Government & Politics

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New RTA CEO Introduces Herself To Riders At Tower City

12 minutes ago

As riders slid their fare cards and bustled through the turnstiles at Tower City Tuesday morning, a new face in town gave out "Hellos" and "Good mornings."

The new Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority CEO India Birdsong was there to introduce herself to RTA commuters.

RTA announced earlier this summer that Birdsong would take over as its CEO. Monday was her first day on the job.

gun and bullets
KIATTIPONG / SHUTTERSTOCK

State lawmakers are back in action holding more hearings on gun regulation bills. And Gov. Mike DeWine is still pushing for his proposals. But Congress has yet to show an interest in moving gun issues on the federal level, with provisions getting blocked in the Senate. 

The standoff is over background checks. The U.S. House has passed a bill to close loopholes but the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate has refused to move on the issue so far.

Gaming Floor of JACK Casino in Cleveland
Karen Kasler

Ohio lawmakers have introduced bills to legalize sports betting. But Ohio’s universities don’t want to be dealt in on those bills or any others that involve expanded gambling.

The President of the Inter-University Council of Ohio, Bruce Johnson, says leaders of state universities want college sports excluded from sports betting. 

“People who run athletics departments across the state feel very strongly that student athletes don’t need to be confronted with additional challenge of having gambling right down the street on their athletic events.”

Veteran journalist Cokie Roberts, who joined an upstart NPR in 1978 and left an indelible imprint on the growing network with her coverage of Washington politics before later going to ABC News, has died. She was 75.

Roberts died Tuesday due to complications from breast cancer, according to a family statement.

Cuyahoga County is facing yet another lawsuit because of the county jail with an inmate alleging he was the victim of retaliation for speaking with U.S. Marshals, including threats against his life.

Ashlie Case Sletvold of the Chandra Law Firm is representing Corrionne Lawrence in a lawsuit alleging several instances of abuse last fall.

photo of cash
SHUTTERSTOCK

Ohio is getting a great deal when it borrows money these days. The Office of Budget and Management reports the state received the lowest rate on financing on record.

When Ohio issued $300 million dollars in bonds to finance school construction, Budget and Management Director Kim Murnieks said the state received a 20-year financing rate of 2.35% - its lowest ever.

“Well, Ohio has a stable credit rating and we are seen as a good investment and here in Ohio, I think we have a reputation for always paying our debts," Murnieks said.

a photo of flooding on a highway
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION / FACEBOOK

Flooding victims in Wayne and surrounding counties will have access to federal help when the Small Business Administration opens an office in the Wooster Red Cross Tuesday. In late July heavy rain damaged homes and businesses in and around Wooster.

The SBA will be taking applications for low-interest loans for two weeks. Public Affairs Specialist Carl Dombek says the loans aren’t limited to businesses.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor talked about maintaining public trust in the judiciary, supporting sentencing reform, and keeping dockets moving with apps, texting and technology.

a photo of Otterbein University
OTTERBEIN UNIVERSITY

The Democratic National Committee will host its next presidential debate near Columbus.

Otterbein University in Westerville will host CNN's presentation of the fourth Democratic Presidential Primary Debate on October 15, and the next night if needed. Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper said the suburban Columbus city is a great location for this event. “The biggest shift in Ohio politics is that suburbs like Westerville that used to be Republican have become Democrat or toss up,” Pepper said.

Ohio Attorney General David Yost adresses members of the press during a press conference on a sting operation, "Operation Fourth and Goal," on human trafficking. Ohio Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio. Friday, Sep. 13, 2019.
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A three-day, multi-agency, undercover human trafficking sting in Central Ohio has resulted in 104 people being arrested.  This sting is just the latest in statewide efforts to combat human trafficking.

Attorney General Dave Yost says 30 police agencies worked together in this sting, an operation called “Fourth and Goal.” Fifty-three of 104 arrests were for felonies, and 26 arrests involved crimes against children. 

Perry nuclear power plant seen from the south
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

The well-funded group fighting to keep the nuclear power plant bailout in place is paying people to follow the opposition. One of these "monitors" has even been accused of assaulting a petitioner. The group says their goal is to--politely--educate the voters.

Generation Now has been playing pro-nuclear bailout ads for most of this year, pushing for an agenda that closely aligns with FirstEnergy Solutions, which owns the two nuclear power plants.

a photo of Lance Mason
LISA RYAN / WCPN

A retired Stark County judge sentenced Lance Mason to life in prison today.

Mason is a former Cuyahoga County judge who assaulted and fatally stabbed his ex-wife, Aisha Fraser, late last year. Mason had previously pleaded guilty to the murder and other charges.

