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  1. #1
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    pseudolus's Avatar
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    Legislation to ban Internet cafes moves to Senate floor

    Legislation to ban Internet cafes moves to Senate floor



    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio lawmakers are poised to put an end to the state's internet cafes.
    After hearing sometimes tearful testimony from owners and employees of Internet cafes, members of the Senate State Government Oversight and Reform Committee voted Tuesday in favor of legislation that would ban the businesses. Four of the committee's 11 members voted against House Bill 7 -- not enough to keep it from moving to the Senate floor Wednesday for a vote.
    The contentious legislation, which moved through committee without amendments, could end up on the governor's desk this week.
    "At the end of the day, the conclusion was the bill that we were given best answered the question that was before us," said Sen. Dave Burke, the committee's chairman. "Adding other things to it or taking it and changing it would not have added value to the bill that we had.
    Burke said due process will decide if banning Internet cafes is the right move.
    The businesses have been scrutinized for what investigators call illegal activity, including money laundering. Internet cafes operate by selling Internet time or phone cards, and in return offer free chances to win cash on computer games that resemble slot machines.
    Opponents of HB 7 say the businesses provide a strictly legal and valuable service.
    "The customers that come into our cafes are older and come into the cafe not just to take part in the sweepstakes, but also to have social time with their friends," said Tammy Mathia, an Alliance Internet cafe owner. "We have never had any illegal activity in our stores, ever. If we even hear customers use curse words, we ask them to leave."
    More than 6,000 Ohio jobs would be lost if HB 7 passes, Mathia said.
    The state has an estimated 800 Internet cafes.
    Michael Nelson, a Cleveland-area lawyer who represents multiple Internet cafe owners, said he is hoping legislators will change their mind Wednesday on the Senate floor, but he isn't counting on it.
    "I'm disappointed in the decision to ban instead of regulate," Nelson said. "I would hope that small businesses in Ohio would be protected. Cafe owners have been maligned unfairly."
    A voter-led drive for referendum could keep Internet cafes open. Such an initiative could stall HB 7 from taking effect until fall 2014.
    "I think there are various directions that this could go. Of course we still have it going to the Senate floor and the governor's office," Burke said. "There's a judicial process that could play out. There's ballot initiatives that could play out. None of which, by the way, I think are negative. This is a very complicated issue."
    While state senators pushed forward HB 7, members of the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee unanimously voted in favor of extending an existing moratorium on Internet cafes. Senate Bill 115, which will move Wednesday to the House floor, includes an emergency clause that will bypass the traditional 90-day period between when the governor signs legislation and when it takes effect. The clause will throttle the expansion of Internet cafes in the state while the fate of HB 7 is decided.
    The current moratorium on Internet cafes would expire June 30. SB 115 would ban new Internet cafes for another year.
    Originally Posted by bsnub "No wonder I drive a tesla"

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat

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    Land of the free my arse

  3. #3
    Lord of Swine
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    America would be the most wired country on earth.
    I can hardly see local people popping into an Internet cafe to check their mail and surf the web when every public library has free net access.
    They seem to be a sort of unregulated lottery/gambling venue calling itself an Internet cafe.

    So no need to worry pseudo, no dastardly plan to cutoff people's access to information here.

    Hers a pic.

    Last edited by Necron99; 29-05-2013 at 12:38 PM.

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