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Medical marijuana in the workplace

Published: Monday, July 24, 2017 @ 5:29 PM

Ross McGregor, executive VP of Pentaflex Inc., has adopted a no-nonsense policy with drugs.

Medical marijuana is legal in Ohio but you will not be able to buy it legally for another year. Even so, Miami Valley employers are trying to decide how they are going to handle the issue of weed in the workplace. 

When you step inside Pentaflex, a metal stamping plant in Springfield, you will find employees working with precision, heavy machinery. 

RELATED: Ohio senator wants feds to life prohibition on marijuana

"For me, it's all about safety," said Ross McGregor, the company's Executive Vice President. "We run some very large machinery that is very unforgiving."

Renae Murnahan-Turner believes medical marijuana could help people.

For that reason, Pentaflex has adopted a no-nonsense policy that says employees cannot use medical marijuana. 

RELATED: Medical pot business applications flower across Dayton

"I can't risk having somebody coming out on the stop floor impaired and operating this type of equipment," McGregor said. 

The use of medical marijuana is even banned at home because it stays in your system for at least thirty days and that is the standard in most manufacturing companies. In calls to other local employers, we learned that the RTA is among many companies that will stick with policies that call for a drug-free workplace. 

News Center 7 did a poll about the issue on its social media pages. Here’s how you responded: 

Montgomery County's new policy prohibits the use and even possession of medical marijuana during work hours and during lunch breaks. The use of it during off-hours has not yet been decided. 

Back in Springfield, another business owner is hoping marijuana's health benefits will be accepted by employers. Renae Turner, a cancer survivor, said cannabis is non-addictive and you cannot overdose on it unlike other pain medications. She is hoping employers will get creative with people who have a prescription for medical marijuana. 

"You can create different levels that someone can function on it and be perfectly clear-headed and pain free, seizure-free," said Turner. 

Still, to get the bill passed at the Ohio Statehouse, the Legislature included strong protections for employers so they could legally prohibit medical marijuana use at work. 

File photo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

"They can choose if they are going to recognize medical marijuana as a medicine or remain drug-free," said Rep. Steve Huffman, a Republican from Tipp City. 

Our I-Team investigation also found that the thousands of federal employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and base contractors will be prohibited from using medical marijuana because under federal law, pot is still illegal. The same is true for Wright State University, which says in it's policy that they are a federal contractor. Sinclair College is still silent on the issue. 

RELATED: Workers failing drug tests hits a 12-year high

Employment attorney Deborah Adler said for not, it is usable by anyone who obtains it legally and whose work rules do not prohibit it. Yet to be resolved is what happens to an injured worker who uses medical marijuana during recovery, but wants to go back to work. 

"Where the rubber meets the road is when those people are working, their continued use, those are some of the issues that ultimately are going to end up in the courts," Adler said. 

If there is a drug-free work policy, an employee involved in an accident at work, even one that is not their fault, could be required to take a drug test. If the test reveals that they have marijuana in their system, they could lose their job. 

Buildings damaged following large earthquake in Mexico City

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 4:20 PM

7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Central Mexico

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused buildings to sway and break apart in Mexico City on the anniversary of the magnitude 8.0 quake that did major damage in 1985.

>> PHOTOS: Major earthquake strikes Mexico City

Pictures fell from walls, objects were shaken off of flat surfaces and computer monitors toppled over.

Below are the latest images from social media of the damage:

>> Read more trending news

Silicon Valley fighting Portman’s efforts to end sex trafficking

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 4:12 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 4:12 PM

Portman For Digital

Sen. Rob Portman’s fight to keep websites from selling children and women online for sex is being met with resistance by Silicon Valley.

Portman, R–Ohio, who along with a small group of senators has waged a years-long battle against Backpage, a classified site infamous for being the leading online market to purchase children for sex, is trying to amend a 1996 law in order to make it harder to sell people for sex online.

The 1996 Communications Decency Act, meant to regulate pornography on the Internet, included a provision that aimed to protect website operators from third parties that might post harmful or illegal material on their site.

Backpage, Portman said, used that 26-word provision in the law to protect themselves from litigation, even as victim after victim tried to sue the site for selling them online. Portman’s bill would change that, allowing sex trafficking victims to sue websites that knowingly allow sex trafficking on their site. His bill would also allow state and local law enforcement to prosecute sites that violate federal sex trafficking laws.

But his effort is being fought by internet companies who fear the law would subject them to unnecessary litigation and would limit their freedom of speech. One organization has been posting online ads on Facebook and Twitter arguing against his bill, and the Internet Association, which represents Google, Facebook and Microsoft, have been among those to oppose the bill.

