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Morning Headlines: Ohio House Passes Heartbeat Bill, Wrongfully-Convicted Men Get $5M Each

Cleveland skyline
Cleveland Skyline

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, November 16:

  • Ohio House passes heartbeat bill;
  • Three wrongfully-convicted Cleveland men get $5 million each;
  • Two men indicted for skimming scheme;
  • Kasich undecided for 2020 presidential run;
  • 150 victims detail sexual abuse by ex-doctor at Ohio State;
  • Support builds for Rep. Fudge to run for House Speaker;
  • State board approves multiple options for high school graduation;

Ohio House passes heartbeat bill
The Ohio House has passed one of the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion measures. The “heartbeat” bill bans abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape, incest or health of the woman. The Ohio legislature passed a similar bill in 2016 that was vetoed by Gov. John Kasich. Kasich instead signed a 20-week abortion ban. This time, the bill did not pass by a veto-proof margin, but if new lawmakers bring it up again once they are seated in January, incoming Gov. Mike DeWine has said he supports the ban.

Three wrongfully-convicted Cleveland men get $5M each
Three East Cleveland men have been awarded $5 million each for spending two decades behind bars for a 1995 murder they didn’t commit. Cleveland.com reports the decision came from a trial that began earlier this week for Eugene Johnson, Derrik Wheatt and Laurese Glover. They were released from prision in 2015 and their cases were dismissed. The city has denied any wrongdoing.

Two men indicted for skimming scheme
Two men have been indicted for stealing information to nearly 5,000 credit card accounts, which have been used in many states including Northeast Ohio. Authorities said the Cuban nationals used skimmers on gas pumps throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other areas between 2016 and June of this year.

Kasich undecided for 2020 presidential run
Gov. John Kasich said while he remains undecided about another presidential run, the midterm election suggests a greater opening for an independent or third-party candidate. Kasich made his second trip this year to New Hampshire, where he finished second in the state's Republican presidential primary in 2016. He told reporters that there is a "vast ocean" of voters in the middle of the two party extremes, who instead of remaining numb, turned out in large numbers in the midterms. Kasich said he doesn't know when he'll decide about another run, but the awaking of that ocean could create a "chance for something that's unique in American history." Kasich has been one of President Donald Trump's most outspoken Republican detractors.

150 victims detail sexual abuse by ex-doctor at Ohio State
A law firm hired by Ohio State University to investigate a former team doctor accused of sexual misconduct against athletes and students hopes to wrap up its fact finding by the end of the year. The investigators told the university's governing board Thursday about 150 former students have given firsthand accounts of alleged sexual misconduct by the now-deceased doctor. The law firm said the allegations against Richard Strauss cover a time from 1979 through 1997. Strauss killed himself in 2005.

Support builds for Rep. Fudge to run for House Speaker
A Massachusetts Democratic congressman is ramping up his opposition to Nancy Pelosi as the next House speaker as Democrats prepare to formally retake the chamber in January. Seth Moulton is instead pushing Cleveland Congresswoman Marcia Fudge for the post. Fudge told reporters colleagues have urged her to run. Pelosi has said she has "overwhelming support" among fellow Democrats to become the next speaker. 

State board approves multiple options for high school graduation
The state school board has approved several graduation options for high school students in the class of 2022 and beyond. But board members said lawmakers need to act on some alternatives for the thousands of students who might not graduate this coming spring. If legislators approve the school board’s recommendation, students could select from tests, final projects, state courses and grade point average in order to graduate, starting in 2022. Tougher standards were supposed to take effect for students graduating this year, but were delayed because thousands were in danger of not meeting them. And lawmakers are considering another short-term fix because up to a third of the class of 2019 may also be unlikely to graduate.

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.