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Week in Review April 1, 2024


Ohio statehouse government affairs week in review January 2023


This report reflects the latest happenings in government relations, in and around the Ohio statehouse. You’ll notice that it’s broad in nature and on an array of topics, from A-Z. This will be updated on a weekly basis.

Please feel free to share it with anyone else you believe may find it of interest, as well. Also, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions, concerns or if we can be of any assistance.



ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE


The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) cleared all rules on its Monday agenda, including the addition of rule 3701-3-16 to the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) that will require emergency departments to report non-fatal overdoses to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The new rule will give state officials a more accurate and current view of non-fatal overdoses in the state. It will also improve ODH's ability to identify trends like repeat overdoses and could allow for faster identification of populations or geographic areas disproportionately affected by non-fatal overdoses.


Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that the state has distributed one million fentanyl test strips in an initiative to combat the opioid crisis. According to his release, "The strips serve as crucial tools in harm reduction efforts, allowing users to test substances for the presence of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that has been increasingly found laced in various street drugs, contributing significantly to overdose fatalities." Unintentional drug overdose fatalities among Ohio residents decreased by 5 percent in 2022, totaling 4,915 deaths, while nationwide there was a marginal 1 percent rise in overdose deaths during the same period. Fentanyl was involved in 81 percent of those deaths, often in combination with other drugs, DeWine's office explained.


"We're not going to think of the Legislature as getting rid of remedies unless they're very clear in saying so." Lake and Trumbull counties' comment came during Tuesday's oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court. They say the state's watershed opioid case -- an offshoot of National Prescription Opiate Litigation -- cannot rest on the claim state lawmakers or courts would upend centuries of common law to prevent governments from "abating" pharmacies' dispensing practices. CVS, Walgreen, Walmart and Purdue Pharma counter that the counties' $651 million public nuisance award is precisely the sort of "end run" around the Ohio Product Liability Act's (OPLA) ban on cash damages that the General Assembly moved to halt in 2007.


The Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) says irregular traffic maneuvers alerted troopers to an out-of-state moving truck Friday that ultimately yielded 110 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $1.75 million.


AGRICULTURE


More than 1.8 million acres are now enrolled in water quality initiative H2Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) announced Thursday. The results of the most recent sign-up period show a 32 percent increase in enrolled acres when compared to previous sign-ups, the governor's office said.


APPALACHIA


More than $64 million will be awarded to the Appalachian Children Coalition to fund dozens of projects that are expected to significantly improve health care access across the region, Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Friday. The funding -- which was provided as part of the new Appalachian Children's Health Initiative and which was approved Monday by the Controlling Board -- will support the creation or expansion of community- and school-based health clinics and the launch of health care-focused workforce development programs, among other items, the governor's office said. Funding for the Appalachian Children's Health Initiative is being awarded through the larger Appalachian Community Grant Program, which is investing $500 million into Ohio's 32-county Appalachian region.


ARTS, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT


The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) Board announced the approval of 122 grants totaling $343,922. The funding will support Ohio artists, arts/cultural organizations, students, educators and public arts programming, according to a news release from the agency.

The Ohio State University (OSU) spring football game will be televised nationally on FOX, the university announced Tuesday. The game is scheduled for Saturday, April 13 at noon in Ohio Stadium.


ATTORNEY GENERAL


Austin Master Services should be ordered to stop storing illegal excess quantities of brine and drilling waste at its facility in Martins Ferry, Attorney General Dave Yost's office said in a court filing. As part of a complaint filed in Belmont County Common Pleas Court, Yost requested a temporary restraining order against the Pennsylvania-based oil and gas waste services company.


Yost said registration is now open for the 23rd annual Emerging Trends in Fraud Investigation & Prevention Conference set for Monday-Tuesday, May 6-7. The attorney general, Ohio Auditor's Office, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and Institute of Internal Auditors are partnering on the conference. The registration portal and additional conference information, including the two-day agenda, can be found at tinyurl.com/km8ws7tk.


