Morning Headlines: Heartbeat Bill Moves to OH Senate Floor, Planned Parenthood Blasts Federal Ruling

Mar 13, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, March 13:

  • Heartbeat bill moves to Ohio Senate floor;
  • Planned Parenthood blasts federal ruling;
  • Akron task force recommends snow removal changes;
  • Ohio drivers spend millions in fees for a service that's no longer provided;
  • Browns to acquire star receiver Beckham from NY;
  • THC oil will soon be available in local dispensaries;
  • UA pauses on reorganizing majors;
  • Mount Carmel, doctor face another lawsuit for overprescribing;

Heartbeat bill moves to Ohio Senate floor
The controversial so-called “heartbeat” abortion bill is moving forward after a state Senate committee signed off on it Tuesday. It’ll move to the full Senate floor for a vote Wednesday and will go to the Ohio House if it passes. The bill would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which could be as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Former Gov. Kasich vetoed the bill in the past. Gov. Mike DeWine said he'd sign it.

Planned Parenthood blasts federal ruling
Leaders of Planned Parenthood are voicing outrage against a federal appeals court ruling upholding an Ohio anti-abortion law that blocks public money for the organization. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Tuesday reverses a lower court ruling that granted an injunction against the 2016 law which bars public funding from entities that perform or promote abortions. Planned Parenthood said the funding has helped provide tests for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screenings, domestic violence education, and efforts to reduce infant mortality. The national organization's president says the ruling will roll back public health gains.

Akron task force recommends snow removal changes
An Akron City Council task force has issued recommendations for handling snow removal. The task force was formed after it took the city more than a week to clear streets following a recent snowstorm. The snow and ice task force suggests reinvesting in new plows and equipment, changing plow truck routes, and reopening the Maintenance Facility on Copley Road. The facility would quickly repair any issues trucks might have on the roads. Mayor Dan Horrigan is currently working on plans to implement the changes.

Ohio drivers spend millions in fees for a service that's no longer provided
Ohio drivers have been paying more than $3 million in fees for a service that’s no longer performed. The Columbus Dispatch reports each driver’s license or identification card renewal has a $1.50 lamination fee to compensate registrars for encasing the cards in plastic. But that service hasn’t been provided since last July when the state switched from local registrars to BMV vendors, which now produce and mail the cards. A BMV spokesperson says the issue has been brought to their attention and will be addressed in the two-year state budget, which will be introduced Friday.

Browns to acquire star receiver Beckham from NY
Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is heading to the Cleveland Browns. The blockbuster deal with the New York Giants includes the Browns sending first- and third-round draft picks this year along with safety Jabrill Peppers. His arrival could vault the Browns, who went 7-8-1 last season after not winning a game in 2017, into legitimate championship contenders.

THC oil will soon be available in local dispensaries
The next phase in the rollout of medical marijuana is coming soon. THC oil, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, will soon go on sale at local dispensaries. The medical marijuana processor Grow Ohio last week received the state’s first permit to sell the edible oil. In January dispensaries began selling marijuana buds – over the next few months, marijuana gummies, capsules, oils and creams are also expected to be made available.

UA pauses on reorganizing majors 
The University of Akron has put on hold a sweeping reorganization of several colleges. Interim President John Green sent a letter calling for a pause in the plan until a new president is in place. Last week, Green presented faculty with his plans to rework the structure of the school’s engineering and polymer programs, among other changes. Trustees had asked Green to come up with the plan - but at the urging of faculty, Green is shifting gears. He said he will work within the current structure to find ways to improve offerings in the key areas of polymer, corrosion, biomimicry, and cybersecurity.

Mount Carmel, doctor face another lawsuit for overprescribing
Another family is suing an Ohio hospital and a critical-care doctor accused of ordering excessive doses of pain medication for dozens of patients who died. The lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Columbus-area Mt. Carmel Health System and Dr. William Husel alleges 73-year-old Peggy Francies died after receiving an excessive dose of fentanyl. Mount Carmel and the now-fired Husel face at least two dozen wrongful-death lawsuits.