Morning Headlines: House to Vote on Heartbeat Bill, Fire Damages Underground Railroad Stop

Apr 10, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, April 10:

  • House to vote on heartbeat bill;
  • Fire damages Underground Railroad stop;
  • Lawmakers consider bill to legalize sports betting;
  • Group pushing to get rid of Electoral College ditches plans;
  • Cavaliers end season as second-worst team in the league;
  • Disaster declaration brings funds to repair storm damage in Southern Ohio;
  • Cuyahoga Falls approves rezoning for new townhomes

House to vote on heartbeat bill
A House committee voted along party lines Tuesday to bring to the House floor a bill banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Democrats expressed anger ahead of the vote, arguing the so-called "heartbeat bill" will disenfranchise poor and minority women, penalize doctors and prompt young Ohioans to move out-of-state. The vote came after the House Health Committee altered the bill to allow for an invasive method of heartbeat detection that’s effective earlier in pregnancy. Ohio Republicans hope the anti-abortion legislation will spark a legal challenge that lands the state before the U.S. Supreme Court. A House vote is expected Wednesday.

Fire damages Underground Railroad stop
A building in northwest Columbiana County that was a stop on the Underground Railroad was severely damaged by fire last week. The Repository reports the Thursday night fire at the Old Stagecoach Inn in Knox Township is still under investigation. Crews from seven fire departments were called in to fight the blaze. Officials said the fire may have started in the restaurant’s kitchen. The building dates back to 1822. In addition to being a stop on the Underground Railroad, it had been used as a jail and a stagecoach stop.

Lawmakers consider bill to legalize sports betting
Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill to legalize sports betting in the state. The bipartisan bill introduced Tuesday allows the Ohio Lottery Commission to administer sports gambling, with a new Sports Gaming Advisory Board providing research and recommendations. The bill also levies a 10% tax on businesses that provide sports betting. The bill’s sponsor says it would generate more money for schools and for problem gambling and addiction services. The legislation is in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to offer legalized betting on professional and college sports.

Group pushing to get rid of Electoral College ditches plans
The group behind the push for Ohio to scrap the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote in presidential elections has announced it has aborted its plans. Cleveland.com reports the head of Ohioans for Making Every Vote Matter sent a letter to Secretary of State Frank LaRose this week withdrawing the group's petitions. The large number of signatures needed to get an issue on the ballot may have been a factor. The proposal to go with the popular vote in Ohio had quickly drawn detractors from both sides of the aisle, including Gov. Mike DeWine.

Cavaliers end season as second-worst team in the league
The Cleveland Cavaliers season came to an end last night at home in a loss to the Charlotte Hornets 124-97. It caps a disappointing year for the Cavs, which finish the year only winning 19 games. That’s tied for second worst in the NBA. Head Coach Larry Drew stepped in to lead the team after Ty Lue was fired just seven games into the season. Drew said he'll meet with General Manager Koby Altman to discuss his future with the team.

Disaster declaration brings funds to repair storm damage in Southern Ohio
Federal funding will be available to help repair damage from storms, landslides and flooding in Southern Ohio after severe weather this winter. Local governments, state agencies and certain nonprofit organizations in 20 southern Ohio counties are eligible for federal assistance under a disaster declaration granted this week by President Donald Trump. Gov. Mike DeWine's office said storms that hit the area in Feb. caused more than $41 million in damage to critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges and public buildings. The office said 14 of the 20 counties also were hit a year earlier by severe storms that led to a previous disaster declaration.

Cuyahoga Falls approves rezoning for new townhomes
Cuyahoga Falls City Council has cleared the way for developer Danny Karam and Ryan Homes to build 146 townhomes on the former Sycamore Valley Golf Course. Residents oppose the development saying the 28-acre property is too close to a flood plain already stressed by development above the Merriman Valley. Karam has to submit a detailed plan with a flood plain survey and traffic study before construction can begin. The process is expected to take two to three months.