Morning Headlines: Ohio Stockpiling Nearly 500K Vaccine Doses; Ohio GOP Lawmakers Drop Plan to Change Redistricting Deadlines
Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, May 6:
- Ohio stockpiling nearly 500K vaccine doses
- Ohio GOP lawmakers drop plan to change redistricting deadlines
- State health director signs new orders
- Semiconductor shortage affecting automakers
- Ohio public school board votes to drop mask mandate
- 13 Democrats file for 11th District Congressional special election
Ohio stockpiling nearly 500K vaccine doses
Ohio is asking federal authorities to bank nearly half-a-million vaccine doses as demand begins to slow. The Columbus Dispatch reports the move follows a directive from President Joe Biden’s administration that states can choose to reduce their vaccine allocation and redistribute supplies to states and programs with more demand. Ohio’s doses will be held for new providers as the focus switches to vaccine clinics at doctors' offices, businesses, and schools.
Ohio GOP lawmakers drop plan to change redistricting deadlines
Ohio Republican legislative leaders have scrapped plans to ask voters to approve extending the deadline for redrawing state political maps because of pandemic-related delays in the 2020 census. Republican Senate President Matt Huffman said action would have been required by Wednesday, but a lack of support from Democratic leaders in the Senate and House made the strategy unworkable. Senate Democratic Leader Kenny Yuko and House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes have said they would prefer to go directly to the Ohio Supreme Court to ask for an extension. The first deadlines for drawing state legislative districts in Ohio fall in September. The deadline for a new Congressional district map is in November.
State health director signs new orders
The Ohio Department of Health director has signed some new orders dealing with the care of older Ohioans. One order reopens senior daycares and senior centers, and another amends testing requirements for staff at residential care facilities and nursing homes. Now, fully vaccinated staff will not have to get regular coronavirus tests but those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID will still continue to take those tests twice a week. Gov. Mike DeWine previewed those orders earlier this week, and said anyone living or working at those facilities who hasn’t yet received the shots will be given another opportunity.
Semiconductor shortage affecting automakers
Automakers are facing a critical shortage of a small but key component of new vehicles. There’s a worldwide shortage of semiconductors that are used to make computer systems that are the brains of modern cars. Ford says it expects the worst of the crisis to hit this quarter. The Detroit News reports that the Ford Assembly plant in Avon Lake will slow production over the next two weeks, and halt production for the final week of May due to the shortage. It’s one of seven Ford plants across the US with scheduled slow-downs.
Ohio public school board votes to drop mask mandate
The Board of Education for a southwest Ohio school district has voted to defy the state’s mask mandate. The Blanchester Public Schools’ board in rural Clinton County has voted that its students and staff can immediately go without masks when they are outdoors or on buses, as long as the windows are opened a little bit. But on June 1, they’ll become the first Ohio district to decide that students and staff can quit wearing masks indoors. It’s unclear what the state can or will do in response to the decision.
13 Democrats file for 11th District Congressional special election
Thirteen Democrats have filed to run to replace former Cleveland-area Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who is now HUD secretary. Wednesday was the filing deadline for the special election primary August 3. Included on the list are former state lawmakers John Barnes, Shirley Smith, and Nina Turner, along with current and former Cleveland and Cuyahoga County council members. The county board of elections will certify the list of final candidates on May 25.