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Montgomery, Preble County Republican parties back DeWine

Published: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 3:51 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 3:53 PM


            Attorney General Mike DeWine
Attorney General Mike DeWine

The Republican parties in Montgomery and Preble counties have endorsed Attorney General Mike DeWine in the race for governor.

The move comes as voters have yet to decide on the primary between DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

Election Day is May 8.

RELATED: Who is running for governor?

“These endorsements continue to show tremendous momentum and enthusiasm for Mike DeWine in the race to be governor,” said Ryan Stubenrauch, press secretary for the campaign. “We are proud that our campaign’s conservative message for Ohio’s future is winning in both urban and rural counties across the state.”

Democrats running for governor include Richard Cordray, Connie Pillich, William O’Neill, Joe Schiavoni and Dennis Kucinich.

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Ohio may ban sexting by anyone under 19; set up teen diversion program

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 6:53 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 6:53 PM

Ohio may ban sexting by anyone under 19; set up teen diversion program
Ohio may ban sexting by anyone under 19; set up teen diversion program

A bill that would ban sexting by anyone under age 19 and require courts to set up diversion programs for young offenders was approved by an Ohio House committee Tuesday night.

Sexting is so rampant that many teens are finding troubles beyond their years in courts struggling to cope with the modern phenomenon. One study showed almost 15 percent of teens have sent a sext and nearly a quarter have received one.

FIRST REPORT: Sexting and teens: Ohio looks to set up diversion program as problem grows

The House Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday sent the bill on to the House.

The measure would require diversion programs, similar to one in Montgomery County. The programs would cover legal consequences, potential sanctions such as school discipline or the loss of job opportunities, the effect on relationships, the potential for bullying and how the searchability online for an infinite time can produce long-term consequences.

State Reps. Jeff Rezabek, R-Clayton, and Brian Hill, R-Zanesville, introduced the bill in September, which before being amended applied to those under age 21.

“This generation — a lot of pictures taken and videos recorded,” said Rezabek at the time. “It seems it’s always a young girl sending a picture to a young boy, who then sends it to his buddies.”

MORE: A quarter of teens are now sexting — here’s why researchers say that’s pretty normal

The ill-advised practice puts teens at risk for criminal charges, school expulsion and images of their privates being displayed and shared in the digital world. The behavior is so common that Montgomery and Clark counties set up diversion program for young offenders.

The bill would require that the diversion programs cover legal consequences, potential sanctions such as school discipline or the loss of job opportunities, the effect on relationships, the potential for bullying and how the searchability and infinite audience online can produce long-term consequences.

MORE: Is felony charge appropriate in teen sexting cases?

The bill would allow courts to use existing programs, such as Montgomery County, and prosecutors would retain the discretion to criminally charge first-time offenders when deemed appropriate.

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Area Congressmen Jordan, Davidson won’t back farm bill

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 6:06 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 6:06 PM

Congressmen Warren Davidson and Jim Jordan
Congressmen Warren Davidson and Jim Jordan

Rep. Jim Jordan says he has no intention of voting for a farm bill until House Republicans have fulfilled campaign pledges to tackle immigration reform.

“I ain’t going to vote for a farm bill until we figure out what we are going to do on immigration, plain and simple,” Jordan said during a press availability with House conservatives Tuesday. He said House Republicans have “plenty of time” to pass the farm bill, which expires in September.

Jordan, R–Urbana, and Rep. Warren Davidson, R–Troy, voted no on the farm bill last week because of frustration that House Republicans had not yet offered an immigration bill fulfilling the promises President Donald Trump made during the 2016 election. The farm bill failed to pass the House without their votes and the votes of other members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Jordan said Tuesday he actually liked parts of the farm bill – including new work requirements for food stamps – but was spurred to act in response to a petition signed by most House Democrats and at least 20 House GOP moderates to force votes on more moderate immigration measures. Among the measures Democrats would like to see are provisions preserving a federal program protecting young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. children from being deported. All four of Ohio’s Democratic U.S. House members have signed the petition, but no Ohio Republican has. As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition was just 17 signatures short of forcing a vote. If the petition gets the necessary 218 votes, the House could begin voting on the more moderate immigration measures on June 25.

