Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reduced Food Stamp Benefits

  With cuts to food stamp benefits starting tomorrow – by some estimates totaling $5 billion just a few weeks before the start of the holiday season – we have yet another  issue about to show more face.

  “Congress has the power to stop the cutbacks,” CNNMoney reported last week, “but experts say that’s highly unlikely at a time when Republicans are calling for even more drastic cuts to food stamps, which benefits were bumped up in the midst of the recession… The temporary provision expires Nov. 1, and families nationwide have already received emails and letters warning that their benefits were going to be reduced.

  “Some 47.6 million people --  or nearly 15% of the population – are now getting food stamps, according to September federal data,”  CNN’s article said. “That compares to 26.3 million, or 8.7% of the population, in 2007.”

  Focus House Bill 3102 .

  FoxNews yesterday morning now suggests “as House and Senate negotiators met for the first joint talks on the bill that includes sharp cuts to food-stamp funding, an open question was whether lawmakers would get serious about targeting fraud in the massive program.

  “A recent inspector general audit suggested a full-blown crackdown on food stamp fraud could save $222 million a year,” the article said. “Food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are part of the larger farm bill, but are being dealt with through the House’s separate Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity bill. Among the anti-fraud measures in the bill is one that requires states to get tough on households that repeatedly ask for replacement EBT cards, which have largely replaced food stamps or vouchers as the method by which food is actually purchased at stores.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ohio Legislation Proposals

State Representatives , Dorothy Liggett Pelanda and  Nickie Antonio, along with Representatives Ruhl, Barborak, Gonzales, Ramos, Sheehy, Maag, Cera, Heard, Lundy, Hagan, R., Fedor, Phillips, Williams, Ashford, Grossman, Celebrezze, Reece, Scherer, and O'Brien cosponsoring, introduced a bill that would provide “no fee, cost, deposit, or money may be charged for the modification, enforcement, dismissal, or withdrawal of a domestic violence, anti-stalking, sexually oriented offense, or other type of protection order or consent agreement. [ HB 309 ]

   Senator Pro Tempore President Christopher Widener, with Senate President Keith Faber, Majority Floor Leader Tom Patton , Majority Whip Larry Obhof, and Senator Scott Oelslager co-sponsoring introduced a bill seeking a permanent income tax rate reduction of 4% for all tax brackets beginning in 2014, while Tim Schaffer and Bob Peterson proposed “authorize an income tax credit for donations to the permanent endowment fund of an eligible community foundations in Senate Bills 210 and 211, respectively.

  Senate Minority Whip NinaTurner with co-sponsors Tim Schaffer, Assistant Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, and Minority Leader Eric Kearney have introduced SB 212 which in pertinence provide:
“Sec. 101.48. (B)…. Beginning with terms of office that commence after the effective date of this section, once each year, each member of the general assembly shall be subject to a controlled substance assessment to determine whether there is reasonable cause to suspect the member has a chemical dependency. The assessment shall be conducted by a qualified individual selected by mutual agreement of the clerks of the senate and house of representatives. If pursuant to an assessment there is reasonable cause to suspect that a member has a chemical dependency, the member shall submit to a controlled substance test to determine whether the member has a controlled substance test failure. The costs of such assessment and testing shall be paid by the member. The member shall be reimbursed the costs of the testing if the member's test does not reveal a controlled substance test failure.
“ (C) Once each calendar quarter on dates selected by mutual agreement of the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, approximately twenty-five per cent of the membership of the general assembly, chosen randomly, shall undergo a controlled substance assessment…
“(D) Refusal to submit to a controlled substance assessment or test as authorized under this section is an admission that the member has a controlled substance test failure...
“(E) If a member of the general assembly is determined by a controlled substance test conducted under this section to have a controlled substance test failure, the member shall do the following:
(1) Take an additional controlled substance test every thirty days until the member no
longer has a controlled substance test failure;
(2) Undergo substance abuse counseling provided by, or coordinated through, the
employee assistance program established under section 3701.041 of the Revised Code.
[ Renumbered as § 124.88 by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013]

