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Published: Thursday, November 30, 2017 @ 5:19 PM
Updated: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 4:20 PM
DAYTON — Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer is running for the 40th Ohio House seat now held by term-limited state Rep. Mike Henne, R-Clayton, but plans to remain sheriff throughout the 2018 campaign.
House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger introduced and endorsed Plummer at a Dayton Country Club press conference Friday morning, saying the Republican sheriff’s experience gives him valuable insight on the opioid crisis.
“I can’t remember the last time we had a sheriff coming to the general assembly,” said Rosenberger, R-Clarksville.
Plummer’s term ends in December 2020 and the Montgomery County Republican Party Central Committee would select his successor if Plummer wins the statehouse seat. Plummer said if he wins he wants Chief Deputy Rob Streck to take over as sheriff.
“I’d be glad and proud to be the sheriff of Montgomery County,” Streck said in an interview after the press conference.
At this point Plummer is the only declared Republican candidate for the 40th district seat, which includes Huber Heights, Englewood, Riverside, Butler Twp. Clay Twp. and parts of Dayton and Clayton.
Former Dayton School Board member Adil Baguirov had previously announced he was running as a Republican for the seat but now says he will not.
“I’ve met with Sheriff Plummer and decided to endorse him. So I’m not going to run for this position,” said Baguirov.
Mark Owens, chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, said Don Shaffer of Montgomery County has taken out petitions to run for Henne’s seat. Shaffer could not be reached for comment.
Plummer is also chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party and plans to remain in that job.
He said his focus in the Statehouse would be battling the opioid crisis and trying to stop the unfunded mandates from the state that make it difficult for counties to provide services.
Plummer, who as sheriff runs the county jail, has been faced with multiple lawsuits over allegations of mistreatment of prisoners. Asked about that, Plummer said, “people make mistakes. None of us are perfect.”
He said he has “an outdated jail that’s overcrowded, 30 percent of the people are suffering from mental illnesses, 50 percent of the people are on drugs” and he has too few staff to manage the jail. He said it is more evidence of the need for better funding for law enforcement.
Plummer, 53, has been sheriff since he was appointed in to take over for former Sheriff Dave Vore, who retired in July 2008. Plummer was elected that November and has served ever since.
He began his career as a corrections officer in the jail 30 years ago and rose through the ranks to become Vore’s chief deputy.
“I love my job. I have the best job in the world,” Plummer said. “(But) after 30 years it can take a toll on you.”
Rosenberger said the 40th District is one of more than 20 seats he’s recruiting candidates to fill as term limits take out a relatively large number of house members in 2018.
“Yes, it’s going to be a pretty large class of a turnover for the Ohio House,” Rosenberger said. “I’m trying to go out and support good candidates that I think will bring the right kind of quality of experience to the general assembly.”
Other stories by Lynn Hulsey
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 5:55 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 6:02 PM
Ohio lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to put up more hurdles for cities that want to use automated cameras to enforce traffic laws
House Bill 410 is the latest effort by state Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, to staunch use of the cameras that supporters say help make roads safer and opponents call modern-day speed traps designed to rake in revenue.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in July that a previous restriction on red light cameras conflicted with cities’ home-rule authority. The bill would require cities to file traffic cases in municipal court, instead of using an administrative process.
Seitz said the bill will bring due process back to those who receive citations and test the cities’ claim that the cameras are in use for safety, not revenue. The bill calls for reducing state funding to cities by the amount they earn from camera citations.
The issue appears to have bi-partisan support, it passed the House 65-19 and now heads to the Senate.
Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 11:55 AM
— The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio issued an open letter to school administrators ahead of the student protests and walkouts expected across the nation Wednesday after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
The ACLU’s message was clear: We’re watching how schools handle these protests.
The full letter appears at the bottom of this story.
“As students plan walkouts to press for changes in social policy, please bear firmly in mind: The Constitution forbids disciplining students more harshly for politically motivated conduct,” ACLU of Ohio Executive Director J. Bennett Guess wrote. “The ACLU of Ohio may intervene if a student who leaves school as an act of political protest faces more severe punishment because of their political beliefs.”
At schools across the state — including here in southwest Ohio — students have organized walkouts with a variety of intentions, all sparked by the slaughter of 17 people at the Parlkand, Fla., high school.
Some of the walkouts are geared expressly toward more strict gun control, while others are aimed at memorializing the dead in as non-political a manner as possible.
In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines that neither students nor teachers “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” but also recognized the need to prevent substantial disruption to the educational process.
Earlier this month, the Dayton Daily News used Ohio’s public records law to reveal how area superintendents debated whether or not students should be punished for walkouts.
Troy Superintendent Eric Herman said he would not punish Troy students who participate peacefully in walkouts, instead telling school principals not to physically stop the students and “escort them out if need be — supervise them — and return them into the buildings.”
Other schools decided discipline would need to be enforced should students choose to walk out. Miami Valley Career Technology Center Superintendent Nick Weldy told the Daily News he decided the district would enforce discipline measures.
The ACLU letter encourages school officials to “choose their most appropriate response to student activism.”
“This is why we are asking that, instead of focusing on discipline and punishment, school officials should seize this as a teachable moment by nurturing students’ commitment to social action by removing barriers to their participation,” Guess wrote, later adding, “Public schools are essential in educating young people about democracy, and that includes their role in enacting it.”
