Ohio’s early voting has begun and there are more choices for prez and vice prez in 2016 than you might think

Early voting for the general election of November 2016 has begun.

Dear readers, especially Ohio registered voters, it is time to vote for President and Vice President of the United States, as we do every four years.  The early voting period has begun.  There is no reason to push voting off until the last minute, if you’ve done your homework and investigated the candidates and issues appearing on the ballots.

There are more than two political parties.

Oh, maybe you’re holding off on voting until all the “October surprises” have been revealed.  If you are, then you are probably still entertaining thoughts about voting for the Trump/Pence Republican ticket or the Clinton/Kaine Democrat ticket.  I’m not.  I’m so done with both of them.  To be fair, I do think that Trump is wholly justified in remaining at the top of the Republican ticket.  He won the party nomination fair and square.  Fortunately, in our nation, we don’t have to vote for a party slate.  We can vote for individual candidates on an a la carte basis.  Our voting system is so much better than the parliamentary elections held in so many other parts of the world.  Also, the media tries to rigidly uphold the two-party system (Democrat and Republican) in the United States; but the truth is, there are more candidates to choose from than just Trump or Clinton.  I’m glad of that.  If I could only vote between the two of them, I would pull the lever for Trump, but I’m so happy that I don’t have to (and I won’t).

Your ballot will list more candidates for president than just Trump and Clinton.

Ohio’s ballot also lists Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka as Green Party POTUS and VPOTUS candidates, Richard Duncan and Ricky Johnson as independent POTUS and VPOTUS candidates, and Gary Johnson and William Weld as Libertarian POTUS and VPOTUS candidates.  Maybe you’re thinking, “those other candidates are nobodies who couldn’t possibly be experienced/skillful/prepared/savvy/qualified enough to be President,” but, if so, you may be mistaken.  For example, the Libertarian ticket–Johnson and Weld–features POTUS and VPOTUS candidates who have both been state governors.  So I would urge voters to take more than a cursory glance at independent and minor party candidates this election cycle.  You may find candidates among them that are superior to the ones that the two major parties have nominated.

Also, there are POTUS and VPOTUS candidates that you are able to vote for who are not listed on the ballot. 

I’m talking about write-in candidates.  You can only vote for one pair of POTUS/VPOTUS candidates, so if you intend to vote for a write in, you have to make sure you didn’t inadvertently cast votes for one of the pairs already listed on the ballot.  A word of advice: Don’t just write “none of the above” as a protest write-in vote.  It won’t get counted.  In order for a write-in vote to be counted, you must write in the name of a candidate who actually met the qualifications to be a write-in candidate as determined by the office of the Ohio Secretary of State.  Please be aware that the workers at the polls are partisan (equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans at each voting location, ideally), so they have no interest in volunteering information about write-in candidates.  If you directly ask them for a list of the names of qualified write-in candidates, then I think they would be obliged to respond, but you would be better off if you did this homework in advance and examined the write-in candidate list ahead of your visit to your polling place.  This year, the POTUS and VPOTUS ticket I am voting for is among the qualified write-ins.  Here is Ohio’s list of qualified POTUS/VPOTUS write-in candidates for the November 2016 general election (POTUS candidate’s name of each write-in ticket appears to the left of each “/” with VPOTUS candidate’s name of each ticket appears after each “/”):

James Jerome Bell/Scheem Milton Hempstead

Michael Bickelmeyer/Robert Young

Darrell L. Castle/Scott N. Bradley

Cherunda Fox/Roger Kushner

Ben Hartnell/Dave Marshall

Tom Hoefling/Steve Schulin

Bruce E. Jaynes/Roger W. Stewart

Chris Keniston/Deacon Taylor

Barry Kirschner/Rick Menefield

Laurence Kotlikoff/Edward Leamer

Joseph Maldonado/Douglas Terranova

Michael Andrew Maturen/Juan Antonio Munoz

Evan McMullin/Nathan Johnson

Monica Moorehead/Lamont Lilly

Joe Schriner/Joe Moreaux

Mike Smith/Daniel White

Josiah R. Stroh/Paul Callahan

Douglas W. Thomson/Thomas A. Ducro, Jr.

