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Morning Headlines: Senators Attempt to Save GM Lordstown, Ohio Senate to Debate 'Stand Your Ground'

Prayer vigil at the Lordstown plant
Vigil outside the Lordstown GM plant

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, December 4:

  • Senators attempt to save GM Lordstown;
  • Ohio Senate to debate 'stand your ground' bill;
  • OSU football coach Urban Meyer to retire;
  • Wooster residents, city council members oppose proposal to fine the homeless;
  • Abortion-rights, voting-rights groups to descend on Statehouse;
  • Summit County employees get green light for medical marijuana;
  • Youngstown campus lockdown lifted after suspect turns self in;
  • Medical marijuana program prepares to launch;
  • I-76 lanes reopen after crash, East Avenue bridge closed;

Senators attempt to save GM Lordstown
Ohio's two U.S. senators said they'll meet with the head of General Motors this week to discuss what can be done to stop the Lordstown assembly plant from closing. GM announced last week it will stop making the Chevy Cruze there by March and that it's considering closing the plant for good. It's part of a massive restructuring for the automaker. Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown said they'll meet with GM chief executive Mary Barra on Wednesday in Washington. Both senators said they've given the company proposals and want Detroit-based GM to work with them to save the plant near Youngstown. GM has about 1,500 people at its Lordstown operation. It has eliminated two shifts and 3,000 employees there since the beginning of 2017.

Ohio Senate to debate 'stand your ground' bill
A controversial bill that would make it easier for someone to shoot and kill someone in self-defense is one step closer to becoming law. The Ohio Senate is debating the bill this week and could bring it to a vote by weeks’ end. The House passed it last month. The so-called “stand your ground” bill would remove the “duty to retreat” in cases where someone feels threatened. Opponents fear it would make it easier for people to be cleared of wrongdoing in gun deaths. Opponents said the bill would have an especially negative impact on black men who already have a higher gun death rate compared to other races.

OSU football coach Urban Meyer to retire
Ohio State’s head football coach Urban Meyer has announced he's retiring after the Rose Bowl against Washington in January. The 54-year-old Meyer has been dealing with a cyst inside his skull which causes severe headaches. Meyer is 82-9 at in seven seasons at Ohio State. Offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who led the Buckeyes while Meyer was suspended for three games at the start of the season, will take over as head coach. A press conference is scheduled for this afternoon.

Wooster residents, city council members oppose proposal to fine the homeless
Wooster residents and some city council members are speaking out against a proposal to fine homeless people who don't seek shelter. The ordinance would include a $150 fine on first offense and as much as 30 days in jail for repeat offenses. The Wooster Daily Record reports that at last night's council meeting, several members argued the ordinance would be a short-term solution. The ACLU of Ohio has sent a letter to council, and said the plan is unconstitutional and ineffective. Council members in support of the ordinance said it could work with proper funding for agencies to help place people in shelters.

Abortion-rights, voting-rights groups to descend on Statehouse
Abortion-rights supporters are staging a statehouse protest as legislation effectively outlawing the procedure at the first detectable fetal heartbeat advances. The rally today coincides with Ohio Senate hearings on the so-called "heartbeat bill," which could stop abortions are early as six weeks into pregnancy. The House OK'd the measure in November. It's among bills the Republican-controlled Legislature is pushing through its lame duck session despite term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich's opposition. Kasich vetoed a version of the heartbeat bill last session and has said he'll do so again. Kasich also opposes a bill expanding "stand your ground" rights involving guns. Representatives already approved the bill, which is now before senators. Voting-rights organizations are speaking out Tuesday against lawmakers' efforts to toughen requirements to get petition-proposed constitutional amendments onto Ohio's statewide ballot.

Summit County employees get green light for medical marijuana
Summit County Council has unanimously passed an ordinance that allows county employees to use medical marijuana, effective immediately. The Beacon Journal reports employees can’t use it on the job, must show they are registered with the state patient registry and have a recommendation from a doctor. They are ineligible to use medical marijuana if they carry a firearm or have a commercial driver’s license.

Medical marijuana program prepares to launch
Ohio’s medical marijuana program is closer to launching with the opening Monday of the Patient and Caregiver Registry. The registry is the first step in a patient obtaining medical marijuana. Registered doctors can add patients to the registry who then receive an email that allows for the prescribing of the medical cannabis once dispensaries are up and running. Patients must pay $50 to take part in the registry. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy said it is beginning to inspect dispensaries has not said when they will be certified to open.

Youngstown campus lockdown lifted after suspect turns self in
A lockdown was lifted at Youngstown State University hours after police received a report about someone with a gun on campus. Youngstown State officials said a person they were looking for turned himself in Monday and was in custody about two hours after the lockdown began. It's not clear whether the person had a gun earlier in the day. Youngstown police had said there was no active shooter on campus and that the lockdown was a precaution. A hospital and library near the campus were also on lockdown after authorities said they were looking for a person with a gun who was reportedly near a student recreation center.

I-76 lanes reopen after crash, East Avenue bridge closed
A portion of I-76 near Akron was closed for most of the day Monday, as a truck carrying a bulldozer hit the East Avenue bridge, knocking the bulldozer off the trailer. The highway reopened late Monday afternoon, while the bridge is expected to remain closed through this afternoon for repairs. No one was injured.