Morning Headlines: Biden Says LGBTQ Rights is Top Priority, Cleveland to Regulate Electric Scooters

Jun 3, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, June 3:

  • Biden says LGBTQ rights is top priority;
  • Cleveland to regulate electric scooters;
  • Ohio's Third Frontier fund for tech, start-ups is dwindling;
  • Bill subs community service for fines for Ohio drivers;
  • Ohio Workers' Comp agency to stop paying for painkiller;
  • Death pentaly 'mental illness' bill heads to Ohio House;
  • Columbus-area hospital patient dies from Legionnaire's disease;
  • Cleveland Hopkins adds more flights to southeast U.S.;
  • Four injured in Pepper Pike shooting;
  • Three NEO residents inducted into Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame;

Biden says LGBTQ rights is top priority
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden declared Saturday that the Equality Act would be his top legislative priority, an effort to enshrine LGBTQ protections into the nation's labor and civil rights laws. The former vice president shared his hopes of signing the legislation as part of a keynote address to hundreds of activists at the Human Rights Campaign's annual Ohio dinner on the first day of Pride Month. The Equality Act recently passed the Democratic-run House, but will not become law under President Trump and the Republican Senate.

Cleveland to regulate electric scooters
Cleveland City Council is expected to regulate electric scooters at its last meeting Monday before summer break. The ordinance has been on the agenda since April. Scooters wouldn't be allowed to go faster than 15 mph, and would be prohibited on streets with 35 mph speed limits or higher. Vendors would pay $1 per day for each scooter or bike, which would be used to create bike lanes and other improvements in the city. Nine months ago, the city ordered Bird electric scooters removed from Cleveland streets because of safety concerns.

Ohio's Third Frontier fund for tech, startups is dwindling
An Ohio fund that has provided millions of dollars for technology projects, startups and research is running out of money. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted recently told a group of investors that the $180 million remaining in the Third Frontier fund won't sustain current operations for "much longer." The Greater Cleveland Partnership, a regional economic development organization, has indicated it will advocate for Gov. Mike DeWine's administration and the GOP-led Legislature to keep the Third Frontier program going.

Bill subs community service for fines for Ohio drivers
The Ohio Senate has approved a bipartisan bill that allows drivers with excessive license reinstatement fees to perform community service instead. Cleveland Democratic State Sen. Sandra Williams said the proposal helps local charities and government agencies and helps drivers be on the roads legally. The bill requires courts to document the community service and a reinstatement fee waiver plan. It next goes to the House.

Ohio Workers' Comp agency to stop paying for painkiller
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation said it will no longer pay for a time-release painkiller for newly injured workers and won't cover the drug's cost for those currently receiving benefits starting next year. The agency said it is phasing out coverage for Oxycontin and its generic equivalent, both of which are considered highly addictive and prone to abuse. The agency encourages injured workers to talk with their physicians about switching to other effective drugs and non-medication options for chronic pain treatment.

Death pentaly 'mental illness' bill heads to Ohio House
The Ohio House is considering a bill that would prohibit the executions of defendants if they're found to have had a "serious mental illness" at the time of the offense. The House Criminal Justice Committee approved the measure after rejecting an amendment offered by Rep. Robert Cupp, a Lima Republican, that would have exempted current death row inmates from the ban. Republican Rep. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati said only a few inmates would be eligible. The bill goes now to the full House.

Columbus-area hospital patient dies from Legionnaires' disease
A patient at a Columbus-area hospital has died from Legionnaires' disease, one of seven people diagnosed there with the disease within a month. Mount Carmel Grove City is working with the Ohio Department of Health to test the water and find the source of the bacteria. The hospital is using water bottles instead of tap water in the meantime. Legionnaires' disease is caused by a bacteria that can travel throughout water systems or by water droplets in the air. Symptoms include coughing, muscle aches, headache and fever

Cleveland Hopkins adds more flights to southeast U.S.
Cleveland Hopkins airport has added more options for trips to the southeast coast. Last month, Frontier Airlines started routes from Cleveland to Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Starting this week, Allegiant Air will offer the same route on Thursdays and Sundays and will fly travelers to Norfolk, Virginia starting Friday. United Airlines will offer flights to Charleston each Saturday. All the new flights are expected to be offered through mid-August.

Four injured in Pepper Pike shooting
Four people were injured in a shooting in the Cleveland suburb of Pepper Pike early Sunday. The four were shot at during a social gathering. None of the injuries are life threatening. The police described the victims as young and live in the area. No suspects have been arrested.

Three NEO residents inducted into Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame
Three Northeast Ohioans are among the nine inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. Bill Considine spent nearly 40 years as CEO of Akron Children's Hospital and is serving as emeritus through next year. Genny Reed of Mansfield was a medical consultant who now volunteers at nursing homes. And Larry Hunter of New Franklin founded the Portage Lakes Purple Martin Association, to educate others about how to maintain a healthy bird population. The hall now has 486 members.