Week In Review - August 15, 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.


FY23-24 CAPITAL APPROPRIATIONS


Office of Budget and Management Director (OBM) Kimberly Murnieks told Hannah News that her office has not yet dipped into the General Revenue Fund (GRF) reserves it was authorized to use in lieu of borrowing for the capital appropriations budget. In the FY23-24 capital appropriations budget, HB687 (Oelslager), lawmakers provided for up to $1.5 billion in GRF cash transfers to finance projects instead of selling bonds, and allowed Murnieks to make additional cash transfers unless disapproved by the House speaker or Senate president. Murnieks said she anticipates transferring GRF to capital accounts this fall. "It will be an iterative process throughout the year," she said. The case for using cash instead of selling bonds has only gotten stronger since passage of HB687, she observed.


FY22-23 BUDGET


The Ohio Poverty Law Center (OPLC) and Advocates for Ohio's Future (AOF) Wednesday launched a new website tracking Ohio's use of federal COVID-19 relief dollars while calling for the remaining unspent funds to go towards supporting Ohioans still struggling with food insecurity and health disparities. Along with the launch of www.OhioARPATracker.org, the groups also released "A Billion Here, A Billion There," a report detailing how the federal funds have been spent while recommending immediate and long-term investments of the remaining $1.9 billion in unallocated funds. OPLC’s Susan Jagers said it is time for lawmakers to implement a plan that looks at the immediate needs of Ohioans while planning for the future. She said they are calling for at least $50 million to go to shoring up the food supply at Ohio foodbanks immediately. The remaining $1.56 billion should go towards helping communities address long-standing and worsening issues that lead to disparities in health outcomes including lead-poisoning prevention and mitigation; $308 million to support affordable housing, address infant mortality, and keep seniors housed; and implementing many of the recommendations made in Gov. Mike DeWine's COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force report.


FY24-25 BUDGET


As it prepares for the coming FY24-25 budget cycle, the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) is departing from recent practice by not giving state agencies a specific spending level to aim for in their budget requests. The change is enabled by an updated IT system supporting the budget process that will focus on outcomes and supporting data, OBM Director Kim Murnieks told Hannah News in a phone interview. In recent cycles, OBM has often directed agencies to fit their spending requests within a specified proportion of current fiscal year appropriations, sometimes giving them two scenarios to respond to -- 100 percent of current spending and 90 percent, for example. This cycle, maintaining current services is the benchmark, without a percentage figure tied to prior spending. OBM has four deadlines for submission of budget requests:

  • Friday, Sept. 16 for licensing boards and commissions.

  • Friday, Oct. 14 for small to mid-size agencies.

  • Friday, Oct. 28 for cabinet agencies and all other executive agencies.

  • Tuesday Nov. 1 for legislative, judicial and statewide elected offices.

CENSUS


A U.S. Census Bureau report highlights the growing number of older Americans as well as examines the socioeconomic status of this group and potential caregiving supports. Using data from the 2018 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the report finds that 15.2 million, nearly one in six, adults ages 55 and older are childless. The Census Bureau writes that the growing childless trend is unlike other instances in U.S. history, noting that children have traditionally played an important role in caring for aging parents. The Census Bureau also writes that the number of older adults without children is expected to increase.


CHILDREN/FAMILIES


Schools in Ohio and across the country may have returned to a semblance of pre-pandemic norms, but the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still taking their toll on students, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2022 KIDS COUNT Data Book which includes national and state data. The annual report focuses this year on mental health as well as provides national and state-level data on education outcomes, economic well-being, health, and family and community factors. Accompanying that report, Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Ohio also released its 2022 KIDS COUNT Ohio Data Profiles, which similarly provides data on health, education, and economic factors affecting children at the state-level, as well as the region, county, and district-levels.


CORONAVIRUS/MONKEYPOX


The summer's wave of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 COVID-19 cases "may have hit its peak or at least leveled off," Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff told reporters Thursday in a briefing on COVID-19 and the monkeypox virus. He also discussed the importance of youth vaccinations for diseases in general ahead of the new school year. Vanderhoff said the COVID subvariants are highly contagious and many fully vaccinated people contracted them with mild to moderate illness, showing the vaccines are holding up well. That kept both the number of ICU admissions and patients requiring oxygen low and underscores the importance of full vaccination and receiving COVID-19 booster shots, he said.


Efforts to respond to the monkeypox virus have been hindered by global vaccine shortages, but ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said at Thursday’s press conference that the department is working with local partners to provide education, testing support and treatment options. As of Wednesday, Ohio had 75 reported cases of monkeypox concentrated in large metro areas. There have been 10,392 cases reported nationally and the highest spread is in New York, California, Florida, Texas and Georgia, with at least 700 cases in each state.


CRIME AND PUNISHMENT


While law enforcement officials from across Ohio largely agree that individuals experiencing mental health crises don't belong in jail, it's often difficult to find an appropriate facility in which to place them, according to Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck, in comments at Thursday’s meeting of the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board. The board is looking into developing a statewide standard for crisis intervention training (CIT).


ECONOMY


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the nation added 528,000 jobs in July and the national unemployment rate edged down to 3.5 percent. Both total nonfarm employment and the unemployment rate have returned to their February 2020 pre-pandemic levels, the agency said Friday. The number of jobs added in July was higher than any other monthly gain in the last four months, which averaged 388,000 jobs. BLS said the nation has added 22 million jobs since its April 2020 low.


EDUCATION


The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) announced the selection of Sally S. Green, a Northeast Ohio school board member, as its president-elect nominee. If elected during OSBA's statewide conference in November, she will become OSBA president in 2024 following her term as president-elect in 2023. Green, who is in her 17th year on the Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools Board of Education in Tuscarawas County, was first elected in November 2005. She currently serves as president of OSBA's Northeast Region and was president and vice president of her local board in 2020.


The Ohio STEM Learning Network announced K-12 STEM classrooms can now apply for a grant through the STEM Classroom Grant Program to receive up to $5,000. "The goal of the grant program is to foster the creation of new, sustainable STEM education programming in classrooms by investing directly in our K-12 teachers and administrators," the organization said. Applications are due by Monday, Oct. 10. Learn more about eligibility and how to apply at https://tinyurl.com/5bvkmd97.


The State Committee on Computer Science (SCCS) recently opened its draft recommendations for public comment with Lt. Gov. Jon Husted having told reporters he will review them in the near future with a focus on which ones represent the best return on investment. "There's no doubt we need computer science talent," Husted said. SCCS, which will be accepting public comments through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, is scheduled to meet at COSI on Tuesday, Aug. 30 for a final vote on the report. Comments can be submitted at https://tinyurl.com/3kz28r5c or emailed to computerscience@education.ohio.gov.


The Ohio Department of Education's (ODE) STEM Committee tackled a myriad of issues during its Thursday meeting, hearing presentations from a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school as well as from a partner organization, among other committee business.


The Columbus Education Association (CEA) filed its Notice of Intent to Strike and Picket with the State Employment Relations Board Thursday, indicating a strike could commence at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 22 if the parties don't reach agreement on their contract. The union says it wants smaller class sizes, full-time art, music and physical education teachers at the elementary level, functional heating and air-conditioning in classrooms, planning time and a cap on class periods during the school day. CEA


also has disagreements with the board on outsourcing positions to private corporations from outside the community, and recruiting and retaining educators. Jennifer Adair, president of the Columbus City Schools Board of Education responded, saying, "The board is deeply troubled to learn that … CEA filed a notice of intent to strike … today. Yesterday, we held our 20th negotiating session, and we sought a response from CEA -- including a response regarding compensation -- to the board's offer. Unfortunately, we did not get it.”


Meanwhile, the Youngstown Vindicator reported Friday that the teacher's union for Niles City Schools also voted to authorize a strike that would start Thursday, Sept. 1, though the board has agreed to a meeting a few days ahead of that date.


ELECTIONS


The Ohio Debate Commission (ODC) Friday released a comprehensive guide on how to put on a candidate debate at any level, and will be hosting a webinar on the subject later this month. The ODC Debate Playbook is a resource aimed at helping Ohio voters engage candidates running for office. ODC said it has been documenting how it conducts its debates since 2018 to help create the guidebook. The guidebook is available at www.ohiodebatecommission.org/playbook. Registration for the webinar, which will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, can be found at https://tinyurl.com/fr2xzzme.


ELECTIONS 2022


Incumbents will seek re-election in all five State Board of Education seats on the November ballot, but most will have at least one opponent, according to candidate filing information from county boards of elections. Wednesday afternoon was the deadline to turn in petitions to run for the board. Districts 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10 are on the ballot this year for the board; the remainder of the 11 elected positions will be up in 2024. Another eight people serve on the board by appointment of the governor. Boundary lines are in dispute for this election because of Ohio's protracted redistricting saga. The candidate list could still grow; write-ins can file until 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29. Current candidates include the following:


  • SBOE President Charlotte McGuire in District 3. As of a few minutes before the 4 p.m. filing deadline Wednesday, no one else had filed in District 3, including one person who pulled petitions, Michael Charles King Jr.

  • In District 2 in Northern Ohio, incumbent Kirsten Hill is seeking re-election and faces Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) as well as Sarah McGervey of Avon Lake.

  • In District 4 in Southwest Ohio, board member Jenny Kilgore will face off against Katie Hofmann of Cincinnati.

  • In District 9, incumbent John Hagan filed to run for re-election and faces Streetsboro City Schools Board of Education member Robert Fulton.

  • In District 10 in Northeast Ohio, incumbent member Tim Miller is seeking re-election and faces Cierra Lynch Shehorn of Mogadore and Tom Jackson of Solon.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose Wednesday announced that he has referred 11 individuals to Attorney General Dave Yost for further investigation of potential election law violations. The referrals include 10 non-citizens who allegedly registered to vote but did not cast a ballot and one non-citizen who may have voted illegally. LaRose's office also said there are additional investigations ongoing of individuals who may have voted in Ohio and one other state.


The votes of 2022 primary election party-switchers will be counted, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Brian Ames, a former Republican State Central Committee candidate in the 28th Senate District, had sued seeking to prevent voters from participating in the August primary election if they chose a partisan ballot different from the one they selected in the May primary. However, Secretary of State Frank LaRose cannot perform the requested action because the election is over, the Court said in dismissing the complaint. On the complaint against the boards of elections, the Court said Ames "failed to demonstrate a clear legal right to the relief he seeks or a clear legal duty on the part of the boards to perform the requested acts."


With voting for the 2022 primary for General Assembly completed, 34 members of the 135th General Assembly have likely been decided. Barring an unprecedented upset by a write-in or independent candidate, those 34 winners in the Aug. 2 primary should prevail on the Tuesday, Nov. 8 ballot as they have no opponents. They include incumbent candidates for 23 House seats and four Senate seats.


Republican U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance recently released his first TV ads. According to an announcement from his campaign, they will run on broadcast and cable channels in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Dayton. "This is the initial phase of a larger seven-figure multi-media messaging plan that will reach voters statewide."


Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced this week that the 2022 "Raise a Glass to Democracy" voter registration campaign is expanding to include Ohio distilleries and wineries, as well as more craft breweries. The secretary of state's office said that while the 2020 campaign enlisted the support of more than 50 breweries, the program has now grown to more than 100. The campaign will utilize special branding with a website that allows for online voter registration. Partnering businesses will once again make special beers or include common labeling on their products, display posters in their locations, and post to their social media accounts to get the word out about the Tuesday, Oct. 11 voter registration deadline for the November election.


Equality Ohio Tuesday released its 2022 "Ohio Lawmaker Equality Scorecard," which the group said analyzes the legislative voting record of Ohio's state legislators during the 134th General Assembly as well as the career accomplishments of the candidates for the statewide offices that affect LGBTQ+ Ohioans most. The scorecard analyzes candidates for statewide executive and legislative offices including U.S. senator, Ohio governor, Ohio attorney general, Ohio secretary of state, and Ohio auditor. The scorecard can be found at https://tinyurl.com/mr49r7tv.


Abby Kovacs, a Democrat running in the 99th House District, announced this week on social media that she is withdrawing from the race. "The harsh reality is that I've been drawn out of the 99th by mere feet and simply cannot afford to move into the district," Kovacs said in a post. "This was a tough decision but I hope that in my wake someone else may step up in the honorable fight to unseat Sarah Fowler Arthur."


The following endorsements were made over the week:



  • Gov. Mike DeWine's re-election campaign announced the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council.

  • The gubernatorial campaign of Nan Whaley announced the endorsement of United Auto Workers Region 2B and the Western Reserve Building & Construction Trades Council.

  • The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) Action Fund endorsed Jennifer Brunner for Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice and Terry Jamison and Marilyn Zayas for associate justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

  • Columbus Fire Fighters Union Local 67 announced its endorsement of Judge Terri Jamison for the Ohio Supreme Court.

  • The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has endorsed U. S. Rep. Joyce Beatty for re-election.

  • The WelcomePAC endorsed the following candidates for the Ohio House of Representatives: Rachel Baker, Joy Bennett, Sean Brennan, Kathleen Clyde, Richard Dell'Aquila, Russell Harris, Nancy Larson, Jan Materni, Larry Mulligan, Jim Obergefell, Vincent Peterson, Regan Phillip, Evan Rosborough, Matthew Shaughnessy, Anita Somani, Louise Valentine, and Erika White.

ENERGY/UTILITIES


Dayton-based electric utility AES Ohio will not be fined or forced to provide refunds to ratepayers as a result of its failure to timely file final tariffs as directed by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), commissioners decided Wednesday. The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) had argued that AES Ohio should be fined $9.45 million and be required to refund $60 million to customers as a result of the utility's "unauthorized" collection of rate stabilization charge (RSC) tariffs since Aug. 11, 2021.


In other action, PUCO approved $800,000 in hazardous materials (HAZMAT) training grants to 16 applicants. Through the commission's annual Hazardous Materials Training Grant program, educational institutions and local governments across Ohio are awarded grants for training emergency responders to best respond to incidents related to hazardous materials.


Additionally, PUCO scheduled a Wednesday, Aug. 24 public hearing on potential funding opportunities for electric grid resilience created by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” Commissioners noted that the U.S. Department of Energy recently opened an application period for the IIJA's "Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid" formula grant program. PUCO will hold a hearing at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 24 at the PUCO offices, located at 180 E. Broad St. in Columbus. Written comments may also be submitted by Friday, Aug. 26.


FEDERAL


Congressional Democrats cleared a key hurdle over the weekend toward enactment of a budget reconciliation package, labeled the Inflation Reduction Act, with major policy changes on health care costs, energy production, climate change response and taxes. The bill passed the U.S. Senate Sunday with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. The reconciliation process allows passage of the bill with just a bare majority, rather than the 60 votes usually required to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) pledged a quick response. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) supported the final bill, and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) opposed it.


Calling it "unprecedented," Ohio Republicans Tuesday sharply criticized the actions of the FBI when it executed a search warrant at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate Monday, reportedly related to an ongoing investigation over the removal of documents from the White House. Many accused the Biden administration of politicizing the justice department, though the White House said it had not been informed of the search before it occurred. Republican members of Ohio's congressional delegation issued statements saying the FBI and Attorney General Merrick Garland must appear before Congress to explain the reason behind the search warrant. U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Centerville) sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding an explanation Monday evening.


GAMING/GAMBLING


The Ohio Lottery Commission (OLC) will refile a sports gambling rule on prize payment following objections from House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and members of the Ohio Lottery Retailers Association (OLRA). At issue is proposed Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Rule 3770: 3-8-02, which addresses the process by which type C sports gaming prizes can be cashed out. The rule was scheduled to be considered at the Wednesday, Aug. 17 meeting of the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), but the OLC placed the rule in "to be refiled" (TBR) status, JCARR Executive Director Larry Wolpert said.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE


Three groups representing nursing homes urged lawmakers Tuesday to update how Ohio's reimbursement formula compensates the main "cost centers" for providing care, though there was some disagreement among them on how best to provide funding for direct care. The Nursing Facility Payment Commission heard from three organizations: LeadingAge Ohio, represented by CEO Susan Wallace; the Academy of Senior Health Science, represented by Board Chairman Roger King; and the Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA), represented by Executive Director Peter Van Runkle. Ohio's nursing facility reimbursement formula has four cost centers: direct care, ancillary and support services, capital costs and taxes with much of Tuesday's testimony focused on the direct care cost center, driven largely by staffing, which the industry representatives said was a struggle even before COVID wreaked havoc on health care systems and the economy.


The Senate Addiction and Community Revitalization Committee Thursday traveled to Steubenville and heard from eight witnesses on the opioid epidemic's impact on Jefferson County, as well as requests for lawmakers to make changes to the behavioral health care licensing system and to give more flexibility for resources that are sent to the local level. Committee Co-chair Sen. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) said that the committee's goal is to look at how the state is trying to address the addiction problem and whether lawmakers are focusing state resources in the most productive way.


GOVERNOR


Dolly Parton joined Gov. Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine Tuesday to celebrate the partnership between the state and Parton's "Imagination Library" program at the inaugural First Lady's Luncheon at the Ohio Union on the campus of Ohio State University. Ohio has more children enrolled in the program than any other state in the U.S. The first lady said Ohio's enrollment is now 48 percent of the children eligible, up from 40 percent a year ago. Fran DeWine had said she hoped to be at 50 percent by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by the end of 2022, but has revised the goal to 50 percent by the end of 2022.


Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order Tuesday directing federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding to more than 80 organizations for the likes of food assistance, after-school programming, workforce training, prison re-entry and housing. As the order notes, the biennial budget provides $13.5 million in TANF per fiscal year for the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to spend on TANF-allowable expenses. Tuesday's order distributes the FY23 funding. The money is being distributed in amounts from $25,000 to $200,000 to organizations including community action agencies, foodbanks and pantries, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Salvation Army, YMCAs and other nonprofits.


Appointments made during the week include the following:



  • Rebecca Jean Williamson Brown of Salem (Columbiana County) and Adrienne B. Chatters of Pickerington (Fairfield County) to the State Vision Professionals Board for terms beginning Aug. 5 and Aug. 22, 2022, respectively and ending March 22, 2025.

  • Suresh D. Mendpara of Richfield (Summit County) and Melody Lynne Siska of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) reappointed to the Medical Quality Foundation Board for terms beginning Aug. 5, 2022, and ending July 20, 2025.

  • Rocky Joe Parker of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Council for a term beginning Aug. 5, 2022, and ending June 1, 2025.

  • Angel Rae Rhodes of Dublin (Franklin County), Douglas Allen Wolf of Bexley (Franklin County) and Holly S. Kastan of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Children's Trust Fund Board for terms beginning Aug. 5, 2022, and ending July 2, 2025.

  • Abass M. Bangura of Reynoldsburg (Fairfield County) to the New African Immigrants Commission for a term beginning Aug. 5, 2022, and ending Oct. 7, 2024.

  • Daniel P. Sullivan of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the TourismOhio Advisory Board for a term beginning Sept. 28, 2022, and ending Sept. 27, 2025.

GREAT LAKES


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has adjusted its forecast for the harmful algal bloom (HAB) that forms in western Lake Erie, predicting that the bloom will be more severe than initially anticipated. During NOAA's annual forecast announcement held at the end of June, researchers predicted smaller than average HAB this summer, measuring 3.5, with a potential range of 2-4 on the severity index. In a seasonal forecast update issued at the beginning of August, NOAA said that due to greater than normal rainfall in July, it is now expecting a bloom with a severity of 4.5, with a range up to 5.5 due to model uncertainty.


HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES


While scientists have long noted a connection between opioid use disorder (OUD) and chronic pain, brain mechanisms linking the two are poorly understood. In what Ohio State University (OSU) called a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at the Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine and University of Michigan explored one potential brain mechanism, called central sensitization, among individuals with OUD. Central sensitization refers to abnormal pain processing in the brain and spinal cord. People with central sensitization have spinal cords that are unusually good at sending pain signals to the brain and brains that struggle to turn off those signals once they arrive. This means people with greater central sensitization tend to suffer more with pain than others.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Tuesday issued a plan to stretch the supply of a vaccine used to treat monkeypox amid reportedly high demand and limited supply. The FDA issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for the JYNNEOS vaccine to allow health care providers to administer the vaccine by intradermal injection, which means it will be administered between layers of skin rather than beneath the skin as is currently done. By using this method, only a fifth of the full dose is needed for each person.


HIGHER EDUCATION


Eight Northeast Ohio community colleges and four-year public universities have partnered for the Ohio College Comeback Compact, an initiative to create a pathway for college students who left school without a degree and owe money to their former college to settle the debt and continue their education. The compact includes Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College, Lakeland Community College, Lorain County Community College, Kent State University, Stark State College, the University of Akron, and Youngstown State University (YSU). Beginning in August, the compact will contact approximately 15,000 students to come back to any public college in the region, even if they owe money and their transcript is being held because of it, YSU said. Eligible students who previously attended one of the eight institutions can register for classes at any of these colleges and universities. As students make progress toward a degree or certificate, they can get up to $5,000 in debt owed to their former college or university forgiven.


The University of Cincinnati's (UC) College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) named Justin Zhan as professor and head of the newly established Department of Computer Science, effective Tuesday, Aug. 16. Zhan comes to UC from the University of Arkansas, where he was the Arkansas Research Alliance scholar and professor of data science, director of data science core in the Arkansas Integrative Metabolic Research Center, and adjunct professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.


INTEL


Environmental experts speaking at an Ohio State University (OSU) panel discussion on the Intel project focused on water usage and the overall importance of renewable energy amid climate change. Intel has committed to using renewable energy at its facilities in Licking County. OSU's Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA) hosted the discussion, which followed one on the transportation effects as well.


Ohio State University (OSU) has announced a partnership among itself and 11 other schools in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana to form the "Midwest Regional Network to Address National Needs in Semiconductor and Microelectronics," following Intel Corporation's plans to build two chip factories in Ohio. The network was formed following a two-day workshop in April hosted by Ohio State, which said the group plans to develop solutions to support the onshoring of the semiconductor and microelectronics industry and address the industries' research and workforce needs.


LIBRARIES/MUSEUMS


The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded nine grants totaling $2,100,065 to museums and historical centers across Ohio, according to an announcement from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. The funds are meant to help upgrade the facilities, improve learning experiences for attendees, and strengthen community relationships. The awards are a part of three IMLS programs: The Inspire! Grants for Small Museums Initiative, National Leadership Grants, and Museums for America program.


NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES (NCSL)


Hannah News has compiled all of the stories Hannah reporters filed from the 2022 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit held in Denver. That compilation can be found on Hannah's homepage at www.hannah.com>Breaking News.


NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS


Harm Reduction Ohio, a nonprofit provider of naloxone and advocate for those affected by opioids, filed two suits Monday against the OneOhio Recovery Foundation, the nonprofit overseeing Ohio's opioid settlement proceeds, alleging violation of state sunshine laws. The suits filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court and in the Ohio Supreme Court cite elements of the memorandum of understanding establishing OneOhio.


Board members and attorneys for the OneOhio Recovery Foundation debated at its Wednesday meeting the criteria and discretion the board should use in approving grant recommendations from regional bodies, and took a few administrative actions toward getting the foundation staffed and operational. The discussion on regional recommendations revealed enough differences of opinion that the board deferred action on a proposed code of regulations. The foundation board led off Wednesday's meeting with an executive session to respond to litigation filed against it earlier in the week over allegations of open meetings and records violation. After the closed-door discussion, the board approved a motion from Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) for Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, which has been facilitating startup of the organization, to defend against the suits. Should Benesch decide it has a conflict requiring it not to take the assignment, the board's executive committee will select another firm, McColley's motion stated.


OHIO STATE FAIR


Gov. Mike DeWine's Expo 2050 Task Force will likely release its "master plan" by the end of 2022, Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler said Friday. "I am confident that these experts will find a strategic balance that will preserve the history of the Ohio State Fair while also allowing us to grow and modernize our footprint," Strickler said during a special joint meeting of the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee and Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee at the fairgrounds.


The fairgrounds' Taste of Ohio Building was a "zero waste space" for the last three days of the Ohio State Fair, state officials announced. The pilot program was funded by a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) and was administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg). Other partners include Good Land Ohio, Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO), Kroger and Ohio Corn & Wheat. The program encouraged recycling and composting while educating fairgoers on how to take those practices home.


A total of 886,473 people visited the 2022 Ohio State Fair, state officials announced Monday. That total is a decrease of approximately 5 percent compared to the 934,925 people who attended in 2019, Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler said. "Fairs are very weather dependent, and with a few days of rain, it is not surprising that we saw smaller crowds those days. On days with good weather, we saw higher attendance than 2019," Strickler said. "In full, 886,473 visitors walked through the gates at the 2022 Ohio State Fair, and combined revenue was up across the board, with record-setting concession revenue, sponsorships and the highest-ever 'Sale of Champions.'" Livestock at the 2022 Sale of Champions were auctioned for $676,500, a total that "shattered historical records," according to the Ohio State Fair & Expo Center (OSFEC).


PEOPLE


American Electric Power (AEP) announced Wednesday that Executive Vice President Julie Sloat became president effective immediately as Nicholas Akins stepped down from that role. Akins will remain CEO until Dec. 31, at which time Sloat will succeed him in that role as well. She currently serves as CFO, and a replacement for that position is expected to be named by the end of the year. Akins, who has served as president and CEO since 2011, will become executive chair of the AEP Board and remain an executive and officer of the company.


The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) recently hired Aaron Heilers as the director of nutrient management and agricultural policy. In this position, Heilers oversees all aspects of the association's water quality, nutrient management and sustainability efforts, as well as serves as the executive director of the Nutrient Stewardship Council. Heilers' first day with the association was Aug. 1.


TECHNOLOGY/AEROSPACE


The "nation's first" advanced air mobility (AAM) framework was released by DriveOhio after development by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). The report defines AAM as "next-gen technologies to move people and cargo between places not usually served by surface transportation or existing aviation," and said the framework positions Ohio for "anticipated advanced aviation growth throughout the state." It said further that common AAM technologies include electric propulsion, short and vertical takeoff/landing (VTOL) techniques, use of advanced materials and the ability to remotely or autonomously pilot aircraft. Ohio's goal is to employ AAM for "safe, efficient and equitable transportation of people and goods throughout the state."


TELECOMMUNICATIONS/BROADBAND


BroadbandOhio and Cuyahoga County will invest nearly $20 million to provide 25,000 households with high-speed Internet, according to a recent announcement by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and local leaders. The effort includes a partnership with PCs for People, and the neighborhoods involved are some of the least-connected in Cuyahoga County. Service will be provided at a cost of $15 a month, or free for some. BroadbandOhio is contributing $9.7 million, with Cuyahoga County matching that amount. "The funding will mean that more residents in Cuyahoga County will soon be able to connect online with essential services including health care providers, employment services, and educational institutions," Gov. Mike DeWine said. "We are committed to closing the digital divide, whether due to lack of access or affordability, so that these critical services are available to all Ohioans."


TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE


Gov. Mike DeWine and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that the two states jointly submitted a second federal funding application for bridge and roadway improvements along the eight-mile Brent Spence Bridge corridor from the Western Hills Viaduct in Ohio to Dixie Highway in Kentucky. The funding request was made to the Bridge Investment Program and is in addition to the still-pending May 2022 funding request made to the Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant Program. In both applications, the states asked for $1.66 billion in federal grant funding, saying this amount is needed for the project regardless of which discretionary grant program awards the funds. DeWine's office added the states are applying to multiple Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) grant programs to give themselves the best chance of receiving maximum funding.


WORKFORCE


Lt. Gov. Jon Husted told reporters Tuesday the Intel project has been like climbing a series of mountains, with the initial steps of getting the company to select Ohio and then passage of the CHIPS Act already achieved. Now, he said, the state needs to build Intel's supply chain ecosystem and generate the needed workforce for facility construction and operations. Work on the Licking County site has already begun and is "going full speed ahead." There will be "a lot" of construction jobs, which he told Hannah News are the immediate priority. Ohio's educational institutions -- including four-year colleges, community colleges and high school career centers -- are preparing to build workforce capacity. The workers will also need housing in the area. In addition, Ohio State University's Center for Urban and Regional Analysis recently held two discussions on transportation and environmental effects.


Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Tuesday that four training providers will receive a total of $592,215 in the third round of the Individual Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP), supporting 410 credentials. This round of the program – which helps provide free workforce training to Ohioans who are low-income, under- or unemployed -- was focused on broadband and 5G-related credentials. Credential pathways will include 5G and Broadband Deployment, Wireless Broadband Infrastructures and Certified Fiber Optic Installer, among others. Training will be offered in-person and online so Ohioans can take advantage of the program throughout the state. The training providers are Youngstown State University, Ashland University, the Tri-County Career Center and Washington County Joint Vocational School District. They will be reimbursed up to $3,000 for each completed credential issued.



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


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