Marietta Times, Oct. 31
Many of us are aggravated by “robocalls” to our cell phones from people attempting to sell us things or convince us to donate to allegedly worthy causes. But federal law limits such calls, especially from debt collectors.
As so often is the case, however, the federal government does not want to be held to the same rules as the rest of us.
Included in the federal budget bill approved Wednesday by the House of Representatives and pending in the Senate is a provision exempting the government or companies representing it from robocall limits on the private sector. People who owe the government money for anything from student loans to taxes could be plagued by virtually unlimited calls to their cellphones.
As one critic has pointed out, that could be expensive for people whose budgets restrict them to cellphones with limits on calls.
No doubt the provision is just one of many pieces of mischief quietly tucked into the budget bill. If it is enacted, members of Congress – after finally learning what is in the measure for which they voted – should go back and rescind the robocall language.
If an abusive practice is unacceptable from the private sector, it should be banned for government, too.
The (Toledo) Blade, Oct. 31
The United States has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the few nations that doesn’t guarantee its citizens paid leave from work for sickness, care of an ill family member, or the birth of a child. This year, paid leave at last has become a mainstream political issue.
Presidential candidates of both parties are discussing what they would do to help Americans take time off to care for their families without losing their jobs. A bill before Congress would guarantee workers 12 weeks off work, at two-thirds pay, to care for a family member or new child – a modest proposal compared with the generous paid-leave programs in every other developed nation…
Federal law requires companies to offer 12 weeks of unpaid medical and family leave to workers. But because the policy only applies to companies with more than 50 employees, it doesn’t cover 40 percent of private-sector workers. Worse, because federal policy doesn’t guarantee paid leave, fewer than two-thirds of workers have access to sick leave with pay, and just 11 percent get any paid family leave, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says…
Politicians like to brandish their so-called family values, yet their economic positions often harm poor and middle-class families. Forcing parents to choose between their paychecks and their health or that of loved ones, or making new mothers return to work too soon after giving birth, isn’t pro-family. Voters must hold elected officials accountable for destructive, anti-family policies.
Akron Beacon Journal, Nov. 1
In the wake of high-profile cases involving the deaths of unarmed African-American males at the hands of police, a task force assembled by John Kasich issued in May a detailed report on upgrading law enforcement practices. Among other topics, the governor’s team focused on the use of outside prosecutors and a special unit to investigate such shootings. That fit the broader goal of restoring community trust throu76gh improved accountability.
More recently, a bipartisan team of lawmakers from Cincinnati advanced the discussion in a significant way by introducing a bill that adds a higher level of scrutiny to incidents in which police use deadly force and improves the transparency of the investigative process…
What they have in mind is law enforcement agencies designating one or more of their officers to be part of a pool of police-shooting investigators on file in the state attorney general’s office. An investigation would be conducted by an investigator from the department involved in the shooting, plus two or more investigators selected at random from the pool…
The challenge is to bring all departments in the state up to the same high, professional standards, with the aim of reducing substantially the likelihood of deadly encounters between police and suspects in the first place. Once an incident such as the death of Tamir Rice takes place, the damage to relations between a police department and the residents it serves is not easily repaired, even with more independent and open methods of investigation.