But at a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday, Portman said his bill is crafted narrowly to protect sites that inadvertently publish illegal or harmful content and aim, instead, at those who are knowingly selling people for sex, as he said Backpage did. The site shut down its “adult” section in January, but still posts “dating” ads online.

He said three-fourths of sexual trafficking victims are exploited online. Many times, he said, predators make their first connection to the victim online. And sex trafficking, he said, is increasing.

He recently visited Youngstown, where he met with a girl whose father began selling her for sex at age nine, bringing her from city to city to sell her at sporting events. She was raped as often as 20 times a day.

The fact that this occurs, Portman said, is “an outrage. It’s a disgrace. And I believe history is going to judge us on how we respond to it.”

But on the other end of the spectrum is Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who wrote the provision now being targeted in Portman’s bill.

He argues Portman’s bill would stifle free speech as well as the very innovation that has caused the Internet to thrive. While he opposes sex trafficking, “I just believe the legislation being considered…is the wrong answer to an important question. “

Eric Goldman, Professor, Santa Clara University School of Law, said the bill would inadvertently hurt the companies that try to moderate harmful or illegal content on their sites. The bill, he said, “doesn’t limit itself to bad actors; it applies to the entire Internet and force services doing moderation to comprehensively review all content they receive.”

RELATED: What’s really going on with Portman sex trafficking bill?

Supporters of the bill, however, found a powerful voice in Yvonne Ambrose, whose daughter, Desiree Robinson, died late last year at the age of 16.

Desiree, said Yvonne Ambrose, “was the light of my life, my firstborn, my only daughter, my heart, my world. And Desiree made me a better person, because she was a beautiful person. She had the brightest smile that could light up a room.”

Desiree had been smart, kind and loving, but searched for love and acceptance beyond her family and friends. An adult man found her on social media, preyed on her and pressured her to sell herself online. On Dec. 23, 2016, a 32-year-old man named Antonio Rosales looked her up through Backpage. The pimp drove her to meet Rosales. One day later, Rosales beat her, raped her, strangled her, and then slit her throat.

If she had not been sold on Backpage, her mother said, she might still be alive today.

“It could be your child,” she said, in tears, surveying the senators on the dais. “Your niece, your nephew, your cousins, your friend’s children next, if you don’t stop this…if you’re going fix this problem, fix it.”

Beavercreek voters to decide same school tax rejected in May

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 4:17 PM

Beavercreek City Schools is returning to the Nov. 7 ballot with the same proposal that voters narrowly defeated in the spring special election.

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The proposed 6-mill substitute emergency levy would permanently replace an emergency levy that is set to expire in 2018. If passed, the tax would not raise costs to property owners but continue at the current rate of $210 a year for property valued at $100,000, according to the district. 

The tax would generate approximately 13 percent of the district's daily operating revenue, paying for utilities, bus fuel, classroom supplies, technology and personnel.

MORE >>> Beavercreek school levy will return to voters in November after loss 

Substitute levies came into being in Ohio in 2008 and since then 20 public school districts have secured that revenue source with voters' approval. 

Instead of producing a fixed-dollar amount each year like an emergency levy regardless of new construction, a substitute levy's tax rate doesn't change, but the levy's annual revenue can increase as new homes get built and occupied. Under the current tax, property owners' tax bills gradually decrease as new homes get built and occupied.

You can find out more about the proposal by reading the district’s one-sheet graphic, which is posted on the district’s website.

Former UD student indicted in series of nude burglaries

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 3:55 PM

Andres Berdut, Montgomery County Jail
Andres Berdut, Montgomery County Jail

Seven months after allegedly breaking into University of Dayton residences with no clothes on, a man has been indicted for burglary and voyeurism.

Andres Berdut, 22, of Puerto Rico, will be arraigned Oct. 3 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on four counts each of burglary and voyeurism. 

Berdut, who was a University of Dayton student at the time, was arrested Feb. 16 after three female students reported that a nude man entered their houses in the early hours of Feb. 15.

Prosecutors say Berdut’s DNA has now also linked him to prior burglaries on the UD campus in September 2015 and December 2016.

Berdut was criminally trespassed off the UD campus following the incidents.

REPORT: Dayton police officer dragged by car

The first encounter occurred around 3:15 a.m. on Woodland Avenue, the second at 4 a.m. on Frericks Way and the third at 4:15 a.m. on College Park Avenue, according to an email advisory from the university.