Notice that the list of write-in candidates does not include any mention of party affiliations.  This does not mean that all of these tickets have no affiliations to political parties.  The Darrell L. Castle/Scott N. Bradley ticket, for example, is actually affiliated with the Constitution Party . . . a political party that some Tea Party voters might take an interest in due to shared notions of limited government and close adherence to the U.S. Constitution, yet more tolerant of the rule of law than, say, a number of Libertarians that might feel a little too restricted by laws in general.  On the other hand, the Evan McMullin/Nathan Johnson ticket is an independent ticket, for McMullin has cast aside his former affiliation with the Republicans from the time he served as a Congressional aide.  As far as McMullin, a former CIA operative, is concerned, if Trump personifies what the Republican Party currently stands for, then McMullin wants to make a clean break with that.  So feel free to google and research the candidates listed here.  If you find your favorite POTUS/VPOTUS ticket among the qualified write-ins, then I recommend you jot down your selection in a little note to yourself to take with you to your polling location to make it easier to cast your write-in vote.

No, you’re not throwing your vote away if you vote for a ticket other than a major party ticket.

As long as you are casting your vote for an eligible candidate of your liking, your vote will be counted and it will have an impact.  How large of an impact?  I don’t know.  We’ll have to see how the future unfolds.  In my opinion, in this election year, we may begin to see some movement to break the stranglehold that the two major political parties have on our government, since the Dem and Rep nominees for prez this time around are not so popular.  Or, perhaps the Republicans and Democrats may remain dominant, but undertake reforms if they perceive that they are each becoming too unpalatable to the U.S. electorate.  If they reform, or if there is any other shake-up on the horizon, votes for candidates from outside the two major parties may very well influence those political shifts.  Especially if you are unhappy with the direction that the nation is headed in, don’t stay home.  Vote.

 

 

How does Scott Walker win Ohio? He won’t.

I hear that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gives really good stump speeches in his quest to win the U.S. Presidency in 2016.  In a very crowded GOP field where a candidate only has to have more than 10% support to be considered one of the serious contenders (really? when 2016 is still 5 months away?), Walker appears to be well positioned for the first GOP caucus contest early next year in Iowa.  So, what if he wins Iowa?  What if he wins nominating contests in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada?  A lot of competitors will have quit after striking out in the first four contests, true.  But will those potential wins provide the bump he needs to win the White House?  I don’t think so.  Though Ohio’s electoral votes seem to decrease with every census, I still do not see how a Republican candidate wins the White House without winning Ohio.  I don’t see how Scott Walker can win Ohio in a general election unless the Democrat nominee makes a mammoth (and I mean huge, huge, huge) blunder.

It is conceivable, however unlikely, that Walker could win a GOP primary in Ohio, especially if the GOP field is still crowded.  But the field won’t be crowded.  With so many candidates at this stage of the race, the double-digit support Walker currently has makes him seem like a Goliath (OK, maybe not compared to Donald Trump or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, but I think you know what I mean).  In my memory, I can never recall a GOP primary ballot in Ohio that listed more than five presidential candidates.  Going from double-digit numbers of candidates down to 5 candidates would mean that Scott Walker would have to climb to at least 20% of the vote to win, and 20% would only win if the other candidates were also deadlocked with 20% of the vote yet each tallying one less vote than Scott Walker’s.  If there were just 2 candidates Ohio’s GOP primary ballot and one of them were Scott Walker, I seriously doubt he could cross the 50% threshold to win.  His best chance to win Ohio’s delegates is for all the other candidates to drop out (and sometimes that happens by the time Ohio votes).

Walker was making national news as governor of Wisconsin at the same time that John Kasich was making national news as governor of Ohio.  True, Kasich made national news as a key member of the Congress that balanced the federal budget in the 1990’s, but, for many voters, that is not recent memory.  Governors Walker and Kasich were in the national spotlight for the same thing: passing legislation to drastically alter the collective bargaining rights of the public-sector labor unions.

