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Morning Headlines: Students Walk Out; Ohio's U.S. Senators Divided on Dodd-Frank Rollback

Students stand outside the Ohio Senate Chamber
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, March 15:

  • Ohio students join in nationwide walkouts to support gun control;
  • High schoolers descend on Statehouse to protest gun violence;
  • Ohio's Down syndrome abortion ban placed on hold;
  • Portman, Brown divided on rollback of Obama-era banking regulations;
  • Akron man accused of two deadly fires wants his statements to police excluded from trial;
  • Rep. Kaptur to become longest-serving female U.S. House member;
  • Youngstown State hires former U of Akron provost to oversee institutional research;
  • Browns tackle Joe Thomas retires after 11 seasons;

Ohio students join in nationwide walkouts to support gun control
Schools throughout Ohio responded in different ways to walkouts yesterday to commemorate the deaths of the 17 people shot to death in a high school in Parkland, Fla., last month. More than 40 Akron Public Schools participated in the protest, backed by the administration and teachers. At Firestone High School, students preceded the 17 minute walkout by putting together a list of demands regarding school safety that they’ll present to the Akron Board of Education. Canfield High School forbade the walkout, and the Vindicator reports buses blocked the entrances and exits at the school at 10 a.m. and a police officer stood guard to ensure no one left the building. About 400 of the school’s 1,000 students stayed home. The Stow-Munroe Falls school board had voted this week to discourage students from following through on their plans to gather at Spirit Rock outside the high school but about 400 students walked out anyway. Media and parents were kept at a distance.

High schoolers descend on Statehouse to protest gun violence
A high school student whose cousin was killed in the Parkland school shooting was among hundreds of Ohio students to descend on the Statehouse during a national day of activism around gun policy. Matthew Youkilis, 17, a student organizer from Cincinnati, said he's always been politically engaged but his cousin Jaime Guttenberg's death in the Feb. 14 massacre in Florida brought gun violence home for him. Youkilis joined about 250 students from Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and other cities to demonstrate and lobby lawmakers Wednesday for tougher gun laws. Another 50 Columbus-area students rallied outside for added school support staff as an alternative to more police, security and armed teachers.

Ohio's Down syndrome abortion ban placed on hold
An Ohio law that prohibits doctors from performing abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome has been placed on hold. Federal Judge Timothy Black said Wednesday the law's opponents are "highly likely" to successfully argue it's unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state health department, state medical board and county prosecutors on behalf of Planned Parenthood and several abortion providers. The attorney general's office says it will vigorously defend the law.

Portman, Brown divided on rollback of Obama-era banking regulations
Ohio’s U.S. Senators have split sharply over the Senate’s vote to roll back the Dodd-Frank Act, which was passed a decade ago to curb banking excesses that led to the great recession. Republican Sen. Rob Portman is lauding the rollback, saying Dodd-Frank hurt community banks and credit unions and the change would make it easier for them to extend credit, loans, and mortgages. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown says the Senate bill opens the door for banks to engage in the same risky behavior that led to taxpayer bailouts of the banks.

Akron man accused of two deadly fires wants his statements to police excluded from trial
Attorneys for an Akron man charged in two fires that killed nine people on his street say his statements to police should be excluded at trial in the potential death penalty case. Stanley Ford, 58, of Akron, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder charges in an April 2016 fire that killed two adults, and a May 2017 blaze that killed two adults and five children. The Beacon Journal reportsinvestigators questioned Ford seven times. Defense attorneys argue Ford wasn't properly advised of his rights, was improperly questioned and didn't voluntarily give his statements to police. Prosecutors say detectives followed the right procedures.

Rep. Kaptur to become longest-serving female U.S. House member
Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur is poised to become the longest-serving female member in the U.S. House. The 71-year-old Democrat from Toledo has served in the House since 1983. The longest-serving woman in the House so far was Rep. Edith Nourse Rogers, a Massachusetts Republican who served from 1925 until she died in 1960. Kaptur would surpass that tenure of over 35 years on Sunday. Colleagues applauded Kaptur on Wednesday in a rare moment of bipartisan celebration as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Speaker Paul Ryan offered comments praising Kaptur's long service. Kaptur is campaigning this year for re-election to what would be her 19th term.

Youngstown State hires former U of Akron provost to oversee institutional research
Youngstown State has hired a former University of Akron provost to the newly created position of special assistant to President Jim Tressel. Michael Sherman’s job will be to oversee the Division of Institutional Success, which includes institutional research. He and Tressel worked together before, both at Youngstown State and at Akron.

Browns tackle Joe Thomas retires after 11 seasons
Cleveland Browns star left tackle Joe Thomas has retired after 11 seasons in the NFL, ending a career in which he exemplified durability, dependability and dominance. The 10-time Pro Bowler announced his decision Wednesday. And a person familiar with the negotiations says the Cleveland Browns are expected to sign free agent running back Carlos Hyde. NFL Network reports the Browns will give the 27-year-old a three-year, $15 million deal.

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.