Morning Headlines: Ohio Tobacco Law Increases Age Limit to 21; UAW Makes Tentative Agreement with GM

Oct 17, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Oct. 17:

  • Ohio tobacco law increases age limit to 21;
  • UAW reaches tentative agreement with GM;
  • First round of jury selection concludes for landmark opioid trial in Cleveland;
  • Proposed bill would forbid LGBTQ discrimination in housing, employment;
  • Cleveland mayor announces $10M per year for tree canopy;
  • Eaton Corp to sell lighting division for $1.4B;

Ohio tobacco law increases age limit to 21
As of Thursday, the minimum age to buy tobacco products in Ohio has been raised from 18 to 21. Ohio is one of 18 states that have raised the age for purchasing cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. The law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine also applies to rolling papers, filters and other smoking and vaping accessories. Violations could lead to penalties for both the seller and buyer. It's also illegal to give such products to someone under 21. The governor and other supporters of the change said the new law is intended to help prevent children from becoming smokers. Ohio has one of the highest rates of adult smokers at just over 21%.

UAW reaches tentative agreement with GM
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union's top bargainer with General Motors (GM) said a tentative deal with the company will bring "major gains" to workers. Union Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement that bargainers wanted to get a strong and fair contract for the 49,000 members who have been on strike for a month. Details of the agreement weren't released, but it will include a mix of lump sum and annual pay raises, no change in health care and product guarantees for many U.S. factories. Reopening the Lordstown plant in Ohio was reportedly not part of the deal. Workers will stay on the picket lines for at least another two days while union committees vote on the deal, including nearly 1,000 workers at GM’s plant in Parma.

First round of jury selection concludes for landmark opioid trial in Cleveland
The first day of jury selection in a landmark federal opioid lawsuit in federal court in Cleveland has concluded. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster said Wednesday that both sides still need to find one additional juror to bring the pool to a total of 24 so that attorneys can narrow the final list to 12. Lawyers for Cuyahoga and Summit counties, and those for six drug companies who are defendants in the first trial filed by more than 2,000 local government plaintiffs, will have the opportunity to strike as many as six jurors each. Opening statements are Monday. The trial is expected to last months.

Proposed bill would forbid LGBTQ discrimination in housing, employment
Ohio lawmakers have introduced a bill to forbid employment and housing discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community. The latest iteration of the Ohio Fairness Act was introduced by Democratic Rep. Michael Skindell and Republican Rep. Brett Hillyer on Wednesday. The Columbus Dispatch reports the bill's unveiling comes about two weeks after a request from minority Democrats to extend employment protections to gay House employees was denied by House Speaker Larry Householder. More than two dozen Ohio communities have adopted LGBTQ discrimination protections but that only covers about a fourth of the state's population. A similar bill has been filed every session of legislation since 2003 but has only won passage in the House in 2009, before it died in the Senate.

Cleveland mayor announces $1M per year for tree canopy
Cleveland's mayor has announced a commitment of up to $1 million every year for the next 10 years to replenish the city's tree canopy. Mayor Frank Jackson made his announcement during the opening of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit on Wednesday. The plan would commit the city to plant new trees as well as remove dead or diseased ones for several benefits, including absorbing air pollution and increasing property values in the area.

Eaton Corp to sell lighting division for $1.4B
Eaton Corp. has announced plans to sell its lighting division to a leading Dutch light bulb maker. With North American headquarters is in Beachwood. Eaton said the deal is worth $1.4 billion. Its Cooper Lighting division is one of the largest makers of LED lighting. Eaton said the deal is intended to “maximize shareholder value” for the company whose sales last year reach $22 billion.