Morning Headlines: Trump to Promote Tax Bill in Cincinnati; Women Democrats Seek Seitz' Resignation

Feb 2, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, Feb. 2:

  • Cleveland budget seeks to fill hundreds of city vacancies;
  • Akron Racers rebranded as the Cleveland Comets;
  • Cleveland Clinic doctor puts $1.5 million into campaign fund;
  • Federal appeals court upholds state's lethal injection method;
  • Kasich proposes more oversight for drug wholesalers;
  • President Trump scheduled to promote tax plan in Cincinnati;
  • Women Democrats call for resignation of Rep. Bill Seitz following disparaging remarks;
  • Akron anti-abortion group pegs ad campaign to Black History Month;
  • Ohio colleges rank 6th in the nation for white supremacist incidents;
  • Cleveland company will paint the field for Super Bowl LII;

Cleveland budget seeks to fill hundreds of city vacancies
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s proposed 2018 budget is aiming to fill hundreds of vacant city jobs. The $1.7 billion budget includes a streamlined hiring process to fill about 200 jobs by the end of March. An additional 500 jobs in fire and EMS departments would be filled later because of required training. Cleveland.com reports Jackson hopes to increase the city police force by up to 150 officers. The overall budget is expected to be stable after an income tax increase that took effect last year and an improving economy.

Akron Racers rebranded as the Cleveland Comets
Akron’s professional softball team has rebranded itself, but its future remains uncertain. The Akron Racers announced Thursday they are now the Cleveland Comets. General Manager Joey Arrietta had announced last week the team would not play any games at Firestone Stadium. The Beacon Journal reported the next day that the team was working with a Chinese contingency to create a new team. Arietta will not be the Comets’ general manager, but she will be a minority owner and team president. Majority owner Craig Stout will remain on board. He tells the Beacon Journal the team could still play games at Firestone Stadium. The new team will include a mix of international and American players.

Cleveland Clinic doctor puts $1.5 million into campaign fund
A Cleveland Clinic physician appears to be preparing for a surprise bid for governor. Cleveland.com reports Dr. Jon Heavey of Rocky River put more than $1 million into a campaign account on Wednesday. Heavey has not chosen a party, but he would be second among Democrats in terms of cash on hand. If Heavey decides to run, he will need to collect 1,000 signatures and choose a running mate within five days to get on the primary ballot.

Federal appeals court upholds state's lethal injection method
A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of Ohio's lethal injection method two weeks before a scheduled execution. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati says two inmates challenging the three-drug method haven't proven the process poses an unacceptable risk of pain and suffering. The court on Thursday upheld a judge's ruling last year on arguments brought by condemned killers Alva Campbell and Raymond Tibbetts. Prison officials stopped Campbell's execution in November after they couldn't find a usable vein. He remains on death row. Tibbetts is scheduled to die Feb. 13 for killing a Cincinnati man in 1997. Republican Gov. John Kasich is considering Tibbetts' request for mercy. A juror who recommended death for Tibbetts asked Kasich this week to spare the inmate.

Kasich proposes more oversight for drug wholesalers
Gov. John Kasich is proposing new rules for wholesale drug distributors. Wholesalers that distribute prescription drugs to pharmacies, doctors and hospitals would have to report more information about suspicious orders to Ohio regulators, as part of the state's fight against the deadly opioid epidemic. Kasich announced the proposed rules on Thursday. The state also wants to require drug distributors to research their customers and hold onto suspicious orders until questions are answered about the drugs' destination. Companies that don't comply could have their drug distribution license for Ohio revoked. Red flags could include large orders of controlled substances like pain pills, or cash-only orders. Ohio's rules will be the strongest in the country according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

President Trump scheduled to promote tax plan in Cincinnati
President Donald Trump will visit Cincinnati Monday. The White House says the president's trip to the Sheffer Corporation is aimed at highlighting the impact of the GOP tax plan he signed into law at the end of last year. Numerous companies have announced bonuses for their workers as a result of the plan. Trump and the White House have been trying to publicize those announcements as they try to swing public opinion in the overhaul's favor. The visit comes days after the State of the Union address and as attention begins to turn to the 2018 midterm elections.

Women Democrats call for resignation of Rep. Bill Seitz following disparaging remarks
A group of Democratic women in the Ohio House on Thursday called for the resignation of a veteran Republican lawmaker. Rep. Bill Seitz, 63, was compelled to apologize for making offensive remarks during a staff member's going-away party. State Reps. Nickie Antonio, Teresa Fedor and Michele Lepore-Hagan told Republican House Speaker Clifford Rosenberger in a letter that Seitz's conduct "falls far short of the standard by which elected officials should conduct themselves." Seitz, a Cincinnati attorney, reportedly disparaged a current and a former female House member during a Jan. 23 roast honoring outgoing Chief of Staff Mike Dittoe. He also made light of sexual misconduct scandals that led to two legislators' resignations last year. His remarks came the same week House members received training on sexual harassment that was newly mandated in light of the Ohio and national scandals.

Akron anti-abortion group pegs ad campaign to Black History Month
An Akron anti-abortion group is attaching its cause to Black History Month in a new ad campaign. Right to Life Northeast Ohio is launching a billboard and social media campaign, as well as bus advertisements in the Cleveland area. The ads link abortion to racism and injustice and call abortion “fake feminism.” Akron’s NAACP opposes the ads.

Ohio colleges rank 6th in the nation for white supremacist incidents
Ohio colleges have been named among the top ten in incidents involving white supremacists. Cleveland.com reports that the list released by the Anti-Defamation League ranks Ohio 6th nationwide. The ADL reports an “alarming” increase in white supremacist propaganda appearing on college campuses across the US. Texas tops the list. The group measures the increase in racist recruiting activities - such as fliers and posters promoting “white American culture."

Cleveland company will paint the field for Super Bowl LII
The Browns won’t be at the Super Bowl, but a Cleveland company will get the honor of painting the field for Super Bowl LII. Pioneer Athletics makes field equipment and will be drawing the lines on the field for Sunday’s game. The 113-year-old company also provided paint for Super Bowls 47 and 48.