Morning Headlines: Jury holds pharmacies responsible for role in opioid crisis; state troopers to get 1,500 new body cameras
Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, November 24:
- Jury holds pharmacies responsible for role in opioid crisis
- State troopers to get 1,500 new body cameras
- COVID cases, hospitalizations remain high
- Ohio holiday shoppers are expected to spend more this year
- DeWine defends new Ohio Congressional map in wake of lawsuit
Jury holds pharmacies responsible for role in opioid crisis
(AP, Cleveland.com) — A federal jury says CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart pharmacies didn’t do enough to stop the flow of opioid pills into Lake and Trumbull counties in Northeast Ohio. The verdict Tuesday could set the tone for U.S. city and county governments that want to hold pharmacies accountable for their roles in the opioid crisis. Cleveland U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster will determine the amount the companies must pay the counties. Cleveland.com reports he's expected to host a weeklong hearing in the spring about how much the communities should receive. Spokespeople for CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart say the companies will appeal the verdict.
State troopers to get 1,500 new body cameras
(AP) — Over the next six months, Ohio will join a growing number of states whose highway troopers are equipped with body cameras. The $15 million program includes distribution and installation of 1,550 new body cameras, as well as 1,221 in-car systems that will synchronize the new cameras with existing dashboard and rear-seat cameras in use by Ohio troopers for 20 years. They will be distributed in batches through May 2022. The push comes as police body cameras have become increasingly common nationally.
COVID cases, hospitalizations remain high
(WKSU, Statehouse News Bureau) -- COVID cases remain high across Ohio heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. Tuesday saw more than 6,100 new cases. Hospitalizations are also up significantly with 3,300 COVID patients statewide, 900 of them are in the ICU. Ohio Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said COVID spread is “exceptionally high” in Northwest Ohio, which has the highest case rate at 742 cases per 100,000 residents. He suggests people limit the number of guests for Thanksgiving, especially if they’re not vaccinated, and try cracking a window to increase airflow. Meanwhile, Ohio attorney general Dave Yost has announced he’s signing onto a lawsuit by more than a dozen states against a COVID vaccine requirement by Medicaid and Medicare for health care workers.
Ohio holiday shoppers are expected to spend more this year
(Statehouse News Bureau) -- Ohioans are expected to spend more than $31 billion this holiday season, up 7.3% from last year. The forecast from researchers hired by the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants shows Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati will capture more than half of Ohio’s holiday spending, but the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center says there will be growth in all nine metro areas of Ohio. Director of Research Christopher Nicak says higher wages are part of the predicted $2 billion in relevant retail spending growth over the last year, and higher prices are a part of it too. Ohio Council of Retail Merchants President and CEO Gordon Gough says workforce and supply chain issues are a big concern – but Nicak suggests e-commerce could be a reliable substitution for in-store shopping.
DeWine defends new Ohio Congressional map in wake of lawsuit
(Statehouse News Bureau) -- Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday said the new Ohio congressional map he signed into law over the weekend is the best option out of the proposals offered by state lawmakers. DeWine backed up that claim by listing what he sees as positives of the map, which included keeping most of Ohio's largest cities whole, keeping the Mahoning Valley in the same district, and only splitting 12 counties. He added that there are more competitive districts than the other proposals and the current district map. DeWine said most people define "competitive" as districts under a 10% margin of Republican and Democratic voters. But anti-gerrymandering advocates argue the map creates 12 out of 15 districts that either heavily favor or lean in favor of Republicans. And of those "competitive" districts, only one leans in favor of Democrats. The National Redistricting Action Fund, an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, filed a challenge in the Ohio Supreme Court saying the new map violates the reforms placed in the Ohio Constitution by voters in 2018.