12.6.1 gongwer news service signing of ohio texting law


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Article in Gongwer News Service on June 1, 2012 about the signing of Ohio's new law against texting while driving, which also mentions a recent poll conducted by AT&T about texting while driving, as well as the AT&T DriveMode app which helps curb the temptation to text while driving.

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12.6.1 gongwer news service signing of ohio texting law

  1. 1. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 1 of 14 Volume #81, Report #106 -- Friday, June 1, 2012 Kasich, After Meeting With Grieving Relatives, Signs Texting Ban Into Law Gov. John Kasich on Friday signed into law a prohibition against texting while driving that addresses the dangerous habit that he said has "devastating" consequences. After meeting with individuals whose family members were killed because a texting driver caused an accident, the governor solemnly made his mark on the legislation (HB 99 ) that makes Ohio the 39th state to enact such a ban. "For those people that might think this is somehow an invasion of their rights or a nanny state or whatever, come meet these families," Gov. Kasich said at a Statehouse press conference. "Talk to them about the fact that somebody was not responsible because when we call, when we text and we drive, we endanger the lives of others." Along with imposing a secondary offense for adults, the bill also includes an outright ban on drivers younger than 18 from using any wireless device except hands-free global positioning systems for directions or in cases of emergency. The fine for minors is $150 and a 60-day license suspension on first offense. Subsequent violations carry a $300 fine and license suspension for a year. Sponsoring Rep. Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont) said the law will affect every Ohioan. "Whether you text or whether you drive on the highways, everybody in one way, shape or form will be affected by this bill," he said. The legislations signing comes nearly a year and half after its introduction. Rep. Gov. Kasich Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), however, had a similar bill last General Assembly and has been working on the ban for four years. "This is a bill that will save lives, and I just think it is very much worth our time to put down the phone so we can save lives," she said. When asked if he has ever texted while driving, Gov. Kasich said he typically does not drive himself. "Everybody makes mistakes but you dont want to make one thats caused by the fact that you contributed to it with some kind of action that doesnt make sense," he said. "I dont text when I drive; I dont like to text when Im not driving." The legislation bans texting while driving but makes the crime a secondary offense for adults, who can only be charged if pulled over for a different violation. The offense covers the writing, sending or reading of text-based communications on a wireless communication devices, which also includes instant messages and email, according to the Legislative Service Commission. The governor said he thinks the bill is appropriate but would have signed it had the violation been a primary offense.file://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  2. 2. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 2 of 14 "Adults, you dont drive any better than kids do when youre texting; dont do it," he said. "I think this is probably a beginning.... I think well see what the impact is of this and whether we see a reduction in cell phone use and texting with adults." The violation, the penalty for which is a ticket of up to $150, has a variety of exceptions. The texting ban would not apply to a person who is using a wireless device who does so: • For emergency purposes, including an emergency contact with a law enforcement agency, hospital or health care provider, fire department, or other similar emergency agency or entity. • In the course of the persons duties in driving a public safety vehicle. • While the motor vehicle is in a stationary position and outside a lane of travel. • In reading, selecting, or entering a name or telephone number in a cell phone for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call. • Regarding the operation or navigation of a motor vehicle; safety-related information, including emergency, traffic, or weather alerts; or data used primarily by the motor vehicle. • Via radio waves. • For navigation purposes. • With a device that does not require manually entering letters, numbers, or symbols or reading text messages, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate the device or a feature or function of the device. • In operating a commercial truck while using a mobile data terminal that transmits and receives data. • In conjunction with a voice-operated or hands-free device feature or function of the vehicle. "It sends such a strong message to our young people," Gov. Kasich said. "Were looking out for you.... This should not be thought of as some, were going to whack you or slap your wrists or punish you. Its designed to save you from doing something that if you did, youd want to turn back the hands of time to undo what you did." The governor said he wants schools to inform students about the new law and has also asked Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray to establish informative billboard ads on the subject. The restrictions, which allow for a six-month warning period during which violators will not be cited, can be superceded by local ordinances so cities such as Columbus may maintain home rule authority to enforce their primary-offense bans. The law is effective in 90 days. Texting Poll: On a related note, a recent study by AT&T found 75% of