Don’t mind us, we’re just testing out a potential new feature. A lot of the stories we write here require intensive research and reporting, and often long waits for responses to requests for public records. It’s time-consuming, which is why we do relatively infrequent posting. Oh, that and the fact we all have day jobs. (Are you a wealthy progressive donor ready to help us build capacity? Inquire here!)

So today, we bring you a quick review of what we’re reading this morning.

Columbus Dispatch: Ohio outlaws texting while driving

Our take? It’s an ineffective and symbolic gesture that doesn’t do a lot except, hopefully, get kids to put the phones down and drive.

Under the law, which takes effect in 90 days, adults cannot be stopped for texting while driving. As a secondary offense, it can only be tacked on if you are stopped for another infraction. Kids under 18, however, can be stopped for obvious hands-on phone use while driving.

Calling it a “texting” ban is a misnomer. It prohibits text-based application on mobile devices. So tweeting while driving will now be illegal in Ohio.It says nothing, however, about touchscreen apps that don’t involve text entry. Presumably I’m free to now play Draw Something or take pictures with my built-in camera while behind the wheel.

It also exempts dialing and using a mobile device as a GPS. I know if I’m ever approached by an officer, I’m immediately opening up Google Maps so demonstrate that I was using my phone as a navigational device.

I’m not advocating stupid driving, But I’m against stupid legislating. The police didn’t ask for this tool. They testified that there are already distracted driving offenses on the books and they have no way to tell if you were texting anyway. This is just lawmakers doing something symbolic. Hopefully making it a primary offense for teenagers will scare them enough to put down the phones. But let’s not too big of a deal of what the law actually does.

Columbus Dispatch: ‘Racino’ opens to crowds, glitches

Scioto Downs, the first of the state’s new racetrack casinos, under an expansion of the Lottery’s authority, opened its door to slots-loving patrons yesterday. Unfortunately, the back end system the state created to monitor and control the lottery terminals failed miserably, causing hundreds of machines to shut down for hours at a time.

The Lottery, you’ll recall, awarded the task of building the back end system for racinos in an unbid contract to a company whose lobbyists close to Governor Kasich. At the time, we surmised what would happen:

No bid-contracts result in inflated prices and sometime subpar performance, especially when it’s to incredibly politically well-connected companies who keep the Governor’s friends on their payroll.

So that worked out well.

What are you reading this morning? Share links in the comments.

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