The Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, March 24
New Zealand moved decisively in the wake of the horrifying attack against two mosques in Christchurch this month. Within a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a national ban on all military style semi-automatic weapons, plus high-capacity ammunition magazines, all part of the arsenal used to kill 50 people. The prime minister seeks the elimination of such weapons from her country.
Critics are quick to cite the difficulty, even in relatively small and isolated New Zealand. For instance, as the prime minister noted, getting to the goal will require a gun buyback program.
As Americans know from our own discussion about military style assault weapons, no such ban will end the slaughters. Deadly mass shootings have been carried out with handguns. It’s hard to imagine eliminating a type of weapon when as many as 350 million guns are circulating within the country. By one count, there are 8.5 million weapons labeled assault rifles.
What is encouraging is that House Democrats now are in position to act, part of their regaining the majority due to candidates running hard on the need for legislation that seeks to address the public health problem of gun violence.
The Star Beacon, March 22
Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration is off to a strong start through simple measures like trying to work with local governments across Ohio again.
We have seen several good examples of ideas to get money flowing back toward the municipalities that need it most without breaking the bank or depleting the rainy day fund. One such measure, contained in the Ohio House passed transportation budget, would set aside $250,000 for communities hard hit by storms. Credit to State Rep. John Patterson and Conneaut City Manager Jim Hockaday for their work on the Catastrophic Snowfall fund, which would make a quarter million dollars available to help cities cope with snow events where cities receive 18 inches of snow from a single storm.
However, we credit DeWine for at least putting the growing need for more children services funding on the table. It is a serious step forward. The state can now have a legitimate discussion about real needs instead of continuing to put off difficult debates over funding — or worse yet, pretending everything is fine at the state level while local government agencies become overwhelmed and all Ohioans suffer.
The Blade, March 25
High-profile tech/?media guru Alexis Ohanian has been making a national mission out of his highly publicized paid paternity leave, courtesy of the company he founded and owns.
The multimillionaire (and co-founder of Reddit) and husband of tennis pro Serena Williams took the full 16 weeks of paid leave available to him from his employer — the venture capital firm he co-founded and runs — when his daughter Olympia was born.
It’s a good way to kindle a movement and a worthy movement it would be.
America is the only country in the developed world that does not federally require paid leave, at least for new moms. President Trump has said he favors six weeks of paid parental leave. Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a presidential candidate, has introduced a plan for partial pay at 12 weeks of family leave.
Everyone benefits from paid parental leaves. Parents get time to adjust to a new family unit. Children get to bond with their parents. Families are less likely to need the help of public assistance. The American economy grows because paid leave is associated with higher job performance, retention, and family incomes.
The Findlay Courier, March 20
The next great flood project in the Blanchard River watershed could be a flood basin along Eagle Creek, just south of Findlay . or not.
Fortunately, flood plan discussions have become a continuing conversation in a community that has decided doing nothing is no longer acceptable, and that we’ve moved past the belief that any one thing will solve a problem this big. Remember when the “experts” thought a diversion channel was all we needed to do? We’ve learned a lot since then.
Funding, too, will have be defined. There is currently about $18 million in the bank for flood projects, but $6 million of that will be spent on the ongoing benching work. Another $15 million was granted by the state to the flood relief efforts, with the possibility that more aid could come in the future.
But the exact terms of the grant, which is held by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, are still not known, and will require a local match.
Ultimately, it will be up to the county commissioners to decide how much to fund any project, and then the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District to approve and oversee it.