One of the co-owners of a shuttered robocall business is facing contempt charges for defying a court order prohibiting him from placing or facilitating robocalls, the attorney general announced Thursday. Yost and seven other attorneys general are asking a federal judge in Texas to find John Spiller in contempt and impose the strictest penalty possible -- a complete ban from the telecommunications industry. Spiller co-owned Rising Eagle Capital Group and several other business entities in Texas that provided dialer and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to telemarketers. Despite knowing the illegal nature of the robocalls, Spiller and his companies were responsible for facilitating billions of deceptive robocalls, according to Yost's office.


Attorney General Dave Yost is rebranding his office's Law Enforcement Conference as the Law Enforcement Training Symposium (LETS) and refreshing annual awards with several changes. The conference will take place Sunday, Sept. 29 - Tuesday, Oct. 1 at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in Sandusky, where the AG will present Distinguished Law Enforcement Awards.


BALLOT ISSUES


Having had their proposed summary language rejected by Attorney General Dave Yost eight times, backers of a proposed constitutional amendment that would end qualified immunity for police officers and other government employees have gone to the Ohio Supreme Court, the second ballot group to take the attorney general to court over his rejections. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed this week include Cynthia Brown, Carlos Buford and Jenny Sue Rowe, who the lawsuit says are supporters of the proposed amendment who intend to vote and organize in its favor. Yost, in his official capacity, is the named defendant. Yost had rejected the proposal, which would repeal constitutional immunities and defenses in cases alleging a civil rights violation by government actors, for the eighth time earlier this month, saying that his office had "identified omissions and misstatements that would mislead a potential signer as to the actual scope and effect of the proposed amendment." Yost also wrote that the petitioners had submitted a summary that had repeated the misstatements and/or omissions that he had identified in previous rejections. Then on Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court denied a motion by backers that would have expedited their lawsuit.


CITIES


Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb conceded that many of the problems that his city faces have built up over generations before outlining steps he's taken to tackle some of those challenges during Thursday's "State of the City" address presented by the City Club of Cleveland. Bibb pointed to steps that Cleveland City Hall has taken to modernize and digitize some public services, including payment processes for vendors, a rebuilt city website that Bibb described as mobile-friendly and "built with residents in mind" and digitizing the procurement process of documents like birth and death certificates. Bibb also discussed improvements to the city's parking infrastructure and the human resources (HR) policies for maternity and vacation leave for city employees as problems his administration has been able to solve during his first two years in office.


CORONAVIRUS


Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff told reporters Thursday COVID vaccination remains "an important consideration" and noted the CDC recommended adults age 65 and older receive an additional dose of the updated vaccine released in September 2023. Gov. Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine received their latest dose of that vaccine on Wednesday along with the diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccine.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) released its usual weekly data on COVID-19 trends. Specific numbers included the following, compared to Feb. 29 data:


  •  2,291 cases, compared to 5,665.

  •  96 hospitalizations, compared to 270.

  • Three ICU admissions, compared to 12.

  • 37 deaths, compared to 35.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 3.74 million total cases, 150,963 hospitalizations, 15,782 ICU admissions and 43,859 deaths reported by ODH. Other ODH data showed at least 1.33 million people have received the updated vaccine released in September, with the note that data is now being voluntarily reported to ODH. That includes a weekly increase of 5,000 and represents 11.37 percent of the state population.


CRIME AND PUNISHMENT


Former House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) -- who is already serving a 20-year prison sentence after being convicted of federal racketeering charges -- has been indicted on 10 state felony charges, Attorney General Dave Yost announced Monday. The state grand jury indictment, filed Monday in Cuyahoga County, accuses Householder of the following 10 felony charges:


  • One count of theft in office (F1)

  • Two counts of aggravated theft (F2)

  • One count of telecommunications fraud (F2)

  • One count of money laundering (F3)

  • Five counts of tampering with records (F3)

DISASTERS


Honda is donating $350,000 to the United Way and American Red Cross to aid community relief efforts in areas affected by the March 14 tornadoes in Ohio, the automobile company announced this week. The company is donating $250,000 to the United Way of Logan County and $100,000 to the American Red Cross, Honda said.