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Continuing Duties to Former Clients

 The Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline Opinion 2013-4 centers around whether public defenders who represent former clients in criminal cases that end in conviction may present evidence of that conviction to impeach the former client in a current case, expanding on a statement from a previous opinion which addressed the imputation of conflicts in a public defender’s office. In addition to Rule 1.9, Opinion 2013-4 also considers Rules 1.4, 1.6, and 1.7 of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct.

  Quoting the Board of Commissioners’ opinion, the Court’s news service last Friday related  that “impeachment of a former client violates Prof.Cond.R. 1.9(c) because the public defender would be using information relating to the prior representation to attack the credibility of the former client, which would disadvantage that former client. However, the public defender may proceed with the current representation if the former client’s criminal conviction is generally known, the use of former-client information is permitted or required by the Rules of Professional Conduct, or the former client provides informed consent;” expanding on the Commission’s previous statement five years ago in Opinion 2008-4,  addressing the imputation of conflicts in a public defender’s office where it stated that “if a former client in an unrelated matter is a witness in a defendant’s criminal case, an assistant county public defender may represent the criminal defendant, but may not use or reveal information of the former client that is protected from disclosure under Prof.Cond.R. 1.9(c).”

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bill Proposing Non-resident Credit on Municipal Income Taxes

Ohio Senator Tim Schaffer yesterday again  introduced a bill which the Plain Dealer was referring to as a “controversial attempt to reduce the burden on twice-taxed commuters,”  and one he’s  “introduced in various similar forms during the past six general assemblies… all without success.”

  SB 208, the Plain Dealer’s article says, “would require large Ohio cities – including Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo – to offer non-residents an annual tax credit equal to either 10 percent of their liability for the year or the amount by which the tax amount exceeds 2 percent of their taxable income, whichever is greater… Supporters say it’s unfair that such people are assessed income tax both where they work and where they live, while opponents  say the proposal would be a severe financial blow to Cleveland and other large cities who rely on such money to provide needed services.”

  Revised Code 718.121, which went into effect in 2004, covers “second municipalities imposing taxes after the time period allowed for refund."

Homeless sue Hamilton County

   Antonio Wilson, Gary Hudson, Shafter Jinks, and Brandon Booker – four homeless men who are among those sleeping in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse and Justice Center – have filed suit in U.S. Southern Ohio District Court against Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil after officials for more than a month have said those spaces will no longer allowed to be de facto homeless camps, citing potential public health concerns from the messes that are left and have to be cleaned up each day.

 “People should not be threatened with arrest and removal for being homeless,” Josh Spring, Director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, told last Tuesday.  “After 30 years of different people finding relative safety sleeping in front of the courthouse and justice center and weeks of successful collaboration to find long-lasting solutions, Sheriff Jim Neil, is unwilling to give enough time for full success and has threatened arrest.”

  “Among the claims,” the article says, are the homeless’ having a right to remain ‘free from cruel and unusual punishment, including the right not to be criminally punished’ for being homeless, and  includes Sheriff Neil’s posting “no trespass” signs on the exterior plazas of the Hamilton County Courthouse and the Hamilton County Justice Center, two quintessential and traditional public forums that cannot be closed to the public, and then threatening to arrest any individuals who sleep or otherwise seek repose on the steps, benches, and sidewalks surrounding these facilities.”

Southern District filings

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ohio Senate Bill 121: Mandatory sentences, not "shock probation"

The Columbus Dispatch this morning is reporting “Shock probation might be revived in Ohio,” referencing  proposed SB 121 (“Violent Career Criminal Act”), introduced by Senators Jim Hughes and Frank LaRose back in May.