Updated 4:41 p.m. Sept. 9, 2019

The City of Cleveland on Friday released the full video of Mayor Frank Jackson's interview with Cleveland.com in response to a records request from the news outlet. The city also released a full version of a preamble Jackson recorded to introduce the interview. Both videos have been combined below:

Ring Video Doorbell in box
Carter Adams / WKSU

A Northeast Ohio police department is part of a nationwide partnership with Amazon that uses a doorbell security system for surveillance.

Rocky River is the first police department in the region to use Amazon’s Ring video doorbell system, which allows residents to send videos of suspicious activity through an app called Neighbors.

Amazon hopes the app will create a safer environment, but critics are concerned about the risks of becoming a surveillance society.

Execution Bed.
Statehouse News Bureau

A federal appeals court says an execution set for next May can go forward, because the condemned killer didn’t prove his claim that the state’s three-drug execution method is unconstitutional.

Attorneys for Wayne Keith Henness argued the mixture creates the sensation of waterboarding. But the 6thCircuit Court of Appeals said they didn’t prove that.

ROB PORTMAN
WKSU

Senator Rob Portman is lobbying for the passage of “the new NAFTA,” The trade deal negotiated by the Trump administration between the US, Mexico and Canada, known as the U.S.M.C.A.

The agreement has been awaiting congressional consideration. Portman says the deal will help the US economy.

“and U.S.M.C.A. is better for the ag (agricultural) community, better for our workers, better for industry, better for the auto industry,” senator Portman said. 

Portman says the new agreement will unify working standards for auto workers in each of the three countries.

photo of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

With congress back in session, Republicans say they are ready to pass the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says he expects to reach a deal with House Democrats this month on modifications to the U.S.M.C.A.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown introduced Lighthizer and supported his nomination. But Brown says the current deal isn’t strong enough at enforcing labor standards.

Backers of the women in leadership positions resolution, including Democratic Rep. Allison Russo (center),  Republican Rep. Sara Carruthers (back far right) and Democratic Rep. Thomas West (back right)  at the Ohio Statehouse.
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

In 2016, women represented more than 44% of the labor force in Ohio but just slightly more than 20% of the seats on boards of Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in Ohio. Some Ohio lawmakers want to change that and  are proposing a resolution they think will help.

State Rep. Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton) credits Ohio’s top leader for creating more gender equity. “Gov. DeWine has more women in his cabinet than any prior governor,” she said.

a photo of Barberton mayor William Judge
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

For the third time, William B. Judge faced a challenger in the Democratic primary for Barberton mayor. And for the third time, Judge has prevailed. This time, though, the margin of victory was narrower than it has been in the past. 

In the September 2015 primary Judge captured 77% of the vote, easily defeating John Lysenko. In the September 2011 mayoral primary, Judge beat Bob Genet with 54% support.  

a photo of the flier
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A group fighting to protect the state law bailing out nuclear power plants is plastering the state with fliers. The mailings urge people not to sign a petition that would put a rejection of the bailout before voters, connecting the referendum effort to Chinese government interests.

These fliers are popping up in mailboxes everywhere. A bold Chinese flag draped over a fading American flag, with the message "Don't Give The Chinese Government Your Information."

a photo of Chris Stock
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A new patient advocate is being appointed to Ohio’s medical marijuana advisory board. House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) removed Bob Bridges from that post last week. But Householder’s newly appointed advocate has ties to the business side of the issue.

Senator Rob Portman at the Ohio Statehouse
Statehouse News Bureau

Senator Rob Portman is speaking out in favor of background checks and red flag laws to prevent gun violence. But he says that the senate will only act on a measure it knows the president will support.

Portman says he has conferred with senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

A federal red flag law would allow police to obtain a court order to confiscate guns from potentially dangerous people.

Portman said such intervention would have been appropriate in the case of the mass shooting in Dayton early last month.

Police officers who killed the gunman responsible for a mass shooting in the Oregon District last month were honored in a White House ceremony on Monday.

At the event, President Trump praised the six police officers, saying they displayed “nerves of steel” during the attack that left nine people dead and dozens more injured. The officers shot and killed the gunman before he could enter Ned Peppers bar, less than 30 seconds after the  attack began.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley joined a group of Congressional Democrats in Washington Monday to lobby for tighter gun regulations. The group that included Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is calling for passage of a bill to expand background checks for gun purchases.

The bipartisan proposal known as H.R.8 would expand background checks to cover private firearm sales.

Mayor Whaley urged the Senate to bring the House bill to a vote.

a photo of people waiting to recieve medical marijuana at a dispensary.
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

An advocate for patients in Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program says he thinks more needs to be done to better serve patients.

And he thinks he’s being retaliated against for speaking out about those concerns.

Bob Bridges was removed as patient representative on the Ohio Medical Marijuana advisory committee panel by House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford).

“I was not a yes man or a yes person.”

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