February 22, 2014
Taking the government to the people is what Ohio Gov. John Kasich has sought to do by moving his state of the state addresses to a different location each year.
Not only have the locations changed, but the general public has been afforded an opportunity to attend — and those are exactly the people who should be able to attend.
Up until three years ago, the governor would give the state of the state address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. Since then, Kasich has spoken in Lima, Steubenville and this year will speak in Medina.
Those who want to attend the speech can enter a random lottery for tickets.
This is good news for anyone, Republican or Democrat, interested in the welfare of Ohio.
The opportunity to hear the governor address his constituents should not be available to only those who can afford it or those already sitting in government positions.
It is the everyday people who are impacted by the decisions of government officials and for that reason they should have the opportunity to see government at work firsthand.
Whether you agree or disagree with Kasich’s policies, the move to take the state of the state addresses to the people was a good move.
— The Ironton Tribune
Open meeting laws
The people who run Clearcreek Township in Warren County are accused of hashing out the public’s business in private, then going into their regular meeting and voting.
It was “a pre-meeting before every meeting,” the township’s fiscal officer testified in court.
If true (the matter is still before a judge), it would certainly violate the spirit, and possibly the letter, of Ohio’s open meetings law.
But confusing the matter is the somewhat murky state of Ohio’s law governing what’s an open meeting and what’s not.
In some cases, sessions meant for fact finding, information gathering, or listening — even when a majority of board members are present — have been considered closed to the public. Indeed, the attorney representing the township, John D. Smith, has argued that the pre-meeting sessions were merely “fact-finding” gatherings and therefore not required to be open to the public….
The public should have plenty of notice and plenty of access to these deliberations, because they eventually form the substance of the laws and regulations that govern us. But that’s not always the case….
That’s why a bill now in the Ohio Legislature deserves to move forward.
State Sen. Shannon Jones, a Republican from Springboro, has sponsored Senate Bill 93, which would essentially broaden the definition of an open meeting and clear up what’s open to the public….
It would go a long way toward ensuring that the public has access to the decision-making process long before a vote is taken and can offer input and participate.
— The Cincinnati Enquirer
Banning electronic cigs to minors
A bill working its way through the Ohio Legislature would ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors. An Ohio Senate committee approved the measure Tuesday.
E-cigarettes — not to be confused with smokeless cigarettes — use a battery to heat a liquid containing nicotine and flavoring. The resulting vapor is inhaled much like cigarette smoke.
Studies are examining whether e-cigs are safe, let alone safer than tobacco cigarettes. And the effect of secondhand “smoke” from the devices isn’t yet known.
What isn’t debatable is whether minors should be barred from access to the nicotine-delivery devices. The proposal should be approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor as quickly as possible.
— The Marietta Times