Washington state places moratorium on death penalty

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On February 11, 2014, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee declared a moratorium on the death penalty, citing its unequal application as the reason. It’s an interesting position for him to take when there are only nine inmates on death row in Washington. In comparison, we have 138 inmates on death row in Ohio. While cost is the focus of my drive to end the death penalty, what Governor Inslee has done helps create additional, welcomed  momentum.

Republican leadership opposes the moratorium, ...

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When it comes to troubled kids, listen to the pros

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Today’s Dispatch carried two articles dealing with kids. The first concerns a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against the Ohio Department of Youth Services for punishing mentally handicapped juveniles by placing them in seclusion.  One boy was allegedly locked up alone for 21 days straight. If you’re not shocked by those allegations, you should be, and if you don’t understand why isolation is so dangerous, then you should read David Brooks’ piece about solitary confinement being more ...

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Time for a tough talk on fracking’s inevitable danger

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Some weeks back, the news carried reports about a newly discovered by-product of hydraulic fracturing—radioactive waste. While the oil and gas industry vigorously promote the safety of fracking, as it is commonly known, we need to be concerned about several things.

First, the industry has done its best to downplay the dangers. When speaking before the Downtown Kiwanis Club two years ago, Tom Stewart, executive director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, stated that all chemicals used in the process ...

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Is litigation over bras frivolous? No way!

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For those of you who missed it, Victoria’s Secret and its affiliate, La Senza, have just engaged in combat with Maidenform—okay, they’re actually litigating, but their cause is awfully important—over who has the right to produce—yes, you guessed it—a bra. Not just any bra, mind you.  We’re talking about the “Bombshell ® brassiere” and the “Hello Sugar ® brassiere.” (Yes, it’s difficult not to engage in sophomoric jokes about this.)

You see, Maidenform accused Victoria’s Secret and La Senza of infringing ...

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Should Gideon extend to civil cases?

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The Gideon case mandated that everyone is entitled to counsel when facing the possibility of incarceration.  If you can’t afford counsel, the court will appoint an attorney for you, but should we be concerned about the indigent having to go it alone in “high-stakes”  civil cases? Here’s my view, published in today’s Dispatch:   http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2014/02/19/no-one-should-go-to-court-without-counsel.html

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Bill that proposes more student expulsion doesn’t solve the problem

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A bill has been proposed that would give Ohio schools authority to expel, for up to 180 days, students who pose an “imminent and severe endangerment to the health and safety” of other students or employees. The Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics thinks H.B. 334 is a bad idea because it’s reactive and does nothing to cure the problems that underlie bad behavior.  The academy has it right.

H.B. 334 as another step down the road of bad ...

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Mike Curtin speaks out against tax abuse

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In a recent session of the Ohio House, Rep. Mike Curtin, D-Marble Cliff, explained why he opposes the Republican sponsored resolution “urging the IRS to not review tax-exempt applications based on an organization’s presumed political affiliation.” Here is an excerpt of what he said.

I rise to oppose House Concurrent Resolution 27 because it fails to focus on the real problem. The United States has been experiencing—and continues to experience—a flood of applications from partisan political organizations, seeking tax-exempt status as ...

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General Assembly gets it right but also gets it wrong

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The Ohio General Assembly is moving in the right direction with one bill that concerns kids and going the wrong direction with another.

First, the bill that’s going in the right direction, SB 167, which proposes to end the “policy of zero tolerance for violent, disruptive, or inappropriate behavior.”  Enacted in 1998, zero tolerance has been plagued by problems. Administrators have failed to demonstrate critical thinking when employing it, and its use is often discriminatory. Because it generally lacks key elements ...

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Kids shot accidentally because of easy access to guns

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Just a week ago, NBC News reported that a 12-year old walked into a New Mexico middle school gymnasium, armed with a sawed-off shotgun.  He shot two students.  Both sustained serious injuries.

Yesterday, The Dispatch reported that a 4-year old boy in Detroit was fatally shot by his 4-year old cousin, a girl.  According  to police, the children were playing in a bedroom, where the cousin found a rifle under the bed. The rifle was loaded and unlocked. The cousin picked ...

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Gun storage bill is about safety

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Rep. Bill Patmon, D-Cleveland, is sponsoring H.B. 31 that, if passed, will require all firearms to be either safely secured or locked when they are kept in residences and there are minors about who can gain access to the firearms. Gun advocates view the bill as an infringement of their rights.

I understand the concerns of gun advocates, but let’s take a look at the bill’s purpose: keeping kids safe. Too many get shot because guns are left within a kids’ ...

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