Here are your morning headlines for Friday, March 15:
- DeWine's budget to include funding for children services, Lake Erie
- Trump to visit Canton;
- DeWine calls for review of Ohio jail inspection process;;
- Judge sides with Cleveland officers over dropped promotion hearings;
- Task force reports rescuing dozens of human trafficking victims;
- Ohio Democrats release "Ohio Promise" plan;
DeWine's budget to include funding for children services, waterways
Children's services and water quality are among Gov. Mike DeWine's funding priorities as he outlined his proposed state operating budget Friday. DeWine said he wants to nearly double state funding for family and children services, including $90 million annually in child protection funding to counties. He's also proposing a significant increase for evidence-based home visiting programs that provide free support and resources for low-income families raising young children. And he wants to set aside nearly $1 billion for projects to clean up toxic algae in Lake Erie and protect other lakes and rivers over the next decade. The budget covers the two-year period that starts July 1. Lawmakers must debate changes and send it back to DeWine for approval before then.
Trump to visit Canton
President Donald Trump will be making a couple of stops in Ohio next week. Trump is scheduled to visit the General Dynamics tank manufacturing plant in Lima on Wednesday, before heading to Canton for a private fundraiser for the Trump 2020 re-election campaign. Tickets for the Canton fundraiser start at $28,000, dinner is $50,000, a photo with Trump will cost $15,000. Meanwhile, former first lady Michelle Obama will appear at Playhouse Square Saturday as part of a book tour.
DeWine calls for review of Ohio jail inspection process
Gov. Mike DeWine has asked for a review of the state's jail inspections process after discrepancies in reports about the Cuyahoga county jail where eight inmates died last year. A series of inspections by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's showed few issues with the jail. Last year, the U.S. Marshals found "inhumane" conditions at the jail including civil rights abuses, attacks on inmates and staff withholding food and water from inmates. Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish asked for the inspection after seven inmates died. DeWine said Ohio's prisons director will review the inspection process and report back.
Judge sides with Cleveland officers over dropped promotion hearings
A judge has sided with two Cleveland police officers who said the department skipped over their promotions due to the death of a fellow police officer. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Steven Gall on Thursday sided with Zina Martinez and Sean Smith, ordering the Cleveland Police Department to immediately begin the process of promoting them from the rank of sergeant to lieutenant. Cleveland.com reports the two had promotion hearings that ended up being cancelled after the hearings fell on the same day as Officer Vu Nguyen's funeral. Smith and Martinez argued that they both took promotional exams and had been informed by supervisors they were going to be promoted. A city spokesman said the city has no immediate comment.
Task force reports rescuing dozens of human trafficking victims
The Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force reports it has recovered 85 victims since its inception in late 2016. Cleveland.com reports the victims ranged in age from 12 to 66. A county spokesperson described human trafficking victims as anyone who has been coerced, forced or defrauded into prostitution or exploited for minimal to no pay. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department heads the task force, which includes local and federal law enforcement.
Ohio Democrats release 'Ohio Promise' plan
Ohio Democrats are laying out their legislative agenda in the Republican dominated legislature. Minority leader Emilia Sykes of Akron unveiled the "Ohio Promise" plan Thursday, which details Democratic priorities. The list includes fixing the school-funding system, creating tax incentives to keep college graduates in the state, boosting the state minimum wage and expanding broadband access in underserved areas.