- Associated Press - Monday, March 24, 2014

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The (Toledo) Blade, March 24

Community leaders in Columbus recently urged state senators and Gov. John Kasich to reject a dangerous, unnecessary bill that would exponentially expand the circumstances in which a person has no duty to retreat before using lethal force. They were joined by Lucia McBath, whose unarmed son Jordan Davis, 17, was shot and killed at a Florida gas station after a dispute over loud music.

House Bill 203, Ohio’s version of “stand your ground” legislation, has cleared the House. Now before the Ohio Senate, this bill should not reach Mr. Kasich’s desk.

The measure would almost surely encourage gun violence - something Ohio and its cities don’t need - and lead to more needless deaths. Nor would the bill strengthen legitimate rights to self-defense.

Ohio law already states that people need not retreat in their residence or vehicle, or the vehicle of an immediate family member. Those provisions are ample, including areas of personal domain to which U.S. legal tradition and the “castle doctrine” have extended special protections. Among other things, the House bill would extend immunities to anywhere a person has a legal right to be - an invitation to violence and vigilantism….

Existing laws protect the personal space that society generally considers inviolable. Extending those protections to virtually anywhere just invites violence.

Online: https://bit.ly/1lgg3Gr


The Marietta Times, March 23

New regulations for local jails in Ohio are an improvement over the old rules in some respects. State officials should stand ready to refine some vague terminology, however - and to ensure jails operate by the book.

A committee of state legislators approved the new rules (last) week. The last update was more than 10 years ago.

Some amendments in requirements for jails were in reaction to local officials complaints the old standards were unrealistic and unnecessarily expensive. For example, the updated rules allow jails to serve prisoners just two meals a day on weekends, rather than the three mandated on weekdays. Inmates now must be allowed to take showers just once every 48 hours.

Medical treatment specifications also have been improved, in part because of suggestions by mental health organizations….

Most important for state officials is ensuring the rules are followed. There are just two state-level inspectors for the 349 jails in Ohio - far below the number needed.

So inadequate is the state’s compliance machinery that, in 2011, it was suggested jail operators should evaluate themselves. That system collapsed after about six months.

More inspectors should be hired, and local jails should be put on a regular schedule of compliance checks. Of course, surprise inspections also should be utilized.

That will cost the state a few hundred thousand dollars - but that is preferable to localities having to pay out millions if they lose “cruel and unusual punishment” lawsuits.

Online: https://bit.ly/1m23kob


Kent-Ravenna Record Courier, March 23

Gov. John Kasich’s legislative action plan includes a reduction in the state income tax, dropping it to less than 5 percent for top-bracket taxpayers and netting Ohioans $174 million over the next three years.

Kasich would finance the reduction in the income tax, in part, by selectively raising taxes. His proposals include a new tax on oil drillers, a 15 percent hike in the Commercial Activity Tax and a significant boost in the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.

Hiking the cigarette tax would have the most direct impact on individual Ohioans, with smokers seeing the state tax on a pack of cigarettes rising from $1.25 to $1.85.

That is estimated to generate about $850 million over three years, which would help offset the revenue lost because of the cut in the income tax. It also could result in a healthier Ohio in the long run if the rising cost of cigarettes persuades smokers to kick the habit….

The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association support Kasich’s proposal. The tobacco industry and representatives of retailers oppose it as a regressive move singling out a specific class of Ohioans.

Smoking is a choice, and an unhealthy one. Making it more costly in Ohio could, indeed, help provide the revenues Governor Kasich is seeking to cover an income tax cut. Better yet, it could end up saving lives.

Online: https://bit.ly/1mqbLMV


The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 23

In April, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case, Susan B. Anthony List and Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) v. Driehaus. The case is of special local interest for at least two reasons: First, it unites perhaps the most diverse set of political voices ever assembled before the Supreme Court; Second, it directly involves COAST, which is represented by well-known Cincinnati attorney, Christopher Finney.

While the court has been asked to address a narrow technical issue of when a challenge may be brought, it is going to wrestle with the broader question of whether a law that makes it a crime to make a “false” statement in political campaign advertising, such as currently exists in Ohio and several other states, violates the United States Constitution. Should the veracity of campaign rhetoric be judged by individual voters as they weigh competing claims in the hurly-burly of political campaigns - where one person’s “facts” are another person’s “lies” - or by election board bureaucrats?…

Democracy is not served by such an outcome. The Supreme Court should, and almost certainly will, declare Ohio’s false-statement campaign law to violate the First Amendment to the Constitution. Regardless of one’s politics, everyone should be grateful to SBA and COAST for pressing the issue, as the right outcome will benefit even those who strongly disagree with their political and social agendas.

Online: https://cin.ci/1dGvy2y

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide