Week In Review - July 25, 2022



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

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


ABORTION


Leaders from opposites sides of the political spectrum got the chance to debate abortion issues during Wednesday's Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC) forum, moderated by Jessie Balmert of the USA Today Ohio Bureau. Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Columbus) and Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis, who also serves on the Ohio State Medical Board, answered questions about headline-grabbing stories from the past few weeks and the future of abortion in Ohio following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and end the constitutional right to an abortion. The panel also featured Daniel Kobil, a professor at Capital University Law School, who gave a brief overview of the Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision as well as the larger history of abortion litigation.


The Ohio Supreme Court should dismiss the lawsuit challenging Ohio's "heartbeat" abortion ban, according to Attorney General Dave Yost. "The Court should dismiss the relators' purported mandamus action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction," Yost wrote in a motion. "Although the relators claim to seek mandamus relief, they are in fact seeking a prohibitory injunction and a declaratory judgment -- they want an order forbidding the respondents from enforcing the Heartbeat Act, along with a declaration that the Heartbeat Act is unconstitutional," Yost continued. "The Court has no jurisdiction to consider that request. It lacks original jurisdiction to entertain requests for prohibitory injunctions. The same goes for declaratory judgments. The Court should therefore dismiss this case for lack of jurisdiction."


AGRICULTURE


Members of the 2022 Ohio State Fair Junior Fair Board have been selected, according to the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair. "The Junior Fair Board (JFB) is comprised of brilliant young leaders from across the state who contribute to the success of the Ohio State Fair. Each member is selected to represent their respective organizations, including 4-H, FFA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts of America, Farm Bureau and Tech Ed. The individuals from these organizations represent thousands of involved youth throughout Ohio," the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair said in a news release. The JFB has also included "at large" members since 2019.


ARTS, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT


The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) Board approved more than $18.2 million in grants during its summer meeting on Wednesday. The 764 grants will support Ohio artists, arts/cultural organizations, students, educators and public arts programming. The OAC received $40 million in the state budget, HB110 (Oelslager). The $18.2 million provided in FY23 is slightly lower than the $18.4 million provided in FY22.


ATTORNEY GENERAL


The Ohio Attorney General's Office says the Delaware County Grand Jury has declined to indict officers involved in the police shooting of alleged freeway gunman Jonathan Myers following an investigation by the AG's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). BCI found that Myers, 21, had shot at cars on I-71 near the Gemini Parkway exit and Polaris Mall north of Columbus when Columbus police exchanged gunfire, striking him in the leg. Myers, who was already charged with illegal possession of a firearm, drug trafficking and other felonies, is now accused of attempted murder and additional charges. He says he is suicidal and changed his plea in June to not guilty by reason of insanity.


CORONAVIRUS


The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Thursday reported 26,610 new COVID-19 cases over the week, up from 24,465 for the previous seven days. Hospitalization numbers rose from 550 to 690, while ICU admissions had a marginal increase from 39 to 40. ODH reported 22 deaths, down from 39. Since the pandemic began, ODH has reported 2,918,366 COVID-19 cases, 120,890 hospitalizations, 13,862 ICU admissions and 38,981 deaths. The Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) lists 1,166 current hospital patients who tested positive and 147 ICU patients. At the national level, President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday. In a video, Biden said he has received two vaccination doses and two booster shots. His symptoms are "mild" and he continues to work. The Biden administration also released a letter from the White House physician saying Biden has been recommended to use Paxlovid as a treatment.


CRIME AND PUNISHMENT


The Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center (OCVJC) is at the core of two Marsy's Law appeals that collectively challenge lower court opinions denying victims restitution and the right to be present at all criminal proceedings involving the defendant. The 8th District overturned a hit-and-run suspect's plea at the request of OCVJC and victim S.W. after the trial court sentenced the defendant and waived restitution without S.W.'s knowledge. The second case, State v. Fisk, concerns a Miamisburg man who was denied more than $177,000 in restitution for medical expenses after his step-son-to-be attacked and stabbed him.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT


Ohio fell to 15th in a recent CNBC ranking of "Top States for Business in 2022," after being ranked 10th in 2021 and 2019. Due to the pandemic, CNBC did not conduct rankings in 2020, and Ohio was 15th in 2018 as well. During the Ohio Chamber of Commerce's workforce summit Thursday, President Steve Stivers said the Ohio Chamber is "focusing on what policy changes it would take to move us to number one [in the CNBC rankings] and then starting to enact those."


EDUCATION


The operational and technological support agency for public broadcasters and the Ohio Channel is considering next steps for its joint master control facility, as the current configuration enters its seventh year and new broadcast technologies loom on the horizon. The Broadcast Educational Media Commission's (BEMC) Engineering and Broadcast Operations Committee held the second of four planned meetings Thursday, July 14 to review master control operations and devise recommendations for improvements or changes. While commissioned to be able to handle media traffic for all public TV stations in Ohio, BEMC's master control facility today is the primary provider of that service only for some stations, while others maintain their own control operations but use BEMC as a backup. Thursday's meeting focused on feedback from the former group, whose representatives said the agency provides a vital service that would take great effort and expense to replicate on their own.


A House-passed bill would require athletics coaches at public schools and private schools with state charters to complete a student mental health training course approved by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS). The House approved HB492 (Loychik-Pavliga) before leaving for summer break, sending the legislation to the Senate for consideration this fall.


The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recently announced a new page on its website dedicated to publicizing resources for families of students with disabilities. ODE says the page will be regularly updated with new information as it becomes available. The page is available at https://tinyurl.com/2p9bfx9e.


Students at Hilton Elementary School in Brecksville won the President's Environmental Youth Award for their monarch butterfly project, according to an announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). "Children are naturally curious and the environment around us harbors so much diversity and opportunity for discovery," USEPA EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore said in a news release. "These awards recognize enterprise and leadership -- in the classroom and outside its walls. We celebrate these students' environmental stewardship."


A coalition of two dozen organizations again Monday urged Gov. Mike DeWine to reconfigure State Board of Education (SBOE) districts, saying the maps put into effect last week violate the law and should be altered to provide better representation to major urban areas. At issue in part is the lack of alignment between the board districts as designated by DeWine and the Senate districts being used for the August primary and November general election. The letter includes a "non-comprehensive" list of violations in this regard, with Senate District 1 split between board Districts 1 and 2; and Senate District 16 split among board Districts 5, 6 and 7, among several others. As the letter says, state law holds that "the territory of no Senate districts shall be part of the territory of more than one State Board of Education district."


The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) said it will start taking applications in August to ensure the statutory effective date on continued flexibility in hiring substitute teachers does not interrupt hiring for the start of the academic year. In education omnibus HB583 (Bird-Jones), lawmakers provided a two-year extension of language that allows substitutes to forego the usual requirement for a bachelor's degree so long as they are of good moral character and can meet qualifications set by their hiring district. Because the bill was signed just a few weeks ago, the normal 90-day delay until a new law takes effect means ODE cannot officially issue the 1-Year Temporary Non-Bachelor's Substitute Teaching License until Friday, Sept. 23. However, ODE said, the law allows schools to employ someone with an application pending on a conditional basis for up to 60 days.


Nine environmental science and engineering students have been awarded scholarships through the Environmental Education Fund to study at Ohio colleges and universities, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) announced. Students were selected based on academic performance, research, employment/internships, leadership, letters of recommendation and other specified criteria, the agency said in a news release. "By investing in these environmental scholars today, we are actually investing in protecting the environment far into the future," Ohio EPA Director Laurie Stevenson said. "We look forward to seeing their future work as well."


ELECTIONS


U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) announced this week that he along with U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are introducing two bipartisan proposals seeking to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which they said will ensure that the electoral votes tallied by Congress accurately reflect each state's vote for president. The reforms come after former President Donald Trump and his allies sought to persuade former Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the official count by Congress as outlined in the Electoral Count Act, to refuse to certify Joe Biden's victory.


ELECTIONS 2022


The Ohio Supreme Court Monday ruled against an Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee candidate seeking a spot on the primary ballot, with the majority saying he waited too long to file his lawsuit. Erik Jones had filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Frank LaRose after his petition for the male Republican nomination for the 13th Ohio Senate District for the Republican State Central Committee was rejected because he did not meet the filing deadline.