ECONOMY


The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced Friday that Ohio's unemployment rate was 3.7 percent for February, unchanged from January, as the state added 2,900 jobs. OJDFS said Ohio's nonagricultural wage and salary employment went from a revised 5,629,800 in January to 5,632,700 in February. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in February was 214,000, up from 212,000 in January. The number of unemployed has increased by 3,000 in the past 12 months from 211,000. The February unemployment rate for Ohio in both 2023 and 2024 was 3.7 percent. In February 2024, the labor force participation rate in Ohio was 61.8 percent, unchanged from 61.8 percent in January 2024 and up from 61.7 percent in February 2023. During the same period, the national labor force participation rate was 62.5 percent, unchanged from 62.5 percent in both January 2024 and February 2023. The U.S. unemployment rate for February 2024 was 3.9 percent, up from 3.7 percent in January 2024 and up from 3.6 percent in February 2023.


EDUCATION


State Board of Education (SBOE) elected member John Hagan was named chair of the new Dropout Prevention and Recovery Advisory Committee during the group's inaugural meeting on Tuesday. Hagan, a former state lawmaker, previously led the State Board of Education's workgroup on dropout prevention and recovery (DOPR) schools. The new committee was included in the biennial budget, HB33 (Edwards), which incorporated language from SB79 (Reynolds) that called for establishment of the panel. It is the latest in a series of advisory and study groups that have looked at ways to fund and measure the performance of DOPR schools. The SBOE and the General Assembly separately have established councils to study the area in recent years.


ELECTIONS 2024


The Pickaway County Board of Elections said this weekend that there is a discrepancy in its unofficial election results, but it does not change the unofficial outcome of any contests. The board posted on its website that the discrepancy added more mail absentee vote totals than were cast for all candidates. It will change the totals of all races when the official election results are certified. The board said that the discrepancy was caused after a USB drive containing "test data" used during the pre-election logic and accuracy testing process was inserted into the ballot tabulation computer so it could be cleared for use later on election night. The test data was imported by the tabulation program before the drive was cleared, with the additional votes reflected in the results that were generated at 7:58 p.m. on election night.


Robert Kennedy Jr. on Tuesday announced Nicole Shanahan, an attorney, tech entrepreneur and philanthropist, as his running mate for his independent bid for president. The announcement was made in Oakland, CA. Kennedy said he "wanted a VP who will speak for millennials and Gen Z. Someone who cares about healing our children, protecting our environment, restoring our soils, and getting the chemicals out of our food, and who understands how technology will either enslave us or give us a path back to freedom and prosperity." The 38-year-old Shanahan has never held elected office. She said there is "one moment in time and one candidate that I would step into this capacity for. That time is now and that candidate is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr."


The following endorsements were made over the week:

  • Americans for Prosperity Action endorsed Bernie Moreno for U.S. Senate and Derek Merrin and Kevin Coughlin for the U.S. House of Representatives.

ENERGY/UTILITIES


The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has handed commercial and industrial customers of American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio and FirstEnergy an apparent victory over 3.4 million residential consumers by shifting the cost of federal transmission charges to household ratepayers represented by the Office of Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC), according to the regulatory watchdog. Commissioners recently ruled in two cases involving AEP and FirstEnergy's customer billing for "non-market-based transmission costs" ordered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and assessed by the 13-state regional transmission organization (RTO) encompassing Ohio, PJM Interconnection, which include controversial "supplemental" transmission charges under review at the FERC and Ohio General Assembly. The transmission report commissioned by 134-HB128 (Hoops-Stein) states that, while initially deferring to FERC and PJM investigations, it is ultimately the Legislature's job to determine state policy for all electric transmission charges.


FEDERAL


The federal government once again narrowly avoided a shutdown after Congress and President Joe Biden approved a continuing appropriations bill over the weekend. The bill passed 74-24 in the U.S. Senate and 286-134 in the U.S. House. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) voted in favor of the bill, while U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) voted against it. Most of Ohio's congressional delegation supported the spending bill, with U.S. Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus), Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights), Mike Carey (R-Columbus), Dave Joyce (R-Novelty), Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), Greg Landsman (D-Cincinnati), Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green), Max Miller (R-Rocky River), Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), Mike Turner (R-Centerville) and Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati) voting for it. U.S. Reps. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville), Warren Davidson (R-Troy) and Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) voted against it.


GAMING/GAMBLING


Seven of the largest mobile sportsbooks in the U.S. are launching a new responsible gambling organization. The Responsible Online Gaming Association (ROGA) will promote a new industry-wide best practices charter overseen by one of the most prominent experts in the field of responsible gambling, ROGA said. Jennifer Shatley, who has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, will serve as ROGA's executive director.


HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES


Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff told reporters Thursday that respiratory viruses are trending down, though flu activity remains at a high level after previously being classified as "very high" by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He said this was in line with typical changes for spring, and that there have been dramatic decreases in COVID-19 and RSV cases in recent weeks. People with the flu should avoid being around others until 24 hours after they are fever free and see other symptoms improving.


Vanderhoff also discussed a new ODH dashboard which summarizes data on infectious diseases, saying it "greatly" increases information available to the public regarding over 100 diseases or illnesses such as measles, legionellosis and Lyme disease. The dashboard is interactive and can be filtered by county, time frame and demographics such as age or ethnicity. It extends back to 2001 and will be updated weekly. This replaces an annual report on diseases that had not been available until 18 months after the end of the year. COVID-19 and the flu are not included, as they have dedicated ODH dashboards. The dashboard is available at https://tinyurl.com/2cs6vf67. Click on the "Visualize" tab once on the page.


HIGHER EDUCATION


The presidents of the University of Findlay and Bluffton University announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) declaring their intention to pursue a merger of operations. Findlay and Bluffton would become one higher education community on two campuses. The decision was made by votes of each institution's board of trustees. It was announced during a recent press conference on the University of Findlay's campus. Pending all regulatory approvals, the merger is anticipated to be completed by Fall 2025.

Butler Tech and Miami University -- in collaboration with the Butler County Board of Commissioners and the city of Hamilton -- announced plans to establish a new advanced manufacturing hub in Butler County. Miami plans to acquire the Vora Technology Park to house the new hub. Butler Tech, which will sign a 40-year lease on the space, has secured $8 million in federal ARPA funds from the Butler County Board of Commissioners to establish the hub. Additionally, the city of Hamilton has contributed $2.5 million for this effort. Hub partners continue to seek additional federal, state, and corporate grants to finance this ongoing project.


The Biden administration announced the approval of $5.8 billion in additional student loan debt forgiveness for 77,700 borrowers after fixes made by the administration to Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). The debt relief includes borrowers who have benefitted from the limited PSLF waiver as well as regulatory changes. Total forgiveness through PSLF now stands at $62.5 billion for 871,000 borrowers since October 2021. Prior to the fixes to the PSLF program, only about 7,000 borrowers had ever received forgiveness, according to Biden administration. An additional nearly 380,000 borrowers who are within two years, or 24 qualifying payments, of receiving forgiveness under PSLF will also receive an email from President Joe Biden starting this week thanking them for their service and notifying them that if they continue in their public service work, they will be eligible for forgiveness within that time frame. In Ohio, 38,310 borrowers so far have received forgiveness under the PSLF.


JUDICIAL


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Ohio and the Goodwin law firm have filed a lawsuit in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas challenging HB68 (Click), which bans gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of two families whose children are at risk of losing their health care, asks the court to strike down HB68 before its scheduled effective date on Wednesday, April 24. According to the lawsuit, HB68 violates four sections of the Ohio Constitution, including the single-subject rule, the health care provision, the equal protection clause, and the due course of law provision.


In a unanimous opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court set rules for when a public official can be sued for blocking people or deleting comments on social media. "A public official's social media activity constitutes state action under Section 1983 only if the official (1) possessed actual authority to speak on the state's behalf and (2) purported to exercise that authority when he spoke on social media," Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote for the Court in Lindke v. Freed.


Attorneys for a Union County property owner and Marysville Schools debated statutory construction at length this week in arguments before Ohio Supreme Court justices about just when schools lost appeal rights in property valuation disputes. The Supreme Court's Tuesday oral argument session included Marysville Exempted Village Schools Board of Education v. Union County Board of Revision et al, which addresses the timing of restrictions on local governments' participation in property valuation disputes enacted in 134-HB126 (Merrin). Owners of The Residence at Cooks Pointe are challenging a Third District Court of Appeals ruling that a prohibition on appeals of board of revision decisions only applies to complaints filed after the law took effect in summer of 2022. Justices have accepted other cases on the same subject but held those matters for the outcome of Marysville. Steven Smiseck, the attorney for Cooks Pointe arguing before justices Tuesday, said 200-plus property owners are awaiting a resolution in the case.


