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
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.

Ohio lawmaker criticizes efforts to remove Confederate monuments

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 5:22 PM


            State Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown
State Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown

Even as Republicans like John Kasich, Rob Portman and Mike Turner call on President Donald Trump to clearly denounce white supremacists, state Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, took to Facebook this week to criticize efforts to remove Confederate monuments.

“There is a statue of Bill Clinton in Arkansas. A man who obviously glorified adultery and perjury,” she wrote. “Lenin’s statue stands in Fremont, Washington, a man who killed millions through starvation and cruelty. Clinton/Gore 1992 was advertised on Confederate flags throughout the nation during that election. Martin Luther King was against gay marriage. Will those statues remain standing?”

Trump unleashed a firestorm of criticism on Tuesday when he blamed both sides for the violence that erupted at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that resulted in the death of an anti-protester, Heather Heyer, and the deaths of two Virginia troopers whose helicopter crashed while observing the mayhem.

Keller didn’t directly address the rally, but said it was the Democratic party that “invented white nationalism” and “it’s time to go on the offense.”

Related: Keller and Mandel back plan to punish sanctuary cities “I expect those with a discerning spirit to understand what is happening here,” she wrote. “Soon, the Citadel will be closed down and the Reagan Library will be trashed. Conservatives have surrendered for so long that now we are paying the price….No more running from the liars and pillagers. It’s our country. We are the ones who can make racists afraid again. They need to live in disgrace because they are disgraceful.”

An aide to Keller on Thursday said she was not available for an interview, but she released this statement:

“I condemn in the strongest of terms the violence in Charlottesville and extend my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives that day, as well as the injured. Racism is certainly a cancer that needs to be eradicated from our society. Without question, the most absolute truth our nation was founded upon is that “all men are created equal.”

She added: “My personal Facebook posts over the weekend were simply to provide historical context to the issue of race relations in our country. Also, I was showing that taking down every statue of figures you disagree with is not the answer to this issue. The answer is dialogue. The answer is upholding the sanctity of every human life, no matter the race.”

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Stephanie Howse, D-Cleveland, took issue with some of Keller’s Facebook comments.

“When we talk about America’s history, people want to say, ‘Oh, it’s a part of history.’ But it’s a nasty history,” she said. “When we look at those who were fighting for the Confederacy, the Confederacy – it was based on keeping slavery alive and well, which was the destruction of the black community and our African American community. That’s what it was. To say it was anything but that, we are being disingenuous. In having a conversation (with Keller), she really believes the hateful things that she puts out in this universe. It is just very alarming to me and now she is in a place to make laws for all of Ohio.”

Related: Butler County lawmaker appears on white power advocate’s show This isn’t the first time Keller has waded into controversial topics. In February, the first-term lawmaker joined state Treasurer Josh Mandel in backing a proposal to hold elected officials civilly and criminally liable if undocumented immigrants in their sanctuary cities injure or kill someone.

In April, Keller appeared on an online podcast hosted by a man who advocates the 14-word slogan, “We must secure the existence of our race and a future for white children.” The Anti-Defamation League identifies the 14-word slogan as a ubiquitous statement within the white supremacist movement.

Also in April, Keller defended a Facebook post in which she compared Planned Parenthood to Nazis.

Keller received 65 percent of the vote in her conservative district last November.

GOP group seeks records to see if Cordray is mulling a governor run

Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 11:25 AM
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 11:25 AM


            Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, testifies on Sept. 20, 2016, before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs about Wells Fargo. (Ron Sachs/CNP/Sipa USA/TNS)
            Ron Sachs/CNP
Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, testifies on Sept. 20, 2016, before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs about Wells Fargo. (Ron Sachs/CNP/Sipa USA/TNS)(Ron Sachs/CNP)

The Republican Governors Association is once again requesting information on whether consumer watchdog Richard Cordray is mulling a run for Ohio governor even as he serves as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The organization announced today that it has sent the CFPB a second Freedom of Information Act request for records that would indicate that Cordray is actively pursuing a run. Doing so would potentially violate the Hatch Act, a law that bars some in the executive branch from participating in political activity while serving.