  To be sure, SB 121 does not deal with “shock probation/parole,” though aspects of that were dealt with in HB 86 two years ago, becoming effective in Sept. 2011

  Senators Hughes’ and LaRose’s bill, in fact, takes an exactly opposite approach:
doubling the mandatory prison term for an offender who is convicted of a firearm specification having been previously  convicted of a firearm specification;

similarly double the period of authorized or mandatory commitment to the Department of Youth Services of a delinquent child who is guilty of a firearm specification and previously having been adjudicated a delinquent child for committing an act that would constitute a violation of a firearm specification if committed by an adult;

prohibiting  violent career criminals from knowingly acquiring, having, carrying, or using any firearm or dangerous ordnance;

and requiring a mandatory prison term for a violent career criminal convicted of committing a violent felony offense while armed with a firearm.

Text & Legislative Service's Analysis of SB 121

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bill extending availability of Epinephrine auto-injectors in Ohio public schools

 “Ohio law currently allows school nurses and student with food allergies possess and use epinephrine (adrenaline) in case of emergencies, but that’s only in the case of students with a known food allergy, “ House Representative Terry Johnson said in introducing HB 296 yesterday with Representative Mike Duffy  “If a child without that kind of standing order for the life‐saving drug has an allergic reaction, a school nurse wouldn’t legally be able to do anything but call 911 even though she or he may have a cabinet full of the stuff. That’s the problem this bill addresses. (ORC per "Possession and use of epinephrine autoinjectors" and "Food allergy protection policies")

   Kate King, president of the Ohio Association of School Nurses, stated in a press release by that group that “Some 30 states already have laws like this, and we know children’s lives have been saved by having undesignated epinephrine in schools. The Chicago school system alone used at least 25 stock epinephrine auto-injectors last year, and with the increase of food allergies among children, it is important to keep in mind that 25 percent of first time reactions happen at school.”

  The Wikipedia article on Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) notes "it is used to treat a number of conditions including: cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis, and superficial bleeding, and has been used historically for bronchospasm and hypoglycemia, as well, although newer treatments for these, such as salbutamol, a synthetic epinephrine derivative, and dextrose, respectively, are currently preferred."

  HB 296 also outlines the training to be provided, the interaction with medical and school nurse professionals as well as the liability protection for the trained employees that administer the dose in a proper manner, and allows use of a program available through a manufacturer to provide up to four auto injectors at no cost to each school that applies for the doses through December 2014.

  The bill is currently im the House Education Committee.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Attorney guide during Government shutdown Corporate Practice’s best advice to lawyers, especially general counsel, during the federal government’s shutdown is a simple “be patient.” Briggs & Morgan veteran Mike Moberg, though, with almost two decades of employment law experience behind him, has a few ideas in an article posted this morning to help counsel get through in the meantime:

Keep Deadlines & Statutes of Limitations in Mind
        [ Example: Moberg notes that while “most federal agencies                   that have ceased operations are  pushing up paperwork                       deadlines during the shutdown -- not all of them. The                              National Labor Relations Board is granting time extensions               wherever it can, but it hasn’t nixed the  six-month statute of                limitations to file an unfair labor practice charge” ]

•  Don’t procrastinate on employee verifications
         [ “When the government shut down, so did E-Verify, the                           program businesses use to check  employment eligibility.                   That doesn’t release corporations from the obligation of                       complying with verification rules, Moberg said. According                 to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security                “employers must still complete the Form I-9 no later than                    the third business day after an employee starts work for                      pay.” ]

•  Continue to expect delays even after the shutdown ends – whenever that is
         [ As the government shutdown continues paperwork is going               to  pile up, and it’s going to be magnified the longer the                         shutdown goes on.  Moberg recommends that counsel send               emails now and after the shutdown to make sure every need               is addressed.]

   Corporate Practice has a second posting on contingency plans set up by federal regulators during the shutdown along with links compiled by the Office of Management and Budget to all of the available agency plans.