A month after asking the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) and three nursing home trade groups to work out their differences in mediation, the Ohio Supreme Court recently decided to restore the rate dispute to its regular docket. LeadingAge Ohio, the Ohio Health Care Association and the Academy of Senior Health Services sued ODM in February, alleging it misconstrued budget bill language on quality incentive payments.


LOBBYISTS


Business consulting firm Hicks Partners, LLC has joined with seven other government and public affairs firms nationally to form Advocus Partners, according to the firm Monday. Other companies joining Advocus include the following: Capital Advocacy (California), Capital City Consulting (Florida), The Herald Group (Virginia), Hilltop Public Solutions (Washington, D.C.), Stateside Associates (Virginia), The Tarrance Group (Virginia) and BGR Group (Washington, D.C.).


MARIJUANA/HEMP


If they aren't doing so already, businesses should start treating medical cannabis patients like any other worker using prescription medications, attorney Adele Abrams told attendees of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Ohio Safety Congress & Expo on Wednesday. "Make sure that you view your medical cannabis patients as employees with medical conditions, and not as drug abusers," said Abrams, who is an associate safety professional (ASP), certified mine safety professional (CMSP) and president of a multi-state law office that represents employers in litigation involving the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).


MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM


A new report from Auditor of State Keith Faber finds more than 124,000 people were concurrently enrolled in Ohio Medicaid and the Medicaid program of another state from 2019 through 2022, with more than $1 billion total and $209 million in state-share costs expended. The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM), however, prepared a lengthy response that raises questions about audit methodology and emphasizes that the audit timeline overlaps with the COVID public health emergency, when states were greatly restricted in their ability to remove people from Medicaid. The audit report, "The Cost of Concurrent Enrollment," used capitation payment data from the Office of Audit Services within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General.


MENTAL HEALTH


In advance of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, national nonprofit Mental Health America (MHA) is offering a shareable toolkit with tips on how individuals can manage their mental health during rapidly changing times. The organization says that as society is getting more comfortable discussing mental health, it can still be hard to know where to start in evaluating one's own well-being and how external factors may be affecting everyday life. The organization has made the toolkit available as a resource for personal use or for sharing. It includes factsheets, worksheets, sample communication materials, sample social media and other items to help build up one's own coping toolbox or to advocate for improved mental health in the community.


NATURAL RESOURCES


Indian Lake State Park reopened Friday, March 29 following damage from the tornado and severe storms that struck Logan County earlier this month on Thursday, March 14, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday. "Ohioans are resilient, and we have been diligent in assuring the health and safety of residents in the weeks following the tornadoes and severe storms in Western Ohio," said DeWine. "Indian Lake State Park is a wonderful destination for Ohioans and visitors to enjoy fishing and outdoor recreation, and its reopening is a step towards rebuilding our communities." The tornado, which was 1,000 yards wide and on the ground for 31 miles, left three people dead and inflicted widespread damage to the state park and neighboring communities.


PENSIONS


Appellate judges quizzed special counsel for the state Tuesday on Gov. Mike DeWine's power to remove a State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) trustee when the law specifies the term of office, while the attorney for the ousted trustee asserted DeWine ran afoul of due process protections involved in unseating public officials. Judges Kristin Boggs, Carly Edelstein and David Leland of the 10th District Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case of Wade Steen, who held an investment expert seat on the STRS board until DeWine removed him, citing his attendance record and perceived advocacy for specific investments. Magistrate Thomas Scholl III recently issued a report recommending Steen's restoration, to which the state objected. DeWine initially replaced Steen with G. Brent Bishop, but Bishop later stepped down; DeWine then appointed Brian Perera, the former Ohio State University lobbyist and Ohio Senate budget director. At issue in the case is whether, as Steen suggests, he was appointed to a fixed term and cannot be removed at the governor's pleasure.


