The iOpener: Heartbeat Bill Passes Ohio Senate; Fentanyl Drug Bust; 911 Call on Beckham Fan

Powdered drugs, pills and a hand holding a needle.
Powdered drugs, pills and a hand holding a needle. [Fure/Shutterstock]

Good morning, iOpeners. It's Thursday, March 14, 2019. It's Pi Day, the annual celebration of the mathematical constant pi. Enjoy some pizza or pie in pi's honor.

Ohio’s Senate has passed a bill that bans abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected.  The 19-13 vote on Senate Bill 23 was mostly along party lines.  People would face fifth-degree felony charges if they performed an abortion when a fetal heartbeat has been detected (this sometimes occurs as soon as six weeks into a pregnancy) or if they performed an abortion without determining whether there is a heartbeat.  The bill moves to the House. Gov. DeWine has said he would sign a heartbeat bill.

Gov. Mike DeWine visited Akron and Cleveland to tout new money for initiatives that would affect Northeast Ohioans.  DeWine told a business roundtable in Akron he plans to introduce a 10-percent income tax credit for businesses that invest in economically distressed parts of Ohio.  In Cleveland, the Republican governor said he’ll propose $10 million in funding for lead cleanup projects and a $10 million tax credit for homeowners to clean up lead hazards. 

Gov. DeWine says the House’s plan to fund road and bridge repairs is inadequate, and would lead to road conditions getting worse, not better. The House has advanced a 10.7 cent-a-gallon fuel tax increase phased in over two years, rebuffing DeWine’s request for an 18-cents-a-gallon increase to begin in July.  DeWine told Cleveland.com the House plan would saddle Ohioans with a tax that would not greatly improve the state’s roads. 

Police and federal agents say 22 people face drug trafficking charges following a drug raid that had law enforcement officials making early morning arrests across Cuyahoga County Wednesday.  Authorities say members of the organization operated out of Cleveland, Euclid and East Cleveland and sold fentanyl and heroin to more than 300 customers.

The Browns’ newly-acquired star receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., is sounding a lot happier about his trade to Cleveland from the New York Giants, now that he’s absorbed the news.  Beckham, caught off guard when news of the blockbuster trade broke Wednesday, said in official statements provided by the Browns that he’s “extremely excited” to be a part of the team.

Your watercooler conversation starter: Did you hear about the woman who called Shaker Heights police about somebody running down Winslow Road Tuesday night, “yelling and screaming and, like, flailing his arms”? Turns out it was a boy who had just learned that the Browns had acquired Beckham.  He was celebrating.  “After everyone shared their combined excitement, the future General Manager for the Browns quietly returned to his residence to resume his festivities without disturbing the neighbors,” Shaker Police said on Facebook.

Weather forecast: A strong storm system from the Central Plains moves into the region, bringing rain and high winds of 20 to 25 mph and gusts up to 50 mph.  A wind advisory is in effect from noon through midnight tonight.  High 69.  Tonight, showers and thunderstorms early, then cloudy overnight.  Low 44.

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