- Associated Press - Monday, September 21, 2015

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

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Sept. 20

It’s been almost three months since the U.S. Supreme Court announced its 5-4 decision legalizing gay marriage, building on the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” to strike down the definition in some states, including Ohio, of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Now come the several lawyers who participated in the Ohio portion of the litigation, requesting that the state’s taxpayers pick up the $1.72 million tab in legal fees and expenses- a number that includes a 50 percent bonus because the case “resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision.”

Similar requests have been filed by attorneys for the Kentucky and Michigan plaintiffs in the combined case.

If this compensation is granted by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black- whose ruling the Supreme Court upheld in deciding the case -it will be a bitter pill for many Ohioans to swallow. But it appears that the law is on the plaintiffs’ side.

The request relies on a 1976 civil rights law that provides for the awarding of legal fees- including “reasonable” attorneys’ fees -to plaintiffs who prevail in civil rights cases. The intent was to empower people whose civil rights had been violated to seek justice in the courts without facing an insurmountable financial burden…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1KuCKil

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The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune, Sept. 17

In the battle over ballot language for State Issue 3, the proposed marijuana amendment, both sides have claimed victory.

And each side did emerge partially victorious.

On Sept. 16, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled four parts of the ballot wording were misleading. The Ohio Ballot Board must meet to revise the ballot language for the four paragraphs before early balloting starts Oct. 6.

That’s a win for ResponsibleOhio, which brought the proposal before voters.

But the synopsis voters will read first- that Issue 3 “Grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes” -can stay, a victory for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

The four sections to be changed concern buffer zones around marijuana establishments, growing and transporting pot by adults, retail marijuana shops and additional pot production sites.

Those are important points. But the key drawback to the proposed amendment- even to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws -involves the exclusive rights that would be granted to owners of 10 parcels of land for marijuana production.

“Today, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed with me, the dictionary, common sense and many news publications across our state that State Issue 3 would create a marijuana monopoly in Ohio and that the voters deserve to be given that information before casting their ballots,” Husted stated after the ruling was announced.

That alone is enough to defeat Issue 3 in the general election.

Online:

https://bit.ly/1NH8epK

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The (Columbus) Dispatch, Sept. 19

Kids are scarfing down a lot of high-calorie and fried foods at fast-food joints daily, according to a government report that gives even greater weight to ongoing efforts to combat childhood obesity.

More than 1 in 3 children or teens in the United States eat at a fast-food restaurant on any given day, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The analysis was based on the CDC’s 2011-12 survey data, so nutrition campaigns might have since made a dent. But these worrisome consumption numbers have held steady since the 1990s. Further, the bad eating habits cut across gender and even economic status for children ages 2 to 19.

Fast food restaurants, of course, do offer healthy choices. But it seems the kids aren’t opting for grilled chicken salads.

The study found many of the young diners are getting 25 percent to more than 40 percent of their daily calories from fast-food joints.

These findings are vexing. Young children aren’t trotting to fast-food restaurants on their own; their parents are taking them. And, by the time they are teenagers, better dietary habits should be ingrained. The report should remind parents to set a good example and expose children to healthy foods, perhaps buying a new fruit or vegetable each week to try…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1V5QvsF

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The (Akron) Beacon-Journal, Sept. 20

Why have so many charter schools performed poorly across the state? The Ohio Supreme provided insights into the answer in a long-awaited ruling last week. The court majority sided with White Hat Management of Akron, one of the largest private operators of charter schools in the country, in a dispute involving the possession of assets (equipment and supplies) that were purchased initially with public money.

In doing so, the court made plain just how much clout the state legislature, with Republicans in the majority, has ceded to White Hat and other private operators. Writing for a fractured majority, Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger adopted a reluctant tone, concluding the court was ruling “narrowly” and all but ordering the legislature to take the responsible path of providing fitting requirements and oversight.

Lawmakers have a prime opportunity. The state Senate has approved strong legislation to hold charter schools more accountable. Unfortunately, the bill has stalled in the House. The court ruling provides a compelling reason to move quickly to enactment.

The dispute stems from the board decisions of 10 former Hope academies and Life Skills Centers to part with White Hat and find a new management company. White Hat argued the boards would need to move, and if they wanted to take the equipment and supplies, they would have to purchase them from White Hat. This seemed an audacious request. Public money flowed to White Hat so it could buy the materials to operate the school. Now the public entity must pay again to get them back?

Online:

https://bit.ly/1j2ZW0j

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