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Ruling allows Ohio to move ahead with prisons sale


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A judge has denied a request from a liberal policy group to block Ohio from selling its prisons, but he has agreed to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the law that permits the sales.

ProgressOhio and several prison employees had filed suit last week to challenge Gov. John Kasich's plan to privatize five state prisons.

The Wednesday ruling in Franklin County comes a day before the state plans to announce the company or companies that have been awarded contracts to buy and operate the sites.

ProgressOhio Executive Director Brian Rothenberg says the judge's ruling is "just one act in a long journey." A hearing on the constitutional matter is scheduled for Sept. 13.

Rothenberg has said the suit is intended to preserve jobs and protect prison safety.