Proposed amendments to concealed-carry licenses for Ohio vets

 House Representative Margaret Ann Ruhl last Tuesday introduced a bill which would “eliminate the time limit within which retired and honorable discharged members of the Armed Forces of the United States are exempt from the requirement to complete firearms training as a prerequisite to obtaining a concealed handgun license.”

Text of Bill 

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Ohio traffic stop camera update

  The Toledo Blade yesterday carried an update on the status of Ohio HB 69’s  beginning Senate  hearings on the bill that would outlaw red-light enforcement cameras and all but eliminate the use of speed cameras in the state, having  cleared the House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee in June. We thought we'd do the same.

  Toledo officials, for one, have opposed the legislation, having taken in nearly $3 million in traffic fines last year, according to the article, and with a predicted $4.2 million this year. “Fifteen Ohio municipalities,” it continued, “including Toledo, operate traffic-enforcement cameras that result in fines but, unlike criminal violations witnessed by a police officer, do not carry points against a driver’s license or report to insurance companies.”

  The Blade’s article also mentioned “the latest backlash being fueled by Elmwood Place, a small village near Cincinnati where the camera program were shut down by a common pleas court judge who declared it a “scam that the motorists can’t win.”

   There, a group of local residents & businesses filed suit last November,  addressing due process aspects of Elmwood's program, including their contention that "Ohio Revised Code 1905.01 et seq. authorizes the Village of Elmwood Place to establish a Mayor's Court to hear & determine any prosecution for the violation of the municipal corporation…. The Village may only exercise jurisdiction to 'hear & decide' a case pursuant to Chapter 1905 of the Revised Code. As a result, all administrative hearings on Notices of Liability must be conducted before a Mayor’s Court…."

   Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman  found in favor of those plaintiffs on Thursday, March 7, 2013, characterizing the Village's program as "nothing more than a high-tech game of
3-card Monty and a scam the motorist cannot win," which pretty much made this a national news story in a very short time. Judge Ruehlman's decision also effectively shut down Elmwood's signal program including any scheduled hearings and, at least temporarily, excused those who have received notices from having to pay those fines. That case reached the Ohio Supreme Court the Aug. 5th., and is still pending.

  ---- Toledo, too, has a like case pending.

  But all is perhaps not lost now that the Senate has a look at the issue. Senators Tom Patton and Shirley Smith back on Sept. 26 introduced their own bill which, on the surface at least, perhaps more precisely zeroes in on at least one of the major issues of the whole debate. SB 196, now in the Government Oversight & Reform Committee, summarizes that,,,,,
   “No municipal corporation, utilizing either its own employees, those of another public entity,or those of a private entity, shall use a traffic law photo-monitoring device to determine compliance with or detect a violation of section 4511.12 of the Revised Code based on the failure to comply with section 4511.13 of  the Revised Code or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance unless the municipal corporation is authorized to establish a mayor's court under section 1905.01 of the Revised Code."

 ……. And following up on all of that is a story in the San Diego Union Tribune this morning about the City of Poway’s, north of the city of San Diego, deciding next week “whether to rip the poles and cameras from the three intersections in town where they have been flashing their strobes since 2005.

  “The city’s council suspended the camera enforcement program seven months ago at the suggestion of its mayor,  Don Higginson, and all the cameras were deactivated and covered with gray plastic… Since then, accidents at the three intersections have actually decreased, according to city engineers who are now recommending the cameras be pulled altogether.”

  That article says “If Poway does vote to end its association with camera provider Redflex Traffic Safety, it will join other cities such as Escondido, San Diego and El Cajon, which have all eliminated red-light camera enforcement this year.”

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Retroactivity of Mandatory Juvenile Life Sentences

  An article in The Legal Intelligencer yesterday morning examines “a Third Circuit Court of Appeals interpretation of Miller v. Alabama issued last week, deepening the divide among the circuits on the application of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in that case three years ago, declaring mandatory life sentences for juveniles as unconstitutional.

