COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Canton) Repository, April 14
Football's past, present and future come together here this year.
Canton is always the center of the football universe for a few days each summer. But this year, the sport's past, present and future will come together here in a spectacular way.
This is the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 50th anniversary year, and it's the perfect reason for the biggest reunion ever of enshrinees.
At last count, more than 90 Hall of Famers had said they'll be here Aug. 2-4, including for the Aug. 3 enshrinement of the Class of 2013. Officials say they ultimately expect 130, which will easily top the 40th anniversary celebration, when 111 enshrinees returned.
What an opportunity this will be for Canton and Stark County to celebrate — and to share with what likely will be a record number of visitors — a bond between the Hall of Fame and the community that has never been stronger.
The most visible commitment that visitors and returning enshrinees will see, of course, is the hall's 33,000-square-foot expansion and equally large renovation, which will bring nearly 100 years of football history into a stunning 21st-century setting.
The community's commitment to the hall also will be increasingly visible over the next few years, thanks to a collaboration between the Hall of Fame and ArtsinStark, the county arts council....
Everyone who loves Canton and football and the history they've made together is looking forward to August — and beyond. The Hall of Fame's expansion project, after all, is called "Future 50."
The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune, April 9
Twenty years ago this month, many Ohioans were stunned when inmates at a state prison in Lucasville went on an 11-day rampage. In addition to murdering nine fellow inmates, the rioters took several guards hostage.
When their demands were not met quickly enough to suit them, some of the rioters murdered guard Robert Vallandingham. He was strangled to death.
Eventually, the rioters were subdued. Five were sentenced to death for their roles in the butchery.
State officials improved conditions at Lucasville and other prisons in efforts to avoid similar outbreaks in the future.
Now, however, warnings are being heard that problems such as those blamed for the Lucasville riot have crept back into the prison system. Overcrowding and lack of adequate prison personnel have been cited.
Ohio has made important strides in reducing prison overcrowding during the past few years, but it remains a problem. And, of course, state budget cutbacks have been felt in the corrections system....
Response to a union study of problems in prisons has been cynical, to some extent, with some observers saying the union is merely using the 20th anniversary of the Lucasville riot to pursue its agenda.
Still, the issue should not be ignored. State officials should take a critical look at the prison system, to prevent surprises such as the bloody one in 1993.
The (Youngstown) Vindicator, April 15
The move by Ohio House Republicans to thwart Gov. John Kasich's proposed expansion of Medicaid to nearly 300,000 Ohioans is a prime example of a political ideology trumping common sense and human compassion.
It's as if House Republicans are more interested in rejecting a provision of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act than they are providing an opportunity for working Ohio families to get medical coverage and for Ohio medical providers to get paid for the services they are already providing for people in need...
The state has the opportunity to expand Medicaid coverage to families with incomes up to 138 percent of federal poverty level (about $15,400 per person or $23,050 for a family of four)....
Gov. Kasich famously said a few days after his election in 2010 that those who hadn't supported him should climb aboard because, "If you're not on the bus, we'll run over you with the bus."
We suspect he has come to regret such hubris now, when Republicans in the General Assembly seem intent on proving who is boss (even if it means hard working Ohioans — people without health coverage and the hospitals, nursing homes, doctors and nurses who treat them — are the ones who are hurt).
Over seven years, Ohio could receive as much as $13 billion from the federal government to cover newly eligible Medicaid recipients. Keeping that much money out of the state's health-care pipeline is bad public policy and a disservice to every Ohioan.
The Columbus Dispatch, April 14
Today more than ever, public pension funds must be accountable to their members and the general public. At a time of leaner budgets and with public employees being asked to make sacrifices to ensure their future retirement security, the School Employees Retirement System should rein in its out-of-state travel expenditures and adopt a formal policy about such spending to ensure that excessive travel bills don't eat into the retirement funds of bus drivers, custodians, food-service workers and other hard-working retirees from the public schools.
The issue came to light last month after The Dispatch reported that the pension fund planned to send three board members to a national conference for public-employee retirement systems in Hawaii in May, at a cost of $11,000. An examination of the travel outlays of Ohio's five major public pension funds revealed that SERS spending was out of whack: Last year, its board racked up almost $160,000 in travel expenses, more than the other four state pension funds combined.
Since then, one board member has bowed out of the trip, citing health issues. That leaves two who are going, and who were part of the 4-3 board vote in March to go forward with sending themselves to the five-day conference at the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort despite mounting criticism and the recommendation of state lawmakers that they cancel the trip....
If the School Employees Retirement System board doesn't say aloha to over-the-top travel on the public pension fund's dime, the Ohio legislature should step in and compel them to put a reasonable policy in writing.