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Morning Headlines: DeWine Signs $2.2B COVID Relief Bill; Akron Enacts New Law Requiring Prompt Release of Police Video

Gov. DeWine signing a bill into law.
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Gov. Mike DeWine has signed legislation directing about $2.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief to children’s behavioral healthcare, water and sewer infrastructure projects, and local government budgets. The bill he signed Tuesday allocates most of Ohio’s first payout from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, June 30:

  • DeWine signs $2.2B COVID relief bill
  • Akron enacts new law requiring prompt release of police video
  • $100M in aid available to restaurants, bars
  • Former East Cleveland dump operator forced to pay $30M in restitution, penalties
  • Ohio bill would allow communities to block wind, solar projects on private land
  • Cuyahoga BOE prepares voters ahead of special primary
  • Court says Ohio can sue Volkswagen for system tampering
  • New lawsuit: More men were abused by Ohio State doctor

DeWine signs $2.2B COVID relief bill
(AP) - Gov. Mike DeWine has signed legislation directing about $2.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief to children’s behavioral healthcare, water and sewer infrastructure projects, and local government budgets. The bill he signed Tuesday allocates most of Ohio’s first payout from the American Rescue Plan Act. It includes $84 million for pediatric behavioral health initiative, $250 million for water and sewer infrastructure, $422 million for over 2,000 local governments, and roughly $1.5 billion to repay a federal loan that shored up the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund that was needed during the pandemic to pay unemployment benefits. DeWine says paying that back quickly will prevent Ohio businesses from experiencing large increases in their federal unemployment payroll taxes. DeWine called it a “happy day” for the state.

Akron enacts new law requiring prompt release of police video
A new law that requires Akron police to automatically post body cam videos of use-of-force incidents is going into effect. City council passed the new law on Monday that requires the videos be automatically available to the public within seven days at akroncops.org. Last November, more than 80% of Akron voters supported a measure on the ballot that recommended the “prompt release” of police footage.

$100M in aid available to restaurants, bars
Restaurants, bars, breweries, and others can apply for a share of $100 million in state aid. Applications opened Tuesday for the Food and Beverage Establishment Grant Program. Businesses must have at least one location in Ohio operating since 2019 and have experienced at least a 10% reduction in sales/revenue in 2020. Applications are available at BusinessHelp.Ohio.Gov.

Former East Cleveland dump operator forced to pay $30M in restitution, penalties
The former operator of a dump in East Cleveland has been ordered to pay more than $30 million in restitution and penalties. Cleveland.com reports a judge on Tuesday said George Michael Riley and his company Residential Commercial Industrial Services were closely involved in allowing more than 300,000 cubic yards of demolition debris dumped at Arco Recycling from 2014 to 2017. The judge also ordered Riley to pay back the state the $9 million the Ohio EPA awarded to the county to clean up the Arco Recycling site starting in 2017.

Ohio bill would allow communities to block wind, solar projects on private land
Ohio lawmakers have approved legislation that would allow local communities to block development of wind and solar projects on private land. The Columbus Dispatch reports the bill transfers power for approving renewable energy projects from state to local officials. It allows County Commissioners to reject projects or ban renewable development altogether. The renewable bill is in direct contrast to state law that prevents all local control of oil and gas, or fracking operations. Sen. Sandra Williams of Cleveland says the proposed law “picks winners and losers in the energy sector."

Cuyahoga BOE prepares voters ahead of special primary
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is urging residents to check whether their precinct is part of the 11th Congressional District ahead of the Aug. 3 special primary election. The upcoming primary covers more than 500 precincts across the county and more than 420,000 registered voters. Residents can register to vote or update their registration until July 6. Early in-person voting begins July 7, and absentee ballot requests need to be sent by July 31. Thirteen Democratic candidates are running to fill the seat of former Rep. Marcia Fudge, as well as two Republicans. The elections board is also looking for about 600 poll workers.

Court says Ohio can sue Volkswagen for system tampering
(AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that federal law doesn't preclude the state from suing Volkswagen for cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests. At issue before the court was the 2015 scandal in which the automaker was found to have rigged vehicles to beat the tests. The company paid more than $33 billion in fines and settlements. The court ruled 6-1 Tuesday in favor of arguments by the Ohio Attorney General's Office. The decision said federal law doesn't stop Ohio from using its anti-tampering law to sue for damages related to rigged emissions systems installed after a car was sold.

New lawsuit: More men were abused by Ohio State doctor
(AP) — Twenty-nine more men are suing Ohio State University over its failure to stop sexual abuse decades ago by team doctor Richard Strauss, who died in 2005. One plaintiff in the federal lawsuit filed Monday says Strauss abused him during more than 10 medical exams in the 1980s, starting when his high school wrestling team competed on campus, and later while he played football and wrestled for OSU. Another wrestler alleges Strauss fondled him during more than 50 medical visits. Hundreds of alumni have made similar allegations. OSU apologized for not stopping Strauss. It reached nearly $47 million in settlements for 185 plaintiffs. More lawsuits are pending.