Morning Headlines: DeWine Signs Budget with 25 Vetoes, Cooling Centers Open Amid Heat Wave

Jul 19, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, July 19:

  • DeWine signs budget, vetoes 25 provisions;
  • Cooling centers extend hours amid heat wave;
  • Cuyahoga jail releases inmate by mistake;
  • Ryan qualifies for another Democratic debate;
  • DeWine gets more help for counties affected by severe weather;
  • Ohio drug distributor charged in conspiracy case;
  • Affordable housing, homeless program receives boost in funds;

DeWine signs budget, vetoes 25 provisions
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has signed Ohio's next state budget but vetoed 25 provisions, including elements affecting health care and education. The nearly $70 billion, two-year spending plan cuts personal income taxes by 4%, directs $550 million for educational wraparound services such as mental health counseling, and schedules the 2020 primary election on St. Patrick's Day. It also raises the minimum age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21. DeWine vetoed a grandfather clause that would have exempted people who are 18 to 20 as of Oct. 1. He also vetoed provisions intended to direct more money to fast-growing school districts and change how Medicaid pharmacy benefits are administered. DeWine said Ohio still can pursue having just one Medicaid pharmacy benefits manager but that the budget language was too restrictive.

Cooling centers extend hours amid heat wave
Akron announced it is extending hours at four cooling centers ahead of the heat wave expected to hit Ohio. The Mayor’s office said Lawton Street, Mason Park, Patterson Park and Summit Lake Community Centers will be open from 8:30 a.m. Friday to 9 p.m. Saturday. Cities around Ohio are canceling outdoor events and opening up cooling centers to give residents relief from the heat. Cleveland is opening eight of its recreation centers so that people will have a cool place to stay. In Portage County, libraries in Kent, Ravenna, Aurora, Streetsboro, Garrettsville, Randolph and Windham are designated as cooling centers for residents.

Cuyahoga jail releases inmate by mistake
For the third time in nearly as many months, the Cuyahoga County Jail has released an inmate by mistake. Cleveland.com reports that on Saturday the jail released suspected burglar Tyrieon Harris who was being held in lieu of bond. County officials are not commenting on the matter. Another inmate, an accused bank robber, was mistakenly released in April, and last month a paperwork error led to the release of a man accused of murder.

Ryan qualifies for another Democratic debate
Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan has been invited to another debate on the national stage in his run for the Democratic Presidential nomination. CNN announced it is splitting debates into back-to-back nights in Detroit.  On July 30, the Youngstown-area congressman will share the stage with nine other candidates including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. In the second round of debates July 31; the spotlight will be on former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris. Earlier this week, Ryan’s campaign announced it had raised nearly $890,000 between April and June. That falls far behind other Democratic presidential hopefuls.

DeWine gets more help for counties affected by severe weather
Gov. Mike DeWine said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will help four counties and the state cover some of the costs from responding to tornadoes and severe storms this spring. DeWine said FEMA has opened its Public Assistance program to the state of Ohio and to Columbiana, Greene, Mercer and Montgomery counties. Local governments, state agencies and some nonprofits in those counties are eligible for federal funds to help cover expenses like debris removal and infrastructure damage. DeWine's office said a preliminary damage assessment included about $12 million for debris removal and an additional $6 million in other costs. The storms led to 21 tornadoes across Ohio. A disaster declaration from President Donald Trump makes 11 Ohio counties eligible for federal assistance.

Ohio drug distributor charged in conspiracy case
Federal authorities said an Ohio-based wholesale drug distributor, that's been linked to the opioid drug crisis, has been charged in a painkiller distribution conspiracy case. U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman in Cincinnati also said Thursday that two former executives of Miami-Luken and two pharmacists were indicted Wednesday in U.S. District Court. By late morning Thursday, three of the four suspects had been arrested. The Dayton Daily News reported earlier this year that the company was in the process of dissolving amid mounting legal problems. Prescription opioid statistics made public this week underscored how pill distribution soared as the nation's overdose epidemic grew.

Affordable housing, homeless program receives boost in funds
The state fund for affordable housing and homeless programs has seen a budget increase for the first time in 16 years. The Columbus Dispatch reports the state's two-year, nearly $70 billion budget includes up to an addition $3 million for the Ohio Housing Trust Fund. Advocates were pushing for an $8 million increase in funding. The Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio said homelessness has risen 20% in Ohio over the past five years. State law requires the fund to distribute half of its budget to rural communities. There is also a 100% local match requirement.