Ohio may exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 5:54 PM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 5:54 PM

            Ohio may exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty

Breastfeeding mothers would be exempt from jury duty under a bill introduced in the Ohio Legislature by Rep. Ann Gonzalez, R-Westerville.

She introduced the bill after hearing from a constituent who could not get excused even though she needed to breastfeed her baby.

“A constituent came to us and she was forced to be in a broom closet, that was the location for her to breastfeed,” said Alex Landefeld, legislative assistant for Gonzalez. “We saw many other states have laws that put nursing mothers on the physical hardship (exceptions list) so they can be excused from jury duty.”

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court officials do not recall a potential juror asking to be excused because of the need to breastfeed, but said they already accommodate nursing mothers for regular jury duty as well as the longer grand jury term.

“We’ve not had that issue here. The jurors that are breastfeeding are allowed to bring their machines – they come with their pumping machines and bottles. We have a place for them to pump and the jury rooms are equipped with refrigerators so they can store their milk,” said Vanessa Carter, deputy court administrator for Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

Facilities are also available for court employees.

Gonzales’ bill, known as House Bill 13, would require the nursing mother to bring a signed affidavit to the judge making the request to be excluded because she is breast-feeding.

Breastfeeding would become one of the types of physical or financial hardship that can get a person excused from jury duty.

Current law requires a prospective juror to provide documentation for being excused based on “undue or extreme physical or financial hardship,” according to an analysis of the bill by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

Gonzales could not be reached for comment.

What people are saying about Mike DeWine’s run for governor

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 8:07 PM
Updated: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 8:07 PM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Sunday that he will seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2018. He spoke as the DeWine Family Ice Cream Social. Here’s what some of the folks there had to say:

Former U.S. Rep. Steve Austria, a Beavercreek Republican

“As far as his experience, as far as being able to address the needs of Ohio, everything from our children and education, which is so important to this state, to the opiate crisis, to understanding as far as businesses, especially small businesses, being the economic engine of this state and making Ohio a great place to live.”

RELATED: Mike DeWine kicks off campaign for governor

Rev. Thomas Wise, pastor of Valleyview Church in Englewood

“He’s been hinting around for nine months. I’m glad that he finally delivered the baby.”

Kelly Reynolds, 47, of New Carlisle

“I think it’s amazing what heart he has for people that are addicted.”

Joyce Redder, 77, of Cedarville

“He gives hope of a future for the children, for jobs and also for the heroin addicts. It’s good to see that he’s going to attack that.”

Dave Johnson, chairman of the Columbiana County Republican Party

“It’s just great to be here. This is just a Norman Rockwell setting.”

Karen O’Leary Lapping, of Cincinnati

“I’m excited. I hope he can make changes.”

Some of the other candidates running for governor also had some things to say about DeWine

Betty Sutton, Democratic former congresswoman

“There is a clear distinction between Mike DeWine’s priorities and mine on the issue of health care. Millionaire Mike DeWine is willing to undercut the healthcare of everyday Ohioans and take away health care completely from some of the most vulnerable among us, including children, seniors, and the working poor, all the while giving a big tax cut to the top 1%. It is unconscionable. Mike DeWine won’t be affected, but millions of people’s lives will be destroyed. He’s fought the law’s implementation and wants it repealed, despite the fact that more than 800,000 Ohioans would lose their healthcare, and an essential tool to combat the opioid epidemic, provide seniors with nursing care, and help children access the care they need would be obliterated. He wants to roll back the expansion of Medicaid and stop life-time and pre-existing conditions protections.

Jim Renacci, Republican congressman

“Today’s gubernatorial campaign announcement by lifer politician Mike DeWine, whose political career literally launched before NASA’s first Space Shuttle did, marekd more than DeWine’s bid for a fifth decade on the taxpayer dime - it also officially commenced yet another tired round of political musical chairs by Columbus politicians.

Mike DeWine running for governor

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 6:36 AM
Updated: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 3:39 PM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Sunday that he is running for Ohio governor, putting him in contention against two other statewide officials and a U.S. congressman seeking the Republican nomination in 2018.

“When I am governor our state will be fundamentally different,” said DeWine. “I will be ready to go on day one. I will walk through the door with a plan and I will be ready to get to work.”

He focused most of his comments on the need to help families and children succeed, waiting until the end of his speech to to throw in more traditionally conservative remarks about supporting low taxes and controlling spending.

“What we should want for all children in the state of Ohio is exactly what we all want for our kids,” DeWine said. “Too many children are growing up in troubled, stressed families” and cannot achieve their dreams because “of the walls of poverty, drugs and despair.”

RELATED: Mike DeWine confirms run for Ohio governor in 2018

RELATED: Who’s in? A look at who is running for governor

DeWine announced his bid for governor in front of about 1,000 people on the front lawn of his Cedarville home during the DeWine Family Ice Cream Social, a nearly-annual event held since 1976 when he was first elected Greene County prosecutor.

