Morning Headlines: Budget Awaits DeWine's Signature, Lawmakers Fail to Approve Nuclear Bailout Plan

Jul 18, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for July 18, 2019:

  • Budget awaits DeWine's signature;
  • Lawmakers fail to approve nuclear bailout plan;
  • Bill sent to DeWine includes decriminalizing hemp, CBD oil;
  • State attorney general urges FDA to place restrictions on false CBD advertisements;
  • Akron gives green light to start merging departments;
  • Ohio reports first measles case in two years;
  • KeyBank sues Indiana company for fraud;
  • Heat-related alerts in effect for Northeast Ohio;

Budget awaits DeWine's signature
Wednesday afternoon, Ohio's General Assembly approved a two-year, $69.8 billion state budget and sent it to Gov. Mike DeWine's desk. But DeWine has yet to issue any line-item vetoes or sign the budget deal, leaving the state technically without a budget plan. The Dispatch reports a spokesperson said it could be sometime in the "early morning" Thursday before DeWine signs the plan that includes a 4% state income tax cut, new high school graduation requirements and an increased age limit of 21 to buy tobacco or vaping products. According to the Dispatch, DeWine's Press Secretary Dan Tierney said the budget deal will be effective Thursday, with appropriations and state government will open as usual. Ohio has been operating this month under a temporary budget since the Republican-led Legislature missed the original deadline for the first time since 2009. Updates to come. 

Lawmakers fail to approve nuclear bailout plan
State lawmakers fell one vote short of approving a plan to bailout Ohio’s two nuclear plants. Cleveland.com reports four “yes” votes in the Ohio House were absent from the final vote that would have given lawmakers the 50 vote majority to send the bill to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature. House Speaker Larry Householder said three house members, Democrats Joe Miller of Amherst, John Patterson of Ashtabula County and Republican Sara Carruthers of Hamilton, were absent. Republican Steve Arndt had retired and did not vote. The bill would have given the two nuclear plants $150 million a year by adding a new fee onto electricity bills. FirstEnergy Solutions said it needs a financial lifeline to keep open its nuclear plants near Toledo and Cleveland. Householder said the House could try another vote August 1.

Bill sent to DeWine includes decriminalizing hemp, CBD oil
The state general assembly has voted to decriminalize hemp and CBD oil and sent the bill to Gov. Mike DeWine for approval. Cleveland.com reports that the bill takes the industrial crop hemp off the list of Schedule 1 drugs that includes marijuana. Hemp was last grown in Ohio in the 1950s. Hemp products, rope, clothing and other materials including CBD oil would be legal under the bill. The bill passed with a clause that lets it go into effect immediately after the governor signs it instead of the usual 90 days. Cleveland.com reports that's to allow Ohio farmers to have a crop ready for harvest next spring. In 2018, federal lawmaker’s decriminalized hemp.

State attorney general urges FDA to place restrictions on false CBD advertisements
Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost has joined 37 other state attorneys general in urging the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to help protect consumers from false advertising in cannabis-derived products, including CBD oil. In a release, Yost said the CBD industry has boomed in the last six months with little oversight. He urged the FDA to study risks and benefits of CBD and hemp products and cooperate with state governments to crack down on misleading advertising or unsubstantiated claims. Last year, the federal Farm Bill removed hemp and CBD products from a list of Schedule 1 drugs banned under the Controlled Substances Act. In Ohio, legislators approved a similar bill. It’s been sent to Gov. Mike DeWine for approval.

Akron gives green light to start merging departments
Akron leaders are moving ahead with a plan merge several departments to help economic and community development projects progress more quickly. They’ve approved merging the planning, economic development and recreation departments into a new Office of Integrated Development led by deputy mayor James Hardy. The new office will oversee new business development and entrepreneurship, land use and zoning, recreation and public space, downtown development and city real estate. A Knight Foundation grant covered the cost of a consultant who guided the change.

Ohio reports first measles case in two years
Ohio has its first case of measles in two years. The Canton Repository reports that a young adult in Stark County returned from a trip overseas with the disease. Health officials are not releasing other information about the individual. It’s the first case in the state since 2017. Ohio had a major measles outbreak in 2014 with nearly 400 cases. Officials are recommending vaccinations. Measles is common in countries including Israel, Thailand, Japan, Ukraine and the Philippines.

KeyBank sues Indiana company for fraud
KeyBank of Cleveland is suing an Indiana company for fraud totaling up to $220 million. Cleveland.com reports KeyBank accuses Interlogic Outsourcing Inc. of depositing millions of dollars in bad checks and then requested wire transfers against those checks. The civil suit was filed in federal court in Cleveland July 9. KeyBank has done business with Interlogic — a payroll processor — since 2008.

Heat-related alerts in effect for Northeast Ohio
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, NOACA, is warning of possible high ozone levels as a heatwave rolls through Northeast Ohio. The National Weather Service has issued an air quality alert through midnight Thursday in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit Counties. The elderly, those with breathing difficulties and children are most at risk. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 90s Thursday with a heat index over 100.  An excessive heat advisory will be in effect Friday through Saturday.