  The case, In re Pendleton, etal, the Intelligencer reported, “was one in which the appeals court had been presented with applications to bring successive habeas petitions by three inmates seeking to raise claims related to the Miller decision — all three had been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, two in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey, arguing that Miller  applied retroactively. Although thoroughly exploring the issues, the Third Circuit did not rule on whether or not Miller in fact applied retroactively, but only that there was a sufficiently colorable argument to be made over the application of Miller and granted the motions to file petitions, effectively sending them to the district courts to be hashed out.”

   While holding that petitioners had made a prima facie showing that Miller was  retroactive, the Intelligencer  further reported “the Third Circuit joined the Second, Fourth and Eighth circuits, all of which held that inmates would be allowed to bring their petitions raising Miller claims without ruling on whether or not the Supreme Court intended for Miller to apply retroactively…. the Eleventh and Fifth circuits have ruled it does not.”

   Also in the mix at the state level is a case captioned Commonwealth v. Cunningham on the same issue, heard by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last fall. No decision has been issued on that case as yet.

Concerns voiced over Kasich’s painkiller guidelines

   The Columbus Dispatch this morning is carrying an article in which it relays “some medical experts are saying that the new state guidelines for Ohio physicians who prescribe opioid painkillers announced by the Kaisich administration yesterday could cause temporary care disruptions for some patients suffering with chronic pain,” following up on our post mentioning those guidelines yesterday.

  “The idea behind the guidelines,” the Dispatch article (subscription) said, “is to better monitor what drugs patients are receiving & flag cases in which they are taking more than 80 milligrams in Morphine Equivalent Daily Doses --- a measure of opioid strength or the equivalent of taking eleven 5-mg. oxycodone pills a day --- at which point physicians should re-evaluate the ‘effectiveness & safety of the patient’s pain management plan.’ Medical experts, though,  say patients who are on medication of 80 milligrams or more are at a much greater risk of overdoses and addiction."

  State spokesmen said the guidelines were intended to "supplement, not replace, precriber clinical judgment."

Monday, October 07, 2013

Ohio’s fight against heroin addiction last week had two closely related articles about Ohio’s fight against heroin addiction, “prescription drug and heroin overdose having skyrocketed in Ohio,” as one reported, with Ohio’s drug overdose death rate increasing 440 percent from 1999 to 2011,  according to the Ohio Department of Health, until about five Ohioans were dying of drug overdoses every day.”

  The first article centered around Warren County Judge Robert Peeler – “in a first for local criminal justice systems and a move that’s being studied at several prisons and jails across the country -- ordering a defendant to undergo a series of nine to 12 injections of Vivitrol, the non-narcotic drug naltrexone that blocks the brain’s ability to get high on opiates, including heroin, or drunk on alcohol, with his receiving the first shot while still in jail.

  That article said the drug (naltrex) was approved by the Federal Drug Administration in injectable form in 2010, and found to help addicts keep from relapsing, but that the risk of relapse among individuals with opioid addiction was extremely high – up to 90 percent over the course of a year without what is called medication assisted therapy. The article also related that a 2011 pilot program that provided Warren County inmates with Vivitrol injections had a 25 percent success rate, better than the 10 percent outcome for traditional treatment, which includes abstinence and counseling.

  The second article centered around HB 170, introduced by Representatives Terry Johnson & Michael Stinziano in May. Where the first instance centers around Naltrexone, marketed as Vivitrol, and used in drug dependency programs, HB 170 focus is a drug called Naloxone, employed in cases of opioid-related overdoses. One of its prominent provisions encompasses “ granting immunity from criminal prosecution for the unauthorized practice of medicine,  drug offenses, or administrative action to licensed emergency responders and police officers obtaining naloxone from the licensed emergency responder's emergency medical service organization or law enforcement agency (which must be licensed as a terminal distributor of dangerous drugs). It passed the House’s Health and Aging Committee on Sept. 25 in substitute form.

