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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Morning Headlines: New Law Requires Schools Notify Parents of Absent Kids, Ryan Announces 2020 Run

A picture of an elementary school classroom.
Empty elementary school classroom.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, April 5:

  • New law requires schools notify parents of absent kids;
  • Ryan announces 2020 run;
  • Chapel Hill Mall electric bill paid, power still planned to be shut off;
  • Legislation would allow states to regulate marijuana;
  • Medina man claiming to be young boy is actually an ex-convict;
  • Babcock & Wilcox faces deadline, could go into credit default;

New law requires schools to notify parents of absent kids
If Ohio children are absent from class without excuse, their schools will have to notify their parents within the first two hours of the school day under a new law taking effect today. It was enacted in response to the death of 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze, who was kidnapped and killed in Cleveland in 2017. Her mother didn't know she was missing until she didn't come home from school. School districts have had varying procedures about how and when they notify parents about a child's absence. A registered sex offender was convicted in Alianna's killing and sentenced to death .

Ryan announces 2020 run
Northeast Ohio congressman Tim Ryan made it official: He’s running for president. The 45-year-old announced his 2020 Democratic primary bid Thursday on ABC's "The View." He plans an official kickoff rally in downtown Youngstown Saturday, where a big turnout by organized labor is expected. Ryan, a political moderate from Niles, made an unsuccessful bid to replace Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader in 2016. Ryan represents the district formerly held by the late Democratic Congressman Jim Traficant, for whom he worked. The blue-collar area swung strongly for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. He's served in Congress since 2003 and, before that, spent two years in the Ohio Senate. He joins an already crowded field of Democratic White House candidates.

Chapel Hill Mall electric bill paid, power still to be shut off
The owner of Akron's strugglingChapel Hill Mall said its electric bill has been paid after Ohio Edison warned businesses it would shut off the power. Owner Michael Kohan of Kohan Retail Investment Grouptold the Beacon Journalthat he sent in the check Thursday, but an Ohio Edison spokesperson said the situation hasn’t been fully resolved and that disconnection is still scheduled for Monday morning.

Legislation would allow states to regulate marijuana 
Northeast Ohio Republican Congressman Dave Joyce is co-sponsoring legislation that would give states the right to regulate marijuana without federal interference. The “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States” Act would, among other things, allow businesses selling marijuana to process financial transactions without violating federal laws. Joyce says the current system has stifled important medical research, hurt legitimate businesses and diverted critical law enforcement resources needed elsewhere. A similar measure has been introduced in the Senate. Ohio's medical marijuana program began this year.

Medina man claiming to be kidnapped young boy is actually an ex-convict
A 23-year-old claiming to be a boy who has been missing for eight years is actually an ex-convict from Medina. Brian Rini was found wandering in Newport, Kentucky, and said he had just escaped from two men in the Cincinnati area who held him captive for seven years. He told police his name was Timmothy Pitzen. DNA tests showed that the person was not Pitzen, who vanished in Aurora, Illinois, at age 6 in 2011, around the time of his mother's suicide. Authorities say Rini was recently released from prison on burglary and vandalism crimes.

Babcock & Wilcox faces deadline, could go into credit default
Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises has a deadline today to renegotiate how the company borrows money to avoid credit default. The Beacon Journal reports although the company isn’t sure the deadline will be met, it remains on track to sell the Barberton campus and relocate to Akron’s East End later this year. The company reported a loss of more than $400 million last year, and shares have fallen below $1. If the deadline isn’t met, Babcock & Wilcox could lose control of the company and be taken off the New York Stock Exchange. There are currently 650 employees at the Barberton campus.

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