Vaping illness, Internet access in rural Ohio and home rule

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    Programming note

    The Ohio Capital Journal will continue to be posting stories at OhioCapitalJournal.com throughout the holidays, though The Eye-Opener newsletter will go on a break. So this will be our last Eye-Opener of 2019, and we shall resume on Jan. 2, 2020. See ya next… decade? It depends on who you ask.

    Catching Our Eye:

    Overreaction? The Columbus Dispatch’s Max Filby is reporting, “As state leaders push for more regulation of vaping products, an Ohio State University dean is warning that new regulations could end up going too far...

    “The trouble with prohibitions is that they could prevent vaping products from being used to wean people off cigarettes, said Amy Fairchild, dean of Ohio State’s College of Public Health. Fairchild, along with doctors from Columbia University, New York University and Emory University, published a paper in the journal Science this month cautioning people not to overreact…

    “Part of what may be causing a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to vaping illnesses, Fairchild said, is confusion about what causes them in the first place… Vitamin E acetate has been identified as a likely cause of the illnesses… It might be used as an additive or thickening agent in some THC vaping products, but the full relationship between vitamin E acetate and THC vaping products is still unclear, according to the CDC.”
    Internet access in rural Ohio. The Associated Press’ Julie Carr Smyth is reporting, “High-speed internet would spread to about 1 million unserved or underserved Ohioans along rural routes and highways previously off-limits to private development under a strategic plan released Thursday

    “If approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the aggressive blueprint for expanding and improving broadband access across the state also would give extra points to Ohio local governments’ applications for related federal grants…

    “The strategic document comes as digital giants, including Microsoft and Facebook, are working to solve a connectivity problem in rural, often poor areas of the U.S. that has confounded policymakers for decades.”
    House and home rule. The Cleveland.com/Plain Dealer editorial board is saying the “Ohio Statehouse has no business telling communities how to regulate plastic-bag use.”

    “Arguing over whether Ohio should or shouldn’t ban single-use plastic bags isn’t the pivotal issue in House Bill 242, now pending in Ohio’s Senate. The real question is whether General Assembly Republicans have the constitutional right in Ohio to forbid cities and villages – and their voters – from making that decision for themselves.

    “There’s a simple answer: They don’t.”

    David C. DeWitt
    David C. DeWitt is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience covering Ohio politics and policy. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS and Plunderbund.com covering topics such as education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, government, business, labor, energy, environment and social issues. His work has also appeared in Government Executive, the Columbus Dispatch, Girlfriends magazine, Bleacher Report and the Ashtabula Star Beacon, among others.