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.

Marijuana in Ohio: Details of new ballot initiative coming Monday

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 7:57 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 7:57 PM


            marijuana
marijuana

Some of the team behind the failed effort to legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use in Ohio in 2015 are going back to voters again next year.

Jimmy Gould, a backer of the 2015 statewide ballot issue, is expected to announce Monday that he and others are backing the “Free Market Adult Consumption of Marijuana” ballot issue in November 2018.

TAKE OUR POLL: Should Ohio legalize marijuana?

A press conference explaining the ballot issue is set for 11 a.m. Monday in Columbus. A team from the Dayton Daily News and WHIO TV Channel 7 will be there.

In November 2015, voters rejected the ResponsibleOhio ballot issue calling for legalization of medical and recreational marijuana.

Lawmakers later legalized marijuana for medical use. The program overseeing that operation is in the works.

We will have more on the 2018 ballot initiative Monday once it is released.

Related: Springfield, Yellow Springs to get large scale marijuana operations

Related: Ohio announces first set of marijuana grower licenses

Portman named to conference committee on tax bill

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 2:03 PM

Jessica Wehrman and Michael Dulman in our Washington Bureau report that Sen. Rob Portman’s influence over the tax legislation racing through Congress will continue.

Portman, R-Ohio, was named last week as one of the senators to be part of a conference committee with the House to forge a final compromise of the GOP-backed plan to overhaul the tax code and reduce tax rates for corporations, small companies, and individuals.

The House and Senate approved slightly different versions of the tax bill, meaning the conferees have to reconcile those differences. Once they do, the House and Senate will have to pass the bill before President Donald Trump can sign it.

Portman, who lobbied hard for the Senate bill, said he is “optimistic” Congress will send legislation to the White House for Trump’s signature before Christmas.

State auditor: City lacks proper records of traffic camera fines

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 1:48 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 1:48 PM


            traffic cameras
traffic cameras

Ohio’s auditor has faulted a small city near Columbus and its police chief for failing to keep proper records of camera-enforced traffic fines that produce much of the village’s revenue.

An audit of Brice released last week says auditors couldn’t find sufficient documentation for the tickets. The village roughly 12 miles east of Columbus reported the fines brought in more than $170,000 in 2016, accounting for nearly 75 percent of Brice’s general fund total.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Brice faces a class-action lawsuit over fines collected from 2013 to 2015.

State Auditor Dave Yost says Police Chief Bud Bauchmoyer should have kept a complete record of every citation given the scrutiny of the village’s ticketing practices.

Bauchmoyer didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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Richard Cordray brings governor campaign to Dayton

Published: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 12:35 PM

Cordray says Ohio tax policies are wrong-headed

Democrat Richard Cordray brought his brand new campaign for Ohio governor to Dayton on Wednesday as one of his rivals announced he won’t be pulling out of the race after all.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill on Wednesday backed off his pledge to drop out of the 2018 Democratic race for governor if Cordray entered the race.

Cordray, who last month stepped down as director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, announced Tuesday he will seek the Democratic nomination in the May 8 primary. Other Democrats in the race include 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.

O’Neill, whose decision to stay on the bench after announcing his candidacy is controversial, now says he will only leave the race if one of the other Democratic candidates agrees to his anti-opioid addiction plan.

RELATED: Cordray launches run for governor; holding event in Dayton Wednesday

“I told Rich that I would not be leaving the race unless I heard that someone accepts my proposition that opening the mental hospitals and legalizing marijuana” is the solution to the opioid crisis, said O’Neill, who proposes funding the hospitals with $300 million in annual revenues he believes will come from legalizing marijuana.

RELATED: Supreme court justice not leaving race for Ohio governor

O’Neill was criticized for not resigning from the court when he announced his candidacy on Oct. 29. The Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct requires judges to resign if they enter a partisan race, but O’Neill contends that he would only become a candidate officially when he turns in his nominating petitions by the Feb. 7 deadline.

“I have recused on all future cases, and on Friday I will be announcing my retirement date if my approach is not accepted by Rich,” said O’Neill, who plans to remain on the court until his term ends in 2019 if he withdraws from the governor’s race.

O’Neill ignited further controversy and calls for his resignation last month when he posted remarks on Facebook touting his sexual exploits with “50 very attractive females.” He subsequently apologized for the post.

RELATED: DeWine-Husted ticket called governor’s race ‘dream team’ by GOP state senator

“After his inflammatory, degrading sexist comments, I called on O’Neill to resign from the court,” said Whaley. “More than once, he has disqualified himself from asking - never mind demanding - anyone take up his platform.

Ryan Stubenrauch, spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Mike DeWine, said the state already has six regional psychiatric hospitals.

“Mike DeWine has always been against recreational marijuana. The solution to a drug crisis is not adding another,” Stubenrauch said. “Mike DeWine is focused on fighting the opioid crisis and the drug cartels and the drug companies that are responsible for it.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor are also running in the GOP primary.

Cordray declined to comment on O’Neill’s remarks and said any position he takes on legal marijuana in Ohio will take into consideration that Ohio voters in 2015 rejected a ballot initiative to legalize recreational and medical marijuana. Last year the Ohio legislature legalized medical marijuana, but it won’t be available until 2018.

“I’m very concerned about the opioid crisis. It’s obviously the new crisis, like the foreclosure crisis was 10 years ago, that’s washing over the state,” Cordray said in Dayton.

He said the problem needs a bold approach.

“But my way to do it would be to have the state working closely with local officials, non-profit agencies who do so much good in our communities and the private sector on bringing everybody to bear on solving a problem that otherwise will not get solved and has not been solved,” Cordray said. “And by the way it has blown up over the last five years with no real attention and no effective solutions from Columbus.”

Cordray’s visit to Dayton was the second stop of the day on his “Kitchen Table Tour” of Ohio.

“The kitchen table issues will be my focus, issues of economics and how people can afford health care and they can afford the cost of college education for their children or further training or whatever it is that is needed to prepare young people for the workforce,” Cordray said during his speech in front of about 50 people at The Old Courthouse in downtown Dayton. “It’s about finding that better job, and it’s about providing for people’s retirement.”

Cordray served as Ohio treasurer and attorney general before being tapped by then-President Barack Obama to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He said he’s worked for 15 years on issues of economic insecurity.

Cordray touted his battle as attorney general to help Ohioans as the financial collapse and 2009 recession sent foreclosure filings skyrocketing, and his efforts at the consumer bureau, which was set up in the wake of the financial crisis.

“I’m willing to tackle big problems like the foreclosure crisis, like the Wall Street abuses and get results for (Ohioans),” Cordray said. “I think you look at the work that I did on behalf of all Americans at the consumer bureau, that’s the kind of work that progressives feel is important. People like Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Warren, she’s endorsing me today.”

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