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Published: Wednesday, 5/30/2001

Taft signs bill giving $500 scholarships


COLUMBUS - Governor Taft yesterday signed into law a bill guaranteeing for the last time scholarships of $500 to Ohio high school seniors who passed all five parts of the 12th grade proficiency test in March.

The General Assembly is expected to do away with the 12th grade test as part of its general overhaul of proficiency tests. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Stephen Buehrer (R., Delta), appropriates $17.5 million to cover the state's scholarship promise one more time.

“Promises were made and should be kept ... ,” said Mr. Buehrer, who was joined at the bill signing ceremony by administrators and students from Bryan, Defiance, and Wauseon high schools.

“Parents know that $500 can make a real difference in a student's first year in college,” he said.

Mr. Taft signed into law a bill that will define in Ohio law exactly what constitutes a vote on a punch-card ballot.

Rep. Tom Lendrum, a Norwalk Republican, introduced the bill in response to Florida's problems in last year's presidential election. The bill was backed by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, the state's chief elections officer.

The bill specifies that no punch ballot shall be counted if a chad is fastened by three or four corners. Chads connected to the ballot by one or two corners will constitute a vote.

The bill also authorizes the counting of absentee ballots sent from overseas military bases, even if they do not carry a postmark, as long as they are received at a board of elections during the appropriate time.

Mr. Lendrum's bill becomes law in 90 days.

Meanwhile, a bill that would drop Social Security numbers from vehicle registrations is on going to the governor. The House added its approval yesterday.

The House voted 98-0 for the bill, which the Senate had already passed.

The legislation is designed to protect car owners if their registrations are lost or stolen or their vehicles stolen or broken into, Rep. Rex Damschroder, a Fremont Republican, said.

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