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Morning Headlines: Sykes to step down as leader of House minority caucus; Ohio House OKs bill on babies born alive after abortion

A picture of Rep. Emilia Sykes.
SCREENSHOT
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THE OHIO CHANNEL
The leader of the Ohio House's Democratic caucus, Rep. Emilia Sykes, says she's stepping down at the end of the year. Sykes is frequently mentioned as a possible Congressional candidate.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, December 9:

  • Sykes to step down as leader of House minority caucus
  • Ohio House OKs bill on babies born alive after abortion
  • Ohio and neighboring states lead the nation in COVID hospitalizations
  • Stow municipal court judge may face discipline for jailing people who couldn't pay court fines, fees
  • Ohio redistricting fight: Was favoring one party allowed?
  • Lawmakers approve sports gambling bill
  • Ohio gambling revenue breaks record even before end of 2021

Sykes to step down as leader of House minority caucus
(AP) — The leader of the Ohio House's Democratic caucus says she's stepping down at the end of the year. Rep. Emilia Sykes, an Akron Democrat, has held the minority leader position for three years. She is term-limited next year and says she's considering future options, including elected office. Sykes is frequently mentioned as a possible Congressional candidate.

Ohio House OKs bill on babies born alive after abortion
(AP) — Ohio doctors who fail to give medical care in the extremely rare circumstance when a baby is born alive following an abortion attempt would face criminal penalties under legislation that cleared the Republican-run Ohio House Wednesday. The bill also would require physicians to report cases of babies born alive after abortion procedures and bar clinics from working with doctors who teach at state-funded hospitals and medical schools. Abortion rights advocates said the bill threatens the operations of some of Ohio's last remaining clinics. The bill will go back to the Senate for one more vote before heading to Gov. Mike DeWine's desk.

Ohio and neighboring states lead the nation in COVID hospitalizations
(WKSU, Cleveland.com) -- The number of Ohioans hospitalized with COVID continues to rise, with nearly 4,300 patients statewide and 1,100 in the ICU. Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Indiana account for more than half of the recent increase in COVID hospitalizations in the U.S., according to CDC data compiled by Cleveland.com. Combined, the four states have seen a 75% increase in hospitalizations over the past month.

Stow municipal court judge may face discipline for jailing people who couldn't pay court fines, fees
(Ideastream Public Media) -- A Summit County municipal court judge is facing accusations of improperly jailing people who couldn’t pay fines and court fees. The complaint was approved by the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct on Monday. It describes 12 instances, going back as far as 2015, where Stow Municipal Court Judge Kim Hoover improperly put people in jail. In some cases, Hoover is accused of using court fees, as opposed to fines only as required by state law, to determine lengths of incarceration. Hoover is also accused of failing to take into account a person’s ability to pay and advising them of their right to counsel before sending them to jail. Hoover has been a municipal court judge since 1995. He has until Dec. 27 to respond to the charges.

Ohio redistricting fight: Was favoring one party allowed?
(AP) — The shape of Ohio’s state government for the next decade was in the balance, as the Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments on new legislative maps Wednesday. Voter-rights and Democratic groups said the maps are unconstitutional gerrymandered. Republicans' lawyers said avoiding partisan favoritism was not required. Justices can either affirm the maps or send them back to be redrawn. Voters gave the 4-3 Republican court exclusive jurisdiction to settle map disputes. Moderate Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is viewed as a potentially pivotal swing vote. A quick decision is expected, as the 2022 candidate filing deadline is Feb. 2.

Lawmakers approve sports gambling bill
(Statehouse News Bureau) -- A bill that’s on its way to Gov. Mike DeWine would legalize sports gambling in Ohio starting before January 1, 2023. The bill, which adds gambling language to a House bill on veterans ID cards, puts oversight over sports betting with the Ohio Casino Control Commission. It would set up 25 Class A licenses for mobile betting with the first sportsbook contract costing $3 million and the second going for $10 million. 40 Class B licenses would be allowed for brick and mortar betting at casinos and racinos and for professional sports teams, and thousands of Class C licenses for liquor permit holders to have betting kiosks. It would also impose a 10% tax on gaming receipts, with the money going to education.

Ohio gambling revenue breaks record even before end of 2021
(AP) — Before the end of the calendar year, Ohio’s casinos and racinos have already broken revenue records, bringing in $2.11 billion in gambling revenue going into December. Cleveland.com reports revenue rose by $120 million from the previous record set in 2019. In 2020, the state ordered the venues to close entirely between mid-March and June because of the pandemic. That year gambling revenue totaled $1.44 billion. Gambling revenue has risen every year, except in 2020, since casinos opened in Ohio in 2012.

Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. After serving as WKSU's Morning Edition host for a dozen years, she moved to afternoons in March of 2022 to become the local host of All Things Considered. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio's sports scene called The View From Pluto. She also hosts and produces Shuffle, a podcast focusing on Northeast Ohio’s music scene.
Jon joined the station in September 2012 as a producer. He loves all the things he gets to do at the station; from assisting the news department with stories to meeting the interesting guests on Elevations, every day is a new adventure.