To me, showing real leadership in executive office means toughly negotiating a fair contract.  Leadership is needed not only at the state level to get labor contracts that strike the right balance, but also at the local levels of government, too.  Voters don’t always elect good leaders, and that’s on them if they didn’t do their homework prior to voting.  So, if labor contracts exist that are not in the public’s best interest, then the public needs to recruit good leaders and vote them into office.  After the victors take office, they need to remember that taxpayers expect that our government executives negotiate contracts that the public can support.

What Walker and Kasich tried to do was compensate for an overall lack of leadership, at state and local levels, regarding labor contract negotiations.  They tried to use the legislation to overturn negotiated contracts.  This step, in and of itself, is not only wrong (because it breaks promises), but it weakens the executive branch’s negotiating clout down the road.  Negotiating in good faith strengthens one’s clout.  Wiping out contracts with legislation shows that one did not negotiate in good faith.  Now, what does one do to engender trust when negotiating with the unions if the unions think that you’re just going to turn around and lobby the legislature to undercut what you just agreed to?  Walker is insulated from his mistake, for now, because voters in Wisconsin sided with him. Now, he needs to find votes in other states, and, speaking of states, Ohio is not an insignificant one.

I think that the labor unions in Wisconsin mistakenly thought that marketplace principles don’t apply to them, for they must have assumed that they could do a crappy job and get away with it. When I think about how things turned out, I think Walker’s victories must have had more to do with taxpayer discontent with public employee performance than with anything else. The moral to the story for Wisconsin’s public employees is this:  Serve the public well.  Had that been the case, Wisconsin’s public employees might have succeeded like the public-sector labor unions in Ohio did.  Ohio turned out to support its public employees at the ballot box.

In 2011, Ohio voters supported the referendum that killed Senate Bill 5, carrying 83 of Ohio’s 88 counties. In Kasich’s bid for re-election in 2014, he had to assure Ohioans that he had learned his lesson and would not go back down that same path to do an end run around labor contracts via legislation.  Lucky for Kasich, he was opposed by Ed Fitzgerald, an ineffective and disgraceful politician from Cuyahoga County, in the 2014 gubernatorial race.  Media observers outside Ohio should not read too much into Kasich’s 2014 win because they need to take into account just how pitifully weak a candidate Fitzgerald was.  Therefore, Kasich’s ability to win Ohio as a presidential candidate is not a foregone conclusion.

Let’s make something clear:  In turning back SB 5 in all but 5 counties (Delaware, Warren, Holmes, Shelby, and Mercer), it would appear that a number of Ohio Republicans thought that the bad-faith legislative end-run around promises made to public employees was a bad move.  Democrats, alone, didn’t kill that bill.  In a contested GOP primary, assuming Walker is still in the mix, he can only pick up the votes of those who favored the bill, which, as I pointed out, may not provide a winning margin if the number of candidates is dwindling.  I don’t know what Walker’s fundraising acumen is, but I suppose he could find well-heeled donors in Delaware and Warren counties to give the illusion that he has some kind of political support in Ohio, but money doesn’t necessarily add up to votes.  Though there are other planks in Walker’s platform besides union-busting, many of those same planks exist in the platforms of his competitors.  In other words, he is different from the other candidates in that he engaged in union-busting and got away with it.  Except, he really won’t get away with it, because the path to the White House leads through Ohio.  Kasich, for his part, is apologetic (but he still might not carry Ohio).  Walker remains unapologetic.  And this brings us to the general election of 2016 (okay, I said the 2016 general election might not even happen if all hell breaks loose).

Do we need to remind everyone that Ohio is a swing state?  The Democrats GOTV efforts in Ohio during presidential election years have been full-throttle, to say the least.  The Democrats know that no matter how large the magnitude of resources is that’s poured into Ohio, it pays off if they deny the GOP of Ohio’s electors.  So though Ohio looks red in between presidential election years, the Democrats painted Ohio blue in 2008 and 2012.  History shows us that Republicans do not win the White House without Ohio’s electors.  If Scott Walker were the GOP nominee, how does he carry Ohio?  The death of SB 5 would suggest that Walker will definitely not max out the Republican vote.  What does he offer for Democrats that may cause them to think about crossing over?  Nothing.

