National Adoption Awareness Month

Every November, National Adoption Month raises awareness about the thousands of children in foster care in the United States who are waiting for permanent families. Finding families for these children is just the beginning of adoption. Families need support after adoption in order to remain strong and provide an environment where children can flourish, and adoptees need help addressing unique issues and questions that may surface throughout their lives. Birthparents and family members also need support for the feelings of loss they may experience even years after a child is placed for adoption. Adoption Network Cleveland understands adoption is a lifelong journey. For the past 25 years, the organization has offered support, education, and advocacy for anyone touched by adoption. For more information, visit www.adoptionnetwork.org.

SB 205 Would Curb Absentee Ballot Access
Photo: Sam Hendren, WOSU

Columbus—On November 6, the Ohio Senate approved Senate Bill 205, legislation that will limit the ability of public officials and local governments to proactively mail absentee ballot applications to registered voters. The practice has become popular in many Ohio counties since no-fault absentee voting was first instituted in 2006. "This is a step backward from the reforms enacted following the dreadful 2004 elections, during which some voters waited in line until midnight to cast their ballot," said Senator Turner. "There is no need to roll back the progress we have made." S.B. 205 would bar any government office or public official from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications except for the secretary of state, who could only do so for general elections—and only if the legislature appropriat-

ed the money for that purpose. The bill would put an end to the practice of boards of elections in the state's largest counties mass-mailing applications to increase participation, encourage voting by mail, and decrease Election Day lines. The bill's sponsor cited the need to ensure statewide uniformity as cause for the bill, but some disagreed. "Uniformity for government is not the same as equal access for voters. Ohio's largest county has 38-times the population of its smallest, and those differences need to be accounted for in our elections system," Senator Turner said. "Local election officials know their voters best, and are in a much better position than the General Assembly to respond to their needs."

Red Light Camera Debate Continues
Columbus—Earlier this year, the Ohio House passed a measure that would prohibit the use of traffic cameras by local governments and law enforcement agencies to detect red light and speed limit violations. More commonly known as red light cameras, these devices have been installed by cities across the state in an effort to crack down on traffic violations and increase public safety. Detractors argue that municipalities are simply seeking creative funding streams in the wake of dramatic local government cuts in the past two budget cycles. Data shows, however, that red light cameras have reduced accidents and fatalities throughout Ohio. In the first six months of 2013, there were 6,975 traffic crashes in Cuyahoga and Lake Counties, causing 43 fatalities. After the installation of cameras at intersections in Parma Heights, Columbus, and Toledo, all three cities experienced a drop in crashes. Columbus experienced the greatest change: 18 cameras operating since 2008 have corresponded with a 75% reduction in crashes. To view traffic incident statistics, visit the Ohio Department of Public Safety website. House Bill 69 is now in the Senate, waiting to be referred to a committee for consideration. Opponents have called for reforming regulations governing red-light cameras rather than banning them. Keep up with this legislation and more by visiting: www.legislature.state.oh.us.

turner@ohiosenate.gov www.ohiosenate.gov

T: 614/466.4583 F: 614/644.6164 Toll-free: 800/282.0253

1 Capitol Square Room 223 Columbus, Ohio 43215

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