Friday, June 23, 2000

Ohio curbs access to children's files

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Gov. Bob Taft on Thursday signed into law 13 bills the Legislature passed in the final days before adjourning for the summer, including a bill that would prohibit public access to records kept on children by community recreation centers.

        The bill was drafted in response to a request for information about children participating in summer programs at Columbus swimming pools.

        The bill's sponsor, Rep. David Goodman, R-Bexley, said allowing the public to obtain such information would set a dangerous precedent and could make children vulnerable to child predators.

        In November 1996, Cornell McCleary, a Columbus radio talk show host, asked Columbus for a copy of its database of children in summer swimming programs. The Ohio Supreme Court in April unanimously ruled against Mr. McCleary.

        Mr. McCleary said he had wanted to recruit youths for an urban scouting program.

        Mr. Taft also signed bills that will:

        ăProvide additional funding for the nine Ohio counties without emergency 911 service. Those counties are Carroll, Col umbiana, Harrison, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Vinton and Washington.

        ăGive store owners a defense in the sale of cigarettes or liquor to underage buyers if the buyer shows a driver's license or other identification that appears to be valid.

        ăChange Ohio's uninsured motorists law to specify that policyholders cannot collect for losses from the injury or death of a driver not specifically covered by the policy.

        All the bills become law in 90 days.


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