- Associated Press - Monday, March 30, 2015

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

The (Youngstown) Vindicator, March 28

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been around Washington politics long enough to know that Republicans on Capitol Hill are hoping she continues to resist turning over her private email server for review.

Saying no even to the independent inspector general for the State Department or some other neutral party to conduct an inventory of the server continues to feed the public’s perception that Clinton has something to hide.

It doesn’t matter to the Republicans in Congress and her other detractors that she turned over 55,000 pages of emails relating to her official duties and has urged the State Department to make them public. …



Clinton insists that the private emails had nothing to do with her official duties as secretary of state and were mostly personal in nature. …

We believe the former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady should be given the opportunity to name a person who would join the neutral third party selected by the Republican leadership in the House to go through the server. That way, her personal interests would be protected. …

The Hillary Clinton emails should be reviewed by individuals who are not part of government and are not partisan. It’s a tall order, but if the goal is to determine the nature of the emails, then the Republicans will have no objection to the independent review away from Congress.

Online: https://bit.ly/1Fb5JXz

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The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune, March 29

Many states - and the federal government, for that matter - could learn a thing or two about the transparency to which they pay so much lip service, simply by taking a page out of the Ohio treasurer’s playbook.

Last year, Treasurer Josh Mandel had launched Ohiocheckbook.com, making the state’s spending publicly visible, and it was such a success it ranked No. 1 among the 50 states’ spending databases, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s annual “Following the Money” report. …

Yes, Ohio’s new website cost some money to create: $814,000 out of the treasurer’s office operating budget. But now the tools are in place, and being used well to show Buckeye State residents exactly how their money is spent.

Ohio lawmakers must be certain the progress that has been made is not lost. A bill in the Ohio House would require future treasurers to maintain the website. The measure should be enacted - and legislators and the public should monitor the site in future years to ensure the current level of transparency does not decline.

Congratulations go out to Mandel, who said, “We will continue to work with U.S. PIRG and others to empower taxpayers and to hold public officials accountable.”

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

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The (Canton) Repository, March 25

In 2013, after 25 years and five failed attempts, the state Legislature finally remedied Ohio’s broken laws pertaining to adoption records. The result of that legislation recently took effect, making birth certificates and other records available for the first time to as many as 400,000 adopted Ohioans. …

(F)or thousands of Ohioans adopted in the 32-year period between 1964 and 1996, the only key they have had to unlocking their past is a court order. …

The new law, which received near-unanimous support in the General Assembly in 2013, addresses this group. Now, adoptees and their descendants have access to their adoption files, including their original birth certificates, unless birth parents decided to keep those records sealed. They were given 15 months to choose if they want to remain anonymous or be contacted and, if so, how. The new law also gives them the preference of providing family health information upon request. …

We’re excited for the thousands of adopted Ohioans who may now hold the key to this vital information. They now have a chance to trace their family history, gain access to pertinent medical information and possibly reunite with their biological parents.

We applaud lawmakers for addressing this inequitable system, but we also believe the law should have been changed for all adopted Ohioans in 1996 - if not years prior. We can’t help but think of the thousands of adoptees who have missed out because legislators dropped the ball nearly two decades ago.

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

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The (Martins Ferry) Times Leader, March 26

One of the most highly anticipated events in a teen’s life is the day they receive their driver’s license. It is a landmark accomplishment.

In their minds, it signifies a greater dose of freedom. What many do not realize, however, is it also means a greater sense of responsibility. That is often overlooked in the minds of young drivers.

It could prove a harmful mistake.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released results of a recent study. The results are eye-opening.

Nearly 1,700 videos were analyzed. Those videos were captured showing the actions of teen drivers moments before a crash.

Not surprisingly, distractions were a major factor in those accidents. …

The issue is how to remedy a dangerous situation.

Education is a good starting point. Parents and guardians need to hammer home the dangers of cell-phone use while driving, as well as interaction with passengers.

Moreover, states should take a closer look on the amount of passengers allowed in the vehicle of a teen driver. Fewer passengers means fewer potential distractions.

The most effective way to reduce such accidents is to totally abolish cellphone use by teen drivers. That may seem a hard-core route to travel, but teen crashes yield some 3,000 deaths and nearly 400,000 injuries annually. …

Online: https://bit.ly/19s5b4A

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