- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

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

The (Findlay) Courier, Dec. 9

One by one, exemptions have eaten away at Ohio’s public records law over the years. At last count, there were 29 types of records that are now protected and don’t have to be made available to the public.

Fortunately, the Ohio Supreme Court hit the pause button on that troubling trend this week by ruling that police dash-camera videos are a public record and should be released by police agencies upon request.

… The court said some portions of videos could be shielded on a case-by-case basis, but only if the material is deemed part of a criminal investigation.

That’s reasonable. Too often police and prosecutors avoid releasing records from an incident under the “confidential law enforcement investigatory record” exemption.

But the court, in its ruling, suggested that blanket exceptions shouldn’t be allowed when it comes to dash-cams, and that police video should be considered individually…

Public record advocates are hoping for a similar ruling in another case pending before the high court…

The main purpose of using body-cams in the first place is to increase transparency and accountability for police to build public trust. Keeping body-cam video out of the public view would do just the opposite.

Online:

https://bit.ly/2hENWBr

___

The Lima News, Dec. 9

Science and conscience say the same thing. Now it’s time for the laws to catch up.

It’s time for Gov. John Kasich to sign the so-called “Heartbeat Bill” and prevent abortions on babies under 6 weeks old.

The bill passed the Ohio Senate this week as part of a reform of Ohio’s child abuse and neglect reporting law. The Ohio House concurred with the Senate on it on Tuesday, sending the bill on to Kasich for his signature. If he signs it or doesn’t veto it within 10 days, it becomes law.

The rule requires doctors to test for a fetal heartbeat. If there’s one detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy, then the doctor can’t perform an abortion. Anyone violating it could be found guilty of a fifth-degree felony.

The heartbeat is a common-sense standard of life. We all agree the absence of a heartbeat at the end of a life marks death. Why wouldn’t it mark the beginning of life?

… We think the heartbeat standard is the right standard and worthy of the governor’s signature…

… With one Supreme Court seat already open for President-elect Donald Trump to fill and other vacancies anticipated, the status quo could be changing on the country’s highest court…

We urge Gov. John Kasich … to prove he understands where science and conscience come together and sign the bill into law.

Online:

https://bit.ly/2hlyIFb

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The Akron Beacon Journal, Dec. 9

The country knew John Glenn from that day in February 1962, when he became the first American to orbit Earth…

What Glenn did afterward enhanced his status as a national icon. He found new ways to achieve in public service, setting an example, holding to a personal code.

This is the full John Glenn that Ohioans knew and becomes his enduring legacy in the wake of his death on Thursday at age 95.

… As a senator, Glenn wasn’t the showman his celebrity status would invite. He understood the difference for the country, for Ohioans, resided in the details of policymaking. He became expert in weapons systems, in curbing the spread of nuclear weapons, in the development of technology and the performance of government…

In many respects, what stood out about Glenn was that code, how he conducted himself, from the attention to detail and an enduring awareness of his modest roots in Cambridge and New Concord to his civil manner and reserves of empathy.

… What Glenn delivered was a public life truly about service. Here was this national hero, a leading Ohioan of his generation, or any other, brimming with ambition and no small amount of pride, yet hardly losing sight of what mattered, hard work, connections, a generous spirit…

Online:

https://bit.ly/2hlABBG

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The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Dec. 8

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s policy initiatives are long on rhetoric and short on details, which is why his plan to spend $1 trillion over 10 years to fix America’s disintegrating and inadequate infrastructure prompts many questions.

… What is not in doubt is the urgent need to fix the nation’s roads, bridges, public transit, railroads, energy system, schools, public parks, ports, airports, waste systems, levees, dams, drinking water facilities and hazardous-waste installations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia…

With the civil engineers organization giving the nation a D+ for infrastructure, Trump has made the improvement program a centerpiece of his administration’s agenda…

Democrats in Congress and Democratic officeholders around the country should be willing to set aside their deep-seated philosophical disagreements with Trump and support the infrastructure initiative. The reason is obvious: Thousands of jobs will be created, with many of them in the nation’s older urban centers…

We … urge local government officials and economic development specialists in the region to compile a list of projects that could be launched on Day One…

While Trump envisions an infrastructure improvement program lasting a decade, there’s no guarantee it will survive beyond his first term…

https://bit.ly/2hlHwLb


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