  SB 105, meanwhile, introduced in April, concerns “specifying what constitutes the training necessary for an individual who is not authorized by the Revised Code to administer naloxone to safely and properly administer that drug to another individual by the intranasal route of administration, and  certify each individual successfully completing intranasal naloxone administration training.”  Its first hearing before the Senate’s Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee was June 12th..

  Lastly is Senate Bill 57 which in essence does all the above, including:
Establishing a pilot project in Lorain County whereby qualified emergency responders who serve in that county may obtain and administer naloxone to a person suffering from an apparent opioid-related overdose in order to revive the person, said pilot program lasting for one year, beginning November 1, 2013.
Requiring the Lorain County Coroner to provide, or to designate one or more licensed health professionals or registered nurses to provide, training to emergency responders in recognizing and responding to an opioid overdose and to provide  emergency responders who satisfactorily complete the training a letter indicating that completion, thereafter  establishing civil immunity under specified circumstances for a licensed health professional, qualified emergency responder, emergency medical service organization, law enforcement agency, firefighting agency, or registered nurse who participates in the pilot program, and
Requiring the Lorain County Narcan Task Force and the Ohio Department of Health each to conduct a separate study of the effectiveness of the pilot project and each to prepare a separate report of findings and certain recommendations; the Task Force and the Department each to send a copy of the report to the Governor, the President and Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House, and the Director Mental Health and Addiction Services

   Senate Bill 57 was passed June 27th., signed by Gov. Kasich on July 11th., and --- coincidentally --- also becomes effective this Friday, October 11th.

   Maintaining an interesting sense of timing here, this afternooon reports “Gov. Kasich’s introducing new guidelines for prescribers of high-powered opioid pain medication for patients with chronic, non-terminal pain in an attempt to reverse a crisis of opioid abuse and overdose in the state,  recommending that 80 milligrams Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose (MED) should trigger the prescriber to “press pause” and reevaluate the effectiveness and safety of the patient’s pain management plan,  according toseveral state health officials.”

Refinements to Ohio Unemployment Benefit Requirements

 Ohio HB 2, signed by Gov. Kasich in July and enhancing & expanding his earlier Workforce Development Law, creating & requiring local workforce investment areas to use OhioMeansJobs --- an electronic system for labor exchange & job placement activity operated by the state --- as the local workforce investment area's job placement system, goes into effect this coming Friday, making refinements to the state’s unemployment eligibility requirements. HB 1 was signed this past June and went into effect September 27, 2013.

  The primary focus of HB 2 is on individuals being instructed as to efforts which must be made with respect to his/her search for suitable work, including that, within six months after the effective date of this amendment, the individual shall register with OhioMeansJobs, except in specified circumstances….  (having) registered with OhioMeansJobs shall, will receive a weekly listing of available jobs based on information provided by the individual at the time of registration. For each week that the individual claims benefits, the individual shall keep a record of where and when the individual has sought work in complying with those instructions search efforts.”

Text of HB 1
Summary & Analysis, HB 1
Text HB 2
Summary & Analysis, HB 2

Friday, October 04, 2013

Ohio Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program

   Ohio Senate minority leader Eric Kearney last Wednesday introduced a bill with the intent of setting up an “Ohio Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program” under which a person or entity engaged in a business, industry, profession, trade, or other enterprise in this state, whether for profit or not for profit, excluding any governmental entity, that has twenty or more employees and that satisfies the requirements to establish or participate in such payroll deposit retirement savings arrangements, offer employees such opportunity; establish an Ohio Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust from which retirement benefits would be paid to Program participants; and create the Ohio Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board, chaired by the Treasurer of State, to oversee the operation of the Program.

Text of Bill

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Unanticipated Medical-Outcome Care bill introduced in Ohio House

   Ohio House Representative Peter Stautberg introduced a bill last Monday for the most-part directed at health care practitioners and facilities.