teenagers say texting while driving is "very dangerous" but 43% admit to doing it. The wireless provider has launched a "Texting & Driving... It Can Wait" campaign to educate the public about the severity of the issue and ask mobile users to be a part of the solution. "Many people find it difficult to admit how big a risk they are taking every time they take their eyes off the road," AT&T Ohio President Tom Pelto said in a release. "But the reality is, they are risking not only their own lives, but the lives of others every time they send or read a text while driving. It is a serious issue that has a simple solution: It can wait." Other Signings: Gov. Kasich also on Friday signed legislation (HB 383 ) to make changes to the Consumer Sales Practices Act. The bill generally prohibits a home construction service supplier from performing services that cost $25,000 or more without entering into a written contract with the owner. The supplier would also befile://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  3. 3. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 3 of 14 required to provide written notice to an owner when unforeseen costs exceeding $5,000 arise. Such requirements do not apply to "cost-plus contract" projects, according to LSC. Suppliers are authorized through the bill to take as a down payment no more than 10% of the contract price before work begins. The governor is expected to put his pen to bills pertaining to Lake Erie waters (HB 473 ) and exotic animals (SB 310 ) at the beginning of next week. Those measures are among a couple dozen sent to the governor this week following legislative approval the week before. Organizing Campaign Plans Tax Cut Repeal Ballot Issue A coalition of unions, community organizers, and churches kicked off a long-term jobs campaign Friday that they hope will lay the groundwork for a constitutional amendment to repeal Ohios 2005 tax cuts. The Ohio Organizing Campaign also announced plans to register more than 25,000 new voters among the states black, Latino and senior populations and get 140,000 Ohioans to vote in Novembers presidential election. Supporters of the "Fighting for Ohio Jobs" campaign unveiled a wide-ranging, multi-year effort to build support for repealing tax cuts for the wealthy to help fund increased spending for public job creation and education. Communications Director Jennifer Sconyers said the campaign would focus on four basic principals: hiring locally; creating good paying jobs with benefits; improving public safety, infrastructure and education; and defending collective bargaining. While the economy is slowly improving, greater public investment is needed, she said. The campaign is connected to the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, which includes several unions like the Service Employees International Union, local community organizing groups, religious organizations and left-leaning think tanks like Policy Matters Ohio. Ms. Sconyers, who previously served as research director for the Ohio Democratic Party, said the campaign is aiming to push a 2014 constitutional amendment that would repeal the 2005 tax overhaul (HB66, 126th General Assembly), which included a reduction in personal income taxes. Democrats say the measure primarily benefits wealthier Ohioans. Details of the ballot issue have not yet been finalized and could incorporate other issues, she said. During the event, speakers drew attention to challenges that ex-offenders face in finding employment, college graduates entering a feeble job market, and a disjunction between hard work and low pay. Janitor Carla Nugeness, an SEIU member, said she struggled to make ends meet despite having a full- time job. Ohio State University student Hutch Persons said he faces excessive debt when he enters the job market. "Weve been working harder while in college, but were graduating more in debt, with fewer job prospects," he said. Ex-convict Jerry Sweatte said 10 years had passed since his last conviction and he still was unable to find adequate employment, even though he has since graduated from Columbus State Community College. Ms. Sconyers said the group supports legislation designed to eliminate collateral sanctions, or barriers to ex-offenders getting a job (SB 337 & HB 524 ).file://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  4. 4. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 4 of 14 The Statehouse event was one of several planned campaign launches in cities around the state. OOC Executive Director Kirk Noden said the groups agenda was to create good jobs and rebuild the shrinking class. "Ohio can lead the country in manufacturing, green jobs, and rebuild its communities. But none of that is possible unless we make smart public investments and the wealthiest individuals and corporations pay their fair share," he said in a statement. Local Government Innovation Council Approves $6.4 Million For Collaboration Initiatives The panel tasked with funding local government collaboration efforts on Friday approved the first round of funding in awarding about $6.4 million in grants and loans. In all, the Local Government Innovation Council OKd about $3.46 million for fiscal year 2013 requests for 41 grants and 10 loans worth about $2.96 million. Ninety eligible grant applications were submitted, while all 10 eligible loan packages were approved. At the request for Department of Development staff reviewing the proposals, council members decided to fund grant applications with scores of 60 and above. Scoring criteria included measures involving financing, collaboration, project success and significance, according to documents provided at the meeting. (Grants, Loans) Council members also had discretionary points that could be awarded for grants based on factors such as "inventiveness