Monday, December 19, 2005

Legislature Passes 'Ohio Patriot Act,' and Election Reform Is Tabled

The Ohio General Assembly passed what its critics called the "Ohio Patriot Act" last week by a vote of 69-23. The bill gives law enforcement agencies greater discretion in questioning terrorist suspects and also makes it a misdemeanor for a witness of a crime not to report certain information to law enforcement. Agencies also have greater authority to check IDs and ask pribing questions at aiports and checkpoints throughout the state.

Another important piece of legislation that came out of the State Senate last week was a contentious election reform bill that requires voters to present identification when voting at the polling place. Some Senate Republicans voted against the provision because it included a $200 cap on how much money local elected officials (county comissioners, county prosecutors, sheriffs, etc.) could receive in campaign contributions from their own employees. The Ohio House soundly rejected the $200 contribution cap and the ID provisions and the differences in the two versions will not be resolved until the new year.


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