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Thirty day deadline looms to fill empty Ohio school board seat
Other headlines: New bill gives adoptees access to birth records; Judges given new options in treating mentally ill lawbreakers
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
  • New bill gives adoptees access to birth records
  • Judges given new options in treating mentally ill lawbreakers
  • New law streamlines research on rare childhood diseases
  • Police chief's wife serves jail time for shoplifting
  • Thirty day deadline looms to fill empty Ohio school board seat
    The clock is ticking on the replacement of an Ohio Board of Education member who stepped down this week due to ethics concerns. 

    Bryan Williams of Fairlawn resigned after a series of articles by the Beacon Journal revealed a conflict of interest between his position on the school board and his work as a lobbyist for a contractors and builders association. 

    The Beacon is reporting Gov. John Kasich has less than 30 days to replace Williams.  Williams served on one the 11 elected school board seats, two of the eight appointed positions also remain unfilled.


    New bill gives adoptees access to birth records
    A bill approved by Ohio lawmakers this week will make it easier for many adopted Ohioans to get their original birth certificates.

    The bill gives about 400,000 people access to original Ohio birth certificates that were blocked without a court order.

    Under the bill, those adopted between 1964 and 1996 can request their adoption files from the state department of vital statistics for a $20 fee.

    People adopted before and after those dates already have that access.


    Judges given new options in treating mentally ill lawbreakers
    A new bill passed by Ohio lawmakers would give judges the authority to order outpatient treatment for people struggling with mental illness.

    Judges say the bill, passed by the House Wednesday, would give them options other than committing a person to a mental hospital. It now goes to the Senate.

    The National Alliance for Mental Illness Ohio, tells The Columbus Dispatch that the law will save lives by giving judges more options in cases where people are seen in court repeatedly and their "illness is so severe they can't stay out of harm's way."

    Opponents claim it would strip mentally ill people of their civil liberties by allowing family members to force them to get treatment, whether or not they want it.


    New law streamlines research on rare childhood diseases
    Scientists working on rare childhood diseases will have an easier time completing research thanks to a bill backed by both of Ohio’s US Senators.

    The law creates 20 hospital networks under the National Institutes of Health that collaborate and share money for research on rare childhood diseases and birth defects. The new consortia will allow researchers to gather enough data on rare diseases to be statistically valid. 

    Democrat Sherrod Brown introduced the bill.  It was co-sponsored by Republican Rob Portman and signed into law last month.


    Police chief's wife serves jail time for shoplifting
    The wife of a police chief in northeast Ohio is serving a 10-day jail sentence for shoplifting.

    Elaine Freeman — wife of North Ridgeville Police Chief Mike Freeman — was sent to jail for 10 days Tuesday for shoplifting at a Kohl's department store in nearby Avon.

    Her attorney said she pleaded no-contest to petty theft. She'll be on house arrest for another 30 days after she finishes the jail sentence. The attorney said she's undergoing counseling and "feels terrible for what she put her family through."

    It was the second time she has been convicted of shoplifting.

    Her husband was reprimanded by the city after he became angry over his wife's September arrest.

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