Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Oct. 11:
- Summit County officials oppose Issue 1;
- Judge sides with Ohio again in voter purges;
- Officer in Tamir Rice shooting declines new police job;
- U.S. Senate passes legislation for Great Lakes;
- NEXUS gets approval to start pumping natural gas;
Summit County officials oppose Issue 1
Some Summit County officials have come out strongly against Issue 1. Prosecutor Sherri Bevan-Walsh, several judges and faith leaders met yesterday to voice opposition to the ballot measure. Issue 1 would reclassify drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors and require the state to spend savings from the reduction of people in prison on drug treatment programs. But Bevan-Walsh says, among other things, the measure would keep judges from ordering jail time for defendants who violate probation rules. Judges warn that Issue 1 would decrease the power of drug courts to enforce treatment orders in felony cases. Republican Gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine opposes the Issue. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rich Cordray supports Issue 1 - as do many African-American organizations including the Akron NAACP.
Judge sides with Ohio again in voter purges
A federal judge rejected a voting rights group's latest arguments that voters were illegally purged from Ohio's voting rolls. The judge largely sided with the state's arguments defending confirmation notices sent to voters that set off a removal process tied to failure to participate in the election process. The A. Phillip Randolph Institutes broader argument that Ohio's election administration process was unconstitutional lost in the U.S. Supreme Court in June, but the group continued to contest the legality of the notices. The judge also ordered Secretary of State Jon Husted to make one additional change to make them compliant with the National Voting Rights Act, which is adding information telling people who move out of state how to remain eligible to vote.
Officer in Tamir Rice shooting declines offered police job
The former Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice has decided not to accept a part-time position with a small southeast Ohio department. Timothy Loehmann has withdrawn his application in Bellaire. The police chief has said he offered Loehmann a job because he believes in second chances. Loehmann shot Rice in 2014 when he thought the pellet gun the boy was playing with was real. Cleared in the shooting, Loehmann was fired last year for failing to disclose to Cleveland he'd been previously forced out by another department. Tamir's mother, Samaria Rice, said she hopes Loehmann will never again be a police officer.
U.S. Senate passes legislation for Great Lakes
The U.S. Senate has passed legislation aimed at protecting the Great Lakes. The legislation requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to meet a February deadline to release its long-awaited report on keeping Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes, as well as implementing a five-year plan to protect the lakes from harmful algae blooms. It also authorizes federal spending for water projects, such as protecting the Great Lakes Coast line and upgrading the Soo Locks in Michigan.
NEXUS gets approval to start pumping natural gas
The NEXUS pipeline has been given approval to start pumping one billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted NEXUS’s request to begin using part of the pipeline that runs through Northeast Ohio to Southern Michigan. NEXUS has been working to restore the areas affected by the pipeline's construction and is expected to complete the restoration by the end of the month.