Morning Headlines: Summit Co. Raises Tobacco Buying Age, Ohio ACLU Calls for End of Mayor's Courts

Apr 16, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, April 16:

  • Summit County raises tobacco buying age;
  • Ohio ACLU calls for end of mayor's courts;
  • Akron City Council approves tax breaks for Babcock & Wilcox;
  • Ohio house legislative aides to see increased salaries next year;
  • Lake Erie wind turbine installation still facing obstacles;

Summit County raises tobacco buying age
The age to purchase tobacco is going up to 21 in many parts of Summit County. County council voted last night to ban the sale of any tobacco-based product, including vapes and e-cigarettes, to anyone under 21 in townships, including, Bath, Copley, Coventry, Richfield, Springfield and Twinsburg. Cities, including Akron, Norton and Green have passed similar bans. However, it will still be legal for people 18 and older to buy tobacco products in cities that have rejected the ban – including Cuyahoga Falls, Stow and Hudson.

Ohio ACLU calls for end of mayor's courts
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is calling for an end to mayor's courts in four Ohio counties, including Summit and Cuyahoga, and reforms to 300 others in Ohio. Mayor's courts run by villages and small towns outside the state judicial system. They hear cases involving local laws, and most often, speeding tickets — often tied to towns with speed traps. The ACLU cited racial disparities, abuse of the poor and lack of transparency in the courts. The report recommends better training for mayor's court staff, more oversight and better record keeping.

Akron City Council set to approve tax breaks for Babcock & Wilcox
Akron City Council is expected to approve millions of dollars in tax breaks in order to save hundreds of jobs. The Beacon Journal reports the money would offset relocation costs for Babcock & Wilcox to move its 600 employees from Barberton to Akron later this year. The coal-burning energy company reported a loss of more than $400 million last year, and earlier this month announced new financing to avoid bankruptcy. Council is expected to approve the tax breaks next week that will be used to renovate the new space at the city's East End development.

Ohio House legislative aides to see increased salaries next year
Ohio House legislative aides will be getting a 10 percent raise starting in January. The Beacon Journal reports House aides' salaries will be increasing from $35,000 to $38,000 a year. Senate legislative aides also saw a $2,000 salary increase this year. House Speaker Larry Householder says he's also working on raises for administrative aides and other positions.

Lake Erie wind turbine installation still facing obstacles
After more than a decade of planning, the effort to install six wind turbines in Lake Erie is still facing headwinds. Cleveland.com reports that the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association is fighting the $126 million project. The Association is concerned that the wind energy pilot project would interfere with boating on the lake. Another group, The Lake Erie Foundation, opposes the turbines saying they could hurt tourism. The project has received approvals from 14 federal, state and local agencies. The Sierra Club and Ohio Environmental Council have also signed off on the project. Backers say it will bring 500 jobs to the region. The Ohio Power Siting Board has the final say on the future of the offshore wind project.