PEOPLE


Former Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) passed away on Tuesday evening, her family announced in a statement. She was 40 years old. "We sadly report that our dear one, Brigid Kelly, passed on Tuesday evening at her home. She was surrounded by love and peace after waging a two-year battle with cancer. Brigid's failing health necessitated her recent resignation as Hamilton County auditor. She was a treasured wife, daughter and a sister, a valued friend and a true public servant. Funeral services are pending," Kelly's family wrote. Kelly announced her resignation as Hamilton County auditor last week. Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday ordered that all U.S. and Ohio flags be flown at half-staff on all public buildings and grounds throughout Hamilton County, the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center and Rhodes State Office Tower from sunrise to sunset on the day of her funeral.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) announced this week that Sean Campbell has joined the board representing labor in the construction industry. Additionally, OHFA said Kellie Wolfe, Paul Brooks Jr., Grant Miller, DeHavlyn Wainwright, Barbara Richards and James Kohlberg have joined the agency's staff.


SOLAR ECLIPSE


The Ohio Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) sent a notice to schools this week responding to peculiar circumstances brought on by the Monday, April 8 solar eclipse. Many Ohio schools have decided to close their doors for eclipse day, given strong interest in viewing it and the likelihood of mass traffic disruptions as people travel to and from the path of totality. However, DEW notes, some charter and private schools are staying open that day, creating an issue for the local districts that are obligated to transport the other schools' students under state law.


Ohioans planning to view the upcoming solar eclipse should do so using properly rated ISO 12312-2 glasses from reputable sources, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff and Ohio State University (OSU) College of Optometry Acting Dean Dr. Jeffrey Walline said Thursday. They also advised against reusing glasses from the 2017 solar eclipse. The two held a virtual press conference with reporters, with Vanderhoff saying the solar eclipse poses a "monumental event" for the state. The path of totality covers all or part of 55 counties, he continued, and the other 33 will experience a partial eclipse. ODH's main concern is eye safety.


TECHNOLOGY/AEROSPACE


The fourth "GovTech Summit" will be held at the Statehouse on Wednesday, April 3 by OhioX, featuring "keynote guests" Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef. There will also be roundtable events with state legislators and other officials. A policy roundtable at 2 p.m. includes Reps. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson), Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus) and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland), along with Spencer Gross, partner at High Bridge Consulting. There will be an additional 3 p.m. policy roundtable with Reps. Nick Santucci (R-Warren) and Thad Claggett (R-Newark) and Sen. Michele Reynolds (R-Columbus), along with Jan Bans, senior director of legislative and regulatory affairs at AT&T.


VETERANS


In America, less than one percent of the population serves in the military. To honor veterans, specifically women veterans during Women's History Month, the Ohio Department of Veterans Services (ODVS) held a forum Wednesday at the Rhodes Tower moderated by ODVS Director Deborah Ashenhurst, with Air Force veteran Kimber L. Heim, Marine Corps veteran Lisa Martinez, Army veterans Jackie Masters and Tiffany Meeks. All four panelists are state employees: Heims with the Ohio Department of Transportation, Martinez with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Masters with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services and Meeks with the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Many of these veterans said that they joined the military for the financial benefits they could use for a college education. Martinez, Meeks, and Heim said they enlisted in the military to gain an education.


WORKERS’ COMPENSATION


The Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors heard reports Friday from Administrator/CEO John Logue on the agency's continued response to a cyberattack against Change Healthcare that affected pharmacy operations nationwide, as well as BWC's "soft launch" of the OH|ID project. Logue previously discussed the cyberattack at the BWC's February board meeting, days after it occurred. On Friday, he said Change Healthcare's systems remain affected at a national level. BWC acted quickly to enable injured workers to be reimbursed if they had to pay for medication out of pocket as a result, with around 1,400 requests totaling $150,000 so far. Many pharmacies have also been holding their bills until the system can come back online. Logue said that he hopes that will happen in the next two weeks and that Gov. Mike DeWine's office facilitated discussions between BWC and pharmacy chains' leadership.

 



 


 



[Story originally published in The Hannah Report. Copyright 2023 Hannah News Service, Inc.]


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