- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

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

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Jan. 3

In 2008, almost 64 percent of the Ohioans who voted approved upholding a payday-loan-reform law that capped annual percentage rates on such loans at 28 percent. The law, Substitute House Bill 545, was intended to bar APRs that had been as high as 391 percent.

Payday lenders evaded that cap by registering under other Ohio loan laws. And Ohio’s Supreme Court, in a 7-0 ruling last June, refused to close that loophole, as has the legislature - so far.

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, led by former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, is considering whether, and how, to assure fairness to payday-loan borrowers. …

(I)t appears that states can regulate APRs on payday loans, at least on loans issued by nonbank lenders, while Cordray’s CFPB can’t. But there are other critical areas Cordray and the bureau can and should pursue. …

One critical need is for the bureau to ban loans requiring periodic payments larger than 5 percent of a borrower’s pre-tax income. Another must: rules that spread the cost of a payday loan evenly over its life. Now, because lenders’ profits are typically front-loaded, they have an incentive to induce borrowers to refinance before a loan’s term ends, a fee-maximizing practice known as flipping.

Beleaguered borrowers need the protections that Cordray’s agency can provide. It must do so - strongly, and soon.

Online:

https://bit.ly/1ys7Zt7

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The Cincinnati Enquirer, Jan. 4

The fight for LGBT equality doesn’t only take place in Capitol buildings and courthouses, but also - first and maybe most importantly - in the home.

That fact hit us hard this past week as we turned the page on a new year without Leelah Alcorn.

At 17, Leelah took her life. She said in a farewell post on social media that she’d felt since the age of 4 that she was a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and all she wanted was to be loved and accepted that way.

Her story has resonated throughout Greater Cincinnati and well beyond as it has spoken to an aspect of the LGBT rights movement that hasn’t received much mainstream attention. Leelah’s suicide must make us think more about our collective responsibility to love and help all the children in our world. …

We must all do a better job of identifying and reaching out to other Leelahs who might be among us right now.

Just as we must listen to and support other groups of children - the low-income, gifted, girls, foster kids - we must do the same with those who are struggling with gender identity and sexual orientation. All of these youth together are our future. We must let them know that they are loved, and that help is here.

Online:

https://cin.ci/1KeIb7m

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The Ironton Tribune, Jan. 2

Before the New Year, Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law that would allow hunters to use soup-canned sized noise suppressors on guns for certain wildlife, such as deer and game birds.

This makes Ohio among more than 30 states to pass such a law.

Supporters of the bill say allowing noise suppressors on firearms will curb hunters’ hearing loss, since earplugs and other wearable noise muffling devices diminish hunter’s awareness of their surroundings.

Supporters also insist suppressors would lessen noise pollution in developed areas that border hunting lands.

While these points are valid, hunters are not the only ones who must keep safety in mind during hunting season.

For people who live on or near lands that are trafficked by game hunters, being able to hear gunshots is an important indicator for those people to stay clear of a particular area. While noise suppressors are not silencers, opponents of the bill worry accidental shootings may arise - also a valid point. …

Regardless of how many hunters will choose to take advantage of the new law, we encourage each and every gun owner to practice safe and responsible gun control.

Online:

https://bit.ly/1FavwSV

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The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune, Jan. 3

A tip of the cap to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee for getting it mostly right.

Admit it: When a group of university presidents approved a four-team college football playoff, the solution looked like it could multiply the problem. Instead of one or two teams feeling left out of the mix under the previous matchup of the top two Bowl Championship Series schools, at least two and perhaps four teams might feel snubbed under the new format.

And that seemed like what happened when the selection committee left Baylor and Texas Christian out of the playoffs and slotted Ohio State to oppose top-seeded Alabama. That looked even more plausible when TCU drilled Ole Miss - the only team to beat Alabama this season - 42-3 in the Peach Bowl.

Then, Michigan State edged Baylor - the only team to beat TCU this season - in the Cotton Bowl. Suddenly, OSU - which had dominated the Spartans in East Lansing - seemed like a worthy final four pick.

The Buckeyes’ victory in the Sugar Bowl confirmed that selection … although TCU might have put up a better battle against Oregon than Florida State did. …

Online:

https://bit.ly/1tJWuvZ

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