- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

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

The (Toledo) Blade, Feb. 25

In signing legislation this week that cuts off public funding to Planned Parenthood in Ohio, Gov. John Kasich took off the gloves and removed his mask of moderation. He showed the nation who he is: an ideological extremist who won’t hesitate to deny money to an agency that has provided HIV testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other vital programs to tens of thousands of poor women in Ohio…

The legislation that Governor Kasich signed prohibits roughly $1.3 million in mostly federal funding, administered by Ohio’s health department, from going to agencies that perform abortions and their affiliates…

This assault on women’s health care is not about abortion. Planned Parenthood provides a broad range of medical services; abortion accounts for just 3 percent of them in Ohio…

To be fair, Kasich has been pragmatic, even compassionate, in expanding Medicaid coverage, supporting corrections reforms, and expanding treatment for addiction in Ohio…

Kasich needs to do more to separate himself from a pack of Republicans who would struggle mightily to capture the political center in this year’s presidential election. Just as Senators Rubio and Cruz seek to persuade voters that they are the real alternatives to Donald Trump, Kasich has shown he can be as extreme and callous as the best - or worst - of them.

Online:

https://bit.ly/1nbxCub

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The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Feb. 23

For the past several years, Republicans in Congress … have accused President Barack Obama of shredding the Constitution by his actions…

This line of attack has served to rally the GOP majorities in the Senate and House against any initiatives from the White House that run contrary to their conservative agendas.

… Now, these same Republicans in Congress … are demanding that Obama ignore the Constitution with regard to one of the most important duties of a president: the nomination of federal judges, including those for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The unexpected death … of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who was the guardian of the court’s conservative wing, has turned the Republican- controlled Congress into a partisan political battleground.

Republicans cannot fathom the idea of a liberal Democratic president naming a successor to Scalia and, perhaps, changing the ideological makeup of the court…

… We do urge Obama to name someone who is already serving on the federal bench and, thus, has been through the Senate confirmation process…

Indeed, it would spotlight the hypocrisy of Republicans if the president nominated a sitting judge who had received high praise from the GOP leadership during his or her confirmation hearings…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1VMXCrP

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The Chillicothe Gazette , Feb. 27

The fatal shooting of a Danville police officer in January left several Ohio communities stunned and police officers across the state mourning.

But the pain of the death of 34-year-old Thomas Cottrell Jr. is exacerbated by word that holes in the system may have helped to create the environment in which he died…

Herschel Jones III, the man charged with killing Cottrell, was arrested on a DUI charge in September and spent three days in jail in November.

… Jones’ parole officer knew nothing of the entry when he downgraded Jones’ supervision level just days after he was accused of the DUI.

He didn’t know because when he did an annual check for arrests, he found none because Jones was not booked into a county jail when he was charged.

That meant, the only person required to notify him about the charges was Jones himself…

In the absence of a sudden burst of honesty by convicted criminals, a better system is required…

An excellent example of how this works rests in the Victim Information and Notification Everyday system… The system allows crime victims … to obtain timely and reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders…

A revamped system that tracks all those on parole or probation and alerts … would better serve the public…

Online:

https://ohne.ws/1pkRnRy

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The Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 26

Politicians love programs that are frontloaded with benefits - benefits for politicians, that is…

A variation of this is when a politician announces a new program that will spend some large sum of money that allegedly will save multiple dollars tomorrow for every tax dollar spent today…

Another example of this … is the sales-tax holiday, such as the one just passed the Ohio Senate. These holidays, which temporarily excuse retailers from collecting and consumers from paying sales taxes on selected products, have the appearance of a tremendous act of generosity by the lawmakers who sponsor the legislation.

… State Sen. Kevin Bacon, R-Minerva … had hoped to make 2015’s sales-tax holiday an automatic annual event, but was persuaded simply to try to pass one for 2016…

Bacon cites a study that says Ohio enjoyed a net $4.7 million revenue gain during the three-day holiday…

But The Tax Foundation … cites studies showing that sales-tax holidays are gimmicks that offer little benefit to consumers and government coffers.

The foundation … notes that if “a state must offer a ‘holiday’ from its tax system, it is a sign that the state’s tax system is uncompetitive. If policymakers want to save money for consumers, then they should cut the sales-tax rate year-round.”

Online:

https://bit.ly/1LqmHbo

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