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Week in Review - July 10, 2023


Ohio statehouse government affairs week in review January 2023


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

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




AGRICULTURE

Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) member company employees can now be nominated for the following OABA "Industry Excellence Awards":

  • Achievement as an Emerging Leader

  • Excellence in Customer Service

  • Excellence in Safety and Stewardship.

Nominations must be submitted by Friday, Aug. 4. To nominate an employee, visit https://tinyurl.com/3wmbw3s3.


ARTS, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT


Ohio State Fair officials are partnering with "American Idol" to help find and showcase Ohio's best vocalists in 2023, the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair announced Wednesday. Videos from the top five submissions will be played before Ohio State Fair concerts in the WCOL Celeste Center. The top eight contestants will win "VIP Front of Line" passes to audition for the American Idol Across America virtual auditions. The winner will receive the grand prize, which is a private audition with American Idol executive producers. Virtual auditions are open now through Wednesday, July 19 at 11:59 p.m., with all contest details available at https://tinyurl.com/4rzfert6 .


The Buckeye State was recently ranked as the fourth-best state for summer road trips in a study by personal finance site WalletHub, placing behind only Texas, New York and North Carolina. There were also three subcategories, with Ohio 12th in Activities, 18th in Costs and 21st in Safety. Rankings for neighboring states included Pennsylvania, 13th; Michigan, 18th; Kentucky, 28th; West Virginia, 36th; and Indiana, 39th. Ohio led them in the Activities subcategory, was second to Pennsylvania for Safety; and was fourth in Costs behind Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia.


ATTORNEY GENERAL


Attorney General (AG) Dave Yost is now accepting applications from high school juniors and seniors for the Teen Ambassador Board, described as an "immersive experience" offering firsthand knowledge of Ohio law and government. Yost says the board seeks to cultivate future leaders by introducing teens to the challenges and opportunities of governance and allowing them to refine leadership skills while preparing for a possible career in public service. All students who will be seniors in the upcoming academic year are eligible to apply at tinyurl.com/y99x8r5n. The application deadline is Friday, July 21.


BALLOT ISSUES


The group behind a proposed reproductive and abortion rights amendment said it submitted 710,131 signatures to the secretary of state's office Wednesday in an effort to get the constitutional amendment before voters in November. Wednesday was the deadline for proposed ballot issues to submit signatures. Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights submitted its signatures Wednesday morning, followed by a press conference featuring supporters of the amendment. In order to qualify for the ballot, county boards of elections will have to validate 413,487 of the signatures, and there must be signatures equal to at least 5 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor in 44 counties.


Ohioans seeking to legalize marijuana for adults ages 21 and older are another step closer to placing a measure on the ballot this fall. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) on Wednesday submitted 222,198 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State's Office to place its initiated statute on the November ballot, CRMLA spokesperson Tom Haren told Hannah News. A total of 124,046 valid signatures are necessary to make the ballot. The first round of signatures for the initiated statute were submitted in late December 2021, when CRMLA turned in 206,943 signatures. After having to collect additional valid signatures, the issue was then delayed due to technical legal issues. When the proposal was eventually transmitted to the General Assembly, the Legislature did not act on it.


FY24-25 BUDGET


Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted recounted the enactment of their priorities through the new FY24-25 budget bill at a news conference on Wednesday, while DeWine offered more explanation on why he made some of his 44 line-item vetoes in HB33 (Edwards). He also forecast near-term announcements on leadership for the new Department of Children and Youth (DCY) and the renamed and reformed Department of Education and Workforce (DEW). DeWine said he had set up transition teams to guide implementation of both departments. DeWine declined to say whether he thinks transfer of most education policy authority to a cabinet position from the State Board of Education should lead to changes of the board's structure. The 19-person board has 11 members elected to represent districts of more than one million people apiece, plus eight gubernatorial appointees. "I'm going to pass on that. I think we have to see how this thing plays out. They certainly still have functions, and I don't see an immediate need to do anything about that," DeWine said. He also said to expect the announcement of a DCY director "shortly."

Before taking press questions, DeWine and Husted spent more than half an hour outlining how the final version aligned to the goals they laid out in the beginning -- reforms to nursing home oversight and quality incentives, greater emphasis and resources for literacy instruction aligned to the "science of reading," investment in the build-out of a community mental health system, policies to encourage more housing development, and funding for economic development, among many other provisions.


DeWine late Monday night signed HB33 (Edwards), the FY24-25 operating budget, vetoing a total of 44 items in the process. The signing occurred at the very end of the three-day interim budget enacted by the Legislature to give time both for enrolling the final version of the budget and for the governor to review what was passed in the now over 6,000-page budget. Two years ago, the governor vetoed only 14 items.


The Legislature concluded its work on the budget on Friday, June 30 just ahead of the start of FY24, thus necessitating the enactment of a three-day interim budget – which was included in the Bureau of Workers' Compensation budget bill, HB31 (Edwards). The conference committee on HB33 did not meet until Friday afternoon but then worked through nearly 900 items of difference. The committee approved the report along party lines. Both chambers then approved the HB33 conference committee report with the Senate passing it along party lines 25-6. The House vote of 67-30 was not entirely along party lines with Reps. Rachel Baker (D-Cincinnati), Sean Brennan (D-Parma), Richard Dell'Aquila (D-Seven Hills), Michele Grim (D-Toledo), Bride Sweeney (D-Cleveland), Dan Troy (D-Willowick), and Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) voting in favor. Reps. Bill Dean (R-Xenia), Ron Ferguson (R-Wintersville), Beth Lear (R-Galena), Jena Powell (R-Arcanum), Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Minerva), Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster), and Bernard Willis (R-Springfield) voted against it.


IT’S IN THE FY24-25 BUDGET


The Ohio Manufacturers' Association (OMA) thanked the governor for salvaging the state's "used and useful" standard for utility infrastructure in his veto of hundreds of millions of dollars in what the Office of Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) described as subsidies to have been awarded by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to electric and natural gas companies. OMA and OCC say it is a victory for energy consumers large and small. Gov. Mike DeWine included "All Ohio Future Fund" language in R.C. 4928.85-89 in his 44 vetoes Monday to HB33 (Edwards). The legislation would have allowed PUCO to authorize fund disbursements or a new customer billing rider supporting electric and natural gas build-out in anticipation of future economic development.


With the breadth of issues debated and the compressed timeline for consideration, biennial budgets typically include a variety of study panels and task forces for lawmakers to learn more about a program or policy. The latest budget is no exception. Among topics the study groups will tackle are pain management for individuals prescribed opioids for long periods of time; Medicaid costs; court-appointed advocates; economically disadvantaged students; minority contracting; and gambling.


The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) reported that the FY24-25 operating budget includes a new program to provide $200 million in one-time funding for capital improvements to support career technical education. The program is available to not only joint vocational schools but also comprehensive career technical schools and career technical compacts. It was also noted that the budget bill extends the window in which school districts can pass a levy. With the removal of August special elections, she said the number of opportunities for schools to pass a levy was reduced from three to two.


CRIME AND PUNISHMENT


U.S. District Judge Timothy Black on Friday sentenced former Ohio Republican Party Chair Matt Borges to five years in prison for his role in the 133-HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) racketeering conspiracy. In March, a jury found Borges and former House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) guilty of violating the racketeering statute. Householder was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday. Both Borges and Householder faced up to 20 years in prison. Both Householder and Borges have been remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals.


EAST PALESTINE DERAILMENT


Gov. Mike DeWine Monday requested that President Joe Biden issue a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration relating to the Norfolk Southern train derailment and release of hazardous chemicals that occurred in East Palestine. Monday was the deadline set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following a previous extension request. "The possibility remains that the voluntary support provided by Norfolk Southern could at some point in the future cease, and this declaration is needed to ensure that the state and federal government use all resources available to step in and provide the community with needed assistance," DeWine stated in his letter to President Biden.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT


The Ohio Department of Development (DOD) announced recently that applications for the Opportunity Zone Tax Credit program can be submitted beginning Monday, July 10 at 10 a.m. and are now available for review beforehand. The application window runs through 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 1. Under 134-SB225 (Schuring), a second application round per fiscal year was added to the program. This round covers investments occurring Jan. 1-June 30, 2023, while the second round, in January 2024, will be for investments occurring July 1-Dec. 31, 2023. Eligible applicants include entities that invested in an Ohio Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) which in turn invested that capital in a Qualified Opportunity Zone property in Ohio. More information is available at https://tinyurl.com/dcj9s67a.


JobsOhio released its 2022 annual report Wednesday, celebrating what President and CEO J.P. Nauseef has previously called "record performance" during the year. Nauseef and Chairman of the Board Robert Smith noted that JobsOhio posted 296 "project wins" during the year which are set to create 26,323 new jobs. They added that committed corporate capital project investments "reached an astounding $30.87 billion, tripling the previous record of $9.56 billion set in 2017."


ELECTIONS 2024


Rep. Susan Manchester (R-Lakeview) will be launching her bid for the Ohio Senate later this month, according to an email from her campaign. This is the seat currently held by Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima). He is unable to run for re-election due to term limits. Manchester will be joined at her announcement by Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon). The event will be held at Manchester Farms on Thursday, July 20.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose took to social media on Independence Day to drop a hint that he will be announcing his long-expected run for U.S. Senate in 2024 this week. A picture he posted on social media showed a Federal Elections Commission form used to organize a campaign committee along with a post-it note stating "this week to do."


ENERGY/UTILITIES


Two top executives from the Office of Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) are vying for the agency's lead role after recent promotions to their current posts. Deputy Consumers' Counsel Angela O'Brien, who rose from assistant consumers' counsel, and OCC Acting Legal Director Maureen Willis, the agency's senior regulatory attorney until April, will face Owens Corning Senior Counsel and Dickinson Wright of counsel Madeline Fleisher, who interviewed for the top spot at Friday's special meeting of the OCC Governing Board. Fleisher is the only remaining candidate for consumers' counsel from the original round of applicants after McNees Wallace & Nurick of counsel and former assistant consumers' counsel Bryce McKenney withdrew and two other candidates were deemed unqualified. The position was reposted which is when O'Brien and Willis threw their hats in the ring.


ENVIRONMENT


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) on Friday submitted its Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan for the Maumee River watershed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for final review and approval. The plan proposes reductions in phosphorus loading in the watershed, Ohio EPA said. "The TMDL allocates loads to different sources that will achieve needed load reductions to meet water quality standards. To do this, Ohio EPA considers the relative contribution of each source, the available technology for managing load reductions, the cost of implementing technology, and more," the TMDL report says. "With these considerations in mind, the TMDL's allocations reflect the fact that nonpoint sources contribute the majority of the existing phosphorus load from the Maumee watershed," the report continues. "These allocations reflect an overall load reduction of approximately 40 percent from the 2008 baseline total phosphorus load. An additional 3 percent of the load is reserved for a margin of safety."


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE


In addition to accepting the conference committee report on biennial budget HB33 (Edwards) and accepting Senate amendments to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) budget HB31 (Edwards), the House Friday passed legislation requiring employers to provide pay statements to employees and modifying the homestead exemption for families of disabled veterans. Both HB106 (Jarrells-Lipps), the Pay Stub Protection Act, and SB43 (Brenner), addressing the homestead exemption, passed unanimously.


After session, House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) told reporters that it was time to move on from 133-HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) after the sentencing of former Speaker Larry Householder, despite the move by some House members to try to repeal subsidies for two coal plants that were in the legislation. Stephens said that over the last two sessions, every piece of HB6 had been re-vetted and addressed by the Legislature. "This issue is over from a legislative standpoint," he said. "We have decided it and to bring it up -- it's no accident that it's happening this week -- it is nothing but political theater."


GOVERNOR


Appointments made during the week include the following:

  • Natalie M. Dando of Uniontown (Summit County) to serve as a student member on the Youngstown State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending April 30, 2025.


  • Joseph B. Cortas of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to serve as a student member on the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending May 13, 2025.


  • Omer S. Ashruf of Solon (Cuyahoga County) to serve as a student member on the Northeast Ohio Medical University Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending June 29, 2025.


  • Akshat Shah of Eastlake (Lake County) to serve as a student member on the Cleveland State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending May 1, 2025.


  • Nikki C. Byrd of Shaker Heights (Cuyahoga County) to the Cleveland State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending May 1, 2032.


  • Markee L. Osborne of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Shawnee State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending June 30, 2025 and Sallie Schisler of Portsmouth (Scioto County) for a term beginning July 1, 2023, and ending June 30, 2032.


  • Cole A. Nemeth of Bowling Green (Wood County) to serve as a student member on the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending May 17, 2025.


  • Phillip A. Greenberg of Hilliard (Franklin County) to the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending May 17, 2032.


  • Renato Camacho of North Canton (Stark County) to the Kent State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending May 16, 2032.


  • Daniel A. Iuston of Dublin (Franklin County) to the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and continuing at the pleasure of the governor.


  • James C. Otte of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Broadcast Educational Media Commission for a term beginning July 1, 2023, and ending June 30, 2027.


  • Deborah L. Kroninger of Sunbury (Delaware County) to the Rare Disease Advisory Council for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending April 22, 2025.


  • Kelly A. Kirtland of Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) to the State Dental Board for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending April 6, 2025; Kathy Brisley-Sedon of Medina (Medina County), Michele P. Carr of Pataskala (Licking County) and Murali K. Lakireddy of Strongsville (Cuyahoga County) reappointed for terms beginning June 6, 2023, and ending April 6, 2027.


  • Solomon J. Curtis of Dresden (Muskingum County) to the Wildlife Council for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending Jan. 31, 2025.


  • Leah C. Dorman of Croton (Licking County) and Daniel L. Frobose of Pemberville (Wood County) to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board for terms beginning June 30, 2023, and ending Jan. 25, 2026 and Bradford L. Garrison of West Salem (Wayne County) and Cathann A. Kress of Powell (Delaware County) reappointed for terms beginning June 30, 2023, and ending Jan. 25, 2026.


  • Kevin T. Uhl of Sycamore Township (Hamilton County) has been reappointed to the State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire, and Transportation Services for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending November 12, 2025.


  • Kathryn Bradsher Brown of Dublin (Franklin County) to the State Emergency Response Commission for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending Jan. 13, 2024.


  • James A. Crawford of Coshocton (Coshocton County) and Ronald E. Raines of Galena (Delaware County) to the Ohio AMBER Alert Advisory Committee for terms beginning June 30, 2023, and ending Feb. 6, 2025.


  • John J. Danish of Gahanna (Franklin County) to the Ohio Public Defender Commission for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending Jan. 12, 2027.


  • Robin S. Engel of Cincinnati (Hamilton County), Anthony L. Johnson of Columbus (Franklin County), Walter S. Moss of Canton (Stark County) and Justin Paez of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board for terms beginning June 30, 2023, and ending April 29, 2026.


  • Nicole A. Condrey of Middletown (Butler County), Darren Shulman of Upper Arlington (Franklin County) and Donald A. Willis III of Wellston (Jackson County) to the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission for terms beginning June 30, 2023, and ending Aug. 21, 2026.


  • Christopher N. Protsman of Kettering (Greene County) to the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission for a term beginning June 30, 2023, and ending Sept. 3, 2024.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra on Thursday highlighted his department's new Health Workforce Initiative during an event at Lincoln-West School of Science and Health in Cleveland. The goal of the HHS Health Workforce Initiative is to support, strengthen, and grow the health workforce by leveraging programs across the department, including through the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) workforce training, scholarship, loan repayment and well-being programs. The department's initiative is focused on federal investments to support individuals across health workforce disciplines, including physicians, nurses, dentists, behavioral health care providers, community health workers, peer support specialists and many others who dedicate their careers to improving the nation's health and wellbeing.


HIGHER EDUCATION


The U.S. Supreme Court Friday struck down President Joe Biden's $400 billion plan to cancel or reduce student loan debt for millions of Americans. In the case, Biden v. Nebraska, the Court ruled 6-3 that the Biden administration's proposal overstepped the authority of the U.S. Department of Education, and that the approval of Congress was needed to undertake such a sweeping program. Toward the end of the pandemic in 2022, the president's administration had argued its authority to forgive the student loan debt under the Higher Education Relief Opportunities (HERO) for Students Act of 2003, which allows the U.S. education secretary to waive or modify certain loan provisions in response to emergencies.

Central State University (CSU is a partner institution on a $10 million award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The "From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals" (NEXTGEN) award was given to CSU and Lincoln University, two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), Texas A&M University, and a Research Intensive University (RIU), Missouri University of Science and Technology. The four institutions will work on their project, titled "HBCU-HSI-RIU Consortium: A Synergistic Paradigm for Training the Next Generation Agriculture Workforce for a Sustainable Future." Team members from partner institutions consist of research, education and extension professionals to maximize the effect on minority populations from grades K-12 to graduate school.


JUDICIAL


The U.S. Supreme Court expanded on its 2018 decision for a cakeshop owner Friday by finding state anti-discrimination laws conflict with a second Colorado business's First Amendment right to creative "expression" that excludes LGBTQ couples. In 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the Court said Colorado could not force Lori Smith to design personalized wedding websites that conflict with her Christian convictions. "The First Amendment's protections belong to all, not just to speakers whose motives the government finds worthy," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote on behalf of the 6-3 majority. "The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands." Gorsuch, joined by the other five Republican appointees, distinguished speech from general commerce. He noted many states have laws barring discrimination in business transactions.


Organizations sponsoring continuing legal education (CLE) courses now can apply online for course accreditation, the Ohio Supreme Court announced. The Court said it has "enhanced" its web portal for CLE sponsors with new prompts based on the type of course, whether it is in-person or online, and whether it is meant for all attorneys or those belonging to a specific organization or law firm. "The streamlined process reduces time locating, filling out and sending paper forms. It also accelerates the review process and facilitates payment of the application fee at the time of application," the Court said. "When a review is complete, applicants are notified by email." Bar associations, law firms, education companies and public agencies can sponsor CLE courses.


LOBBYISTS


Barry Sheets, a longtime Center for Christian Virtue (CCV) Statehouse lobbyist, died on Sunday after a lengthy battle with cancer, CCV said Monday. The group said that Sheets served as director of governmental affairs, guiding its priorities and policies at the Statehouse while leading the Columbus office. CCV said a memorial service for Sheets will be held on Saturday, July 8, at 5 p.m. at Good News Baptist Church, 4045 Georges Creek Road, Gallipolis. There will be no calling hours.


MARIJUANA/HEMP


In addition to the proposed ballot initiative, there is a bipartisan adult use marijuana legalization bill in the House sponsored by Reps. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) and Casey Weinstein (D-Akron). HB168 has been referred to the House Finance Committee but has yet to receive a hearing. One significant difference between the House bill and the initiated statute is that Ohioans age 21 and older could legally possess more marijuana under the CRMLA proposal than HB168.


The Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) has issued three more dispensary certificates of operation. There are now 94 dispensaries legally operating under the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP). OBP issued certificates of operation to the following dispensaries:

  • Citizen by Klutch, located at 401 Cherry Ave. NE in Canton.