Walker slashed the unions claiming that it would save the taxpayers some money.  Maybe it just re-allocated where money is spent, for Walker plans to help the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team get a new arena with the help of taxpayer money–from new taxes.  That’s called corporate welfare.  That doesn’t even sell well with the Tea Party.  Meanwhile, as a saving grace, Kasich works wonders with budgets without more taxation.  Conclusion: Walker’s union-busting is a bust in Ohio.  White House access denied.

Kasich, for his part, has a chance, but the Democrat nominee will not be Ed Fitzgerald in November 2016.  I think he knows that.

Press release: Resolution introduced in Ohio House to prohibit using the state constitution to carve out protected monopolies

Editor’s note:  This press release, dated June 16, 2015, announces the introduction of a resolution that should have been part and parcel of Ohio’s constitution from its inception.  One of the weaknesses of the state constitution is that it has been too easy to amend in ways that make little sense.  Though I favor this resolution, hasn’t the damage already been done?  Of course, the damage I am referring to is the legalization of casinos in Ohio.  Had Ohio’s constitution not been allowed to be amended to establish a business monopoly and prevent said monopoly from any future competition, we would not have the current abominable amendment on the books that allowed the establishment of 4 Ohio casinos (Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Cincinnati) all backed by a particular group of casino investors.  To me, Ohio should have had zero casinos (and no state lottery, either).  But if Ohioans demand casinos, then the casinos should not be monopolies and they should not be protected from future competition.  If Ohio must have casinos, then let them be no different than other retail businesses.  If someone wants to be a restaurant owner, no problem.  If someone wants to be a gas station owner, no problem.  If someone wants to be a casino owner in a state where casinos are legal, there should also be no problem.  Unfortunately, this resolution cannot undo what has been done, but at least it can prevent future improprieties of this sort. I hope this is indeed on the November ballot and that Ohioans turn out to support it.–DJW

State Reps. Ryan Smith and Mike Curtin Introduce Resolution Prohibiting Constitutional Monopolies

COLUMBUS—Today, State Representatives Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Mike Curtin (D-Marble Cliff) introduced a resolution that prohibits an initiated constitutional amendment that would grant a monopoly in the state of Ohio from being proposed as law or as a constitutional amendment through the petition process.

House Joint Resolution 4 calls for a constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot for the November 3rd general election of this year that would ensure that monopolies cannot be created through the use of constitutional amendments. This would block any upcoming initiatives that create a monopoly from becoming effective in the Ohio Constitution.

“I believe that, as elected members of this government, we are all called upon to protect our Constitution from being exploited for personal profit,” Rep. Smith said. “In addition, as the current standard-bearers of this state’s democratic process, for us to allow any person or group of people to enshrine in this Constitution a provision that would only serve the financial interests of a highly selective group of wealthy individuals would be a tremendous moral failure and an injustice to every citizen of this great state.”

“This would protect Ohio’s century-old constitutional initiative process from those who would pervert it, who would stand it on its head, who would use it to protect the privileged few rather than to protect the many against the privileged few,” said Curtin. “All we ask is that Ohioans be given the opportunity to vote this November to protect their state constitution—to protect it from those who would carve into it a self-serving, and permanent, monopoly.” 

H.J.R. 4 will receive sponsor testimony today in the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee at 1:30 p.m.

A few county Lincoln Day Dinners in 2014

Looking at search terms that have guided readers to this page in the past 30 days, I can see that some of you are trying to mark dates on your calendar for annually-held Republican Lincoln Day Dinners in Ohio this year.  Unfortunately, Buckeye RINO has not posted such events in a long time, so readers have been disappointed, upon arriving at this website, that the events posted here were held on dates long since passed.  In order to partially satisfy your curiosity on what events are occurring when, I have taken a look around to see what information I could put together.

