Editorial roundup

The (Canton) Repository, June 17

It’s time for Ohioans to hang up on plain, old telephone service.

Most have already made the switch to wireless or fiber communications – including anyone who bundles their Internet, cable television and phone service …

Major phone companies like AT&T and Verizon want the state to deregulate landline phone service before they can abandon a communications system that for decades was the envy of the world.

By law, “carriers of last resort” must offer basic local and long-distance phone service, access to 911, caller ID blocking, and services for the deaf and hearing impaired …

Under a proposal approved by the Ohio House and now tucked into the Ohio Senate’s 4,000-plus-page budget, the phone companies could begin withdrawing basic landline service once the Federal Communications Commission crafts a national policy. The FCC isn’t expected to act until 2018, but proponents say Ohio must be ready for the transition …

Investing more in modern technology will be good for everyone if the phone companies do what’s best for their plain, old telephone service customers first. That will make for a smooth and safe transition to the 21st Century technology that many of us are already using.

Online: http://bit.ly/1H8Nx5A

The Columbus Dispatch, June 22

Three years ago, in an effort to appease pit bull owners, the Ohio legislature gave dangerous dogs what Sen. Bill Beagle said those in the field describe as “one free growl, one free bite, and one free kill.”

The current law is fraught with gaps and confusion that gives bad owners a long legal leash, placing at risk all Ohioans, especially children.

In late April, Beagle, R-Tipp City, introduced what he told Gongwer News Service will be the first of a handful of bills to target dangerous dogs, ease prosecution, clarify the law and hold owners accountable.

House Bill 151 follows more than a year of community hearings and meetings with dog wardens, prosecutors, police and animal advocates; these discussions followed fatal dog attacks …

Current law fails to label dogs as “dangerous” if they seriously injure, but do not kill, a person or a pet – a warning attack that currently goes unheeded.

H.B. 151, which is not breed-specific, would rectify that. It also raises criminal penalties and fines for owners, tightens ownership restrictions for certain felons and removes the difficult burden for prosecutors to prove the dog was not provoked, instead permitting this as an affirmative defense …

Online: http://bit.ly/1SCUxJM

The Akron Beacon Journal, June 19

House Democrats rebelled last week. They abandoned President Obama as he sought the necessary authority to negotiate a sweeping trade agreement with 11 other Pacific Rim countries. The rebellion is shortsighted, in the sense that expanded markets overseas will help American companies and workers. Any sound economic strategy going forward, whether local, regional, state or national, must emphasize the opportunity in exports …

If anything, that denial compounds the problem by all but denying American companies and workers wider access foreign markets. The middle class along the Pacific Rim has surged from 570 million people to 2.7 billion people the past 15 years. That represents immense potential for sales and jobs.

The hope is, thus, that Congress and the White House will find a way soon to revive and succeed in the effort to give the president trade promotion authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On Tuesday, the House gave itself another six weeks. Without that authority, which limits lawmakers to a simple up-or-down vote, an agreement won’t be reached. No other country would say yes to a deal knowing that Capitol Hill could then pursue its own changes …

Trade promotion authority isn’t just about economics. It has a strategic component, the president seeking a “pivot” to Asia. The idea is to enhance American influence in the region, in part, by countering an ambitious China. If the United States isn’t a leading presence, then China likely will fill the power vacuum, even take aim at pushing its own economic rules for the region

Online: http://bit.ly/1RcCfN5