RELATED: Cordray under fire from GOP, banks

The public records request seeks information including correspondence between Cordray and prominent Democratic operatives in the state; a copy of Cordray’s government-issued cell and office phone records from June 1 through the present and a copy of Cordray’s schedule from June 1 on.

This is the second public records request the organization has made in the last two weeks; earlier in August, the group requested that Cordray turn over all e-mails between his office and a wide variety of people in Ohio, including former Ohio Democratic Chairman David Leland, Democratic fundraiser Melissa Barnhart, Cleveland Plain Dealer political columnist Brent Larkin and GateHouse Media, owners of The Dispatch, The Canton Repository and other Ohio newspapers.

RELATED: All eyes on Cordray for decision on governor run

The group said they put out the second request after WVXU reported that Cordray discussed the Ohio governor’s race with the chair of the Hamilton County Democratic party.

“Ohioans deserve to know whether Richard Cordray is using his Consumer Financial Protection Bureau office for political gain at the expense of taxpayers,” said RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson. “If these new revelations are correct, and Cordray did discuss potential gubernatorial debates with Ohio Democrats, he should admit truthfully what he discussed, if he is engaged in prohibited political activity, and why he is so focused on not doing his job.”

Four Democrats are currently seeking the Democratic nomination in the 2018 race: former state Rep. Connie Pillich, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

Woman gets ‘Covfefe’ OK’d for Ohio license plate; others not as lucky

Published: Sunday, August 13, 2017 @ 1:13 PM
Updated: Sunday, August 13, 2017 @ 1:13 PM


            Ohio license plate
Ohio license plate

President Donald Trump earlier this year posted a word on Twitter than nobody ever heard of.

Now that word, “covfefe,” is a vanity license plate for a northeast Ohio woman. However other states don’t allow the word on plates.

The Columbus Dispatch reported today that Brittany Scott thought it worked for her car. “It just fit. I thought it was hilarious.”

READ THE FULL DISPATCH STORY HERE

There are hundreds of vanity license plate numbers submitted to the Ohio Bureau of Moter Vehicles and may are declined.

SLIDESHOW: Ohio’s banned vanity license plates list

Some states like Georgia had banned the word covfefe from license plates.

Ohio bans hundreds of words from appearing on vanity license plates. As of 2013, they included “OHELL,” “IH8NCAA,” “GIGOLO” and more (many of which contain graphic, profane or obscene references).

Netroots Nation: Things to know about the Atlanta meeting

Published: Friday, August 11, 2017 @ 11:02 AM

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will headline the Netroots Nation conference in Atlanta this weekend. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will headline the Netroots Nation conference in Atlanta this weekend. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Netroots Nation, a four-day conference of left-leaning activists, opened Thursday in Atlanta. 

“Part pep rally and part insurgency training,” according to a preview on MyAJC.com,  “the conference includes nearly 200 panels and training sessions designed to teach progressive activists how to reclaim state legislatures, advance LGBT rights in the South and master social media strategy.”

Here are some things to know about Netroots Nation 2017:

Who attends?

Netroots Nation said on its web site that the conference attracts a cross-section of those who call themselves progressives, including “online organizers, grassroots activists and independent media makers,” plus advocacy organizations and supportive companies and labor unions.

Is there a live stream or other ways to follow?

AJC will provide coverage on ajc.com, MyAJC.com and the Political Insider blog. Netroots Nation is posting updates, with some live video on Facebook. Social media updates on Twitter are using #NN17 as the hashtag.

The official website is netrootsnation.org.

When and where is the conference?

Aug. 10-13, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, 265 Peachtree Street NE, (404) 577-1234

HELPFUL LINKS

Netroots Nation conference video and live streams on Facebook

Netroots schedule, including speaker biographies

More things to do in Atlanta this weekend

ALSO in the News: Protesters gather at Rep. Doug Collins Town Hall

Protesters & Supporters Collins Town Hall

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL NEWS

If it happens in Washington or under the Gold Dome — or somewhere else — and it affects Georgians, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has somebody there to tell you what it means. Follow our coverage at http://www.myAJC.com/politics.

Netroots coverage

Follow news from the Netroots Nation as it happens at http://politics.blog.ajc.com/.

Also, see a story about liberals’ ambitions for winning in the South in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution.