Week In Review - August 1, 2022



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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.


ABORTION


The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to revoke abortion rights and Ohio's subsequent enactment of a law prohibiting abortion when fetal cardiac activity is detected has led to confusion over what kind of reproductive health care is allowed in the state, Gov. Mike DeWine acknowledged on Wednesday. "This is one of the things that happens when reality hits, and now the states actually do have to make these decisions. So, no longer are they something in the future, but it's something now," DeWine said in a response to a question from Hannah News while meeting with reporters at the Ohio State Fair. "One of the things we always want is laws that give guidance to people, and give notice to people. So again, that's something that we have to look at," DeWine continued.


AGRICULTURE


The state of Ohio will use a $13.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to buy food from Ohio farmers/producers to distribute to needy families, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Director Matt Damschroder announced last week. The two-year project began in July and will be administered through the Ohio Community Agriculture and Nutrition Project. The Ohio Association of Foodbanks will purchase locally-produced foods from approximately 50 suppliers, at least half of whom will be socially disadvantaged.


ARTS, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT


Communities throughout the state can now highlight their stories, customs and traditions through a roadside marker grant program, the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) announced Thursday. Launched by the Pomeroy Foundation in 2015, the Legends & Lore grant program helps communities commemorate their local folklore and promote cultural tourism with roadside markers. The OAC has joined the grant program as a state partner and will help vet grant applications and ensure the legitimacy of the folklore proposed for commemoration.


ATTORNEY GENERAL


Ohio will lead an international class action lawsuit over lost Facebook stock value after Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California consolidated investor actions against the social media giant and named the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) and PFA Pension of Denmark as top plaintiffs, Attorney General Dave Yost announced Thursday. OPERS has a $3 million stake in more than $100 billion in lost share price following last year's whistleblower complaint and media coverage charging Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with falsifying company efforts to protect children from harmful social media content.


CORONAVIRUS


Public health officials for Franklin County and Columbus issued advisories Friday recommending that people wear masks indoors in public places regardless of vaccination status, as Franklin County was designated as having high levels of COVID by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Advisories are not mandatory orders. However, the Ohio Supreme Court announced on social media Friday that it would mandate the wearing of masks for visitors to the Thomas Moyer Judicial Center in Columbus effectively immediately, citing the CDC designation.


Over half or 45 of Ohio's counties are now at a high COVID-19 transmission level on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) map, up from just five counties two weeks ago. The CDC also lists 31 at a medium rate and 12 at a low level. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) seven-day update showed 29,876 new cases, up from 26,610 in the seven days ending July 21. New hospitalizations rose slightly from 690 to 705, while ICU admissions dipped from 40 to 39. The number of deaths increased from 22 to 54. Since the pandemic began, ODH has reported totals of 2,948,242 cases, 121,595 hospitalizations, 13,901 ICU admissions and 39,035 deaths.


CRIME AND PUNISHMENT


Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday that 14 agencies will receive grants totaling $3.5 million as part of the fifth round of his Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program. The governor has so far awarded $23 million to 83 Ohio law enforcement agencies to aid in their work to hold accountable the small number of criminals responsible for most violent crime in the state. A total of $58 million will be awarded as part of the grant program overall. The program is funded through both HB110 (Oelslager) -- the state operating budget -- and with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly have dedicated to first responders to counter various pressing issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including violent crime. The grants announced Friday are all funded through ARPA.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT


The Ohio Third Frontier Commission approved $82.32 million in funds to six regional partners to support entrepreneurs' efforts to "develop innovative products and grow technology startup companies." The funds are part of the Entrepreneurial Services Provider (ESP) Program, which provides resources such as mentorship, access to investors and capital, support with business services, talent recruitment and incubator and accelerator programs. The partners will use the money to provide those resources from Jan. 1, 2023 through June 30, 2025.


Gov. Mike DeWine's administration announced Monday the approval of assistance for seven projects expected to create 660 new jobs and retain 3,333 jobs statewide. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought by JobsOhio and its regional partners. The projects are expected to collectively result in more than $39 million in new payroll and spur more than $51.8 million in investments across Ohio.


ECONOMY


Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced there were 14,589 new business filings in June 2022, a 16 percent decrease from June 2021. Specifically, he noted 95,069 new businesses have been created in 2022 so far, averaging 15,844 per month. This is the third consecutive month in which the number of new businesses was fewer than the previous year, he added.


EDUCATION


The Ohio Department of Education's (ODE) STEM Committee approved dozens of schools for redesignation as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) or Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) schools during its Monday meeting. The 33 schools were up for redesignation after receiving their initial designation five years ago. Their approval is pending a review process, which is still being implemented. Committee members approved a "quality monitoring" rubric developed by ODE as well as a review timeline for districts receiving their designation in the next few years.


The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) recently announced an initiative to help children find spots in afterschool and summer learning programs by pairing federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money with state and local funding. The Engage Every Student Initiative follows a call from President Joe Biden for schools to use ARPA money to expand programming to help students recover from pandemic learning losses. The department also announced a partnership to pursue the initiative with five coordinating organizations: the Afterschool Alliance, National Comprehensive Center, National League of Cities, National Summer Learning Association, and AASA, the school superintendents association. The coordinating organizations will organize technical assistance offerings in one location for those who are not familiar with particular programs.


The state grant program to help fund facilities costs for charter schools meeting certain quality criteria is now accepting applications for a third round of awards. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) started taking applications in July for the third round of the Community Schools Classroom Facilities Grant and will accept them through noon on Friday, Sept. 30. Award announcements are expected in early December. Winners in past rounds of the grant program are eligible to receive an award again. Applications, grant criteria, a list of eligible schools and operators and other information about the program are available at https://tinyurl.com/cfw7xnwp .


OFCC also finalized guidelines for the state's school safety grant program during a special meeting Thursday. The latest capital budget, HB687 (Oelslager), provided $100 million to cover a new round of school safety grants for public, private and parochial schools. The grants can be used to pay for baseline security in school buildings, classrooms, parking lots and elsewhere on school property, as well as to cover security features such as visitor badging systems, facility mapping, school radio systems, GPS tracking on student transport vehicles, exterior lights, notification systems, security training and door locking systems. Through the program, which makes use of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, districts can receive grants of up to $100,000 per school building for safety improvements and updates.


Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey show that teachers' earnings generally trail those of professionals with similar education levels, and those earnings eroded in inflation-adjusted terms of the past decade. Teachers with a bachelor's degree -- almost all have one -- earn an average of $53,800 for elementary and middle school and $57,840 for high school. By comparison, biological scientists earn nearly $70,000, urban and regional planners about $80,000, a physical therapist, $81,580, and a statistician, more than $96,000.


ELECTIONS


The Ohio Supreme Court addressed persistent poll worker shortages in the state's largest and smallest counties Tuesday by making permanent a temporary rule awarding continuing legal education (CLE) credit to lawyers serving as precinct officials. Rule X becomes effective Monday, Aug. 1, one day before the primary election. Since COVID-19's onset in 2020, the Court has issued ad hoc orders granting four hours of CLE to attorneys who complete poll worker training at their county boards of elections and serve an entire voting day. Ohio is reportedly the first state to recruit lawyers as precinct officials, drawing national media coverage and earning the Ohio Secretary of State's Office an award for collaborating with the Supreme Court.


ELECTIONS 2022


A week after telling county boards of elections to move ahead with State Board of Education districts as designated by Gov. Mike DeWine amid disputes to their legality, Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a formal directive Friday, July 22 to counties on implementation of the districts. The filing deadline for candidates is 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, or 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29 for write-in candidates. The following five districts, listed with their current occupants and filing counties, are on the ballot:


  • District 2, Kirsten Hill, Lucas County

  • District 3, Charlotte McGuire, Montgomery County

  • District 4, Jenny Kilgore, Hamilton County

  • District 9, John Hagan, Stark County

  • District 10, Tim Miller, Summit County

Members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) marked the one-month anniversary of the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights Monday with criticism of GOP U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance's past comments on abortion, including one in which he draws parallels to slavery. The Ohio Democratic Party organized the media call on Vance's comments. Vance in an interview last year said abortion and slavery are "comparable" for their "morally distorting effect" on society.


Four House Democrats Tuesday held a webinar encouraging Ohioans to get out to vote in the Aug. 2 primary election for General Assembly races, saying it is an opportunity to change what they don't like in their community and in the state. Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton), Dan Troy (D-Willowick), Bishara Addison (D-Shaker Heights), and Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville), spent the half hour event that was streamed on Zoom and on the caucus' Facebook page reminding voters of the upcoming dates and times for voting, as well as identification requirements and an explanation as to why legislative races are on the Tuesday, Aug. 2 special election ballot.


According to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Ohio added approximately 1,000 poll workers in the past week, and as of Monday, July 25, 28,356 Ohioans have signed up to serve as a poll worker in the Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022 Primary/Special Election. According to his office, the minimum number of poll workers needed to conduct the election statewide is 24,522. Also as of Monday, 72 counties have met the minimum number of poll workers needed.


According to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, 92,888 absentee ballots have been requested by mail or in-person for the state legislative and executive committee races on the Tuesday, Aug. 2 primary ballot and that 67,218 votes have been cast statewide in those races. Information for this analysis was collected by the Ohio Secretary of State's Office from Ohio's 88 county boards of elections, detailing early voting activity from Monday, July 18 through the end of early voting hours on Friday, July 22. Of the ballots requested, 57,829 were Democratic and 35,059 were Republican. Ballots cast early in person include 14,514 Democratic and 12,065 Republican ballots. Total ballots submitted for counting include 39,413 Democratic and 27,805 Republican.


The following endorsements were made over the week:


  • The National Democratic Redistricting Committee endorsed Democrat Nan Whaley for governor.

  • EMILY's List endorsed Rep. Juanita Brent, Rachel Baker, Nancy Larson, Erika White, Lauren McNally and Bria Bennett for the Ohio House of Representatives.

  • The Ohio Environmental Council announced its endorsements for the Ohio Legislature. They include the following for the Ohio House: Rep. Dontavius Jarrells, Rep. Latyna Humphrey, Rep. Mary Lightbody, Rep. Richard Brown, Rep. Adam Miller, Rep. Allison Russo, Rep. Dr. Beth Liston, Munira Abdullahi, Russ Harris, Dr. Anita Somani, Rep, Mike Skindell, Sean Brennan, Darnell Brewer, Rep. Phil Robinson, Rep. Terrence Upchurch, Elliot Forhan, Rep. Juanita Brent, Rep. Daniel Troy, Dani Isaacsohn, Sen. Cecil Thomas, Rep. Jessica Miranda, Alissa Mayhaus, Rep. Tavia Galonski, Rep. Casey Weinstein, Addison Caruso, Leronda Jackson, , Nancy Larson, Erika White, Michele Grim, Elgin Rogers Jr., Larry Mulligan, Sam Cao, Lauren McNally, Louise Valentine, Vincent Peterson, Kathleen Clyde, Jan Materni, Taylor Eastham, Claire Osborne, and Jim Obergefell. For the Ohio Senate they include the following: Sen. Tina Maharath, Rep. Catherine Ingram, Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson, Anthony Eliopoulos, Sen. Hearcel Craig, Heather Swiger, Rep. Kent Smith, Sen. Nickie Antonio, William DeMora, Dr. Patricia Goetz and Bob Hagan.

  • The gubernatorial campaign of Nan Whaley announced the endorsement of IBEW Local 82.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT


According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), Ohio's unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in June, unchanged from May, as the state's nonagricultural wage and salary employment decreased 11,300 over the month. ODJFS said nonagricultural wage and salary employment went from a revised 5,476,700 in May to 5,465,400 in June. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in June was 224,000, down from 226,000 in May. The number of unemployed decreased by 81,000 in the past 12 months from 305,000. The June unemployment rate for Ohio decreased from 5.3 percent in June 2021.


ENERGY/UTILITIES


In a space of less than four minutes Wednesday, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) both expanded and potentially narrowed the class of customers eligible for the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) program for low-income households. Commissioners approved rule changes raising the PIPP threshold from 150 percent to 175 percent of the federal poverty level, while at the same time rejecting American Electric Power (AEP) of Ohio's appeal to suspend work on converting five massive apartment buildings to sub-metered accounts lacking state protections for regulated utility customers, including PIPP. The order denying AEP's appeal provokes the larger question of sub-metering companies or utility resellers in multi-family complexes, whose inhabitants -- often lower-income -- do not enjoy regulatory safeguards including commission-approved rates, competitive choice, disconnection protocols, and PIPP, among others. Over a year and a half ago, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down PUCO's previous four-prong test for public utilities exempting sub-meterers and remanded the Capital area appeal of Cynthia Wingo to the commission for a new standard. PUCO has yet to do so.


FEDERAL


Ohio's Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman Tuesday released a report on the Chinese government's efforts to "target, influence, and undermine" the U.S. Federal Reserve. Portman, who is the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the report shows that China has targeted the Federal Reserve System since at least 2013. "As our investigation reveals, the Chinese government is using every tool at its disposal to infiltrate and steal valuable information ... I am concerned by the threat to the Fed and hope our investigation, which is based on the Fed's own documents and corresponds with assessments and recommendations made by the FBI, wakes the Fed up to the broad threat from China to our monetary policy. The risk is clear, I urge the Fed to do more, working with the FBI, to counter this threat from one of our foremost foreign adversaries," Portman said.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE


Hannah News’ interview series with freshman legislators featured Sen. Dale Martin (D-Cleveland), who said that while he will only be in office for a few months, he wants to make the most of his time by helping small businesses and providing more workforce opportunities in the trades. That's particularly important for Martin, as he is a retired electrician and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 673. He now serves on the board of an academy that trains participants in construction skills. He was appointed to the seat after the resignation of Sen. Sandra Williams.


HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES


The General Assembly should expeditiously pass legislation requiring the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to conduct a special FY23 rebasing of nursing facility Medicaid payment rates, long-term care advocates told the Nursing Facility Payment Commission on Tuesday. Bills implementing that policy have been introduced and referred to committee in both chambers, but neither has received a hearing yet. The House Finance Committee is considering HB625 (Hoops-Manchester), while the Senate Finance Committee is considering SB325 (Romanchuk-Lang).


HIGHER EDUCATION


Until Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, federal student loan borrowers can get credit for payments that previously didn't qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF). Under the limited PSLF waiver, borrowers can get credit for past payments even if they didn't make the payment on time, didn't pay the full amount due, or weren't on the right repayment plan. Find more information about the waiver process at https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/pslf-limited-waiver.


Jane Grote Abell, executive chairwoman of the board and chief purpose officer at Donatos Pizza, will deliver the summer commencement address at Ohio State University (OSU). Abell is an Ohio State alumna and holds a bachelor's degree in organizational communications. The ceremony will be held Sunday, Aug. 7, at the Schottenstein Center. Approximately 1,600 graduates will receive diplomas during the ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m.


Ohio State University (OSU) has named Ange-Marie Hancock as the next executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, effective Jan. 1, 2023. Established in 2003, the Kirwan Institute is an interdisciplinary research institute named for former Ohio State President William E. "Brit" Kirwan in recognition of his efforts to champion diversity at OSU. Until Hancock's arrival, Jason Reece, associate professor of city and regional planning, has agreed to provide interim leadership to the Kirwan Institute. Reece, a long-term faculty affiliate and a former staff member of the institute, is currently involved in several ongoing institute research projects. He follows Beverly Vandiver, professor in the Department of Human Sciences and director of the Quantitative Methodology Center, who has served as interim executive director since autumn 2020.


University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Law Dean Verna Williams has accepted a position as CEO of the Washington D.C. nonprofit Equal Justice Works. Her final day at UC is Wednesday, Sept. 14 and she will begin in her new position on Monday, Sept. 19.


Samy Broyles has been named director of community and alumni engagement by Miami University Regionals. "The regionals are committed to developing deeper connections with our alumni and the communities we serve," said Ande Durojaiye, vice president and dean of Miami's Regional Campuses. "His skills, knowledge of our communities, and experience working with volunteers will be a great asset as we continue to expand and deepen those connections." Broyles earned his Bachelor of Integrative Studies from Miami in 2015.


JUDICIAL


The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) is adding to the hundreds of certified paralegals in the state. It says 15 legal assistants are newly qualified as Ohio Bar Certified Paralegals. That makes 281 OSBA-certified paralegals in Ohio. Eligible applicants to the certification program must possess the required education/experience, continuing legal education (CLE), and references and then pass a written exam. Paralegals are certified for four years and must meet reporting obligations to maintain standing.


Ohio and 21 other states sued the Biden administration Tuesday over the "nationwide confusion and upheaval" they say it has caused schools facing a Monday, Aug. 15 deadline to comply with new mandates around gender identity or lose federal nutrition assistance. In a 17-count complaint, Attorney General Dave Yost and others allege federal overreach in the redefinition of "sex" discrimination by way of a never-enacted rule from the Obama administration that did not reference gender identity. Filed in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Tennessee, the 56-page lawsuit follows a previous multi-state action including Ohio that challenged a more general LGBTQ+ mandate on schools. The Biden administration responded in May with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) memorandum and in June with a final rule limiting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to primary and secondary schools and universities that comply with non-discrimination guidance on "gender identity and sexual orientation."


The state is awarding $10 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to ease case court backlogs from COVID-19. The Ohio Court Backlog Reduction Program administered by the Ohio Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) seeks to reduce time spent on cases, remove systemic and operational barriers preventing case resolution, and devise new ways to improve case flow slowed by the coronavirus. Qualified uses include staffing and programming, hardware and software updates for case management, online dispute resolution and self-help, virtual mental health assessments, text reminders for hearings and payments, and partnerships with the justice system and other stakeholders to share the responsibility for caseloads.


MARIJUANA/HEMP


U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) should act to ensure Ohio cannabis businesses have access to traditional banking services, according to the Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association (OMCIA). The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act recently passed out of the U.S. House as an amendment to the FFY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The U.S. Senate is now considering the legislation. "The longer we operate without banking services for cannabis-related businesses and employees, the greater the inequity grows in this industry. It is time for a commonsense approach to banking that allows equal access to financial resources, so that we can equitably grow this industry and the thousands of living-wage Ohio jobs that come with it," OMCIA President Andy Rayburn said.


MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM


Ohio's two U.S. senators are sponsoring legislation to help states offering the type of coordinated care for dually eligible Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries that Ohio has been using under a waiver due to expire at the end of next year. U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) this week announced the Comprehensive Care for Dual Eligible Individuals Act of 2022, meant to create a new program states could opt to offer to integrate Medicare and Medicaid service delivery for those eligible for both programs. In 2014, Ohio under the Kasich administration launched MyCare Ohio, a care coordination program for dual-eligible Ohioans approved for a Section 1915 home- and community-based services waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It was later extended through 2023. Asked if it had a position or comment on the bill, the Ohio Department of Medicaid said only that it is reviewing the legislation.


MILITARY AFFAIRS


Ohio Adjutant General John Harris recently discussed Ohio National Guard (ONG) modernization efforts with reporters, particularly regarding how the 179th Airlift Wing based in Mansfield has been converting itself to a Cyber Warfare Wing. While details of their forthcoming activities cannot be shared publicly, Harris spoke at length on how cyber and space operations have become new domains of war in addition to land, sea and air. In general, he added that adversary nations are working to prepare for a potential future conflict so they can "disrupt the lives of everyday Americans along with [combat] operations." This includes influencing the U.S. politically, socially and economically, and such efforts are already taking place.


NATURAL RESOURCES


Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz Thursday announced plans for more than two dozen new H2Ohio wetland projects to improve water quality across the state. The 25 new wetland projects will soon launch in 22 counties and will be funded through ODNR's $25 million H2Ohio allocation in the current state operating budget. Wetlands help improve water quality by trapping, filtering, and removing excess pollutants and nutrients, like phosphorus, from the water before the materials flow into waterways and where it can contribute to harmful algal blooms. To date, ODNR has completed or restored 23 wetlands in the state, and the 25 new wetlands bring the total number of projects underway or complete to 113.


OHIO STATE FAIR


Ahead of the opening of the Ohio State Fair, the DeWine administration and Opportunities for Ohioans with disabilities highlighted accessibility features that are returning or expanding at this year’s event, including complimentary charging stations for wheelchairs and mobility devices, service animal relief areas and a sensory-friendly morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3. An accessibility guide to the fair is available at https://www.ohiostatefair.com/p/visit/accessibility.


The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) is carrying out the enhanced amusement ride safety inspection procedures required by 133-HB189 (Patterson-Blessing) for the first time at the Ohio State Fair this year. While "Tyler's Law" was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in November 2019 as an emergency measure, the state fair did not operate with rides in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The law is named after Tyler Jarrell, an 18-year-old high school student who died at the 2017 Ohio State Fair after the Fire Ball ride broke apart during operation. Amusements of America, the operator of the ride, was not sanctioned by the state because it was found to be in compliance with Ohio law at the time. During an event at the fairgrounds on Monday, ODAg Director Dorothy Pelanda and ODAg Division of Amusement Ride Safety & Fairs Chief David Miran told reporters that inspections had gone smoothly so far.


The All-Ohio State Fair Band and the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir announced their membership for the 2022 Ohio State Fair. On Friday, July 22, 197 young musicians from across the state moved into the Rhodes Center and began preparations for nearly 200 performances throughout the 12 days of the fair, according to the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair. The All-Ohio State Fair Band is directed by Brian Dodd and is made up of students in grades 9-12. Members of the band learn and rehearse more than 50 pieces of concert music to prepare for the fair, including John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" that closes each of their performances. The All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir, directed by Jon Peterson, sings between six and eight concerts each day of the fair. The singers march up to 10 miles a day to various performance sites around the 360-acre Ohio Expo Center.


For the first time in three years, Gov. Mike DeWine was able to preside over the opening ceremony of a traditional, fully-operational Ohio State Fair. "Ladies and gentlemen, the Ohio State Fair is back! It feels so good to be back for a full fair this year. It's so very, very exciting," DeWine said during his remarks in Kasich Hall on Wednesday. "The Ohio State Fair is about who we are as a people," the governor continued. "There is something for absolutely everybody who wants to come, whether you live in the city, whether you live in the suburbs or whether you live in rural areas." DeWine said while agriculture is extremely important, the fair is "not just about livestock."


Unclaimed funds are among the prizes that can be secured at the 2022 Ohio State Fair, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC). Visitors to the "Commerce House" can search their name for unclaimed funds through the state's on-site kiosk and initiate a claim, DOC said. The agency has more than $3 billion dollars in assets in safekeeping, and the average paid claim is $775. DOC spokesperson Mikaela Hunt told Hannah News that the unclaimed funds kiosk has been a "major draw" at the agency's Ohio State Fair booth in recent years. She also noted that the agency has a new, simplified electronic process for Ohioans to obtain unclaimed funds.


PENSIONS


With U.S. House passage of the bill to restore lost pension benefits to salaried retirees from auto parts supplier Delphi, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said he's hoping to win broad enough support for a legislative shortcut that would get the measure to President Joe Biden's desk rapidly. As Brown explained, salaried and hourly retirees of the defunct General Motors supplier were treated differently in the bankruptcy of Delphi and the U.S. government's intervention to prevent automotive industry collapse during the financial crisis. As a result, salaried retirees lost much of their pensions. Brown said it was an example of how Washington bailing out corporations and Wall Street but leaving workers on their own. The legislation, now dubbed the Susan Muffley Act, after a retiree who skipped medical care because of costs and later died, would assist more than 5,000 Ohioans and more than 20,000 retirees across the U.S., according to the senator's office.


PEOPLE


The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) announced the appointment of Eric D. Bess as chief information officer (CIO) and head of the Office of Information Services, a role he'd held on an interim basis. Bess has also served as chief program officer and interim application development manager. He's previously held IT positions with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and HP Enterprise Services.