and innovation" said Thea Walsh, deputy chief of the Department of Developments Office of Redevelopment. There will be a total $45 million available for fiscal year 2013, with additional rounds of awards upcoming, according to DOD. The Local Government Innovation Fund was created as part of the biennial budget bill (HB 153 ) to promote collaboration and cost savings among political subdivisions. DOD Director Christiane Schmenk, who chairs the LGIC, called Fridays meeting a "momentous occasion" in which members approved the first awards under the program. "To help local communities work together, collaborate, share resources, save money, translates into, I think, better customer service for their constituents," she said in an interview. "To see local governments go through tough times but find creative ways to address it through working together is huge. I think its part of whats going to pull our state out of the recession, and it all comes down to serving constituents." A variety of local governments throughout the state submitted grant and loan applications for a number of diverse projects throughout Ohio. Approved projects ranged from a $500,000 loan related to a countywide 911 dispatch and emergency operations center in Marion County to a $100,000 grant for open geographic information system web access in Appalachian Ohio. Of the requests eligible for funding, 39 of them came from northeast Ohio. That region led all areas of the state. According to DOD, projects were broken down into those relating to administration, economic development, education instructional support, public works, public safety, fleet management, facilities and technology. "It appears to me that were seeing kind of a best-case scenario develop here with the initial phase of this," council member Rep. Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) said in an interview. "So I think my sense is were all pleased that we got nice participation from a broad range of projects that show innovation and a good deal of promise." Federal Court Upholds Air Pollution Law; State Still Waiting On U.S. EPAfile://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  5. 5. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 5 of 14 Six years after the General Assembly loosened air pollution restrictions on small emissions sources, a federal appeals court recently upheld the law against a challenge by environmentalists. Nonetheless, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which appealed a lower courts ruling, plans to continue requiring facilities with fewer than 10 tons of emissions a year to apply "best available technology" (BAT) to mitigate air pollution, a spokeswoman said Friday. In the recent 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dismissed the Sierra Clubs case, saying it was not authorized under the federal Clean Air Acts citizen suit provision. In 2006, the legislature passed a controversial measure (SB265, 126th General Assembly) designed to exempt small air pollution sources, like cleaners and gas stations, from BAT regulations. The requirement had been applied for decades under Ohios State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the Clean Air Act (CAA). OEPA began to issue permits without determining whether small sources would use BAT and tried to revise its SIP two years later to reflect the new approach, according to the ruling. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected the request on procedural grounds. As a result, the BAT provision remains part of the SIP, but U.S. EPA has chosen not to enforce the requirement for small polluters. The Sierra Club and three Ohio residents filed a citizen suit in 2008 alleging that OEPA was violating the states emission standards. The district court initially ruled the CAA authorizes citizen suits against states only to the extent the state itself emits pollutants in violation of the standards - not in its regulatory capacity. However, the judge later reconsidered in light of a separate 1980 decision and ultimately ordered OEPA to enforce the BAT requirement. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, February 4, 2010) The appeals court agreed with the states argument that the CAA doesnt permit citizen suits against state regulators and disregarded the earlier 1980 ruling as faulty. "The Acts very nature is, and constitutionally must be, cooperative.... And in disputes like this one, the Act envisions a cooperative resolution - a resolution, moreover, worked out between branches of the state and federal governments that are in a meaningful sense democratically accountable," the opinion states. "What the Act does not envision is a compulsory resolution imposed by a democratically unaccountable federal judiciary. And yet that is the path the EPA advocates here. For whatever reason, the EPA has chosen not to employ any of the means that the Act places at its disposal to resolve its dispute with the State of Ohio. What the EPA has chosen, instead, is to file an amicus brief in support of this lawsuit." Jed Thorp, of the Sierra Club Ohio Chapter, said the group had not yet made a decision whether or not to appeal the ruling. "We are reviewing the decision and evaluating potential next steps," he said. Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office argued the case for the state, commended the action. "This decision will allow Ohio to continue taking a reasonable approach to protecting air quality with regulations appropriate for businesses of all sizes," he said. OEPA spokeswoman Heidi Griesmer said the agency would continue its current practice of requiring BAT for small source air pollution permits while also spelling out what applicants can do in case it is no longer required. "Thats what weve been doing with small source permits and we plan to continue doing that," she said. "In addition to having a court decision, we also need to get U.S. EPA approval to eliminate BAT before we completely stop." Ms. Griesmer said the agency had no information as to when U.S. EPA might decide on Ohios request to add the BAT exemption to the SIP.file://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  6. 6. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 6 of 14 Boehner, Manufacturers, ORP Bemoan 8.2% Unemployment Rate Ohio Republicans on Friday lamented a rise in the national unemployment rate during May, with the politicians pinning the blame for the backslide on Democratic policies. The U.S. Department of Labor reported the national jobless rate climbed from 8.1% in April to 8.2% in May despite of the addition of 69,000 jobs. The Obama Administration also reported the labor force participation rate increased by 0.2% to 63.8%, highlighting a 27-month increase in private sector jobs. "Problems in the job market were long in the making and will not be solved overnight," Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger said in a statement. "The economy lost jobs for 25 straight months beginning in February 2008, and over 8 million jobs were lost as a result of the Great Recession. We are still fighting back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. "There is much more work that remains to be done to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and deep recession that began at the end of 2007.... It is critical that we continue the presidents economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession." U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-West Chester), the Speaker of the House, reiterated his monthly query of "where are the jobs?" Hw was one of several Republican officeholders who issued releases blasting the Obama Administration. "Another month of disappointing job gains. Its pretty clear that the American people are hurting," he said. "Small businesses continue to avert hiring any additional people, and its clear that the policies that weve seen are not working. And I would just hope that the president and my colleagues in the Senate would look at our plan to create American jobs. (The House) passed over 30 bills that are sitting in the United States Senate. We can help the American people at a time of this great need if the Senate would just look at the bills that are before us." National Association of Manufacturers Chief Economist Chad Moutray bemoaned the mere 12,000-job increase in manufacturing last month. "This is another disappointing labor report, which is consistent with recent weaknesses weve seen in the global and domestic marketplace," he said. "Several other recent economic indicators have shown growth easing in the spring months. Both manufacturers and consumers are anxious about Europe and uncertain about long-term tax policies. "Manufacturers have increased employment over the past six months by 173,000 net workers, or 16.5% of all of the non-farm payroll jobs added during that time. Since the end of 2009 manufacturing has added 487,000 workers. The sector remains a bright spot, with outsized contributions to both employment and output, but we have to do much better in order to continue to drive economic growth." Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett called 41 consecutive months of unemployment above 8% as an indication that President Barack Obamas policies are bad for job creators. "President Obama pitched his $800 billion stimulus plan as a path to restoring employment; instead, it proved to be a tremendous failure," he said. "In contrast, Gov. Kasich and the General Assembly are working hard to turn around Ohios economy through pro-growth policies. When President Obama and Ted Strickland were at the helm, Ohio lost 147,600 jobs. Since Gov. Kasich took office, Ohio has gained 72,400 jobs." DOD Starts Summer HEAP Program Early To Assist Needy Ohioans During Hot Monthsfile://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  7. 7. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 7 of 14 Buoyed by leftover funds due to a mild winter, the Department of Development began a Home Energy Assistance Program Friday in anticipation of extreme heat this summer, the agency said. The HEAP Summer Crisis Program start comes a month early and provides eligible households with a one-time $250 benefit to assist in keeping homes cool. DOD also expanded eligibility this year for the program that runs through Aug. 31. "Assisting Ohioans who are vulnerable to heat stroke or other heat related problems due to their age or medical condition is an important part of our mission to support Ohios communities," Director Christiane Schmenk said in a release. "This program helps provide a safe and healthy living environment for our most vulnerable citizens during the hot summer days." The mild winter resulted in lower demand for the HEAP Winter Crisis Program and leftover funding to support an earlier start with the summer program. About 171,000 households were served through the winter program this year, down from 187,000 the year before, said Janet Cesner, DOD interim deputy chief in the Office of Community Assistance. The left over $15-20 million in federal HEAP funding joins the $25-40 million budgeted for the summer program, she said. "This year we have additional funding because for one thing we had a milder winter and there wasnt as much demand for the winter crisis program, and also our PIPP Plus program, our Percentage of Income Payment Plan, ... is really working so the demand for the winter crisis program is down," Ms. Cesner said. The June start for the program actually returns it to a former schedule, she said. "The past few years because our funding has been limited, we went from beginning the