Terpsehore Tore Maras, a podcaster who promotes the QAnon conspiracy theory, will appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot as an Independent candidate for secretary of state. Maras will appear on the ballot along with Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Democratic candidate Chelsea Clark. Maras was the only Independent candidate to make the ballot, the Ohio Secretary of State's Office announced Monday. Two candidates for governor and one candidate for U.S. Senate didn't collect enough valid signatures to appear on the ballot, according to LaRose's office.


The latest campaign finance filings for congressional races show incumbents holding large cash advantages over their challengers. The sole exception is in the 1st Congressional District, where U.S. Rep. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) is facing a tough reelection challenge against Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman.


Republican U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance raised more than $2.3 million in the second quarter of 2022, the Vance campaign has announced. The $2.3 million amount refers to the sum of totals from J.D. Vance for Senate Inc., Ohioans for J.D. and Vance Victory, according to a news release from the campaign. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Ryan recently announced raising $9.1 million in the second quarter of 2022.


As the campaign for attorney general heats up, the Ohio Democratic Party Tuesday called for Attorney General Dave Yost to resign over comments he made in regard to the rape of a 10-year-old girl who left the state to get an abortion due to Ohio's “heartbeat” law. Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters said that Yost's rush to a federal court to lift a stay on the heartbeat law after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade has had real life consequences in the case of the 10-year-old, whose case made national headlines after President Joe Biden referenced it. Yost questioned the story's accuracy in a television appearance and interviews with print media before an arrest in the case was announced. Yost's campaign released a statement to Ohio media accusing Democrats of trying to throw a "Hail Mary" and not being confident in their own attorney general candidate, Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma).


Former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, the Democratic candidate for governor, announced a set of energy policy priorities Tuesday alongside running mate Cuyahoga County Councilmember Cheryl Stephens and other supporters. It includes reforming the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, firing current commissioners and working to restore state renewable energy and efficiency standards.


The state overall and 66 individual counties have recruited enough poll workers to surpass minimum requirements, according to Secretary of State Frank LaRose's office. As of Monday, 27,371 Ohioans had signed up to serve as poll workers for the Tuesday, Aug. 2 primary/special election, compared to the minimum of 24,653. Sixty-six counties had met their specific minimums, LaRose's office said. In case of emergencies, LaRose's office has set a goal of 28,353 poll workers, or 115 percent of the minimum.


Secretary of State Frank LaRose said Wednesday that 72,970 absentee ballots have been requested by-mail or in-person for the state legislative and executive committee races on the Tuesday, Aug. 2 primary, and that 29,702 votes have been cast statewide in those same races. Data were collected by the Ohio Secretary of State's Office via an informal survey of Ohio's 88 county boards of elections. The information includes data reported by the county boards from the start of early voting on Monday, July 11 through the end of early voting hours on Friday, July 15.


Democratic gubernatorial nominee Nan Whaley Thursday called for Gov. Mike DeWine to debate her in a series of events across the state this fall. Whaley's campaign said it has sent a formal invitation to the DeWine campaign to participate in a debate in each of Ohio's media markets, saying it is important for the candidates to meet voters where they are. In response to Whaley, DeWine's campaign said the governor is already scheduled to participate in forums with Whaley.


The following endorsements were made over the week:

  • Secretary of State Frank LaRose's re-election campaign announced endorsements from Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) Ohio, Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council, East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, IKORCC Regional Council of Carpenters, Carpenters Local 285, Carpenters Local 435, Iron Workers Local 17, Laborers District Council, Laborers Local 310, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18, Sheet Metal Workers Local 24, Sheet Metal Workers Local 33, Tri-County Building Trades and United Association of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders & Service Techs.

  • The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio endorsed statewide candidates including Republican J.D. Vance for U.S. Senate; Republicans Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Auditor Keith Faber and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer for re-election; Democrat Scott Schertzer for treasurer; and Sharon Kennedy for chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. The organization did not endorse in the race for attorney general.

  • The Ohio Chamber of Commerce PAC endorsed 17 candidates for the Aug. 2 legislative primary: Sen. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville)) for re-election in the 13th Senate District; Rep. Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro) for the 17th Senate District; John Barnes (D) for the 21st Senate District; Rep. Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus) for re-election in the 1st House District; Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) for re-election in the 16th House District; Lindsay Cole (R) in the 27th House District; Chris Monzel (R) in the 28th House District; Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) for re-election in the 30th House District; Adam Mathews (R) in the 56th House District; Rep. Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) for re-election in the 68th House District; Rep. Brian Lampton (R-Fairborn) for re-election in the 70th House District; Rep. Susan Manchester (R-Lakeview) for re-election in the 78th House District; Roy Klopfenstein (R) in the 82nd House District; Ted Penner (R) in the 82nd House District; Jacob Larger (R) in the 84th House District; Rep. Brian Baldridge (R-Winchester) for re-election in the 90th House District; and Rep. Darrell Kick (R- Loudonville) for reelection in the 98th House District.

  • The gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Nan Whaley announced the endorsement of BradyPAC.

ENERGY/UTILITIES


The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) says the state's four 133-HB6-related investigations into FirstEnergy provide the perfect opportunity for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to apply the same judicial conduct standards to commissioners and administrative law judges that attorneys must follow who appear before PUCO. OCC is requesting commission adoption of the Ohio Supreme Court Code of Judicial Conduct in the single "review" and three ongoing audits of FirstEnergy's political and charitable spending, corporate separation, distribution modernization rider (DMR) and delivery capital recovery rider (DCRR), respectively. Northwest Ohio Aggregation Coalition (NOAC) has joined the OCC in the first two cases.


American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio said Tuesday that a series of internal emails between the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and AEP's regulatory director occurring roughly 24 hours before the June outages and prompted by an Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA) request were "fairly common" in the face of severe weather and did not signify a lack of readiness on the utility's part. The company also responded to PJM Interconnection's comments Tuesday to the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) Governing Board about hypothetical AEP non-compliance and related fines, saying the utility is committed to a full accounting of conditions leading up to and during Central Ohio outages from June 14 to 16.


ENVIRONMENT


A coalition including the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) says local governments around the state will be forced to spend billions of dollars by 2050 on weather-related impacts to roads, drinking water and other public services under one of four climate-change models developed by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The projected dollar cost cited by the new report, "The Bill is Coming Due: Calculating the Financial Cost of Climate Change to Ohio's Local Governments," ranges anywhere from $1.8 billion to $5.9 billion.


FEDERAL


U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and 47 other senators sent a letter to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, urging the agency to process all COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications received prior to the agency's May 6, 2022 deadline. The program has provided loans to nearly four million small businesses during the pandemic, according to a release from Brown's office, and was "an essential source of capital," particularly for businesses that could not obtain needed credit from other lenders.


A cloture vote on the CHIPS Act -- a bill on semiconductors critical to Intel's investment in Ohio -- is set for Thursday, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) told reporters Wednesday, and senators will work to move quickly so it is signed by President Joe Biden before the end of the month. Brown previously said a deal on it was "very close" on July 13, and state leaders have urged its passage as well.


GAMING/GAMBLING


Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald isn't doing enough to increase profits for K-12 education and is apparently "giving an unfair advantage to politically-potent gaming interests," according to Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo). "Recent news reports and public records show a troubling pattern of you ignoring opportunities to maximize Lottery profits through sports betting at retail locations. More infuriating has been your unwillingness to testify before the Ohio General Assembly to answer important questions on this complex topic," Fedor wrote in a letter. Ohio Lottery spokesperson Danielle Frizzi-Babb told Hannah News on Tuesday that the agency is still working on a response to Fedor's letter, which was sent on June 23. "The letter Sen. Fedor sent to the director was filled with inaccurate claims and seems to be motivated by outside influences, but we are working through her claims to respond accordingly," Frizzi-Babb said. "The director and the agency have never refused a formal invitation by any committee chair in the Senate to testify and has always provided background and information when asked."


With the deadlines for sports betting license applications passing, Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) Executive Director Matt Schuler told the commission Wednesday that investigators won't just push through the applications to the commission without a thorough review. The commission started taking applications for type A, B and C proprietor licenses, first-designated mobile management services providers (MMSPs), management services providers and suppliers on June 15, and had set a deadline for July 15 for those that wanted to be operational by the universal start date. "A lot of these conversations I've been having, it seems that folks think that if they submitted an application they have a right to the license without understanding that the General Assembly has had a lot to say about whether someone should have the privilege of a license," Schuler said.


Strong traditional Ohio Lottery sales combined with healthy video lottery terminal (VLT) revenues resulted in a record $1.4 billion transfer to the Lottery Profits Education Fund (LPEF), according to the Ohio Lottery. The LPEF supports K-12, vocational and special education programs in Ohio.


