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Ohio Patrol cracking down on distracted driving; state considering higher fines

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 3:08 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 3:25 PM

Distracted driving

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is cracking down on distracting driving with a special effort through July 22.

This is part of a six-state project which includes all of the states that border Ohio. 

“Distracted driving is a reckless and dangerous behavior,” said Colonel Paul A. Pride in a statement. “If you’re behind the wheel, you need to be completely focused on driving. The Ohio State Highway Patrol and our law enforcement partners in our neighboring states know the devastating effects of distracted driving.”

RELATED: Ohio considering major changes for teen drivers

Driving while distracted could cost you an extra $100 if you are pulled over for speeding or another moving violation under a bill the Ohio House of Representatives approved last month.

The law goes beyond driving while texting and State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, says it goes too far because it also covers talking on the phone, switching radio stations and other distractions beyond texting.

“To me, its overly expansive. Its not just texting while driving. It’s everything,” Antani said.

“While cracking down on distracted driving is important, this bill will criminalize talking on the phone while driving which is terrible government overreach.”

The bill passed 71-10 but would not become law unless approved by the Ohio Senate and signed by the governor.

The bill is co-sponsored by State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, and State Rep. Jim Hughes, R-Upper Arlington. It covers moving violations such as speeding, running red lights, disobeying any traffic devices, driving too slowly, improper lane changes and other offenses.

RELATED: Teens involved in more crashes in summer months

“Inspired from previous efforts to bring attention to the dangers of distracted driving, Rep. Hughes worked in coordination with the Ohio Department of Public Safety to draft legislation to create this enhanced penalty, which would not add points to an individual’s driver’s license and would not go on their driving record,” according to a news release on Hughes’ website.

“The enhanced penalty for distracted driving as proposed in House Bill 95 will help provide a deterrent to this reckless and dangerous activity,” Hughes said. “Ultimately, the goal is to save lives by making our roadways safer.”

A person could only be cited for “distracted driving” if the law enforcement officer witnesses the offense while the moving violation is occurring, according to the bill.

In lieu of the fine an offender may instead attend distracted driving safety courses, according to a summary of the bill by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

The bill defines “distracted” as:

- Using a handheld electronic wireless communications device - including phones, tablets and computers - except when it is on speakerphone or otherwise hands-free.

- Any activity “that is not necessary to the operation of a vehicle” and could or does impair the driver.

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Ohio Democratic voters surged for primary, Husted reports

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 1:53 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 1:53 PM


            Voting (Photo by Jay LaPrete/Getty Images)
Voting (Photo by Jay LaPrete/Getty Images)

Democratic Party voters more than doubled Republicans in party-switching and overall voter affiliation growth for Ohio’s 2018 primaries.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted released voter data Thursday tracking changes for the May primary.

RELATED: Trump may factor into Ohio governor’s race

In 2016, Republicans had outgained Democrats in party-switchers and new voters in a presidential year featuring Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the GOP nomination race.

Ohio voters don’t register with a party, but are considered affiliated with the party whose ballot they choose in a partisan primary.

The elections chief says more than half of Ohio’s 7.96 million registered voters are unaffiliated.

Among partisan voters, Democrat-affiliated voters grew 165,432 this year to top 1.4 million. Republican-affiliated voters grew 60,162 to top 2 million.

Poll: Ohio governor race too close to call

Green Party-affiliated voters more than doubled to 7,353.Ohio voters don’t register with a party, but are affiliated with the party whose ballot they choose in a partisan primary.

Ohio voters don’t register with a party, but are affiliated with the party whose ballot they choose in a partisan primary.

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Ohioans against increased tariffs on Canada, Mexico; split on China, poll says

Published: Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 1:19 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 1:19 PM

China Set to Impose New Tariffs on US Products China is adding tariffs on meat, fruit, wine and other goods from the United States. The move comes in response to taxes on imported steel and aluminium approved by President Trump. The new tariffs are to begin on Monday, the Chinese Finance Ministry said. Beijing increased the tariff rate on pork by 25 percent and 15 percent on 120 other U.S. goods.