Included in the provisions are:
A health care facility or location is not liable in damages for injury, death, or loss to person in a civil action asserting a medical claim if the injury, death, or loss to person is the result of an act or omission of a health care practitioner who is an independent medical practitioner and the health care facility or location has provided notice in accordance with divisions (C) and (D) of this section that the health care practitioner is or could be an independent medical practitioner.
In any civil action brought by an alleged victim of an unanticipated outcome of medical care, in any arbitration proceeding related to such a civil action, or in any other civil proceeding, any communications made by a health care provider, an employee of a health care provider, or a representative of a health care provider to the alleged victim, a relative or acquaintance of the alleged victim, or a representative of the alleged victim following an unanticipated outcome and made as part of a review conducted in good faith by the health care provider, an employee of the health care provider, or a representative of the health care provider into the cause of or reasons for an unanticipated outcome, are inadmissible as evidence unless the communications are recorded in the medical record of the alleged victim. Nothing in this section requires a review to be conducted

  Text of Bill

Ohio's new?! Official State Rock Song….

The federal government’s shut down for a few days, but Ohio’s legislature’s still cranking away….

   State Representatives Michael Stinziano & Cheryl Grossman yesterday introduced a bill in the Ohio House to designate "Hang on Sloopy," the old song by Wes Farrell and Bert Russell first recorded by The Vibrations back in 1964, as the official state rock song… never mind jobs,  the budget, environment, or global warming. (More on Sloopy for a lot of you .... I know... )

  Actually, Wikipedia has an article showing that “Hang on Sloopy” already is one of the state’s songs, along with “Beautiful Ohio, “ by Ballard MacDonald (lyrics) and Mary Earl(music), adopted as the official state song in 1989. Wikipedia’s article says “Hang on Sloopy was adopted by the General Assembly in 1985, but, while never being signed into law,  was enacted through House Concurrent Resolution 16, 116th General Assembly, 1985–1986 Session.

  .... and the bill has 11 co-sponsors.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Bill creating Commission on Violence Against Women & Children in Ohio

  Ohio House Representatives Bill Patmon and John Barnes last Monday introduced a bill which would create a “commission on violence against women & children” to study the problem of violence against women and children, including emotional, physical, and socio-economic forms of violence, and  prepare an annual report making  recommendations on implementing solutions for its prevention

  Among that commission’s directives would be:
(1)  Determining factors that lead to violence against women & children;
(2)  Summarizing in its annual report the initial impact and aftermath, long-term implications of violence against women and children;
(3)  Including the gathering of data for the state regarding missing women & children and violence against women & children in the report;
(4)  State in its report the best methods for the timely reporting and finding of missing women and children, and for preventing violence against women and         children; and
(5)  Identifying and suggesting in the report changes in the laws of this state and in the policies of state and local government agencies that will reduce the number of missing women and children and will stop violence against women and children,
  To be done “on or before August 1, 2014, and on or before the first day of August of each year thereafter,in reports to the governor, president and minority leader of the senate, speaker and minority leader of the house of representatives, and chief justice of the supreme court"

Text of Bill

Law in Effect When Claims Filed Determines How to Calculate Pre-Judgment Interest

 The Ohio Supreme Court’s news service last week discussed an opinion by the Court which held that “the current law governing the award of pre-judgment interest in civil suits applies to causes of action accruing before but filed on or after the 2004 effective date of the statute,” resolving a conflict among Ohio’s courts of appeals as it reversed a Twelfth District decision, returning the case to the trial court for further consideration.

  Case in point was Longbottom, et al. v. Mercy Hospital Clermont et al., 2012-1260, in which 9-year-old Kyle Smith struck his head on a coffee table, was taken to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital Clermont in Batavia that same day, and was examined & discharged after the attending physician told the parents he didn’t think Kyle had a serious head injury because he had remained conscious, hadn’t lost hearing, was behaving normally, and had no significant head pressure.

