bias at a time of heightened racial, religious and ethnic tensions.

In Ohio, 136 of the state’s 843 local law enforcement agencies haven’t filed a hate crime report.

19 apply for utility commission seat

COLUMBUS — Nineteen people have applied for the open seat on the Ohio commission that regulates utilities, and the appointment will be up to the governor.

The Columbus Dispatch reports a Republican state legislator, a longtime administrative law judge and an attorney who argues cases before the commission are among the applicants.

A nominating commission will review the applications and interview some of the candidates before recommending a list of four finalists to Republican Gov. John Kasich. The governor can then appoint one of the finalists to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio or ask for a new list.

The commission appointments must be confirmed by the state Senate.

The opening was created when Andre Porter, a Republican who was chairman, resigned and left the state for a new job.