UPDATE: 09/29/2010 AT 11:45 AM
REPRESENTATIVE SNITCHLER REACTS! ------------------------------------------
The more I've thought about this baseless accusation that I somehow condone or weakened laws allowing sex offenders to drive buses the more I've looked at prior law and what HB 19 did.
In short, before HB 19 passed, sex offenders, criminals and were prevented from being employed AT ALL as school bus drivers. The gutter type attack used by Mr. Bosley and House Democrats fails to mention that HB 19 actually weakened the law and allows rehabilitated offenders to serve as bus drivers (e.g. someone convicted of assault more than 5 years prior).
A no vote on HB 19 in no way permits a sex offender to be a school bus driver. In fact NOT changing the law would have continued to bar such individuals from ever being employed as school bus drivers.
Further, if you look, I introduced HB 257 to protect students from sexual predators who are teachers, administrators, coaches, etc. that would enhance the penalties for such offenses. These same Democrats who say I favor easing restrictions on sex offenders - a lie - wouldn't even hear my bill. I think perhaps THAT fact doesn't square with the disgusting campaign they are running trying to smear me with political spin run a muck.
So while dishonest campaigning seems to be the theme used by Mr. Bosley and his supporters in the House, the facts are stubborn things and when fully exposed.
Just thought you would like to have the facts.
As ugly as the Ohio Democratic Party's "the rat flyer" was in the party's attack on Ohio House (50th - Stark County) Representative Todd Snitchler (Republican - Lake) was, things got even uglier at the editorial board meeting on Monday at The Repository.
The Report is told that as the endorsement interview session was ending with Democrat Commissioner Todd Bosley making his closing statement, he injected in his closing statement an accusation that Snitchler was "apparently" in favor of teenage dating violence and allowing school bus drivers with criminal records (i.e. sexual predator-esque) drive Ohio' children to and from school as evidenced by his vote for House Bill 19, the essence of which is included in today's SCPR graphic which heads up this blog.
According to Bosley, his charge caused Editor Gayle Beck to do doubletake and backtrack to give Representative Snitchler an opportunity to defend his vote.
The core of Snitchler's defense (as told to The Report) by Snitchler himself, who voted "no" three times on varying versions of the bill, is that the bill does not effectively deal with the teenage dating violence problem in that it only provides for 20 minutes of education on the topic once a year.
Representative Snitchler also told The Report that he gets besieged by area teachers about the add-ons to their classroom responsibilities (such as educating against teenage dating violence) that are not adequately dealt with by the State of Ohio with additional paid time and curriculum space to fit them in. He says that the requirement is just another in a long line of State of Ohio imposed unfunded mandates.
Here is an analysis of legislation by the Ohio General Assembly's Legislative Service Commission (a politically independent part of the the OGA), that while not detailing the cost of the bill to local school districts, certainly indicates costs.
Snitchler says (who could believe otherwise?) that he is absolutely opposed to teenage dating violence and having school bus drivers with criminal records as sexual predators among a whole list of prohibited criminal background factors.
Apparently, before House Bill 19 was amended - late in the legislative game (the bill passed on December 27, 2009) - to include the specific prohibitions of a person being an Ohio school bus driver who had a criminal record including such crimes as murder, rape, robbery, burglary, sexual imposition, kidnapping, assault, prostitution and the like. Why? A loophole existed in the law that whereas most school employed personnel similarly endowed with a criminal record were shut out from public and charter school employment whereas school bus drivers were not.
It is quite unbelievable that Ohio's parents could have "criminally endowed" school bus drivers transporting their kids to school, but for House Bill 19, no?
So the SCPR's question to Snitchler was, in effect: wasn't closing the loophole allowing school bus drivers with heinous criminal enough for you to vote for an otherwise objectional piece of legislation.
Answer: it was not.
Snitchler went on to explain to The Report. He seems to be relying on 50th District voters realizing that Bosley has sunk to gutter politics with his HB 19 attack and that obviously he (Snitchler) opposes both teenage dating violence and buses drivers with criminal records, as described in the legislation, driving Ohio's school children to and from school.
Another reason why the SCPR believes Snitchler could vote no on HB 19 (undoubtedly "a politically incorrect" action that Bosley is trying to capitalize upon) in light of the emotionally charged school bus driver vetting issue is a "as a matter of faith" reliance on school district officials to vet (via criminal background investigations) all school employees whether or not compelled by state level legislation. After all, they want to save their own skins, don' t they?
The SCPR is told by a Democratic House Caucus official that no school officials showed up at House and Senate Education Committee hearings to object to the passage of the law. In fact, the official says that a Buckeye Association of School Administrators leader testified in favor of passage of the bill.
Obviously, the Democratic official is trying to throw water on Snitchler's contention that local school districts will be financially and workload- burned by the pass of the statute.
The Bosley campaign has followed up his editorial board presentation with a flyer (see it immediately below this paragraph) and a congruent TV spot playing on Cleveland television stations.
For his part, Bosley says that he has an obligation to inform voters that Snitchler is not properly protecting Ohio's school children.
The SCPR's take on all of this?
First, such is the state of American politics this day and age. Look for Snitchler to come out with a tit-for-tat flyer before the campaign is over.
Second, here you have a guy (Todd Snitchler) who some say is an idealogue (for example, in this instance: "State government should not be imposing mandates on local government and I will be fighting mandates to the hilt" ) who is matched up with a guy (Todd Bosley) who will stand up for what he believes in - to a point.
Bosley voted (December, 2008) to impose a sales tax on Stark Countians in order to fix the broken Stark County 9-1-1 system which has long been near and dear to him as a matter of principle: saving the lives of Stark Countians in extremis.
However, he and his allies (Jane Vignos and Tom Harmon) slipped in a very pragmatic thing: a portion of the tax was designated towards generating revenue for the Stark County general fund. A very practical thing to do, if you have to govern.
In the opinion of The Report, had Bosley been the person who had to vote on HB 19; he would have supported the bill even if he had reservations about the additional burden on local education because closing the school bus driver loophole would have triumphed as being the common sense thing to do.
Yes, maybe the multiple topics do not go together (a violation of the Ohio Constitution requiring "single subject" legislation - as pointed out to The Report of Snitchler), but multiple subjects were the reality before the Legislature in HB 19. Presumably, had the issues been separates, he would have voted no on the date violence bill while supporting the tightening up on the qualities of school bus drivers.
The SCPR sees Snitchler as more tenaciously holding onto what he believes in than Bosley.
Again, that is not to say that Bosley is without political principle.
Because Bosley believed so much in fixing Stark's broken 9-1-1 system, he put himself in the position of being highly vulnerable to being defeated in a quest to get another term as commissioner. Stark Countians voted 2 to 1 against retaining the tax in November, 2009.
If he defeats Snitchler in November, it will be an amazing political feat. Of course, very few expected him to best the then incumbent Republican commissioner Richard Regula (son of the former congressman Ralph Regula) in November, 2006.
It could be that Snitchler's vote on House Bill 19 will be a game changer in the 50th House District race.
The Report believes that independent voters (probably the deciding factor in the race) may have a hard time with Snitchler's stand on "the state interference in local education" principle as something they can abide as trumping the safety of their children going to and fro on a school bus.
Even though local school officials - as an operational reality - may work hard to keep bad actors out of driving school buses, the prohibition of certain offenders needs to be in codified law, the SCPR believes most voters would say.
On the other hand, in running ads like this one, Bosley runs the risk of incurring voter wrath for negative campaigning.
The stakes are high in this race. It could be the determiner of who controls the Ohio House of Representatives.
In the final analysis, the SCPR believes that there is more hardball politics to come in this political confrontation.
Buckle up your seat belts everybody!