Morning Headlines: DeWine Signs ‘Stand Your Ground’ Gun Bill; Newly-Elected Ohio Senate President Tests Positive for Virus
Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, January 5:
- DeWine signs ‘stand your ground’ gun bill
- Newly-elected Ohio senate president tests positive for virus
- COVID-19 cases dip Monday, hospitalizations rise
- GOP Sen. Portman says he won’t support challenge to Biden presidency
- Akron council rejects utility shut-off moratorium in favor of aid
DeWine signs ‘stand your ground’ gun bill
Gov. Mike DeWine has signed into law a gun rights bill eliminating an individual's duty to retreat before using force. The measure expands the so-called “stand your ground” right from an individual’s house and car to any place a person lawfully has the right to be. The Republican governor's decision followed months of his declaring that any new gun legislation should include his own proposals for toughening background checks and boosting penalties for felons committing new crimes with guns. The governor has pushed these measures since the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton that killed nine and wounded more than two dozen.
Newly-elected Ohio senate president tests positive for virus
The newly elected Ohio Senate president was sworn into office from his home after contracting COVID-19 over the holidays. Senate President Matt Huffman says he experienced mild symptoms before the new year and is doing well. Huffman, a Republican from Lima, joins a list of more than a dozen Ohio lawmakers who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began in March. Meanwhile, state lawmakers selected Republican Bob Cupp to continue serving as Speaker of the Ohio House. Cupp was first voted to the post last year after Speaker Larry Householder was ousted following his arrest on bribery charges.
COVID-19 cases dip Monday, hospitalizations rise
Ohio on Monday added around 5,900 new COVID-19 cases, fewer than average. There were 67 more deaths and hospitalizations nearly doubled from Sunday with 314 new admissions. However, overall, the Ohio Hospital Association says hospitalizations are down 17% from Dec. 15. Meanwhile, the state says a total of nearly 163,000 vaccine doses have been administered despite over 500,000 vaccines having been shipped to Ohio. Cleveland.com reports Cuyahoga County leads the state with nearly 18,000 vaccines administered so far.
GOP Sen. Portman says he won’t support challenge to Biden presidency
Ohio Republicans are weighing in on the upcoming vote this week to certify the 2020 presidential election. Senator Rob Portman says he will not side with some fellow Republicans who intend to challenge Wednesday’s electoral vote. Portman said Monday that he “cannot support allowing Congress to thwart the will of the voters.” Nearly a dozen GOP Senators have pledged to block approval of the election results if Congress does not launch an investigation based on President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. Some House Republicans are also promising to block the vote. Ohio 4th District’s Jim Jordan is leading the House GOP effort. He’s joined by Congressman Bob Gibbs of Ashland who, in a statement, said that Congress needs to examine Trump’s allegations of fraud.
Akron council rejects utility shut-off moratorium in favor of aid
Akron city council members on Monday voted down a moratorium on water shut-offs and opted instead to allocate federal funding to help residents pay their bills during the pandemic. The moratorium would have avoided disconnections through March 1. But some council members argued it's a temporary fix that will only cause residents' utility bills to continue to grow. Instead, council set aside $250,000 in federal CARES Act funding that residents can apply for. Cleveland.com reports the city has reported about 2 300 water shut-offs since August, when a statewide moratorium expired.