Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Sept. 12
While all eyes are focused on a proposal to strip Syria of its chemical weapons, that war-battered nation remains the site of one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world.
Millions of Syrian refugees have fled the civil war yet the world has been slow to help the United Nations pay for food, shelter, medical care and other necessities. The world can do better.
The United States has been the single largest donor, giving more than $1 billion since 2012, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
But the United States shouldn't be the only country doing its part to help Syrian refugees weather the storm of civil war.
At stake are the lives and well-being of two million Syrians, half of them children under 17, who are stranded in refugee camps or hunkered down in private homes in nations such as Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq that are overwhelmed by the numbers and can barely care for them, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.
Another 5 million are displaced within Syria. ...
Guterres calculates he needs $5 billion total for the rest of 2013 to help Syrian refugees, $3 billion of it just for immediate needs, yet just 40 percent has been paid.
The United States, despite its past generosity, needs to ante more.
Even more important, people in the rest of the world, including businesses and individuals — the United Nations says it is too big a challenge just for governments — have to open their wallets.
Of course, a peaceful, political settlement is the ultimate solution to Syria's slow disintegration. ...
The (Findlay) Courier, Sept. 12
Computer technology can easily infringe on privacy when misused. That's why rules and policy regarding government databases only accessible by police need to be regularly reviewed and updated.
It took a misstep to get there, but such a review appears to be happening now with an advisory group assembled by Attorney General Mike DeWine to make sure safeguards are in place for the latest police tool, facial-recognition software.
The technology allows law enforcement to compare photographs of suspects or unidentified victims to a database of existing photos that include criminal mugshots, state identification photos and Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles photos. ...
The group had been tasked with examining facial recognition software, but DeWine broadened the scope of the review recently to include the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, the state's primary law enforcement database. The facial recognition tool is part of the gateway database. ...
There is no question that police need access to the latest tools against crime. The facial-recognition system will undoubtedly help solve crimes, and make communities safer.
But the use of such tools should come with rules that are as up to date as the technology that drives them.
Warren Tribune Chronicle, Sept. 16
A proposed balanced-budget law for municipalities in Ohio sounds like a good idea that if already in place may have prevented current problems facing Warren, Niles and Girard. ...
State Rep. Louis Terhar and State Auditor Dave Yost outlined the proposal during a news conference recently. Their idea is to force counties, cities and villages to spend based on their actual revenue rather than their projections, as is currently the practice.
The proposal, called the Financial Responsibility in Government Act, would also encourage rainy day funds and cap un-bonded debt. ...
The proposed law forces elected officials in the communities to fix the shortfalls as they occur.
One issue that should be addressed in the proposal is how much money can be accumulated in enterprise funds, how large a general fund balance should be permitted and what restrictions should be placed on using carryovers to balance budgets. ...
The proposed law calls for freezing state funds when communities overspend and releasing them when they get their budgets back on track. Addressing budget problems quickly with small adjustments should help prevent radical cuts later, such as the mass safety forces layoffs in Warren.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Sept. 15
In an era of partisan gridlock, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Terrace Park) deserves credit for bringing long-overdue, bipartisan energy legislation to the Senate floor.
The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC), co-sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), would strengthen building codes, promote industrial efficiency and require energy strategies for federal agencies that would save energy and money. It's the first big piece of energy legislation to make it this far since 2007.
There is broad support for the bill, ranging from corporations to faith-based organizations to environmental groups. One opponent, the Heritage Foundation, argues that energy savings should be based on market forces, not legislation.
But the past has proven that sometimes the market needs a nudge. This bill could provide it.