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Morning Headlines: New state legislative district maps ruled unconstitutional again; Cuyahoga County outlines $27M in COVID relief spending

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New maps for state House and Senate districts have once again been ruled unconstitutionally gerrymandered by the Ohio Supreme Court. In a 4-3 ruling, the court rejected the third attempt at legislative maps, which gave Republicans 54% of the seats in the House and Senate.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, March 17:

  • New state legislative district maps ruled unconstitutional again
  • Cuyahoga County outlines $27M in COVID relief spending
  • Summit County gets $2.4M to provide rent and utility assistance
  • Family of Canton man sues police officer who shot him
  • St. Patrick’s Day parade returns to Cleveland

New state legislative district maps ruled unconstitutional again
(Statehouse News Bureau) -- New maps for state House and Senate districts have once again been ruled unconstitutionally gerrymandered by the Ohio Supreme Court. In a 4-3 ruling, the court rejected the third attempt at legislative maps, which gave Republicans 54% of the seats in the House and Senate. Opponents had argued the number of competitive districts still disproportionately impacts Democratic seats. The majority opinion says Democrats on the commission had no input and that the process was even more one-sided than in previous map attempts. But in a strongly worded dissent, Republicans Sharon Kennedy and Pat DeWine wrote the decision means “electoral chaos.” Now the concern is what to do about the May 3 primary, since elections officials had said a rejection of these maps or of the congressional map, which is still being reviewed, would make a full primary impossible.

Cuyahoga County outlines $27M in COVID relief spending
(Ideastream Public Media) -- County Executive Armond Budish and county council members have outlined plans for spending $27 million in federal stimulus funds. This first portion of the $240 million the county will receive will go toward cleaning up vacant brownfields, cybersecurity and technology upgrades, and manufacturing workforce development programs, among other uses. More announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

Summit County gets $2.4M to provide rent and utility assistance
(WKSU) -- Summit County’s program that provides financial help for residents having trouble paying their rent or utility bills due to the pandemic is getting a boost. Spokeswoman Greta Johnson says the county is getting another $2.4 million in federal support to continue a partnership with United Way of Summit and Medina and other community groups to distribute the funds. Johnson says the effort called Summit County Cares was able to help some 7,000 families with the earlier funding.

Family of Canton man sues police officer who shot him
(WKSU) -- The family of a Canton man killed by police on New Year’s Eve has filed a federal lawsuit over the shooting. Attorney Blaise Meeker, representing the family of James Williams, accuses officer Robert Huber of acting recklessly and unnecessarily using deadly force after Williams fired an assault rifle into the air to celebrate the new year. The family is also asking Canton police to return Huber to paid leave until a state investigation into the shooting is completed.

St. Patrick’s Day parade returns to Cleveland
(Ideastream Public Media, Cleveland.com) -- After a two-year coronavirus hiatus, the St. Patrick's Day Parade returns to downtown Cleveland Thursday at 1 p.m. The parade route runs west on Superior Avenue starting at East 18th Street and ending at Public Square. Meanwhile, the city says it will use federal and local police agencies to fill the gaps for its bomb squad. Six members of the squad resigned late last month, citing safety concerns with their new supervisor. Cleveland.com reports that members of the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and officers from two regional police task forces will work to keep the parade and other events safe.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.
Jon Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.