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Week In Review - December 7, 2020

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.


Legislation requiring the remains of surgically-aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated passed the House by a vote of 60-35 on Thursday afternoon. The bill, SB27 (Uecker), was reported out of the House Civil Justice Committee by a vote of 7-3 earlier in the day after receiving its first hearing since April 2019. The committee added a technical amendment, so the bill will need concurrence from the Senate before it can be sent to Gov. Mike DeWine.


A recent report from nonprofit Ohio Recovery Housing (ORH) found that addiction recovery houses in Ohio received essential monetary support from government agencies that allowed them to stay open and keep beds available for patients amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Funding support from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, State Opioid Response Grants, and local county alcohol, drug and mental health (ADAMH) boards were all cited as being essential to continued recovery home operations.


Fourteen grape growers in Ohio will receive up to $3,000 per acre in grant money to create new vineyards or expand existing ones, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg). The Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program (VEAP) allows wineries to invest in and plant high-quality, high-value grapes on-site instead of purchasing them from other states, ODAg said in a news release.


Nine Ohio-based arts organization received COVID-19 relief grants from Arts Midwest, the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) has announced. The grants, which total $260,000 in the Buckeye State, are part of the second phase of the group's U.S. Regional Arts Resilience Fund, OAC said in a news release. Sixty-one Midwestern arts and culture organizations received $1.5 million in grants during this round of funding. In the first phase, four Ohio arts organizations received $205,000. Thirty Midwestern arts and culture organizations received $1.5 million in the first phase.


Attorney General Dave Yost said Tuesday that a court has granted a temporary restraining order to close a Toledo housing complex for those with mental illness after the death of 50-year-old resident, who was found dead on Nov. 12. Yost had filed a lawsuit earlier this week in the Lucas County Common Pleas Court on behalf of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (Ohio MHAS) that sought an emergency injunction against Clara Mae's Adult Family Home LLC.


The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Trump v. New York Monday. The case is the latest attempt by the Trump administration to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the decennial Census count, which is used to allocate congressional House seats to states.


The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced this week that it is releasing an adoption toolkit as part of National Adoption Month. The toolkit includes a fact sheet, an adoption photolisting, the Children Services Transformation Advisory Council's final report, which was released last week by Gov. Mike DeWine's office, and personal video stories.


The Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) is establishing a $30 million assistance program for indoor air quality improvements at long-term care facilities, following Controlling Board approval Monday and the BWC board's vote to add the appropriated CARES Act funding to the agency budget. The program is funded through $28 million administered by BWC and $2 million from the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA), and each qualified recipient is eligible for up to $15,000 to improve heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Program applicants can include nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care facilities.

The state of Ohio has about $870 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars left to distribute entering the holiday season. With Monday's Controlling Board approval of an additional $68 million in state CARES Act funding and the Ohio Arts Council's recent distribution of $20 million to arts organizations, the remaining state share of dollars that have been appropriated -- but not expended or encumbered -- is about $610 million, according to data provided to Hannah News by the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM). That means there is about $260 million that has not yet been appropriated. OBM Director Kimberly Murnieks told Hannah News that the DeWine administration is still hopeful that Congress and the Trump administration will extend the deadline for using the funds, which is currently Wednesday, Dec. 30. Under current law, if the funds are not used by that time, the money goes back to the federal government.

Legislation that was originally aimed at giving university board of trustee members the ability to attend meetings virtually became an omnibus bill late in the legislative session to address continuing issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, including extending a number of deadlines that had previously been lengthened earlier this year.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of over 100,000 long-term care facility residents and staff, amounting to 40 percent of deaths caused by the disease in the United States, according to a recent brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). As of Nov. 24, 100,033 residents and staff at long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19, according to state reporting in 49 states plus Washington D.C. KFF writes that this is likely an undercount because five states had not updated totals since the week prior, and Alaska does not provide data on deaths in long-term care facilities.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has created a new position of chief health opportunity advisor to support the findings and recommendations of the COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force. Jamie Carmichael, deputy director of public affairs at the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), will fill the position according to a Wednesday release from ODH.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are at an all-time high in Ohio, causing hospitals to make "difficult decisions" about who they can or cannot treat due to capacity concerns and staffing issues, Ohio State University (OSU) Wexner Medical Center Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Andy Thomas said Monday. "COVID patients are going to start crowding out other people who need that level of care as these numbers continue to rise," Thomas said during Gov. Mike DeWine's coronavirus briefing.

The Office of Budget and Management (OBM) announced Wednesday that the Ohio Checkbook now provides data on federal funds awarded and spent in Ohio to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The dashboard, developed with the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Business Intelligence team, is available at

Following through with his threat, Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday vetoed SB311 (McColley-Roegner), saying the bill is "not in the best interest of protecting the health and safety of Ohioans." The bill would place limits on the authority of the state health director in issuing certain health orders as well as give the General Assembly more oversight on those orders.Meanwhile, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina), who suggested Wednesday that his chamber would immediately take up a vote to override the veto, softened his stance on Thursday, saying his comments the previous day were "three or four seconds of commentary for an issue that is more complex than that."In a statement, Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) expressed disappointment with the veto and said he will be discussing the next steps with members of his caucus.

Gov. Mike DeWine was joined by three doctors during his Thursday briefing, all of whom stressed the looming crisis Ohio faces with having sufficient hospital beds -- and staff -- to treat COVID-19 patients as well as other Ohioans in need of medical care. Dr. Andy Thomas of the OSU Wexner Medical Center said their biggest concern is with the increasing number of intensive care unit (ICU) patients, noting hospitals have limits on the number of ICU beds and staff. He said he has already seen the need for hospitals to share ventilators and some facilities are beginning to cut back on non-emergency (although not elective) surgeries.


The Governor's Working Group on Post-Release Control regrouped Monday after a 10-month hiatus to return to its initial recommendations from March following its previous meeting in January. Co-Chairman Reginald Wilkinson, former director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) and current Ohio State University (OSU) board trustee and consultant, said the state is making "significant progress" on evaluating and implementing work group recommendations. "We have more than half of our work done; we do have a few things left to do," current DRC Director Annette Chambers-Smith added. "There are items on the governor's executive order that have not been tackled yet." She placed halfway houses and truth-in-sentencing among them.


The Ohio Department of Public Safety's (ODPS) Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) announced it is awarding federal grant funding to support various components of the criminal justice system throughout Ohio. "These grants provide critical resources to our local government and nonprofit partners, which allow them the flexibility to use the funds in ways that best support their efforts to prevent and reduce crime and violence and serve the needs of survivors using a community-coordinated approach," said OCJS Executive Director Karhlton Moore.

A leading opponent of misdemeanor drug sentencing in SB3 (Eklund-O'Brien) left the door open to a potential compromise Thursday as lawmakers missed an opportunity for final amendments with the lame duck clocking running but floated possible changes to end a stalemate consuming the entire 133rd General Assembly. The Hon. Justice Paul Pfeifer, former justice on the Ohio Supreme Court and now executive director of the Ohio Judicial Conference (OJC), said drug court judges are deeply committed to treatment over punishment and see it as a personal failure when addicts go to prison in testimony before the House Criminal Justice Committee. He recalled the 23 months drug sentencing reform has been before the Legislature.


The STEM education group "Believe in Ohio" announced recently two new professional development opportunities for STEM and business/economics teachers. There are two ways to earn professional development credit through the Believe in Ohio program. The continuing education credit is seven contact hours at no cost, and the college credit through Ashland University is one credit hour and costs $180. Find information about the syllabus and registration forms for each course at

The House Finance Committee adopted several amendments Tuesday to HB305 (Cupp-Patterson), the school funding overhaul that's been debated throughout this General Assembly, and passed the bill out of committee Wednesday.

The vast majority of House members voted Thursday to approve a new school funding formula in HB305 aimed at defining and funding an adequate education for all students and answering the DeRolph litigation. The 84-8 vote marked major progress for the Cupp-Patterson plan that was years in the making but sets up formidable tasks of winning Senate passage and finding the estimated $2 billion it would take to implement the formula. Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) presided over the vote on the plan he shepherded with Rep. John Patterson (R-Lima) and a working group of local education officials for the past few years.


Secretary of State Frank LaRose officially certified the results of the 2020 Presidential General Election on Friday, saying the total number of ballots broke the record that was previously set in 2008. Subsequently, Gov. Mike DeWine signed Ohio's Certificate of Ascertainment, which identifies the appointed electors and the final vote count in Ohio for each candidate in the election, showing President Donald Trump getting the most popular votes and earning the state's 18 electoral votes. However, Democrat Joe Biden has been certified the winner in enough states to make him president-elect, breaking Ohio's streak of voting for the winner of the presidential election dating back to 1960.

President Donald Trump should invoke "martial law" and direct the U.S. military to oversee a new election, We The People Convention (WTPC) President and Portage County Tea Party Executive Director Tom Zawistowski said Tuesday. In a news release, Zawistowski said his full-page ad in the Washington Times demands that the president take the extreme action if "legislators, courts and the Congress do not follow the Constitution."Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, responded to the ad on social media, saying, "This ad, though protected by the First Amendment, is utterly irresponsible, ahistorical and without precedent or legal rationale."


For the week ending Nov. 21, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 30,177 initial unemployment claims to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This is the fourth straight week that the number of new jobless claims has increased. During the previous week, ODJFS reported nearly 25,000 new jobless claims.

Ohioans who apply for unemployment benefits on or after Sunday, Dec. 6 will be required to conduct work-search activities because of an expiring section of state law (Section 19 of 133-HB197), the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced Wednesday. Work-search requirements will be waived for individuals quarantined or isolated by order of a medical professional, local health authority or employer, per an executive order from Gov. Mike DeWine.

For the week ending Nov. 28, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 27,750 initial unemployment claims to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). That number is slightly fewer than what was reported during the last weekly period, which was 30,177. Thursday's report breaks a four-week streak of rising new jobless claims in the state.


The state's four electric distribution utilities (EDU) will charge five million Ohio ratepayers over $170 million in "tainted" nuclear subsidies in 2021 without an immediate intervention by the embattled Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to subject HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) charges to a rare customer refund, the Office of Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) said in a round of commission filings. That figure breaks down to more than $68 million in "corporate welfare" aimed at FirstEnergy's 2.1 million customers, more than $57 million at American Electric Power (AEP) of Ohio's 1.5 million customers, over $26 million at Duke Energy's 718,000 customers, and more than $18.5 million at Dayton Power and Light's (DP&L) 519,000 customers, Consumers' Counsel Bruce Weston explains in four separate dockets for the Ohio EDUs.

Energy efficiency (EE) remains the largest energy sector in Ohio despite losses to COVID-19 and would more than make up for the 2020 downturn with new federal stimulus, a pair of think tanks state in a new report on EE job numbers state-by-state and nationwide. Produced by E2 and E4TheFuture with support from east-/west-coast consultants BW Research Partnership, "Energy Efficiency Jobs in America" puts Ohio's total energy efficiency job losses at nearly 11,000 as of mid-October, wiping out three years of industry gains in the Buckeye State.

The next head of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) will face the difficult task of improving on the average 19-month tenures of its last five chairmen -- surpassed only by Kasich appointee Asim Haque -- and of leading a commission rocked by former Chairman Sam Randazzo's resignation following an FBI raid of his home and a FirstEnergy revelation of $4 million in "questionable" payments to an unnamed utility regulator. The 12-member PUCO Nominating Council restarted the application process Monday to fill the unexpired term of Randazzo, who was Gov. Mike DeWine's appointment to the chairmanship upon Haque's departure.

The newest Republican-sponsored bill seeking to address scandal-plagued energy subsidy law HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) would delay the nuclear bailout charge to ratepayers by one year -- to Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. The legislation, HB798 (Hoops), would also delay Energy Harbor's first potential subsidy disbursement to April 2022, Rep. Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) told members of the House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight, which he chairs. Hoops said the bill requires an annual audit to be completed by an "experienced independent third party," and that Energy Harbor "must comply with any document requested or the credits may cease."

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) appointed an independent accounting firm Wednesday to audit FirstEnergy for the period covering the introduction, passage and signing of HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) and the subsequent ballot campaign to overturn it -- granting Marcum LLP full authority to examine internal records the utility had sought to protect from the commission and the Office of Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC).

In the second hearing of HB798 (Hoops) before the House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight Thursday, opponents criticized the bill's delay of HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) nuclear bailout charges to ratepayers by one year as a "timeout" for EnergyHarbor, formerly known as FirstEnergy Solutions, saying the utility would be allowed to collect a subsidy a year later than was planned under HB6.


The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) has closed on $100,000 in bond financing to support LaFrance Cleaners in Mahoning County, the agency announced Tuesday. The financing, along with a $20,000 grant from OAQDA, was provided through the agency's Clean Air Resource Center (CARC), which aims to make clean air compliance accessible and affordable for small businesses.


U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) announced Thursday that she has been elected as the 27th chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.


Joint Senate sponsors of sports gaming legislation unveiled the contents of a proposed substitute bill Tuesday that would earmark 98 percent of all tax proceeds for education -- specifically for extracurricular activities including arts, music and athletics. Sens. John Eklund (R-Chardon) and Sean O'Brien (D-Cortland) summarized SB111 amendments -- as yet unseen and unintroduced -- during invited remarks before the Senate General Government and Agency Review Committee.


Rep. John Becker (R-Cincinnati) said Tuesday evening that his health is improving and that he's working again. Becker shared last week that he'd been home sick with a number of symptoms consistent with COVID-19, although he didn't mention the virus.

Rep. John Becker (R-Cincinnati) was joined by three of his Republican colleagues Monday to officially file 12 articles of impeachment against Gov. Mike DeWine, something they said they would do earlier this year. In response, DeWine said the lawmakers need to spend more time talking to health professionals about the COVID-19 pandemic and less time playing politics.

The Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee considered further changes to HB38 (Hillyer) Tuesday, with multiple amendments discussed but not formally brought up for adoption. It also received testimony from the hotel and lodging industry, which seeks support through some of those changes. The committee previously accepted a sub bill, and HB38 currently includes changes to the Business Linked Deposit Program, General Loan Law, Ohio Banking Law, Consumer Installment Loan Act and Residential Mortgage Loan Law in addition to the initial topic of commercial credit reporting.

Senate Democrats re-elected Sen. Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) as minority leader and Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) as assistant minority leader, also adding Sens. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) to the leadership team as whip and assistant whip, respectively.

During Wednesday’s Senate session, the chamber passed SB334 (Craig-Brenner), to recognize Juneteenth; SB331 (Roegner), the latest sunset review bill; HB412 (Clites-Ginter), to establish a Rare Disease Advisory Council; SB302 (Eklund-Antonio), regarding stroke treatment; HB325 (Miller-Howse), to designate Feb. 18 as “Toni Morrison Day”; SB263 (Hackett), regarding the federal 340B drug pricing program; and concurred with House amendments to SB21 (Dolan), regarding benefit corporations; and SB318 (Kunze-Williams), to extending the women’s suffrage centennial commission.

Wednesday’s House session saw passage of SB284 (Hottinger-Peterson), regarding reinsurance as well as mental health parity; SB40 (Brenner-McColley), regarding campus speech policies; HB188 (Crawley-Cross), providing protections for the parental rights of people with disabilities; HB558 (Abrams), requiring children services agencies to report abuse or neglect involving military families to the appropriate military authorities; HB220 (Carfagna), allowing government jurisdictions to use blockchain technology; and HB509 (Fraizer), regarding residential care inspections.

Aside from votes on the Cupp-Patterson school funding plan and a measure on disposal of aborted fetal remains, the House Thursday passed HB231 (Greenspan), regarding epinephrine and glucagon use in emergencies at schools; SCR8 (Roegner-Peterson), urging Congress to permanently extend daylight saving time; HB345 (Jones), regarding unclaimed vehicles at towing businesses; HB374 (Plummer-Manchester), regarding massage therapy and human trafficking; SB201 (Dolan), regarding alternate employer organizations; HB428 (Wiggam-A. Miller), to expand eligibility for veteran ID cards; HB473 (T. Smith), allowing the state motto to be used alongside the state seal; and HB539 (Ghanbari), regarding township police enforcement of traffic laws on interstates.

The Senate agreed to a conference committee report on SB1 (McColley-Roegner) Thursday as one sponsor called it the "strongest regulatory reform bill Ohio has passed" in her time in the General Assembly. The vote on the bill was split mostly along party lines, with Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) saying her caucus still has "some fundamental issues with the legislation," but adding that the change in the conference committee did make it better.

Republicans said the bill will make some long-needed changes to Ohio's regulatory structure, with sponsor Sen. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) saying she was excited about the bill. Other bills passed by the Senate included HB24 (Hambley), regarding humane societies; and HB340 (Cupp), regarding drainage laws; and concurrence with House amendments to SB40 (Brenner-McColley), regarding campus speech policies.

In other legislative action, House Commerce and Labor Committee reported out HB328 (Baldridge), regarding firefighting foam; House Financial Institutions Committee reported out SB277 (Schuring), regarding the Ohio Pooled Collateral Program; House Health Committee reported out HB418 (Clites-Carruthers), regarding medication switching; HB482 (Clites-Manchester), regarding the 340B drug pricing program; SB97 (S. Huffman), regarding health care cost estimates; SB236 (S. Huffman), regarding radiation control; SB252 (Hackett-Craig), prohibiting “fail first” coverage of drugs for stage four cancer; SB229 (Schaffer), designating Diabetes Awareness-Heart Connection Week; House State and Local Government Committee reported out SCR8 (Roegner-Peterson), urging the permanent extension of daylight saving time; and HB473 (J. Smith), regarding the state motto and seal; House Transportation and Public Safety Committee reported out HB125 (Koehler), regarding the Second Chance Trust Fund; HB202 (K. Smith-Weinstein), regarding electric vehicle infrastructure; HB501 (Wiggam-Kick), regarding animal drawn vehicle requirements; HB372 (Merrin), regarding drive license renewals; and highway naming and license plate bills HB766 (Sweeney), HB769 (Brinkman), HB776 (Antani), HB780 (Romanchuk-Jones); Senate Education Committee reported out SB358 (Fedor-Manning), regarding education flexibility during the pandemic; Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee reported out HB150 (Merrin), regarding community bank tax limits; Senate Judiciary Committee reported out HB368 (Baldridge), regarding computer crimes; and HB251 (Lang-Hillyer), regarding the period of limitations for actions on a contract.


Gov. Mike DeWine signed Executive Order 2020-39D: Directing Expenditure of Fiscal Year 2021 TANF Funds by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) on Wednesday. The order authorizes the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to expend up to $13,285,000 during FY21 on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) allowable expenses. According to a release from DeWine's office, the FY21 budget will be allocated to over 50 nonprofit organizations throughout Ohio.

Over the holiday weekend, Gov. Mike DeWine signed bills to let podiatrists administer the flu vaccine and to enact numerous education law changes, including an overhaul of the EdChoice school voucher program. DeWine signed both SB89 (M. Huffman) and SB178 (Schuring) on Friday.

Appointments made during the week include the following:

  • Edward L. Daniels of New Holland (Fayette County) to the Shawnee State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending June 30, 2029.

  • H. Christian Scott of Gallipolis (Gallia County) to the Rio Grande Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Oct. 10, 2025.

  • Mark D. Walton of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) and John I. Silverman of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) reappointed to the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Board of Trustees for terms beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Aug. 31, 2026.

  • Ruth Milligan of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Ohio Commission on Service and Volunteerism for a term beginning Nov. 16, 2020 and ending April 21, 2023.

  • Pamela S. Steurer of Lewis Center (Delaware Co) reappointed to the Ohio Commission on Service and Volunteerism for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending April 21, 2023.

  • Angel Rhodes of Dublin (Franklin County) to the Children's Trust Fund Board for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending July 2, 2022.

  • Philip M. Walton of Perrysburg (Wood County) reappointed to the Ohio Advisory Council for Aging for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending November 21, 2023.

  • Taniya George-Olds of Brook Park (Cuyahoga County) to the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Council for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending June 1, 2023.

  • Debbie L. Lozano of Mentor (Lake County), Courtney R. Hineman of Hamilton (Butler County), Brian H. Veith of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) and William Ackman of Upper Arlington (Franklin County) to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council for terms beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Dec. 31, 2022.

  • Jean Jakovlic of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Dec. 31, 2022.

  • Amanda L. Via of Pleasant Hill (Miami County) to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council for a term beginning Jan. 1, 2021 and ending Dec. 31, 2023.

  • David R. McNelly of Millfield (Athens County) reappointed to the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Oct. 26, 2023.

  • Christina Rodriguez of Toledo (Lucas County) to the Ohio Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Dec. 30, 2022.

  • William D. Wells of Galena (Delaware County) reappointed to the Franklin Park Conservatory Joint Recreation District Board for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Aug. 31, 2023.

  • Crystal M. C. Davis of Twinsburg (Summit County) to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 1, 2023.

  • Danielle Giannantonio of Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 1, 2022.

  • Valerie L. Freda of Logan (Hocking County) to the TourismOhio Advisory Board for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 27, 2021.

  • Larry R. Dinkins Jr. of Uniontown (Summit County) to the Ohio Rail Development Commission for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Oct. 20, 2021.

  • Eric B. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Cleveland Field Office, and James J. Fitsko of Marion (Marion County) reappointed to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission for terms beginning Nov. 17, 2020 and ending Sept. 20, 2023.

  • Gwen Howe-Gebers of Holgate (Henry County) reappointed to Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Aug. 21, 2024.

  • R. Dean Boerger of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Ohio Private Investigation and Security Services Commission for a term beginning Jan. 1, 2021 and ending Dec. 31, 2024.

  • Randolph R. Armbruster of Waverly (Pike County) and Tracy L. Smith of Lewis Center (Delaware County) to the State Fire Council for terms beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Nov. 1, 2021.

  • Douglas L. Steidl of Peninsula (Summit County) reappointed to the Ohio Architects Board for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Oct. 2, 2025.

  • John G. Reiner of Dublin (Delaware County) reappointed to the Ohio Landscape Architects Board for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Nov. 9, 2025.

  • Theresa M. Blocher of Paris (Stark Count) reappointed to the State Auctioneers Commission for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Oct. 9, 2023.

  • Robert A. Schuerger II of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio Athletic Commission for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 2, 2023.

  • William H. Graf of Grove City (Franklin County) to the Ohio Board of Motor Vehicle Repair for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Jan. 1, 2023.

  • Yeshwant P. Reddy of Dublin (Franklin County) to the State Medical Board for a term beginning Dec. 14, 2020 and ending March 18, 2025.

  • Jeffrey N. Sczpanski of Hilliard (Franklin County) and Trevor M. Bates of Sylvania (Lucas County) reappointed to the Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainers Board for terms beginning Nov. 18, 2020 and ending Aug. 27, 2023.

  • Trevor J. Vessels of Dublin (Franklin County) to the State Dental Board for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending April 6, 2021.

  • Michael J. Scharfenberger of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) and Amy L. Francis of Hubbard (Trumbull County) reappointed to the Board of Executives of Long-term Services and Supports for terms beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending May 27, 2023.

  • Jonathan C. Fortkamp of Columbus (Franklin County), Bryon M. Murray of Columbus (Franklin County), Kerry T. Krugh of Liberty Center (Henry County), and Lawrence S. Osher of Beachwood (Cuyahoga County) reappointed to the Radiation Advisory Council for terms beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 6, 2025.

  • Robert K. Schmitz of Bexley (Franklin County) reappointed to the Industrial Commission Nominating Council for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Oct. 20, 2022.

  • John E. Leland of Kettering (Montgomery County) reappointed to the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee for a term beginning Jan. 1, 2021 and ending Dec. 31, 2021.

  • Paul M. Daines of Patriot (Gallia County) reappointed to the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending June 2, 2025.

  • Petersen W. Niehoff of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Board of Trustees of the Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Association for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 15, 2023.

  • Brian M. Perera of Upper Arlington (Franklin County) reappointed to the Board of Trustees of the Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Association for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 15, 2024.

  • Wade Steen of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the State Teachers Retirement System for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 27, 2024.

  • Daniel L. Wilson of Novelty (Geauga County) reappointed to the School Employees Retirement Board for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 27, 2024.

  • JP Allen of Wooster (Ashland County) reappointed to the State Highway Patrol Retirement System for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 26, 2024.

  • Charles O. Moore of Genoa Township (Delaware Co.) reappointed to the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund for a term beginning Nov. 25, 2020 and ending Sept. 27, 2024.


Ohioans should be allowed to use deadly force against an aggressor if they believe they are in immediate danger of death or serious bodily harm in nearly any location or situation, Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) said Thursday. "My right to defend myself from serious bodily harm or death does not change just because I am outside the walls of my home. My right to defend myself from serious bodily harm or death does not change if I am inside or outside my car. My right to defend myself from serious bodily harm or death should be extended to anywhere I am lawfully allowed to be," Koehler told the House Civil Justice Committee during sponsor testimony on HB796, which would remove the duty to retreat regardless of a person's reasonable ability to avoid the danger.


Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the trade group for pharmaceutical companies, recently announced the available of grants to address racial and ethnic disparities in medication utilization and adherence. The organization is offering $25,000 grants through its Collaborative Actions to Reach Equity (CAREs) grants program. PhRMA wants conceptual papers that respond to the following question: "What are practical, scalable and community-focused approaches to address and ultimately close the gap on racial/ethnic disparities in medication utilization and adherence?"Letters of intent to apply are due by 11:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. Application information is available at

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) would be prohibited from imposing certain extra fees on health care providers participating in a federal program designed to financially assist facilities that provide care to underserved populations under legislation reported out by the House Health Committee on Tuesday. HB482 (Clites-Manchester) was one of several health care-related bills that was reported out on a bipartisan basis during the lengthy afternoon meeting. Others included price transparency reform bill SB97 (S. Huffman) and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Radiation Control Program revision bill SB236 (S. Huffman).

Representatives from the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio and Children's Defense Fund held a news conference Thursday to discuss the urgent need for Congress to pass "robust" COVID-19 relief for struggling Ohio families in the face of the coming winter months.

Columbus-based Nationwide Children's Hospital announced Thursday that it would be acquiring Mercy Health - Children's Hospital in Toledo effective Jan. 1, 2022. The two hospitals became formal affiliates on Jan. 1, 2020.


A slight majority of Americans believe that college athletes should be allowed to be paid more than what it costs them to go to school, according to a new national study of nearly 4,000 people. Findings from the National Sports and Society Survey (NSASS), led by researchers at Ohio State University (OSU), suggest that 51 percent of adults agree that college athletes should have the ability to be paid above school costs, while 41 percent disagree and 8 percent didn't have an opinion.

Ohio State University (OSU) is again having a virtual commencement for fall 2020 graduates. The event will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. Jerry Revish, a former television news anchor for WBNS-TV who retired last November after 45 years in the business, has been selected as the commencement speaker.

Ohio State University (OSU) President Kristina Johnson announced in an email to the OSU community Tuesday that Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce McPheron has decided to step down from his role effective this summer. McPheron will continue as provost through June 30, 2021 and will then continue with the university as a professor of entomology in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Miami University recently announced that Jason Lane will become dean of its College of Education, Health and Society (EHS) on June 1. Lane is the current dean of the School of Education and professor of educational policy and leadership at the University at Albany, which is part of the State University of New York (SUNY). Lane will succeed Michael Dantley, who has been the EHS dean since June 2015. Dantley is retiring at the end of December, and an interim dean will be appointed soon to serve from Jan. 1 through May 31, 2021.

Bowling Green State University (BGSU) recently announced the receipt of a $1 million gift from the Owens Corning Foundation to create scholarships for underrepresented students in the School of the Built Environment within BGSU's College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering. The Owens Corning Scholars Program will support students studying architecture, construction management, or other majors in the building sciences field, according to a release from the university.

The University of Dayton (UD) announced it's launching a new Military and Veteran Advisory Committee meant to help ensure veterans and service members attending and working at UD receive the services and programs they need to be successful.


The state of Ohio should ensure that individuals and families can remain in their homes during the winter as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen and as current financial relief programs are set to expire soon, Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus) and Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) said Thursday.


The American Board of Trial Advocates' (ABOTA) Ohio Chapter has presented Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor its Professionalism Award for her judicial leadership under COVID-19. "Chief Justice O'Connor has clearly been our bellwether and led us through the crucible in this court coronavirus calamity ...," President Mark Kitrick of the ABOTA Ohio Chapter said in a statement. "Our main mission, besides the highest ethics, is to keep the doors open."

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio says it is protecting the health of staff and constituents by continuing "all civil and criminal" jury trials to 2021 and restricting grand jury gatherings to once a month through Jan. 26. The federal court is generally halting all in-person proceedings at its three locations in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton, except for exigencies.

Ohio State University led the state's other public and private law schools by a wide margin in the latest bar exam, yielding 144 successful test-takers. They are among 741 aspiring lawyers constituting a 77.4 percent overall success rate on the October test -- its highest percentage since July 2013. First-time test-takers achieved 85.3 percent passage.


Attorney Steve Goodin has temporarily replaced Cincinnati Councilman Jeffrey Pastor, according to media reports, following Pastor's recent acceptance of a suspension.


Ohio's young hunters checked 5,795 white-tailed deer during the 2020 two-day youth gun season on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 21-22, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife (DOW).

Ohio's 2020 white-tailed deer archery hunting season has proven to be bountiful for many Buckeye State hunters, with 74,892 deer taken through Tuesday, Nov. 24, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. That number represents an 11 percent increase from the average harvest total from the same date during the past three seasons, which is 67,318, ODNR said in a news release.

Ohio's largest public shooting range, located at Delaware Wildlife Area in Northern Delaware County, will open Friday, Dec. 4, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife (DOW). The shooting range was previously closed while improvements and renovations were completed, as well as construction of a new indoor Archery Training Center, the department said in a news release.


Hannah News’ Faces on Capitol Square interview series featured Mark Seifarth. In his 40-year career advocating for the disability community, he's seen changes small and large to the policy landscape across the many positions he's held in government, having started as an intern for the Legislative Service Commission (LSC), to chairing the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, to working in Washington, D.C. as the congressional liaison for the National Council on Disabilities. And for Seifarth, he sees his work as a highly personal extension of his lived experience, himself being a person with cerebral palsy, which affects his lower motor function from the waist down. His condition means he can walk short distances, but as he's now in his 60s, he uses his wheelchair and scooter most of the time.

This week brought the retirement of two veteran Capitol Square journalists at the Columbus Dispatch. Cathy Candisky, long-time education and health and human services reporter, and Mary Yost, editorial page editor, former reporter and previously vice president of public affairs for the Ohio Hospital Association, are both retiring.


Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, who has helmed the state party since 2015, sent a letter to members of the state party's executive committee Monday announcing his intention to step down by the end of the year. Pepper's three-page letter touted his accomplishments over the five years, including the re-election of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and winning three seats on the Ohio Supreme Court. But he also noted the areas where the party came up short in that time.


The Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) released provisional statistics Monday on traffic incidents during the Thanksgiving holiday period from Wednesday, Nov. 25 at midnight through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29, saying there were nine deaths in nine fatal crashes. That represented a reduction from 2019's holiday period in which 18 people died in 15 crashes. The nine deaths this year included two pedestrians and four people who were not wearing a seatbelt, according to the release. Two of the crashes involved impaired driving, the release added.


The Road to Our Future Joint Legislative Study Committee approved its final report during its last meeting of the General Assembly, choosing to issue no recommendations. During Tuesday's meeting, Co-Chair Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) said that he intended to have a more robust discussion of the issues before the committee, but the pandemic made it hard to hold more hearings. The joint committee was only able to hold four of its eight planned meetings.

Ohio is well-placed for the future of "advanced air mobility" technology, including unmanned aerial systems, according to speakers at a Thursday webinar featuring DriveOhio and partnering organizations. DriveOhio Executive Director Howard Wood said this will include increased connectivity as well as autonomous and electric aerial vehicles and that "few states can boast Ohio's assets" in the field. Those include the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center in Springfield operated by DriveOhio, SkyVision assets providing beyond-line-of-sight drone testing, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and NASA facilities.


A Franklin County judge recently approved a request from the Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) and its former pharmacy benefit manager, OptumRx, to further delay proceedings in their legal battle. A trial is now set for November 2021 in the lawsuit in which Attorney General Dave Yost alleges OptumRx overcharged BWC by millions of dollars when it breached contract terms requiring it to reimburse claims for multi-source generic drugs based on certain benchmarks.

[Story originally published in The Hannah Report. Copyright 2020 Hannah News Service, Inc.]

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