RELATED: Dayton ranks among fastest-growing cities for immigrants

Among those who signed the petition was Rep. Joyce Beatty, a Jefferson Township Democrat who said she is trying to force a vote because “Americans are demanding action.”

“I believe in keeping families together, and think that the Trump Administration’s ongoing effort to tear families apart is the wrong way to fix our broken immigration system,” she said.

Jordan said the fact that Democrats and centrist Republicans are so close to forcing a vote has motivated conservatives to push Ryan to push a bill that would include, among other provisions, a border wall.

“We have to get a resolution,” Jordan said, saying he and other conservatives are pushing a measure “consistent with the mandate of the 2016 elections.”

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Ohio closer to allowing dogs on restaurant patios statewide

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 6:31 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 6:31 PM


            Ohio closer to allowing dogs on restaurant patios statewide. Getty Image
Ohio closer to allowing dogs on restaurant patios statewide. Getty Image

Restaurant owners and not public health officials would decide whether to allow dogs on outdoor patios and porches under a bill that passed an Ohio Senate panel Tuesday.

State Sen. Bill Coley, R-West Chester, sponsored the bill.

Coley, who likes to take his sheepdogs Wilby and Elwood with him on vacations, out to dinner and around town, said last month of the restaurant owners: “They know what will work for their businesses and their customers and what won’t. Some businesses will choose to welcome pets in and some will say, ‘You know what, no, we prefer you leave your pet at home.’…That should be up to the business, not up to somebody in the Ohio Department of Health or some bureaucrat in a city or municipality around the state. Let’s leave it to the owners.”

Related: State may leave it up to restaurant owners to allow dogs on patios

A similar bill is pending in the Ohio House that would block local public health officials from implementing or enforcing bans.

Generally, public health laws prohibit pets on the premises of food service operations or retail food establishments. The ban is to protect against potential food contamination and disease transfer. Coley said restaurants would still have to meet sanitation requirements and would maintain the right to refuse service pets that appear “flea ridden” or unhealthy.

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Ohio looks to decide what police body, dashboard video is public

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 1:42 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 1:42 PM

Ohio looks to change what police body, dashboard video is public
Ohio looks to change what police body, dashboard video is public

An Ohio House panel passed a bill Tuesday that would change which dashboard camera and police body camera videos are public and when police can withhold them from release.

“This bill protects privacy rights, while also providing transparency and accountability for those involved. As new technology is utilized, we must continue to protect our citizens and my bill takes measures to ensure that privacy rights are prioritized,” state Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, said in a release Tuesday.

RELATED: Body camera released of Ohio news photographer shot by deputy

House Bill 425 passed the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.

Body camera video is generally a public record, according to the bill, except if it’s taken in a private home or business, involves the victim of a sex crime or is part of a confidential ongoing investigation.

The bill exempts from disclosure body cam footage that captures:

  • Dead bodies or grievously injured bodies, unless the death or injury was caused by an officer or the decedent’s executor consents to its release;
  • Dead or grievously injured first responders, unless the decedent’s executor or injured person consents to its release;
  • An act of severe violence against a person or first responder. The exemption would not apply if the violence was done by a peace officer or the injured person’s consent is obtained.
  • Nude bodies, unless consent is obtained.
  • Identifying information about alleged victims of sex offenses, stalking or domestic violence.
  • Personal information about someone who is not arrested, ticketed, charged or issued a warning by police.
  • Obscene material.

When the bill was introduced, Ohio Fraternal Order of Police lobbyist Mike Weinman said the police union sees no major issues with the bill and is happy to see that personal conversations among officers that aren’t related to police work will not be considered a public record.

ACLU of Ohio lobbyist Gary Daniels said the civil liberties group is also backing Antani’s proposal, saying it strikes the right balance of keeping government open, holding police accountable and protecting personal privacy.

“We think this proposed bill balances all of that quite well,” he said.

Dennis Hetzel said the Ohio News Media Association supports the bill because it strikes a balance between privacy concerns and public interest and it preserves the general presumption of openness – something other states do not have in their body cam laws.

It also allows citizens or news media outlets to argue in the Ohio Court of Claims or other courts that the public interest in release outweighs privacy concerns, he said.
 

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