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The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld a county elections board’s decision to reject another ballot measure that would have allowed Youngstown voters to ban the natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing in their city.
   
The Supreme Court agreed with the elections board in a 4-3 decision issued Friday.
   
Youngstown voters have previously voted down a proposed ban on fracking and fracking-related activities six times.
   
The Mahoning County Board of Elections last month rejected an attempt by fracking opponents to get a proposed charter amendment on the ballot this fall.
   
The Vindicator has reported that the board cited a new state law that says elections boards must invalidate initiative petitions if they seek to change laws that fall outside a local government’s authority to enact them.


The Supreme Court is giving car dealerships a second chance to put the brakes on overtime pay for service advisers.

The court has agreed to take up — again — a case involving a California dealership that claims those advisers are similar to salesmen or mechanics, and therefore exempt from overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals disagreed. Last year, the Supreme Court told the appeals court to take another look — but this time, don't defer to a Labor Department rule that service advisers aren't exempt from overtime requirements.

The lower court once again ruled that service advisers are eligible for overtime pay. Now the Supreme Court will get a chance to review that ruling.



Democrats and Republicans are poised for a Supreme Court fight about political line-drawing with the potential to alter the balance of power across a country starkly divided between the two parties.

The big question at the heart of next week's high court clash is whether there can be too much politics in the inherently political task of drawing electoral districts.

The Supreme Court has never struck down a districting plan because it was too political.

The test case comes from Wisconsin, where Democratic voters sued after Republicans drew political maps in 2011 that entrenched their hold on power in a state that is essentially evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. The case will be argued before the nine justices on Tuesday.


A Japanese court has ruled that a utility, not the government, should pay compensation to dozens of former residents of Fukushima for losses to their livelihood caused by meltdowns at a nuclear plant after a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Chiba District Court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Friday to pay a total of 376 million yen ($3.4 million) to most of the 45 plaintiffs who sought compensation over the loss of their livelihoods and communities because of radiation contamination.

The court dismissed the plaintiffs' claim the government should also be held responsible for its failure to enforce tsunami safety measures.

About 30 other compensation suits filed by tens of thousands of former Fukushima residents are still pending.

The wrecked Fukushima plant's decommissioning is expected to take decades.


Wyoming generally favors low taxes and coal-fired electricity but one of its largest utilities will need to pay sales tax on pollution-control chemicals at four power plants in the state, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The justices sided with the state Board of Equalization — the panel that oversees state tax disputes — and against Portland, Oregon-based PacifiCorp.

The case with ties to a previous high court ruling on chemicals used in newspaper printing will likely apply to other power plants in Wyoming but not boost electricity rates for PacifiCorp customers.

"There is no impact to generation costs. The company has been paying the sales tax on these items, so the ruling means simply no change," said PacifiCorp spokesman David Eskelsen.

Board of Equalization officials didn't return messages Thursday seeking comment.

PacifiCorp uses chemicals to remove sulfur dioxide from flue gas at four coal-fired power plants in Wyoming. Wyoming exempts sales tax on ingredients used in manufacturing products.

PacifiCorp claimed the utility shouldn't have to pay sales tax on the chemicals or others used to purify water in the plants' boiler system because it manufactures electricity.

Attorneys for PacifiCorp pointed to a 1980 Wyoming Supreme Court ruling that chemicals used in newspaper printing besides ink were tax-exempt.

The justices on Thursday agreed the utility manufactures electricity — and disagreed with the Board of Equalization on that point. But they pointed out that the Legislature has changed the sales-tax law since 1980.

Under current law, the chemicals used in power plants can't be construed as tax-exempt ingredients used to make electricity, the justices ruled.


The mayor of a southern Indiana city is defending a rental inspection ordinance that’s resulted in thousands of dollars in fines against property owners and is the subject of a lawsuit.

Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall testified during Friday’s daylong hearing in Scott County Circuit Court that the ordinance is needed to ensure safe housing in his Ohio River community.

The News and Tribune reported the Institute for Justice sued the city of Charlestown on behalf of residents in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood.

The nonprofit law firm’s attorneys argued during Friday’s hearing that the city broke Indiana law when it fined property owners without first giving them “reasonable time” to make repairs to return to compliance.

The group wants to block Charlestown officials from enforcing the ordinance.


Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has appointed Twin Falls judge Richard Bevan to the state's highest court.

Otter announced Tuesday that Bevan — currently the 5th Judicial District's administrative judge — will replace retiring Idaho Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann. Bevan was among four other finalists vying for the open seat. Eismann will retire at the end of the month.

Bevan has been a judge since 2003, where he helped establish the 5th District's mental health court and presided over the Veterans Treatment Court. Previously, he was a private practice attorney and served a term as Twin Falls County prosecuting attorney.

Otter praised Bevan's judicial demeanor and understanding of the legal system, adding that Bevan has shown to have open mind on tough, socially significant issues.


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