summer crisis program June 1 to beginning it July 1, so were reverting back to beginning it June 1." The HEAP Summer Crisis Program provides assistance to households below 200% of the federal poverty level with a member age 60 years or older, or households that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a residents health. This includes a person with breathing problems such as lung disease, COPD, or asthma. The new eligibility criteria incorporate those households facing disconnection of electric service or whose electricity is already terminated, according to DOD. Applicants must go to their local community action agency for a face-to-face interview to prove eligibility, Ms. Cesner said. Those agencies would then either pay the $250 directly to the utility company or provide a voucher to purchase a fan or air conditioning unit. DOD recommends residents also work with their local community action agency, job and family services, and faith-based organizations for additional assistance. Last year, more than 40,000 Ohio families were assisted through the HEAP Summer Crisis Program, down from 52,000 the year before, Ms. Cesner said. Politics Notebook: Gay Marriage Campaign Says Decisions Bolsters Cause; Roundtable Cites Gambling Corruption; Husted To Decide Jolivette Candidacy... An organization pushing a constitutional amendment to legalize gay marriage in Ohio said this week that a recent federal court ruling and the presidents support could provide momentum for the issue. FreedomOhio, Inc. co-founder Ian James said in an interview that President Barack Obamas recently announced support for same-sex marriage and a court ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act could indicate increased support for his organizations efforts. The appeals court ruling found that the law was unconstitutional because it denied equal rights and access to federal benefits for legally married gay couples.file://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  8. 8. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 8 of 14 Those actions, along with growing support from influential leaders, organizations and celebrities, have swung the pendulum in favor of same-sex marriage, Mr. James said. "Its seismically changing the attitude of voters - black voters, white voters, Asian, Hispanic," he said. "That kind of national dialogue is having a dramatic effect on the ground." The Freedom to Marry amendment would legalize gay marriage by establishing in the Ohio Constitution that any two consenting unrelated and unmarried adults can marry. It also would grant religious institutions the right to not recognize a marriage or perform the ceremony. FreedomOhio is well on its way to meeting signature requirements to get the issue on the 2013 ballot, Mr. James said. The group hopes to collect 800,000 signatures by next years July 3 deadline to get the measure in front of voters in 2013. "We have volunteers in every single county right now, and at least 12 volunteers per county," Mr. James said. Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the gay marriage ballot issue. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, May 25, 2012) Gambling Corruption: A day after a judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging video lottery terminals at state horse racetracks, one of the plaintiffs in the case wrote an opinion piece reiterating his stance that gambling and corruption are intertwined. David Zanotti, CEO of the American Policy Roundtable, wrote that when policymakers partner with gambling interests, corruption is sure to follow. APR is the parent group of Ohio Roundtable, which filed the 17-count lawsuit challenging VLTs at seven tracks. "The gambling industry thrives on addicts. When government gets into business with the gambling industry, the government partners in the addiction business," Mr. Zanotti wrote. "What politicians intentionally ignore is the inevitable reality that once state and local budgets are addicted to gambling revenues, the casino bosses call the shots. Thus, gambling and good government dont ever mix." Mr. Zanotti wrote about a lottery expansion 10 years ago that was set up to "rob the schools of new funding." The Roundtable sued, saying the new law violated the state constitution, before it gained standing in the case and won the funding argument, he wrote. In the most recent challenge, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Timothy Horton ruled the plaintiffs did not have standing. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, May 30, 2012) "Ten years ago we did have standing and the courts upheld a significant portion of our challenge, this year we dont have the right to a day in court on very similar claims," Mr. Zanotti wrote. "How exactly does that work?" Jolivette Candidacy: Secretary of State Jon Husted is awaiting official information from Butler County before hell cast a vote to break a tie on a decision to allow a former state lawmaker to run as an independent candidate, a spokesman said Friday. Earlier this week, the Butler County Board of Elections four member were split on a vote to allow Greg Jolivette to get on the ballot for the race for the 51st House District, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The decision, which saw Republican members vote against Mr. Jolivettes independent candidacy and Democrats in favor, requires Mr. Husteds vote to break the tie. The boards action, which came Wednesday, came after local Republican officials challenged Mr. Jolivettes appearance on the ballot as an independent, according to the newspaper. The protest alleged Mr. Jolivette in December withdrew his Republican candidacy for the office as election officials were ready to declare his petition faulty because he forgot to sign a sheet of voter signatures. Mr. Jolivette served as a Republican in the Ohio House from 1997-2004, before serving as a Butler County commissioner until last year.file://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  9. 9. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 9 of 14 Matt McClellan, a spokesman for Mr. Husted, said Friday that the secretary of states office was waiting for official information from Butler County before a decision would be rendered. "In instances of ties, the counties have to send us the information," Mr. McClellan said. "And so once we receive the official tie-vote information, we review it and then well look to make a decision from there, but we havent received anything yet." Brown-Mandel: U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) announced Friday the "Educators for Sherrod" campaign in support of his re-election. Supporting him "because of his lifelong record of fighting for schools, educators and the children they teach" the Brown camp said the group of supporting teachers will advise the campaign and speak to their colleagues in support of the Democrat. "When the chips were down, Sherrod rallied support across Ohio to repeal Governor Kasichs Senate Bill 5 and protect our rights to collectively bargain," Educators for Sherrod co-chairwomen Courtney Johnson and Tamar Gray said. "Sherrods work to defeat SB5, deliver crucial funding to put teachers back to work, and his bills to renovate our schools and prevent student loan interest rates from doubling are critical to Ohios future. As educators we are proud to be represented by Sherrod and we will fight from now until November for his reelection." Treasurer Josh Mandels campaign, meanwhile, issued a release on Friday highlighted the differences between the Republican and Sen. Brown. "Josh Mandel is a fiscal conservative, but Sherrod Browns voting record ranks him among the most liberal Senators in Washington DC, tied with Barbara Boxer of California," Mandel spokesman Travis Considine said in an email to supporters. "Josh Mandel campaigned this week with coal miners, machinists and welders while Sherrod Brown campaigned with left-wing Hollywood star Martin Sheen. "Between the company he keeps and the votes he casts in Washington, Sherrod Brown is so wildly out of touch with regular Ohioans that perhaps he is better suited to represent California than Ohio." Agency Briefs: ODOT, EPA Grants Issued; Library Resources Funded; Scioto Water Quality Study Released; CSRAB; AG; ODNR The Ohio Department of Transportation this week announced $16 million in anticipated federal transportation fund awards for 68 projects through the Safe Routes to School Program, with the agency noting its the largest amount of total funding ever distributed at one time under the program. The proposed projects aim to encourage and enable children from grades K-8 to safely walk or bicycle to and from their neighborhood schools, according to the agency. Each project will receive $2,000 to $500,000. "Our aim is to help communities improve safety through engineering and education," ODOT Director Jerry Wray said in a release. "We believe that Safe Routes to School grassroots programs are the key to encouraging safer behaviors." In addition to those awards, 19 communities will be "supported for school travel plan development," ODOT reported. "These plans will help communities develop and implement their own SRTS programs. Once completed, they will be in a position to apply for funds to implement their ideas." SRTS awards were provided for infrastructure improvements for 46 local communities to: improve sidewalks, create new walking/biking connections, put in bike racks and improve cross-walks, among other safety upgrades. ODOT said it has awarded more than $48 million in project funding under the SRTS program Since 2004.file://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  10. 10. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 10 of 14 State Library: The State Library of Ohio Board recently approved a $2,471,481 grant under the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services for Libraries Connect Ohio, the board announced this week. The funds will be used to purchase the Ohio Web Library core set of online resources and publications, also known as databases, for the next state fiscal year. "Supporting the Ohio Web Library with LSTA funding is one way the State Library Board works to ensure that all Ohio residents, regardless of their geographic location or economic circumstances, receive the best possible library service and are able to engage in lifelong learning, which strengthens the economic health of Ohio," State Librarian Beverly Cain said in a release. "The Libraries Connect Ohio partnership helps to ensure that all Ohioans continue to have access to high quality, relevant, and reliable online resources and publications, at no cost to Ohios libraries, schools, universities, and residents." The core collection of library databases is available to all Ohioans through the Ohio Web Library and includes current and historical information and resources such as full-text magazines and journals, reference materials, newspapers, art, test prep and tutorials, online courses, and career exploration and job search tools, the Library reported. Libraries Connect Ohio is a shared services initiative formed in 2003 by the State Library of Ohio, OhioLINK (Ohio Library and Information Network), OPLIN (Ohio Public Library Information Network), and INFOhio (Information Network for Ohio Schools). "OhioLINK is excited to continue to participate in this partnership to bring electronic resources to our academic, school and public libraries," OhioLINK Executive Director John Magill said. OPLIN Director Stephen Hedges added, "By working cooperatively to purchase online resources under