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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: Bishop Perez to Leave CLE Diocese; Sanders Supports CLE Library Workers

Bernie Sanders
Vermont Sen. and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Jan. 23:

  • Bishop Perez is leaving Diocese of Cleveland;
  • Sanders weighs in on looming Cleveland library strike;
  • Ohio ballot effort underway to streamline voter registration;
  • Cuyahoga County wants to loosen rules for whisteblowers;
  • Mayors launch task force to oppose minor league contraction;
  • Group ends effort to block bailout for Ohio nuclear plants;
  • Akron Municiple Court receives final certificate for OVI special docket;
  • Ohio medical marijuana dispensary investigates data breach;

Bishop Perez leaving Diocese of Cleveland
Cleveland Catholic Diocese Bishop Nelson Perez is leaving Northeast Ohio for a bigger appointment. Pope Francis has named Perez the archbishop of Philadelphia. Perez has served as the 11th bishop in Cleveland for about two and half years. Clergy members reportedly were made aware of the decision Wednesday evening. It'll be a homecoming for Perez, who was ordained in Philadelphia and, like in Cleveland, he will be the first Latino to lead the city's diocese. A new bishop for the Cleveland area hasn't been announced.

Sanders weighs in on looming Cleveland library strike
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is weighing in on a looming strike by Cleveland library workers. A union representing more than 400 Cleveland Public Library employees has issued a Feb. 4 strike date after months of failed contract negotiations. Vermont Sen. Sanderstweeted Wednesday advocating for the workers to get fair contracts and adequate staffing. Workers argue that management gave higher-ups raises and eliminated more than 100 positions over the last 10 years. Sanders is currently trailing candidate Joe Biden in four key Midwestern states including Ohio, according to a Baldwin Wallace pollreleased Wednesday.

Ohio ballot effort underway to streamline voter registration
Proponents of changes to Ohio's voter registration system have begun the process of putting those changes on the November ballot. Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections is the group hoping to streamline how people register and receive ballots. The group said it delivered initial paperwork to the Ohio Attorney General's Office on Wednesday. The group's proposal would automatically register Ohioans to vote when conducting business at state Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices. It would also allow eligible Ohioans to register and cast a ballot on the same day during early voting and on Election Day.

Cuyahoga County wants to loosen rules for whisteblowers
Cuyahoga County Council is looking to make it easier for whistleblowers to come forward. Cleveland.com reportsproposed legislation would allow county employees to easily file complaints by forwarding them to the inspector general and human resources. Currently, employees must file a complaint within five days after discovering a suspected violation and it must be handwritten. The new legislation would get rid of the five-day rule and allow written as well as verbal complaints. Council plans to discuss the legislation more in-depth at future hearings.

Mayors launch task force to oppose minor league contraction
Dozens of mayors from across the U.S. have formed a task force opposing a proposal by Major League Baseball(MLB) to eliminate 42 affiliated minor league franchises for the 2021 season. The coalition launched Tuesday with three leaders and was up to 30 members by Wednesday afternoon, including Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. The task force is co-chaired by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. The Class A Mahoning Valley Scrappers are on the list to be eliminated. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has sent a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred criticizing the move.

Group ends effort to block bailout for Ohio nuclear plants
Opponents of Ohio's roughly $1 billion financial rescue of the state's two nuclear power plants are ending their attempt to overturn the bailout. The group called Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts filed a motion in federal court to dismiss its appeal. The group had wanted more time to get the issue on the ballot for a statewide vote. A spokesman told The Columbus Dispatch that they don't have enough money to keep going with the court fight. Ohio lawmakers last summer approved the nuclear plant rescue by adding a new fee on every electricity bill in the state. 

Akron Municipal Court's OVI special docket gets certified
Akron Municipal Court's special docket for repeated drunk driving offenders has received its final certification from the state. The ARCH court, which stands for "Active Recovery Creates Hope" is certified through 2021. Offenders with two or three OVI convictions in the last 10 years qualify for the program that emphasizes treatment and recovery. The new docket replaces a similar OVI court that’s been in place since 2015.

Ohio medical marijuana dispensary investigates data breach
A medical marijuana dispensary is investigating a data breach that could have revealed the identities of 30,000 patients nationwide. Cleveland.com reportsinternet researchers from the company vpnMentor discovered the breach in Bloom Medicinals' patient information in December. Patients' names, birth dates, identification and purchases have been exposed. Bloom Medicinal has five dispensaries in Ohio, including Akron, Painesville and Columbus. Dispensaries in Maryland and Colorado were also affected. Bloom Medicinals said it’s working to identify if any Ohio patients have been affected.

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