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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Morning Headlines: OH Senate Backs Permanent Daylight Savings; Trump Aims to Appeal to Black Voters

Photo of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
LYDIA TAYLOR
/
WKSU
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Feb. 27:

  • Ohio Senate pushes for permanent daylight savings;
  • Trump aims to appeal to Ohio black voters;
  • Judge strikes down policies preventing teenagers of immigrants to get license;
  • Settlement will save many Dominion Energy Ohio customers money;
  • 2 Cuyahoga County jail guards sentenced for inmate beating;
  • Court: Not paying child support can block adoption protest;
  • Hearing set to discuss environmental impact of proposed Lordstown battery plant;
  • Lordstown Motors has its first customer;
  • Trump nominates Cuyahoga County judge for Cleveland's federal bench;
  • Former CSU basketball coach sues school for $1M;

Ohio Senate pushes for permanent daylight savings
The Ohio Senate has approved a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to put the country permanently on daylight saving time. Resolution sponsor Sen. Kristina Roegner is a Republican from Hudson. She called the twice-yearly switch between standard and daylight saving time “government-induced biannual jetlag.” The resolution is one of several bills and resolutions approved by state legislatures calling on Congress to pass its Sunshine Protection Act of 2019. U.S. lawmakers have introduced bills to make the change, and even President Donald Trump has tweeted that he's in favor of the idea.

Trump aims to appeal to Ohio black voters
President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is working to appeal to black voters by opening community centers in 15 key cities, including Cleveland and Columbus. Cleveland.com reports they'll serve as headquarters for the group Black Voices for Trump. Trump won just 8% of black voters in Ohio and nationally in 2016. It's not yet known where or when the centers will open in Ohio. Other states involved are Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Judge strikes down policies preventing teenagers of immigrants to get license
A federal judge has struck down two Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle policies that prevented teenagers of immigrants and refugees from getting driver’s licenses. The BMV policy required a parent or guardian to prove their lawful immigration status to co-sign for their kids seeking a driver’s license. Most of the teenagers at issue were born in the U.S. and are citizens. A lawsuit also said the BMV unlawfully refused to accept certain documentation from refugees. Ohio U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. ruled against the BMV in both policies. Immigration advocates filed the lawsuit in 2018 and says more than 4,000 people are affected.

Settlement will save many Dominion Energy Ohio customers money
A settlement will change how Dominion Energy Ohio customers are charged for natural gas, resulting in lower prices for many. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio settlement makes Dominion’s Standard Choice Offer (SCO) the default plan for customers. It’s a monthly rate determined by a state-approved formula that’s been keeping prices low. The company will drop its Monthly Variable Rate (MVR) option. Customers often ended up in that plan if they returned to Dominion after shopping for their own supplier. The unregulated rotating list of suppliers often led to soaring prices. 

2 Cuyahoga County jail guards sentenced for inmate beating
Two corrections officers at a troubled county jail in Cleveland have been sentenced for beating a mentally ill inmate strapped to a restraint chair. Nicholas Evans, 35, was sentenced to nine months in prison and Timothy Dugan, 50, to 10 days in jail. They both previously pleaded guilty to charges connected to the beating of Terrence Debose in 2019. Both Cuyahoga County corrections officers apologized to Debose and are expected to resign. A prosecutor said Debose was in the midst of a mental-health crisis when the men beat him.

Court: Not paying child support can block adoption protest
A divided Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a parent loses the ability to protest a child's adoption by failing to support the child as required by law or a judge's order. At issue was a man's refusal to allow his ex-wife's new husband to adopt their child. The new husband argued the man could not protest the adoption because he paid only $200 in the year preceding that request. Records show the man was required to pay $85 a week. The court agreed that because the man violated the child support requirements, he could not protest the adoption.

Hearing set to discuss environmental impact of proposed Lordstown battery plant
The public is invited to a hearing next month on the environmental impact of a proposed vehicle battery plant in Lordstown. Mahoning Matters reports that the Ohio EPA and The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are seeking input on the 66 acres of wetlands that will be impacted by the project. General Motors (GM) and its Korean partner LG Chem are proposing a $2.3 billion facility on property near the former GM assembly plant, employing around 1,100 people. The plan includes the creation of 130 acres of wetlands in the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area. The meeting is March 12at Lordstown High School.

Lordstown Motors has its first customer
The new company building electric pickup trucks at the former General Motors plant in Lordstown has its first customer. Lordstown Motors said Akron-based FirstEnergy has ordered 250 of the company’s Endurance electric pickups for its vehicle fleet. The startup motor company is retrofitting the 6-million-square-foot former GM plant to make commercial electric pickups for delivery later this year.

Trump nominates Cuyahoga County judge to Cleveland's federal bench
President Trump has nominated a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge to fill a slot on Cleveland's federal bench. Judge J. Philip Calabrese, 48, of Shaker Heights is recommended to fill the slot of Judge Christopher Boyko, who took senior status last month. Calabrese has earned support from Ohio senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, which could help him earn U.S. Senate confirmation. Trump also nominated U.S. Magistrate Judge James Knepp of Toledo to also be a federal judge in Cleveland. Federal courts are usually the deciding factor for partisan issues like abortion and voting rights.

Former CSU basketball coach sues school for $1M
A former Cleveland State University men's basketball coach is suing the school for $1 million after he was fired in July. Dennis Felton’s lawsuit argues there were false allegations in his termination letter, including that Felton's assistant coach asked a player for $25,000, sought students who didn't mean NCAA academic standards and had players with low GPAs the last semester he coached. Felton says the allegations were a way for the university to avoid paying him the last three years of his contract. The school, which is represented by the state, has denied the claims. A trial is set for the end of this year.