Read more coverage of school safety issues:
Published: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 2:30 PM
Updated: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 2:33 PM
— State and local governments make payroll with public money, which is why this news organization launched its annual I-Team Payroll Project this month to provide the public with details on how government employees are compensated.
The Payroll Project includes a searchable online database of 388,643 salaries — and counting — from employees in state government, as well as area counties, school districts, cities, townships, villages and other local entities such as libraries.
The Payroll Project is assembled using Ohio public records law. This week, March 11-17, is National Sunshine Week, a time to raise awareness of the importance of transparency in government and access to public records.
Dennis Hetzel, president of the Ohio News Media Association, said there’s good reason public employees’ payroll and personnel records should be accessible.
“These are taxpayer dollars and there’s no accountability if you don’t know how the money is being spent,” he said.
The database currently has the salaries of public employees who earned at least $50,000 — Ohio’s median household income is $50,674, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It includes state employees and numerous government in our region for the years 2014 through 2016. We are gathering 2017 payroll data and updating the database as information is received.
I-Team Payroll Project
Go to MyDaytonDailyNews.com/data/news/payroll-project for a searchable database of public employee salaries in state government, as well as area counties, school districts, cities, townships, villages and other local entities such as libraries.
Published: Friday, March 09, 2018 @ 1:25 PM
Columbus — After a 10-year battle in the Ohio Statehouse to give victims of dating violence the chance to get civil protection orders in the courts, Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign House Bill 1 into law.
Ohio and Georgia are the only states that don’t extend protections afforded to victims of domestic violence to victims of dating violence, according to state Rep. Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, a primary sponsor of House Bill 1.
Current law defines domestic violence as occurring between spouses, ex-spouses, family members, those living together or parents. It leaves out boyfriends and girlfriends in intimate or dating relationships where the same patterns of domestic abuse and violence often play out.
“It’s happening all the time. It’s just so dangerous. Any way we can intervene and use the power and the strength and the authority of the law to help these women get out of these relationships, we have to do it,” Sykes said. “The sooner, the better because it’ll be easier for them to break those ties and keep them from ending up in a very deadly situation.”
Examples of domestic violence turning deadly are common across Ohio: two Westerville officers were killed in February when responding to a domestic dispute; four people, including the shooter and the Kirkersville police chief, were killed in May 2017 in another domestic dispute; and in August 2017, a woman was sentenced to 25 years in prison for murdering her ex-husband after he sought full custody of their children.
Related: Protection orders work but didn’t help victim in Kirkersville shooting House Bill 1 will allow victims of dating violence to obtain civil protection orders through domestic relations courts.
Sykes acknowledges that a piece of paper from a court isn’t 100 percent effective, but she said studies show the orders are followed 75 percent of the time, making them helpful tools in ending cycles of abuse.
When abuse starts
Dating violence can be physical, sexual or emotional: hitting, shoving, choking; unwanted touching or pressure to have sex; being extremely controlling, threatening to harm self or others, stalking or using put downs and insults.
Sykes, who holds a law degree and a master’s in public health, said the earlier a woman can break free from abusive relationships, the better.
Often, abuse starts early. In the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, almost 12 percent of high school girls reported physical violence and nearly 16 percent reported sexual violence from a dating partner in the previous 12 months.
Forty-three percent of college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in four women and one in nine men were the victims of intimate partner violence, leading to fear, safety concerns and symptoms of PTSD.
The effort to extend civil protection orders to victims of dating violence began in 2008 when then state representative Edna Brown, D-Toledo, introduced a bill. The dating violence portion was stripped out of Brown’s bill.
Sykes, the daughter of two Ohio lawmakers, finished law and graduate school, returned to Akron and volunteered at a community legal services agency where she discovered that Ohio lacked protections for victims of dating violence.
When she joined the Ohio House in 2015, she teamed up with Cincinnati Democrat Christie Kuhns to pick up where Brown left off. They conducted a 50-state survey and developed a spreadsheet” with 48 ways to define dating violence, Sykes said.
The 2015 bill passed the House but died in the Senate.
Then Sykes and state Rep. Nathan Manning, R-North Ridgeville, introduced House Bill 1 on Feb. 1, 2017, passing it 28 days later. The Senate passed it this year.
The only public opposition came from the Ohio Public Defender’s office, which said the definition of dating violence was overly broad and offering protection orders to ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends could turn into he said/she said disputes.
“To be perfectly frank, this bill requires judicial officers to sort out the complicated emotional and sexual interactions of two people to determine if those exchanges were romantic or intimate,” said testimony from the public defender’s office.
Types of protection orders in Ohio
Civil protection order: It’s a legal document that restrains one party from contacting another party, such as those involved in domestic disputes. Issued by a court after a hearing, it can last up to five years.
Temporary criminal protection order: Issued by a court while a criminal case is in progress. It expires once the case is closed.
Anti-stalking civil protection order: This is an order issued by common pleas or juvenile court against someone convicted of stalking or sexually oriented offenses against an individual. The order can last up to five years.
Juvenile civil protection order: Issued by juvenile court, it is an order that applies only when the parties are minors.
What is dating violence?
Behaviors that include physical, sexual and emotional abuse between individuals in a romantic or intimate relationship. Physical abuse may include hitting, choking, shoving, grabbing, pulling hair. Sexual abuse may include pressuring someone to have sex or forcing them to have unsafe sex, unwanted touching, ignoring pleas to stop sexual advances. Emotional abuses may include being extremely possessive or controlling, stalking or harassing, threatening harm to self or others, using put downs and insults and misusing someone’s social network.