In the Republican primary he will face Secretary of State Jon Husted, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

On the Democratic side, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state representative Connie Pillich of Cincinnati, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, and former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron are in the running.

Statewide tour starts today

On Monday DeWine launches a three-day tour of the state, visiting six cities, including Cincinnati on Tuesday, to talk with families and people at small businesses.

“Ohio is a great state,” DeWine told the crowd of supporters on Sunday, “but we have some very significant problems … The tragedy of our state today is that too many Ohioans will never realize their dreams because they simply lack the education, the skills, the training – and, in too many cases, the sobriety.”

He said at least 10 people die a day from accidental overdoses in Ohio.

“We cannot sit still while we lose a generation of children (to addiction),” DeWine said. “I will take the lead and we will get in front of the epidemic.”

During his speech, DeWine said there are too many schools failing children.

“When these kids fail, we fail,” DeWine said. “When these kids fail, Ohio fails.”

He said he will “focus like a laser … to champion schools that work and hold them up as examples that should be replicated in communities all across the state.”

Former U.S. Rep. Steve Austria, a Beavercreek Republican, said DeWine would do an “outstanding job as governor.”

“As far as his experience, as far as being able to address the needs of Ohio, everything from our children and education, which is so important to this state, to the opiate crisis, to understanding as far as businesses, especially small businesses, being the economic engine of this state and making Ohio a great place to live,” Austria said.

DeWine’s plans to run for governor have been the worst-kept secret in Ohio, especially since he was overheard by a reporter in May 2016 telling a Dayton charter school executive of his plans.

“He’s been hinting around for nine months,” said the Rev. Thomas Wise, pastor of Valleyview Church in Englewood. “I’m glad that he finally delivered the baby.”

Wise, who attended the speech, said he admires DeWine’s honesty and said he is a man of his word.

Kelly Reynolds, 47, of New Carlisle, said she loved what DeWine said about the importance of familes and and the battle against opioid addiction.

“I think it’s amazing what heart he has for people that are addicted,” Reynolds said. “I don’t think we could have a better person run for governor.”

“He gives hope of a future for the children, for jobs and also for the heroin addicts. It’s good to see that he’s going to attack that,” said Joyce Redder, 77, of Cedarville, who taught most of DeWine’s eight children over the years in Cedarville Schools.

40 years in public service

DeWine has been an elected public official since 1977 when he became Greene County prosecutor. He served in the Ohio Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and was lieutenant governor, serving with Ohio Gov. George Voinovich. He also was a U.S. senator from 1995 until he was defeated by Democrat Sherrod Brown in the 2006 senate race. In 2010 DeWine ran for attorney general, unseating Democrat Richard Cordray.

Greene County Prosecutor Steve Haller worked for DeWine in Greene County as an assistant prosecutor and he remains a strong supporter.

“He was a high-energy guy,” Haller said. “I still see that same level of energy today and that’s some 40 years later. He’s hard to keep up with.”

“He gave you the leeway to get the job done, but he wanted results,” Haller said.

RELATED: Jon Husted announces run for governor

RELATED: Congressman Renacci gets in governor’s race

RELATED: Kasich says he backs Taylor

Haller said DeWine is less about partisanship than about getting things done, pointing to DeWine’s decision once elected attorney general to expedite testing a huge backlog of rape kits that counties had not tested. Haller said DeWine also took the lead in battling the opiate crisis.

“He’s a hard-working, honest guy,” said U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose, who was an assistant prosecutor for DeWine and is his former law partner. “He was an avid prosecutor and he has always been dedicated to public service as long as I’ve know him.”

As attorney general DeWine created a special Crimes Against Children Unit targeting sexual predators, prosecuted numerous consumer fraud cases and boosted training opportunities for law enforcement officers.

RELATED: Millions feel sting of identity theft

An abortion opponent DeWine has defended the state’s abortion restrictions and joined in the federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. In May he filed a lawsuit against five manufacturers of opioiods and related companies alleging they engaged in fraudulent and deceptive marketing campaigns.

At 70, DeWine is older than the Republicans who have already announced they are running.

Age is less of an issue with voters than it once was, said Mark Caleb Smith, political director of Cedarville University’s Center for Political Studies. He said there are about six governors who are age 65 or older and President Donald Trump is 71.

“I’m not sure DeWine’s age is as much of a negative now that it might have been 20 or more years ago,” Smith said. “Besides, he seems quite energetic and engaged, so regardless of age, he appears more than capable of doing the job.”

When he was a U.S. senator DeWine was criticized by conservatives for his efforts to work with Democrats on legislation. Some dubbed him a RINO, meaning “Republican in name only.” But DeWine remains proud to this day of his across-the-aisle efforts.