Thursday, February 13, 2014–Cuyahoga County

  • Guest Speaker: Gov. John Kasich
  • @ the Holiday Inn, 6001 Rockside Rd, Independence OH
  • VIP reception, $750 per person, at 5:30 pm
  • Dinner, $60 per person, at 6:00 pm
  • still seeking event sponsors
  • Contact Julie Kirk (216) 621-5415 or rsvp@cuyahogacountygop.com

Saturday, February 22, 2014–Knox County Lincoln-Reagan Dinner

  • Guest Speaker: Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
  • @ Station Break Senior Citizen Center, 160 Howard St., Mount Vernon OH
  • Social Hour at 6pm
  • Dinner, $45 per person, at 7 pm
  • seeking event sponsors up until Wednesday, February 12th–contact Don Divelbiss (740) 392-3873 or ddivelbiss@hotmail.com
  • contact Cindy Higgs (740) 398-5385 or chiggs@embarqmail.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014–Licking County

  • Guest Speaker: Gov. John Kasich
  • @ Reese Center, COTC/OSU-N Campus, 1179 University Dr, Newark OH
  • Private Pre-reception, $50 per person, at 5:30 pm
  • Dinner, $60 per person, at 6:30 pm
  • RSVP by February 20, Registration card to complete, front and back, then mailed to Licking County Republican Party, PO Box 431, Newark, OH  43058
  • contact Licking County Republican Facebook page,  (740) 345-0500, or LCRepublicanHQ@gmail.com

Friday, February 28, 2014–Clermont County

  • Guest Speaker: U.S. Senator Rob Portman
  • @ Holiday Inn Eastgate, 4501 Eastgate Blvd, Cincinnati OH
  • Social Hour at 6 pm
  • Dinner, $50 per person, at 7 pm
  • For reservations, send check to Clermont County Republican Party, PO Box 740, Batavia, OH  45103

Thursday, March 6, 2014–Wayne County

  • Guest Speaker: Gov. John Kasich
  • @Greenbriar Conference & Party Center, 50 Riffel Rd, Wooster OH
  • “meet and greet” wine and cheese reception, $25 per person, at 5:30 pm
  • dinner, $25 per person, at 6:30 pm
  • Contact Julie Leathers, 118 Kirk Ave. Orrville OH  44667 or purchase tickets online

Monday, March 17, 2014–Trumbull County McKinley Dinner

Wednesday, March 26, 2014–Marion County Harding Day Dinner

  • Guest Speaker: Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor
  • @ All Occasions Banquet Facility, 6989 Waldo-Delaware Rd, Waldo OH
  • Dinner, $25 per person, at 5:30 pm
  • RSVP by March 20 via email: MarionGOPJohn@hotmail.com

RPCC press release: Judge Sara Harper, one of Cleveland’s own, to be honored by the Republican National Committee in DC

Editor’s note:  This event, the 2nd Annual Black Republican Trailblazer Award Luncheon, is to be held today, Feb. 4th, in Washington DC.  I just received this press release yesterday, Feb. 3rd, from Doug Magill, doug@magillmedia.net or (216) 536-1564, of the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County (RPCC).  Despite the lateness of the press release in relation to the timing of the event, I thought this recognition was important enough to announce to as wide an audience as possible.–DJW

Judge Sara Harper to be Honored at the Black Republican
Trailblazer Award Luncheon
 

CLEVELAND – The Republican National Committee (RNC) is pleased to announce that Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame member Judge Sara Harper is to be honored at the 2nd Annual Black Republican Trailblazer Award Luncheon.

Growing up in public housing on Cleveland’s East Side, she was the first black woman to graduate from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.  Judge Harper subsequently became Cleveland city prosecutor under Mayor Carl B. Stokes, and later a Municipal Court Judge as well as President of the Cleveland NAACP. One of the first black women to serve on the Ohio Court of Appeals, she also was the first black woman to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Judge Harper was the first woman to serve on the judiciary of the Marine Corps Reserve, and was a co-founder of the first victims’ rights organization in the country. A staunch believer in childhood education, she founded the Sara J. Harper Children’s Library on Cleveland’s East Side, in the housing project where she grew up.