GOVERNOR


Appointments made during the week include the following:


  • Rhoda Sue Crown of Coshocton (Coshocton County) appointed and Bruce E. Hawkins of Mount Vernon (Knox County) reappointed to the Central Ohio Technical College Board of Trustees for terms beginning July 15, 2022 and ending Sept. 30, 2024, and beginning Oct. 1, 2022 and ending Sept. 30, 2025, respectively.

  • Randy Nelson Chandler of West Union (Adams County) reappointed to the Southern State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending May 11, 2028.

  • Jeffery A. Walters of Canal Fulton (Stark County) reappointed to the Stark State College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Aug. 2, 2022, and ending Aug. 1, 2025.

  • LeeAnn Michelle Johnson of Marietta (Washington County) to the Washington State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending Feb. 16, 2027.

  • Thomas Allen Waltermire of Green (Summit County) and Michael Joseph Saxon of Copley (Summit County) to the University of Akron Board of Trustees for terms beginning July 15, 2022, and ending July 1, 2026 and July 1, 2031, respectively.

  • Mikayla Elizabeth Russ of Bowling Green (Wood County) as a student member of the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending May 17, 2024.

  • Christopher Michael Jenkins of Clayton (Montgomery County) as a student member of the Wright State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending June 30, 2024.

  • Eleanore Awadalla of Sylvania (Lucas County) reappointed to the University of Toledo Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending July 1, 2031.

  • Tracey S. Monroe-Winbush of Youngstown (Mahoning County) and Napoleon A. Bell II of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission for terms beginning July 15, 2022, and ending December 30, 2024.

  • Chelsea Cordonnier of Dayton (Montgomery County) to the State Chiropractic Board for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending November 1, 2025.

  • Jonathan S. Hughes of Dublin (Franklin County), Mark Rickel of Columbus (Franklin County) and Nita Gupta of Wadsworth (Medina County) reappointed to the Ohio Lottery Commission for terms beginning Aug. 2, 2022, and ending Aug. 1, 2025.

  • Frank C. Woodside III of Wyoming (Hamilton County) reappointed to the Real Estate Appraiser Board for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending June 30, 2025.

  • Timothy Ronald Mayle of Findlay (Hancock County) reappointed to the Transportation Review Advisory Council for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending June 29, 2027.

  • Jeffrey T. Ferriell of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the State Council of Uniform State Laws for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending June 5, 2025.

  • Rhoni Thompson of University Heights (Cuyahoga County) to the Minority Development Finance Advisory Board for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending Sept. 30, 2026.

  • Stephanie Katharine Siddens of Columbus (Franklin County) and Charlotte McGuire of Centerville (Montgomery County) to the Education Commission of the States for terms beginning July 15, 2022, and continuing at the pleasure of the governor.

  • Cameron Julia Tiefenthaler of Mechanicsburg (Champaign County) and Joshua Bradley Hatch of Columbus (Franklin County) appointed and Christina Shoemaker of Cincinnati (Hamilton County), David A. Hejmanowski of Delaware (Delaware County), Mark Mecum of Westerville (Delaware County) and Linette R. Fout of Chillicothe (Ross County) reappointed to the Governor's Council on Juvenile Justice for terms beginning June 30, 2022, and ending Oct. 31, 2024.

  • Giles Lloyd Allen of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Juvenile Sex Offender Treatment Program Certification Board for a term beginning July 15, 2022, and ending July 14, 2023.

  • Colleen Hawkins Heacock of New Concord (Muskingum County) reappointed to the Zane State College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Aug. 1, 2022, and ending July 31, 2025.

  • Diane Mary Brunner of Toledo (Lucas County) to the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools for a term beginning July 21, 2022, and ending Nov. 20, 2026.

  • Brittany Nicole Warner of Columbus (Franklin County) and James Adorno Armile of Poland (Mahoning County) reappointed to the Ohio Athletic Commission for terms beginning Sept. 3, 2022, and ending Sept. 2, 2025.

  • Edward C. Nurre Jr. of Cincinnati (Clermont County) reappointed to the Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors for a term beginning July 21, 2022, and ending June 30, 2027.