a single license covering all residents of the state, Libraries Connect saves millions of dollars over what libraries would pay individually for these same resources." INFOhio Executive Director Theresa M. Fredericka said, "The thousands of articles, reference sources, and online practice tests available through the collection are exactly what K-12 education needs to meet more rigorous standards at home and compete with students internationally." Ohio EPA: The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency this week released the first comprehensive water quality study of the upper Scioto River watershed since 1995. The report focuses on the upper Scioto River and 22 tributaries located in Auglaize, Crawford, Delaware, Hardin, Logan, Marion and Union counties. During the 2009 sampling, a series of fish kills was discovered and further investigation led to corrective actions, OEPA reported. Follow-up sampling two years later found the fish community had recovered. Based on the 2009 and 2011 monitoring results of the 58 miles of Scioto River sampled from the headwaters in Hardin County near Roundhead to the Little Scioto River near Marion, 11 of 15 sites (73%) fully met the "assigned aquatic life beneficial use," according to the agency. Overall, about 41% of 62 sampling sites in the upper Scioto River watershed "fully met the state and federal water quality standards for aquatic life use." "The most common water quality impairments identified in the report are attributed to physical habitat alterations (channelization), nutrient enrichment and fine silt and sediment runoff," OEPA said. In separate announcements this week, the agency said a $4,615 mini grant to the Ohio Invasive Plant Council and a $4,934 environmental education mini grant to New Albany-Plain Local Schools were among 13 awards totaling $50,000 funded through the Ohio Environmental Education Fund. Attorney General: Mike DeWine said Friday that the Norton Police Department reported a wanted sex offender featured by state official ahs been apprehended. Norton detectives, along with the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Fugitive Task Force, and the Akron Police Department arrested Timothy M. Jackson, 39, of Akron, on Thursday after receiving a tip aboutfile://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  11. 11. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 11 of 14 his whereabouts, the AG reported. Mr. Jackson, described by officials as "a habitual sex offender," has been sought since the issuance of a warrant in January for failing to verify his address. The suspect was among convicted sex offenders publicized recently under the AGs Crimes Against Children Initiative. "In less than ten days, the public has helped local law enforcement officers in Springfield, Cincinnati, and now Akron track down three of our featured wanted sex offenders," Mr. DeWine said. "I think this shows that our community members are very serious about keeping tabs on offenders who have victimized children in the past, so it doesnt happen again in the future." Norton Police Chief Thad Hete said investigators were led by information to Mr. Jacksons residence on East South Street in Akron. The suspect, who previously registered his address as "homeless," was also wanted for potential drug charges. "The drug possession charges pale in comparison to the victimization of a child," Chief Hete said. Certainly, once we saw the information from the Attorney Generals Office it ramped up our efforts to locate the subject, and his case immediately went to the top of our list." Natural Resources: The agency for the third year plans to host the annual Post 6 regional mine safety competition June 5-7 at the Jerry L. Stewart Ohio Mine Safety Training Center in Harrison County. The 31st annual Ohio Valley Mine Rescue Contest, held at 43029 Industrial Park Rd., features 35 teams representing mining operators in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia. Judges include officials from U.S. Department of Labor, West Virginia, Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and ODNR. Statehouse Event: The Capitol Square Review & Advisory Board announced this week that 30 plein- air artists will be featured on the Statehouse grounds from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 15. Artwork created during the day will be placed on exhibit in the Ohio Statehouse Map Room, CSRAB reported. The exhibition will be on display June 28-July 22, and most of the work will be available for purchase through the Statehouse Museum Shop. Capitol Scene: Deputy Fire Marshal Named; Regional Civil Rights Official Appointed Jeffrey Leaming, the executive director of Ohio Emergency Medical Services, has been named deputy state fire marshal. State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers said in his announcement, "We are fortunate to have a professional like Director Leaming joining the division. Jeff is a professional firefighter and paramedic in his heart, and by training." Mr. Leaming is a former fire chief for the city of Xenia who previously worked as a firefighter and paramedic in paid and volunteer positions in Xenia, Huber Heights and Spring Valley. He holds degrees Sinclair Community College; Wilberforce University and Central Michigan University. "I am excited to join Marshal Flowers," said Mr. Leaming, who starts in his new post June 18. "I look forward to working alongside the divisions teachers, investigators and regulators to make it stronger in service to Ohios citizens, fire professionals and businesses." Mr. Learning replaces Donald Cooper, who is resigning to pursue "opportunities closer to home in Northeast Ohio," according to the Fire Marshals office. Ellen Owens, a twenty-six year veteran of the Department of Public Safety, will serve as interim executive director of the Division of EMS. Civil Rights Commission: The panel announced this week it had appointed Aman Mehra as director of the Columbus Regional Office.file://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  12. 12. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 12 of 14 Mr. Mehras resume includes 14 years of management experience as a consultant, coach, mentor, and business leader, according to the commission. He has served in a number of leadership roles at Eastern Illinois University, Consolidated Communications, and Global Associates Inc. Most recently, Mr. Mehra served as the President & CEO of International Management Services Corporation, a professional management and consulting firm. "I am honored and humbled to take on the great responsibility of working for the citizens of Ohio and to dedicate my career to this very noble profession," Mr. Mehra said. "I will work relentlessly to enforce Ohios Laws Against Discrimination and will promote positive human relations among our states diverse population." OCRC Executive Director G. Michael Payton stated, "Mr. Mehras outstanding leadership skills will be an asset to the Columbus Regional Office. We are confident that he will work diligently to ensure the provision of outstanding customer service to all of our clients and that he will continue the OCRCs important work in the community with our treasured community partners." Mr. Mehra holds degrees from Bundelkhand University and National Institute of Information Technology in India and Eastern Illinois University. Governors Appointments Local Government Innovation Council: Mark Samolczyk of Canton for a term beginning June 1 and ending Sept. 30, 2012. North Central State College Board of Trustees: Pamela Mowry of Ashland for a term beginning June 1 and ending Jan. 16, 2015. Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation: Larry Hall of Georgetown and Eric Wolfer of Fayetteville in Brown County for terms beginning June 3 and ending June 2, 2017. Supplemental Agency Calendar Wednesday, June 6 Lake Erie Commission, Ohio State University Stone Laboratory, Gibraltar Island, 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 13 Veterinary Medical Licensing Board, 77 S. High St., 31st Floor, Room East B, Columbus, 8:30 a.m. Supplemental Notice Of Legislative Committees Tuesday, June 5 House State Government & Elections, (Chr. Maag, R., 644-6023), Rm. 116, 1:30 p.m. SB 321 PUBLIC LIBRARIES (Beagle, B.) To authorize the State Library Board to establish library districts for association libraries, to make other changes to the lawfile://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  13. 13. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 13 of 14 governing the organization, governance, and operation of public libraries, and to declare an emergency. (3rd Hearing-All testimony) HB 478 DAYLIGHT SAVINGS (Combs, C.) To exempt the state from participating in daylight savings time. (1st Hearing-Sponsor) HB 356 BEER CONTENT (Ramos, D.) To increase the legally permitted alcohol content of beer and to generally prohibit the inclusion of caffeine or other stimulants in beer containing more than 12% of alcohol by volume. (1st Hearing-Sponsor) HB 372 ALCOHOL SALES (Sykes, V.) To allow an A-1 liquor permit holder to sell beer or beer products for personal consumption on the premises of the permit holder. (1st Hearing-Sponsor) HB 460 LIQUOR PERMITS (Patmon, B.) To require the Division of Liquor Control to refuse to issue, renew, or transfer the ownership or location of a retail liquor permit if the applicant has violated the liquor control laws. (1st Hearing-Sponsor) HB 495 CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSING (Johnson, T.) To authorize the automatic validity in Ohio of a concealed handgun license issued by another state if the other state automatically recognizes as valid in that state an Ohio concealed handgun license without the need for any reciprocity agreement between the states; to repeal the competency certification currently required for renewal of a concealed handgun license; to revise the definition of "unloaded" that applies to the offense of "improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle" and the related vessel-based offense; and to simplify, through the use of new definitions, the law regarding concealed handgun licenses. (2nd Hearing-All testimony) Wednesday, June 6 House Agriculture & Natural Resources, (Chr. Hall, D., 466-2994), Rm. 116, 9 a.m. SB 309 AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES (Hite, C.) To establish procedures and requirements for the establishment of marketing agreements for agricultural commodities. (1st Hearing-All testimony) HB 559 PIPELINE DISCLOSURE (Landis, A., Hagan, C.) To require operators and pipeline companies to disclose the country in which oil country tubular goods steel products were manufactured. (2nd Hearing-All testimony)file://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012
  14. 14. Gongwer Ohio Report No. 106, 6/1/2012 Page 14 of 14 17 S. High St., Suite 630 Columbus Ohio 43215 Phone: 614−221−1992 | Fax: 614−221−7844 | Email: gongwer@gongwer-oh.com Alan Miller, President | Scott Miller, Vice President | Kent Cahlander, Editor | Marcus Roth, Rachel Buccicone, Travis Minnear Kayla Strayer, Staff Writers Click the after a bill number to create a saved search and email alert for that bill. © 2012, Gongwer News Service, Inc. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part without the express permission of the publisher is in violation of the federal Copyright Law (17 USC 101 et seq.) as is retransmission by facsimile or any other electronic means, including electronic mail.file://C:Usershh956kAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesConte... 6/4/2012