A new survey shows Ohio voters oppose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union while they are equally divided on tariffs on Chinese goods if those duties raise the cost of consumer goods.

The poll, released Thursday by Quinnipiac University, suggest Ohio voters are more wary of tariffs and protectionist policies by the federal government than many political analysts believe.

By a difference of 45 percent to 35 percent, Ohio voters oppose the new 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imposed last month by President Donald Trump.

RELATED: How would Trump tariffs work?

That opposition increases to 57 percent if the steel and aluminum tariffs lead to higher prices. Economists have argued that tariffs on steel and aluminum will raise the price of a broad array of consumer products from cars, trucks, and washing machines.

“Despite Ohio’s reputation as a blue-collar bastion, Buckeye state voters overall are not supportive of increasing tariffs on steel and aluminum imported into the United States from foreign lands,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll.

RELATED: What is a tarrif and why should you be worried about it

The polls shows 55 percent of Ohio voters favor tariffs on Chinese imports, but when asked if they would back those tariffs “raised the costs of goods that you buy,” support plummets to 46 percent while 46 percent would oppose the tariffs.

The poll of 1,082 Ohio voters was conducted by landline telephones and cell phones from June 7 through Tuesday. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.

The poll also showed that 76 percent of Ohio voters favor allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain while 51 percent of voters want to retain the 2010 health law known as Obamacare.

Those numbers suggest that Republican officeholders are at odds with voters in Ohio. Republicans have been cool to overhauling immigration laws and a sizable majority oppose Obamacare.

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Gov. John Kasich more popular with Democrats in Ohio than Republicans, poll says

Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 5:24 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 5:24 PM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)

Gov. John Kasich has a good approval rating with one political party in Ohio, just not his own.

A new Quinnipiac University poll reports that that Gov. John Kasich has a 52 percent job approval rating overall and he’s more popular among Democrats than his fellow Republicans who are evenly divided over the governor.

Fifty-seven percent of Democrats give Kasich the thumbs up and 52 percent of them would like to see Kasich make another run for president in 2020.

Meanwhile, nearly three in four Republicans say they don’t want him to run for president in 2020.

Related: What’s next? DeWine versus Cordray fight for Ohio

Kasich was the last Republican candidate to drop out of the race against Donald Trump in the Republican primary in 2016.

Rumors have swirled since that Kasich may run again as a Republican in 2020. Kasich says he is unlikely to challenge President Trump as an independent, but hasn’t ruled it out.

It’s unlikely, but when you have options on the table, all options are on the table, right?” Kasich said in an interview with CNN.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted June 7 to June 12, contacted 1,082 Ohio voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

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New polls show Sherrod Brown up big over Jim Renacci in US Senate race

Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 2:32 PM

Sen. Sherrod Brown and Congressman Jim Renacci
Sen. Sherrod Brown and Congressman Jim Renacci

Two new polls out show U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown with a big lead over his Republican challenger Congressman Jim Renacci.

Brown is running for a third term in the U.S. Senate this November.

Quinnipiac pollsters said Brown holds a 51-34 percent lead over U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, in the senate race.

Brown has a 55 percent job approval rating, the poll said. Meanwhile, half of Ohio voters say they don’t know enough about Renacci to form an opinion.

The Quinnipiac poll focused on registered voters, but a poll out yesterday of likely voters showed a similar trend.

Brown was up over Renacci 53.4 percent to 36.6 percent in the Cincinnati Enquirer/Suffolk University poll.

This year’s race for the Ohio Senate seat has started aggressively, with Brown trying to define Renacci, as early as last month with dual ads, aired just days after Renacci won his primary.

RELATED: ‘I don’t want it,’ Sherrod Brown says of being vice president

Renacci has hit Brown back with an ad of his own.

Renacci told Dayton Daily News editors in an interview Monday that he will not let his opponent define him.

On Monday, Renacci was heralding an America First poll that he said shows the Senate race is a close one. The poll shows Brown leading Renacci by 4 points, within the poll’s margin of error, Renacci tweeted.

“The fact that he talks more about polls than the issues important to Ohio workers is a good example that Congressman Renacci only looks out for himself,” said Preston Maddock, communication director for the Brown campaign.

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