Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Senator Cafaro to Introduce Caylee's Law in Ohio Senate

Columbus – Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) announced today that she is drafting legislation to make it a felony crime if parents, guardians or caregivers fail to report to law enforcement the death or disappearance of a child in a timely manner.

The legislation is named after Caylee Anthony, the two year old Florida girl whose death gained national attention. Caylee’s grandparents used to live in Trumbull County which is part of Senator Cafaro’s Senate District.

“Like many Americans I followed the investigation into Caylee’s death very closely,” said Senator Cafaro. “Her family’s connection to the Mahoning Valley made it feel even more personal to me and many of my constituents. It is my hope that this terrible tragedy will lead to changes in our laws that will prevent a similar situation from happening in Ohio.”

Senator Cafaro’s legislation will include the following provisions when it is drafted by the Legislative Service Commission:

• Must report the death of a child (up to the age of 17) within one hour upon learning of the death.
• Must report the disappearance of child age 12 and under within 24 hours and within 48 hours for a child age 13-17.
• Define caregiver as any adult responsible for the welfare of a child including a babysitter, friend or relative.
• Increase the penalty for giving false information to a police officer from a first degree misdemeanor to a low level felony.

Senator Cafaro has submitted a co-sponsor request to her colleagues in the Ohio Senate with the goal of building wide bipartisan support for this child protection legislation.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Senator Cafaro's Column for Ashtabula Star Beacon

There is nothing more fundamental in a democracy than the right to vote. Of all governmental functions, the ability to carry out fair and open elections should be paramount. Unfortunately, the Republican controlled Senate just passed legislation that will make it more difficult for Ohioans to vote.

The legislation, known as House Bill 194, drastically cuts early voting from 35 to just ten days. HB 194 also prohibits early voting on Sundays and limits weekend voting to just one Saturday. This will hurt hard working Ohioans who need the flexibility to vote around their work schedules.

Just as troubling is a provision in the legislation that drops the requirement for poll workers to assist voters in finding the correct precinct and another that throws out ballots even where the voter’s choice is abundantly clear.

The timeframe for mail-in absentee voting has also been shortened. All these changes will lead to unnecessary confusion when Ohioans next go to the polls, especially when you consider we overhauled our voting procedures just five years ago.

The General Assembly should focus its efforts on encouraging more Ohioans to participate in our democracy by making it easier to vote. HB 194 is a giant step backward.

The Caucus

Minority Leader Eric H. Kearney - Cincinnati - 9th District
Assistant Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni - Canfield - 33rd District
Minority Whip Nina Turner - Cleveland - 25th District
Assistant Minority Whip Edna Brown - Toledo - 11th District
Senator Tom Sawyer - Akron - 28th District
Senator Charleta B. Tavares - Columbus - 15th District
Senator Shirley Smith - Cleveland - 21st District
Senator Michael J. Skindell - Cleveland - 23rd District
Senator Lou Gentile - Steubenville - 30th District
Senator Capri S. Cafaro - Hubbard - 32nd District

This page may operate better if you download a free copy of Adobe Flash Player, found here.