PUBLIC SAFETY


Gov. Mike DeWine ordered flags flown at half staff last week after the shooting death of a Clark County law enforcement officer, Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Yates, who was responding to reports of gunfire in South Charleston on Sunday morning.


Ohio personnel once again joined law enforcement officers from five other Great Lakes states on July 27 for this year's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Region 5 high-visibility Speed Awareness Day. Officers from including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin were to combine increased, zero-tolerance enforcement with effective communication to motorists on the importance of obeying speed limits. The DeWine administration says high-visibility enforcement (HVE) is a "proven countermeasure for reinforcing driver compliance with posted speed limits."


Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Traffic Safety Office (OTSO) Tuesday released a new educational video for use by parents, teachers, and driver education instructors to help them explain the dangers of distracted driving to teens. The light-hearted video targets youthful drivers and features a pair of young hosts answering the distracted driving questions that instructors get the most.


STATE GOVERNMENT


The Ohio Solicitor General's Office took the rare position of arguing against itself in an Ohio Supreme Court dispute over the judicial and executive branches' respective powers as triers of fact. Oral arguments involving the State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors also has drawn out-of-state representation by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a Florida-based public interest firm offering free counsel for alleged violations of constitutional rights. TWISM Enterprises, LLC, d.b.a. VALUCADD Solutions v. State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors concerns an advertised engineering firm that does not employ a full-time engineer but rather contracts for those skills. The board denied company founder Shawn Alexander a certificate to provide engineering services in Ohio even though TWISM's managing engineer, licensed professional James Cooper, is solely responsible for those services. He has a similar, part-time relationship with two other engineering firms.


TECHNOLOGY/AEROSPACE


The U.S. House passed the legislative package including the CHIPS Act Thursday, a day after the U.S. Senate's vote and President Joe Biden's statement urging swift action so he could sign it. U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) both voted for the bill, which passed 64-33 in the Senate. The U.S. House voted 243-187-1, with support from Ohio's delegation divided up 12-4. U.S. Reps. Troy Balderson (R-Worthington), Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus), Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Hts.), Mike Carey (R-Hilliard), Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati), Bob Gibbs (R-Ashland), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Canton), Bill Johnson (R-Marietta), Dave Joyce (R-Twinsburg), Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), Tim Ryan (D-Youngstown) and Mike Turner (R-Dayton) all voted for the bill. U.S. Reps. Warren Davidson (R-Troy), Jim Jordan (R-Lima), Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) and Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati) voted no.


TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE


The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced this week a new litter control program that brings in the business community to help in the effort. Over the past few weeks, the first signage related to the Sponsor-A-Highway program has been installed along highways in the northeast Ohio area. The statewide program allows businesses and groups to fund litter removal services along one mile, one-direction segments of state highways. In exchange for their sponsorship, the name of the business or group is displayed on a sign within their sponsored segment, ODOT said. The program complements ODOT's existing Adopt-A-Highway program, where volunteer groups adopt a two-mile segment of two-lane highway.


WORKERS' COMPENSATION


Intel is hiring experienced professionals for management and engineering positions at its New Albany factory, mostly in terms of facilities and site services. Some positions involve temporarily relocating to Arizona or another site for training assignments lasting from six months to one year. Management roles include site operations and commissioning, as well as project manager roles. There are also openings for chemical, mechanical, electrical and manufacturing network engineers. The full list, which is subject to change, is available at https://tinyurl.com/mr2zb8px.


WORKFORCE


Fifty inmates at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center (NEOCC) in Youngstown have enrolled in a new workforce development initiative in partnership with Youngstown State University (YSU). Through the Division of Workforce Education and Innovation, YSU said the inmates are receiving training to earn certification credentials focused on basic manufacturing concepts. "With this partnership, incarcerated individuals will be given the opportunity for reentry with in-demand credentials that truly make them marketable in the workforce," said Lindsey Ekstrand, director of Workforce Education Programs at YSU. "We are going to help to ensure they are connected to employers who see beyond their past and look at the skills they develop and the future they are building for themselves."



[Story originally published in The Hannah Report. Copyright 2022 Hannah News Service, Inc.]


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