Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, April 2:
- Akron leaders oppose gun bill;
- ACLU joins lawsuit opposing panhandling ordinance;
- 2 million Ohioans join lawsuit over BMV fee;
- Plain Dealer lays off 14 journalists;
- Lawmakers continue negotations on gas-tax increase;
- Removal of Electoral College gains traction in Ohio;
- Akron to hold second parks challenge;
- Akron Council approves entertainment district for old Goodyear HQ;
Akron leaders oppose gun bill
Akron city leaders, officers and lawmakers have supported a resolution to oppose a gun deregulation bill. If passed, the legislation would allow Ohioans to conceal carry a gun without a permit, training or police notification. It would also allow people to conceal deadly weapons and not just handguns. Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Akron State Representatives Emilia Sykes and Tavia Galonski said loosening gun laws could increase violence. The bill also states that drivers who are pulled over don't need to tell an officer they have a gun in their vehicle. The bill has yet to be assigned to a House committee.
ACLU joins lawsuit opposing panhandling ordinance
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has joined a lawsuit asking a federal court to strike down Summit County's panhandling ordinance as unconstitutional. The ordinance limits people's ability to transfer anything from inside a vehicle to anyone outside who's within specified roadside rights of way. The ACLU argues the law unconstitutionally restricts free speech.
2 million Ohioans join lawsuit over BMV fee
Around 2 million Ohioans who paid for driver's license lamination that didn't take place are suing the state. Former Ohio attorney general Marc Dann, now a lawyer in private practice, filed the lawsuit. The suit seeks class-action status and asks the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to repay the $1.50 fee plus interest to anyone wrongly charged, for a total of more than $3 million. The bureau continued charging the fee on driver's licenses and state ID cards after it stopped its laminating services July 2. An outside vendor now produces and mails the licenses and IDs.
Plain Dealer lays off 14 journalists
The Cleveland Plain Dealer laid off 14 journalists on Monday. The Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild, which represents the reporting staff says the laid-off employees collectively represent 475 years of reporting experience. Advance Publications, which owns the Plain Dealer next month is expected to outsource an additional 29 editing and design positions, however three of those staffers will move to the newsroom. In its response, the Guild said the Plain Dealer union had 340 journalists two decades ago, and soon that number will be reduced to 33. The Guild unit, meanwhile, voted over the weekend to extend its contract with The Plain Dealer through February 2021.
Lawmakers continuenegotiations on gas-tax increase
Ohio House and Senate lawmakers are set to continue their efforts to reach a compromise on raising the state gas tax to fix deteriorating roads and bridges. A joint Senate-House committee is scheduled to resume meeting this morning to iron out differences between their plans for the state Department of Transportation budget. Gov. Mike DeWine and House Speaker Larry Householder reached a deal on an 11 cent increase. But Senate lawmakers haven't agreed to that.
Removal of Electoral College gains traction in Ohio
The move to get rid of the Electoral College and award the presidency to the candidate who actually gets the most votes is gaining traction in Ohio. Attorney General Dave Yost has certified a ballot summary for a group to begin the process of collecting petition signatures to put the proposal on the Ohio ballot. Ohio has 18 electoral votes and all of those go to the winner of the popular vote in the state. So far, 13 states have signed onto the national compact to eliminate the Electoral College.
Akron to hold second parks challenge
Akron has opened applications for its second-annual Akron Parks Challenge. City officials will once again ask residents about how to create a more active and vibrant public space in one of Akron's parks. Ideas can be submitted until the end of the month, and two winners will be given $100,000 to fund their proposed changes. Last year, three parks were awarded funding-- Cadillac Triangle Park in West Akron, Chestnut Ridge in Kenmore and Reservoir Park in Goodyear Heights. Winners will be announced in June.
Akron Council approves entertainment district for old Goodyear HQ
Akron City Council has approved a request to turn a portion of the old Goodyear headquarters into an entertainment district. Industrial Reality Group has been developing 80 acres at the site called the East End. The designation means the area can apply for additional liquor permits to bring in more restaraunts and other businesses. Akron currently has two entertainment districts downtown.