The theme of this year’s award ceremony is “Honoring Our Past and Building the Future.”  The event will also honor Dr. Louis Sullivan of Georgia, and Michigan businessman William “Bill” Brooks.  Honorees are chosen for their significant contributions to the Party, their communities, and the country.  It will be hosted by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, and will be held on Tuesday, February 4th at the historic Howard Theater in Washington, D.C.

For further information on the event please contact Brian Barnes with the Ohio Republican Party, bbarnes@ohiogop.org.

Press release: Unfairly dealt with when your vehicle was towed? Testify before a committee of the Ohio House regarding HB 382!

Editor’s note:  This press release, dated 1/24/2014, follows on the heels of the press release referenced in my prior post here at Buckeye RINO.  The Ohio House is looking for Ohioans to testify.  I’m unavailable, but I wish I could be there.  Please read the prior post for additional background, including links to the bill’s sponsors.  Additional contact info can be found in the concluding paragraph of this press release. –DJW

Reps. Mike Duffey, Heather Bishoff Encourage Ohioans to Testify on Predatory Towing Bill

Requesting personal experiences and stories about unreasonable towing incidents

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Heather Bishoff (D-Blacklick) are teaming up to take action against predatory tow truck abuse, a bipartisan effort intended to protect Ohio drivers from being victimized by unlawful towing practices.

From unfair charges and payment procedures, to a lack of evidence of illegal parking, predatory towing can cost Ohioans money and time they can’t afford. In a media call with reporters, the representatives discussed the importance of addressing this issue through House Bill 382 as well as the important role that Ohioans will play in the process.

“Essentially what we’re trying to do is modernize the towing structure in Ohio and protect vehicle owners from predatory towing practices,” said Rep. Duffey. “The ‘wild wild West’ of towing should be regulated more thoroughly than it is right now. This is a consumer protections bill. We want to legitimize the hardworking, honest operators and we want to increase penalties and be a little bit more regulatory on the bad actors that are out there. We think that it protects the industry, and it will protect the taxpayers and public safety.”

“We’re excited to be working on this and we think it echoes the sentiments of a lot of different folks in Ohio,” said Rep. Bishoff. “We’re striving, through this piece of legislation, to provide continuity and understanding of the law no matter where you are in Ohio—continuity in the cost of the tow, and better understanding of how much and how you can pay.”

The House Commerce, Labor, and Technology Committee is slated to hear public testimony on House Bill 382 on Wednesday. Reps. Duffey and Bishoff hope that Ohioans will share with the committee members their personal experiences regarding predatory, unlawful towing practices and help make the bill as comprehensive and effective as possible.

Reps. Duffey and Bishoff have continued to reach out to the press and to the public in the hope of spreading awareness about the issue and encouraging interested parties across Ohio to participate in the committee process.

“House Bill 382 has been given sponsor testimony earlier this week, and we are moving into proponent testimony next week, where we hope to have a lot of Ohio citizens coming in and talking about their stories, having been predatorily towed, unfair practices, etc.,” said Rep. Duffey.

House Bill 382 is scheduled for proponent testimony on Wednesday, January 29th at 4 p.m. (or following the conclusion of House session) in Ohio Statehouse hearing room 114. Per committee rules, witnesses are asked to provide electronic or 40 copies of their testimony to Chairman Ron Young’s office by 5 p.m. the day prior to committee. For more information about Wednesday’s committee hearing, please contact Rep. Young’s office at Rep61@ohiohouse.gov or (614) 644-6074.

Press release: HB 382 would grant more consumer protection from predatory tow truck operations

