Morning Headlines: Ohio to Receive $40M from Opioid Settlement; Local Vote on GM Contract Delayed

Oct 24, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Oct. 24:

  • Ohio to receive $40M from opioid settlement;
  • UAW vote on GM contract pushed back;
  • State to increase payments for relatives caregivers of children taken from parents;
  • Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments on state takeover process;
  • Former Cuyahoga County jail head indicted;
  • UA appoints interim provost;
  • Bill repealing pink tax makes it way to DeWine;

Ohio to receive $40M from opioid settlement

The Ohio Attorney General's Office said the state will receive nearly $40 million as part of a nationwide settlement with a British company that once distributed a drug used to treat opioid addiction. An spokesman for Attorney General Dave Yost said Reckitt Benckiser Group has signed an agreement with all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. The settlement was announced by the U.S. Justice Department in July. The company denied any wrongdoing concerning its marketing of suboxone, but a subsidiary spun off in 2014 faces a federal criminal trial next year.

UAW vote on GM contract pushed back

The union local that represents workers at the now-idled General Motors (GM) plant in Lordstown will vote Thursday whether to ratify the new contract with GM. Mahoning Matters.com reports that the vote by United Auto Workers Local 1112  will go on despite a threat to the international headquarters for the union. A spokesman for the union tells the website the vote was pushed back a day due to scheduling conflicts and that no specific threats were made to Local 1112. The deadline for the contract vote is Friday.

State to increase payments for caregivers of children taken from parents

Ohio plans to increase payments to relatives caring for children who were taken from their parents even when the family members aren't licensed caregivers. The move is meant to close a gap between non-licensed relatives such as grandparents who receive a basic payment for caring for children and relatives who become licensed and often earn hundreds of dollars more per month. The issue has taken on new significance because the opioid crisis has created a huge increase in the number of children taken from homes because of addiction. A 2017 federal court ruling said the so-called foster care maintenance payments must be paid to relatives recognized by children services offices as caregivers, regardless of whether they are licensed.

Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments on state takeover process

The Ohio Supreme Court has heard arguments in a legal fight over how the state intervenes in poor-performing school districts. At issue is HB70, the state law that shifted operational control of these districts from locally elected boards to unelected CEOs. The Youngstown school board and school employees' unions argued the law on so-called state takeovers violates the Ohio Constitution. They also said lawmakers violated a procedural rule when the legislation was pushed through quickly four years ago. Lawmakers have been considering proposals to change the law but have not agreed on a plan.

Former Cuyahoga County jail head indicted

The former head of the Cuyahoga County Jail has been indicted on charges related to making the jail unsafe.  Cleveland.com reports a grand jury handed up the indictments against Kenneth Mills Wednesday including two misdemeanor counts of dereliction of duty. He faces previous charges of lying to county council in connection to attempts to block the hiring of nurses at the jail. Mills resigned last year ahead of a federal probe that found inhumane conditions at the jail. Seven inmates at the jail died over a five-month period last year.

UA brings on interim provost

The University of Akron has tapped an outsider to fill the post of provost on a temporary basis. The former president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Joe Urgo, will fill the role of interim executive vice president and provost. The position is a combination of two existing jobs. The school’s previous provost, Rex Ramsier, will continue as executive vice president and chief administrative officer. The current position of chief academic officer will be eliminated; the university said Chand Midha, who had held that position, is considering his future plans including possibly retiring.

Bill repealing pink tax makes it way to DeWine

A bill repealing Ohio’s so-called pink tax is headed to the governor. The measure cleared the Ohio Senate on Wednesday in a 30-1 vote after earlier winning unanimous approval in the Ohio House. Republican State Rep. Niraj Antani and Democratic state Rep. Brigid Kelly co-sponsored the legislation to eliminate the sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products. The repeal language was folded into another bill to provide a tax credit to teachers who buy school supplies. Kelly said making medically necessary products more accessible to women and girls ensure they're "better able to lead a healthful life."