  • Trulieve Medical Marijuana Dispensary, located at 8295 Sancus Blvd. in Columbus.

  • Shangri-La Dispensary, located at 100 Clarence F. Warner Dr. in Monroe.

MILITARY AFFAIRS


Ohio Adjutant General John Harris was recently named as recipient of the 2023 Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award by the Washington, D.C.-based Baldrige Foundation. The national organization provides tools, education, and awareness for improving performance in businesses, schools and government.


OHIO HISTORY


The Ohio Holocaust and Genocide Memorial and Education Commission (OHGMEC) this week announced $100,000 in grants as part of its inaugural round of funding to support Holocaust and genocide education throughout the state. Created by the 133rd General Assembly, OHGMEC is charged with gathering and disseminating Holocaust and genocide educational resources and promoting awareness of issues relating to the Holocaust and genocide while advising state government officials on these relevant issues. OHGMEC administers the grants in partnership with Ohio Humanities, a nonprofit organization that shares stories "to spark conversations and inspire ideas." Eligible grant applicants were not-for-profit, educational, or governmental organizations in Ohio, who provided matching funds for all project proposals.


PUBLIC SAFETY


The fatal accident rate was up this Fourth of July holiday compared to 2022. The Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) reported 14,000 total incidents over two days, and not all of them trended in counties along interstate highways. The reporting period did not include Saturday or Sunday, while last year's OSHP July Fourth enforcement spanned four days. Eleven people lost their lives in nine crashes during the two-day reporting period, which began midnight Monday, July 3 and ended 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, July 4. One of those was a pedestrian, and motorcycle helmets were not in use or unknown with four fatalities.

The Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) announced the first-time certification of three more police departments Wednesday: Columbus Grove (Putnam County), Greenwich (Huron) and Salineville (Columbiana). An office of the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS), OCJS said 613 law enforcement agencies have now met minimum state standards comprising use of force, including deadly force, and agency recruitment and hiring. They employ a total of 29,650 officers representing 88.36 percent of their ranks.


REDISTRICTING/REAPPORTIONMENT


Just days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state courts can review state legislative actions when it comes to congressional redistricting, the Court Friday vacated the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling in a challenge to a map drawn by the Ohio Redistricting Commission and sent the case back to the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider in light of the ruling in Moore v. Harper, a case addressing maps drawn by the North Carolina state legislature that argued that the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution prevents state court review of state legislative actions regarding federal elections, an argument often referred to as the "independent state legislature theory." The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, however maintained that state courts do maintain judicial oversight while warning that it is not unlimited. Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and former House Speaker Bob Cupp had appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court an Ohio Supreme Court decision striking down Ohio's congressional map as violating Ohio's Constitution, arguing that the Court had "encroached on legislative authority in multiple ways." On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for the writ of certiorari in Huffman v. Nieman, vacated the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling, and remanded the case back to the Ohio Supreme Court "for further consideration in light of Moore v. Harper."


TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE


The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is seeking comments on projects in the Central Ohio region that are seeking funding under the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) review process for the Major New Capacity Program. MORPC said the projects in Central Ohio have a total cost of more than $12 million, add transportation capacity, and are critical to the mobility, economic development, and quality of life of Ohio residents. The 2023 application period closed at the end of May, with 10 projects from the MORPC Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), located in Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, and Licking counties, submitting applications for funding. Final funding decisions by TRAC are expected later this year.


UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION


While its rankings are slightly improved from last month, Ohio is still among the worst states in the nation for weekly unemployment claims, according to financial advisory website WalletHub. Ohio had the 17th highest increase in jobless claims over the last week, and had the second most claims per 100,000 people in the labor force. Ohio had the second-highest increase a month ago, and had the most claims per 100,000 people in the labor force. "For the week of June 26, new unemployment claims in Ohio were 16.4 percent higher than in the previous week," WalletHub said.








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


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