Editor’s note: Two state reps from the Columbus area have introduced HB 382 to curb unethical practices among tow truck companies. For more information about this press release dated 12/12/2013, one may contact the offices of the bill’s sponsors, Democrat Rep. Heather Bishoff at (614) 644-6002 or Republican Rep. Mike Duffey at (614) 644-6030. IMHO, this bill is long overdue. Back in the mid-1990’s, I remember taking a bathroom break while moving furniture into a Columbus-area apartment only to find the vehicle missing from the parking lot when I re-emerged from the apartment. The van was blocking no one in, for it was in a space designated for the tenants of our apartment. I did not have a parking tag for the van, as I was only borrowing it because it was big enough to haul furniture in while my own vehicle was too small for that. I called the property manager’s office to figure out what happened. They gave me the towing facility’s phone number, but no one, to the property manager’s knowledge, had requested the van be towed, let alone complained about the van being parked where it was. Apparently, tow truck companies cooperated with each other to boost revenues. The towing facility I called, “Company A,” was not even the company that was hauling the van. Tow truck companies would patrol parking lots close to each other, whether they were the enforcing tow truck entity designated on the parking facility signs, or not. If Company A found vehicles to tow from its own lots, or from Company B lots, or from Company C lots, it would get the vehicles on the hook and tow them to the facility designated on the sign. In my case, Company B found the van and was hauling it to Company A. It is easy, under this scenario, to see why a tow truck operator would not unhook a vehicle even if caught in the act by a vehicle owner if Company B was grabbing a vehicle from a Company A lot. Company A expects to get paid for anything taken from a Company A lot. Company B expects to get paid for anything hauled by a Company B truck. If Company B were to accept a payment to unhook a vehicle prior to towing it from a Company A lot, then where is the Company A payday? When 2 companies cooperate to boost revenue, they both expect paydays. When we finally picked up the van from Company A, we paid the towing fee that reimbursed Company A for Company B’s payday and we paid the storage fee, which was Company A’s payday. The average consumer would suppose that Company A would only patrol and tow from Company A lots, but this was not the case in the mid-1990’s in the Columbus area. This bill, in calling for a 24-hour “grace period” for supplemental storage fees, would make cooperation between companies less lucrative, for Company A would have only been able to split a payday for hauling with Company B and would not be able to corner its own big storage fee payday. Moving apartments was expensive enough as it was without having to pay overzealous towing companies on top of that. The purpose for the parking policy at the apartment complex was so tenants would not have their allocated spaces taken by someone else. I was only using the space allocated to me. As unfair as it all was, I had no other recourse but to pay Company A whatever they demanded. I can only hope HB 382 moves quickly toward passage into law. –DJW

House Bill Introduced to End Predatory Towing Abuse in Ohio

Columbus, Ohio – State Representatives Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Heather Bishoff (D-Blacklick) yesterday introduced legislation to boost Ohioans’ protections against predatory tow truck abuse.

“For decades, vehicle owners in Ohio, especially college students, have been victimized by predatory towing practices such as bogus charges, no evidence of improper parking, unfair payment practices, and outright lies about Ohio’s existing right to stop tows already in progress,” said Duffey. “Now is the time to pass legislation to establish consumer protections for Ohio vehicle owners against predatory towing.”

Features of HB 382 include:

· Making explicitly illegal any and all bogus “administrative” charges or other fees not explicitly authorized in the Ohio Revised Code;

· Requiring signage at tow-away zones to clearly explain what qualifies as an “authorized vehicle”, including the purpose and hours for which vehicles may park;

· Providing a 24-hour “grace period” for supplemental storage fees, also known as overnight fees;

· Requiring that towed vehicles travel no further than 15 miles if possible or 25 miles maximum;

· Requiring tow trucks to accept major credit cards for payment, both onsite at the towing spot if caught in progress and at the storage facility once the tow has been completed;

· Prior to towing, a tow truck service must take at least one photograph of the vehicle showing it is parked illegally, and shall record the time and date of the photograph;

· “Stop, Drop and Pay Half” – Requiring the tow truck operator to actively notify the vehicle owner of their existing legal right to pay half of the normal tow charge for release if caught in progress;

· Tow trucks will be required to display business phone numbers on both sides of their trucks

· The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) will be provided rule-making authority to aid in the enforcement and implementation of the provisions in this bill.

“Great tow truck operators exist in Ohio, but they cannot compete with the unfair practices of predatory companies,” said Bishoff. “It is time to ensure Ohioans receive fair treatment as vehicle owners and to ensure that good operators are not put at a disadvantage compared to those who operate illegally.”

HB 382 will now be referred to a standing House committee for further consideration.