  The Court’s case summary proceeded to relate, however, that “The next morning when Kyle began gasping for breath, his parents called 911 and transported him to a Cincinnati hospital, where he was diagnosed with an epidural hematoma and underwent surgery, but suffered serious and permanent injuries.

  “Kyle’s parents sued the Mercy Hospital doctor for malpractice but voluntarily dismissed the action in March 2003,  later re-filing their suit in March 2008, at which time a jury found the doctor had acted negligently and awarded more than $2.4 million in damages to Kyle’s family.

   The summary went on to explain that “in tort actions, trial courts can also award ‘pre-judgment interest,’ which is additional compensation given when the party required to pay money did not make a good faith effort to settle a case. In this case, the court ordered nearly $831,000 in pre-judgment interest (PJI), calculated by using the version of R.C. 1343.03(C) in effect when Longbottom and Smith filed their initial complaint in 2003.

  “Both parties appealed to the Twelfth District Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court’s decision and PJI award, holding that amendments made to R.C. 1343.03(C), effective in 2004, applied prospectively only, and it noted that their interpretation aligned with decisions in the First, Third, and Seventh District Courts of Appeals. The Twelfth District then certified to the Ohio Supreme Court that its ruling conflicted with the Eighth District Court of Appeal’s decision in Barnes v. Univ. Hosps. of Cleveland, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga Nos. 87247, 87285, 87710, 87903, and 87946, 2006-Ohio-6266   regarding PJI awards.”

“Justice Terrence O'Donnell,” the news service summarized, “first examined the General Assembly’s intent when it amended R.C. 1343.03 in H.B. 212 in 2004, citing the 2008 Ohio Supreme Court case, Maynard v. Eaton Corp.,119 Ohio St.3d 443, 2008-Ohio-4542, in which the court considered whether a new interest rate on judgments, also enacted in H.B. 212, applied to actions still pending on appeal when the amendments went into effect. After looking at uncodified language in the bill, the court in Maynard determined that the legislature intended the new interest rate to apply on the act’s effective date to all pending actions, including those still on appeal.

  “In Longbottom, however, Justice O’Donnell wrote: ‘… H.B. 212 contains no codified or uncodified language providing that the modified procedures for calculating prejudgment interest enacted by R.C. 1343.03(C) should apply to all pending cases. … We therefore conclude that the legislature intended that the amendments to R.C. 1343.03(C) should apply only to cases filed on or after June 2, 2004, the effective date of that statute.’”

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Proposed Changes to Ohio Interpreter Service Rules

 During her annual State of the Judiciary speech on Sept. 12th.,  Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor announced plans for a major new program to ensure that those who needed foreign or sign language interpreters in court would be provided with one. Yesterday the Court announced the proposal of  rule changes as part of that far-reaching program to allow Ohioans who need interpreters better access to the judicial system.

 The Court’s news service reported that “the proposals would amend Rules 80-88 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio that govern foreign and sign language interpretation in Ohio’s courts -- Among those changes  the addition of Rule 89 that would add standards for using a foreign language interpreter over the phone, including:
  Text of the Proposed Rules can be accessed here.
    Comments on the proposed rule amendments will be accepted in writing until October 30 and should be submitted to:

Identifying when telephonic interpretation services are             appropriate, including a maximum time limit that makes            telephonic interpretation most effective.
Setting standards for the equipment used during telephonic      interpretation.
•   Requiring the interpreter to take an oath, and
Creating awareness of coordinating and monitoring the            service.
Other rule changes announced today include defining what types of court or case function might require an interpreter, extending the period for provisional certification, and establishing a roster of non-certified foreign language interpreters.
Bruno Romero, Manager
Supreme Court of Ohio Language Services Program
65 S. Front St, 6th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431
Or via e-mail to