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Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 11:59 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 11:59 AM
— One of the biggest changes in Jane Timken’s life the past year is the 37,000 additional miles on her car.
The media often seek interviews. She chats occasionally with President Donald Trump. Someone created an entry about her on Wikipedia. With her children grown or nearly grown and away at school, she spends most nights away from her Jackson Township home near Canton, often only able to spend time here on weekends. And she has been to more than 70 of Ohio’s 88 counties this year.
That’s what happens when you become the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party in a key swing state.
“It’s been an incredible year for me,” Timken said.
While Timken was well known within Ohio Republican circles, she served as vice chairman of the Stark County Republican Party and as a Republican National Convention, the former attorney and Stark County Common Pleas magistrate was far from a public figure. However, since taking over the state’s Republican chairman duties and hosting, along with her husband and TimkenSteel CEO Tim Timken, a fundraising for Trump, Jane Timken’s star has been rising.
Robert Paduchik, who had overseen Trump’s Ohio campaign, asked her to seek the Ohio Republican chairmanship. Trump supporters weren’t happy with then-chairman Matt Borges, who backed Gov. John Kasich’s run at the presidency.
The Timkens threw their support behind Trump and hosted a fundraiser that Trump attended at Brookside Country Club.
Trump personally called more than a dozen Ohio Republican Central Committee members to lobby for Timken as chairman over Borges. In the first ballot in early January, Timken and Borges tied in a committee vote. Finally, Borges agreed to step down, conceded to Timken and became chairman emeritus.
Timken made it clear she wasn’t going to run the state party like the traditional bosses of the past. She issued a message to Ohio GOP Central Committee members her first priority was to re-invigorate party finances, drained by the 2016 contest.
“I said we’re going to turn the page. We’re going to try to unify and bring everybody together. … I’m not going to seek retribution against people who didn’t support me,” she recalled last week. “My leadership style is really try to rise above the pettiness. I really find it unproductive as chairman. It’s not me. It’s about the candidates. … I’m not into the drama.”
Timken said the state party has raised about $2.9 million this year as it seeks to position itself to support its candidates at the national, state and even the local level.
Stark County Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton, one of Timken’s supporters, said she likes that Timken has hired regional representatives to regularly meet with county GOP officials around the state when she can’t do so herself. And she issues a weekly bulletin on Facebook to keep them in the loop about what she’s working on and showcasing all the Republican statewide candidates.
“I think she did fantastic. She hit the ground running (in January),” Creighton said, adding that her Republican friends around the state often report seeing or meeting her. “She’s probably the most visible chairman we’ve had in a really long time. … My friends have told me, ‘By golly, she came to our dinner. She’s really making her presence known and we love it that we see her and she talks to us.’”
Timken, consistent with her low-key manner, hasn’t sought the limelight despite her position. A Google search of her name shows while she’s frequently mentioned in articles, since January, they’ve rarely been about her, but often about Republican candidates.
“I like to say my job is pretty simple. I have to build the roads. My candidates can drive down the roads to win,” Timken said.
Timken said logistical support is not only for Republicans running for Congress or governor, but also for those running to be township trustee, mayor and city council.
As part of her initiative to expend resources and attention at the local level, she says the state party has helped local Republican candidates in 45 municipal contests across the state.Tweets by Ohio_Politics
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 2:14 PM
— Eliminating Ohio’s spousal rape exemption is under consideration again, this time with bipartisan support as some lawmakers say the state still has an “appalling and disgusting” law on the books.
“In Ohio, in some circumstances, it’s legal to rape your spouse,” said state Rep. Kristin Boggs. “It’s appalling and disgusting that there is any circumstance where a woman can be forced into non-consensual sex. There is no legitimate basis whatsoever for any laws in Ohio to condone such horrific activity.”
Boggs, D-Columbus, and state Rep. Laura Lanese, R-Grove City, introduced the legislation Monday.
Forcible rape of a spouse became illegal in Ohio in 1986. But sections of the state’s rape law apply only when the spouse is not living with the offender.
Marital rape as defined in the Ohio Revised Code is illegal and punishable as a felony. Under that definition, rape occurs when a defendant compels a spouse to engage in sexual intercourse against the victim’s will by “force, threat of force, or deception.”
But Ohio has an exemption that treats certain encounters between spouses differently than if two people were unmarried. For example, if a husband drugs his wife and then rapes her, it would not fall under the state’s marital rape statute.
House Bill 561 would eliminate the spousal exemptions for offenses of rape, sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, gross sexual imposition, sexual imposition, and importuning.
“I think across the board there are a lot of archaic laws on the books, and sometimes it just takes someone opening up the books to say, ‘holy cow,’” Lanese said. “It bothers me that Ohio is not where we should be on this.”
In the past, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association has expressed concern that removing the exemption could open the door to false claims made in an attempt to gain leverage in custody and divorce cases. The group has not yet examined the latest version of the legislation.
“Prosecutors take all allegations of rape with the utmost seriousness, but these cases present particular problems regarding proof because it happens between a husband and wife in private and there is often little or no evidence,” Louis Tobin, the group’s executive director, said in an email to this news organization.
Lanese said she believes such fears of he-said/she-said are “poppycock.”
“Anyone can say anything they want against another person,” she said. “That’s what juries are for.”
Marital exceptions to rape laws were the norm in the United States until the mid-1970s. But marital rape has been illegal in every state and the District of Columbia since 1993, according to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network.
Before 1986, marital rape was not illegal in Ohio unless the couple had a separation agreement or court filing to dissolve the marriage, according to a 1995 Cleveland Law Review article.
Read more stories:
Staff Writers Laura Bischoff and Lynn Hulsey contributed reporting.
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.