“To get a bill passed in the Senate you have to have some Democrat support,” DeWine said in an exclusive interview on Friday. “In politics you have to know how to count.”

He said the conventional wisdom is that he lost to Brown because of the RINO effect, but he said it was a difficult year for Republicans in the 2006 mid-terms and his main problem was he “didn’t do well with independents that year.”

DeWine said he believes he can do well with people who supported Donald Trump for president.

“The interesting thing is Donald Trump’s appeal is to some of the same people that I’ve always been able to appeal to, blue collar Democrat workers,” he said. “I’m a conservative who likes to get things done.”

Smith said the Trump effect is one of the big unknowns about the 2018 election.

“Trump’s victory showed some Republican appetite for radical change in 2016. DeWine, for all of his strengths and experience could not be called ‘radical change.’ Of course, I am not sure it is safe to say Jon Husted would represent radical change either,” Smith said.

“It could be this race will hinge on whether or not Mike DeWine’s extensive experience and background will be a strength or weakness. In normal times, it seems obvious. These are not normal times.”


Who is Mike DeWine?

Party: Republican

Age: 70

Hometown: Cedarville

Family: Married to Fran, eight children, 22 grandchildren

Education: bachelor’s degree, Miami University, 1969; law degree, Ohio Northern University, 1972

Political experience: Greene County prosecutor, 1977-1981; Ohio Senate, 1981-1982; U.S. House, 1983-1991; lieutenant governor, 1991-1994; U.S. Senate, 1995-2007; Ohio attorney general, 2011-current.

Fun fact: He and his family own the Asheville Tourists, a single-A minor league farm team of the Colorado Rockies

Website: www.mikedewine.com


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Gov. John Kasich’s website hacked

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 2:43 PM
Updated: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 2:43 PM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s website was hacked today by a group claiming to support the Islamic State.

The Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was also hacked.

A screen appeared saying:

“Anti: Govt all word. You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people. For every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries. I love Islamic state.”

According to a report on CNN, a group calling itself Team System DZ, apparently hacked numerous state websites, including first lady Karen Kasich’s website.

It was not clear who the group was or whether it was genuinely affiliated with ISIS, CNN said.

Kasich’s staff said Sunday that they were aware of the hack and working to resolve the issue. They’d been working on the hack on the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections website when they were alerted to their own hack.

John Kasich against Senate health care plan; says don’t ‘rush’ it

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 1:22 PM
Updated: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 1:22 PM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Sunday he is “against” the Senate Republican leadership health-care bill as written, although he said he is “encouraging” lawmakers to “fix it” and not “rush” into passing the measure this week.

In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, Kasich said the GOP bill does not include enough money to provide care for the “mentally ill, the drug-addicted, the chronically ill” who receive health coverage through federal dollars made available by the 2010 health law known as Obamacare.

RELATED: Kasich slams House GOP over health-care bill

Kasich said he does not believe “the bill’s adequate now,” adding “unless it gets fixed … I’m against it.”

“And I’m not against it just because I want to be against it,” Kasich said. “There’s some things in these bill … that are an improvement” over Obamacare.

“So, I’m not saying, just kill the bill,” Kasich said. “Let’s get something that is going to work,” such as “stabilizing all these issues around insurance and coverage, and then get to the heart of the matter, which is the rising costs of health care, frankly, which this bill doesn’t begin to even do.”

House Republicans last month approved a bill aimed at scrapping large sections of Obamacare such as ending in 2020 an expansion of Medicaid – a joint federal and state program dating from 1965 – which allowed Kasich to provide health coverage to more than 700,000 low-income people in Ohio.

RELATED: Kasich on Trump: This is why I didn’t support him, why I didn’t go to convention

The Senate bill modifies the House version by gradually scaling back the federal dollars used to expand Medicaid by 2024, which still eventually would force Ohio to find hundreds of millions of dollars to continue covering those low-income people, which includes a family of four earning as much as $34,000 a year.

Kasich, who cannot seek re-election in 2018, urged Republicans across the country to withstand pressure from organizations supporting President Donald Trump and work to improve the bill.

America First Policies, an independent organization linked to Trump’s campaign advisers, plans to launch a $1 million TV, radio and digital assault against Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, who last week sharply criticized the GOP bill. Heller is running for re-election next year.

“I have been attacked all of my career,” Kasich said. “And the fact is, is that you have got to stand up on your own two feet, explain how you feel about things and be a leader.”

“I don’t think we have enough leadership,” Kasich said. “I think there are too many people that cower in the wings because of partisanship, not just Republicans, Democrats as well.”

“If you try to get a great number of governors, Republican or Democrat, to speak out on this, where are they?,” Kasich said. “All you hear are crickets and chirping, because they’re worried about upsetting their base.”