  • Jo Hannah Ward of Delaware (Delaware County) and Kevin R. Flynn of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) reappointed to the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Council for terms beginning July 21, 2022, and ending June 1, 2025.

  • Lora L. Miller of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio Retirement Study Council for a term beginning July 21, 2022, and ending June 30, 2025.

  • Larry Todd Garvin of Bexley (Franklin County) reappointed to the State Council of Uniform State Laws for a term beginning July 21, 2022, and ending June 5, 2025.

  • Jay Arnold Berg of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Ohio Private Investigation and Security Services Commission for a term beginning July 21, 2022, and ending Dec. 31, 2024.

  • Christopher J. Ferruso of Westerville (Franklin County), Dale Robert Arnold of Newark (Licking County), Kevin Murray of Dublin (Franklin County) and Shawn Edward Nelson of Upper Arlington (Franklin County) reappointed to the Public Benefits Advisory Board for terms beginning July 21, 2022, and ending June 30, 2025.

  • Kathryn Bartter Arnold of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Great Lakes Protection Fund Board for a term beginning Oct. 11, 2022, and ending Oct. 10, 2024.

  • Elizabeth Amelia Biggins-Ramer of Medina (Medina County), Brian William Winter of Plain City (Union County), Mathew Ray Old of Berlin Heights (Erie County) and Kimberly S. McConville of Westerville (Franklin County) reappointed and Erick S. Palmer of Aurora (Portage County) appointed to the Materials Management Advisory Council for terms beginning July 21, 2022, and ending July 1, 2025.

HIGHER EDUCATION


Youngstown State University (YSU) and the YSU Foundation announced that the university raised $24.1 million in FY22, the biggest one-year total in the institution's 114-year history. The university received 4,360 gifts in total, an 11 percent increase from FY21. Sizable gifts included a $5 million gift by Dr. Chander Kohli and his wife, Karen, to name Kohli Hall; $1.5 million from Richard and Susan Sokolov to name the Sokolov Honors College; and a $1 million gift by Vince and Phyllis Bacon to support the Watson Team Center on campus.


Otterbein University and Antioch University announced a partnership meant to create a national, nonprofit university system focused on educating students for careers and to prepare students "to advance social justice, democracy and the common good." In an announcement of the new partnership, Otterbein said the system is intended to grow to include other colleges and universities. The new system of affiliated universities is built around the concept of shared graduate and adult-learner programs, which would allow members to keep their distinctive undergraduate programs and brand identities. The system is meant to help universities to expand degree offerings while reducing costs. It will also focus on "preparing students to become engaged citizens." The agreement is still being finalized, and new programs are expected to be offered as early as the fall of 2023.


JUDICIAL


Gov. Mike DeWine Friday announced the appointments of Jason Despetorich to the Hocking County Court of Common Pleas General and Domestic Relations Division; Julie Schafer to the Medina County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Division; and Anita Bechmann to the Clermont County Municipal Court. Despetorich, of Logan, will assume office Aug. 1, 2022 and will be taking the seat formerly held by Judge John Wallace, who retired. He must run for election in November 2022 in order to complete the unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2024. Schafer, of Wadsworth, will assume office on Aug. 1, 2022, and will be taking the seat formerly held by Judge Mary Kovack, who died. Schafer must run for election in November 2022 in order to complete the unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2024. Bechmann, of Williamsburg, will assume office on Aug. 1, 2022 and will be taking the seat formerly held by Judge Kevin Miles, who was appointed to a different bench. She must run for election in 2023 to complete the unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2027.


NATURAL RESOURCES


Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz announced the selection of Ben McCament as the new chief of the division of Mineral Resources Management. "Ben was the perfect choice to lead the division," Mertz said. "He has been instrumental in protecting Ohio's natural resources, playing a major role in the growing Abandoned Mine Land Program among other things. I am confident that with his leadership the division will continue to advance and be an industry leader in mineral resources management."


Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz designated the Portage River Water Trail as the 17th official water trail in the state, bringing the total number of miles of designated water trails to more than 1,000. "This trail provides even more exceptional opportunities for people to explore our state from the water," Mertz said. "Whether you're looking for a scenic kayak trip down the trail, a perfect place to cast a line, or a spot to soak in the sights and sounds of nature; this trail offers all that and more."


NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS


The philanthropic community in Northeast Ohio is making it possible for journalists to find new ways to inform the public, according to the leaders of two emerging Cleveland-based news outlets. During an event moderated by Ideastream Public Media host Rick Jackson, Ohio Local News Initiative Editor-in-Chief Lila Mills and Marshall Project Cleveland newsroom Editor-in-Chief Jim Crutchfield said many non-journalists are starting to understand the importance of local media, as the number of traditional outlets continues to decrease.


PEOPLE


Stephen Harris has been promoted to House Minority Caucus finance director, according to the caucus, where he will handle fiscal and budgetary matters for the caucus while supporting the policy department in day-to-day operations and leadership. Harris has been with the caucus for 13 years, starting as a leadership legislative aide in 2009 when Democrats were in the House majority. For the past five years, he has worked as a policy advisor on issues including environment, energy, agriculture, gun safety and more.


The National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Ohio announced the appointment of Luke Russell as its new executive director. Russell, 52, who has served as NAMI Ohio's deputy director since June 2020, succeeds his father Terry Russell as head of the nonprofit representing those with mental illness, their family members and caregivers.


Name, image and likeness (NIL) "thought leader" Robert Boland is joining Shumaker's Hospitality, Sports and Leisure Business Sector in an "of counsel" role, the law firm announced Monday. Boland is co-authoring a forthcoming book on NIL and developed one of the nation's first collegiate courses in NIL, Shumaker said in a news release. Boland's NIL course is currently being taught at Boston College, and he helped develop a similar course at Ohio University that is expected to launch soon.


The Ohio Association of Community Health Centers (OACHC) announced that Dr. Theodore Wymyslo retired Friday as senior medical adviser, after semi-retiring from the role of chief medical officer in 2019. Wymyslo, who specialized in primary care and was once director of the family practice resident program at Miami Valley Hospital, served as Ohio Department of Health director for the early years of the Kasich administration from 2011 to 2014. He joined OACHC in 2014.


PUBLIC SAFETY


The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) said that Ohioans experiencing suicidal crisis, mental health or addiction-related distress can call 9-8-8, a three-digit number to access free, 24/7, confidential support for themselves or loved ones. The nationwide 9-8-8 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline went live on Saturday, July 16.


The state added Bryan Police Department (Williams County) this week to a long list of Ohio law enforcement agencies certified for use of force, including deadly force, and agency recruitment and hiring. Policing standards not required for certification include bias-free policing, officer misconduct investigations, mass protests and demonstrations, body-worn cameras, youth interactions, community engagement, high-speed pursuits, officer health and wellness, and telecommunications-dispatch.


REDISTRICTING/REAPPORTIONMENT


In another 4-3 split ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court invalidated the second set of congressional district boundaries adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission earlier this year, ordering lawmakers to produce a new one within 30 days. Under Article XIX of the Ohio Constitution, if lawmakers don't act to respond to the invalidation of the map, the Ohio Redistricting Commission would then have another 30 days to draw a new map. The ruling does not appear to affect the coming November contests. "We hold that the March 2 plan unduly favors the Republican Party and disfavors the Democratic Party in violation of Article XIX, Section 1(C)(3)(a)," states the per curiam majority opinion. Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor and Justices Michael Donnelly and Melody Stewart joined the opinion, while Justice Jennifer Brunner filed a concurrence. Justices Sharon Kennedy, R. Patrick DeWine and Patrick Fischer dissented in two opinions, one signed by Kennedy and DeWine, the other by Fischer.


STATE GOVERNMENT


The Division of State Fire Marshal in the Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) announced Scott King is serving as the new chief of the Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulation (BUSTR), replacing recently retired Chief Steven Krichbaum. Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon and DOC Director Sherry Maxfield took part in a recent swearing-in ceremony for King. According to the agency, BUSTR has the responsibility of regulating underground storage tank systems in Ohio containing petroleum and hazardous substances. BUSTR staff conduct inspections, monitor cleanups, educate underground storage tank owners and operators, and enforce state laws in compliance with federal regulations and guidelines.


TAXATION


Ohio's back-to-school sales tax holiday will take place soon, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT). Established in law for the first weekend in August, this year's holiday will start at 12 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5 and end at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7.


TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE


Ohio and Kentucky transportation officials announced Friday a revised design for the new Brent Spence companion bridge across the Ohio River that will take up less space and exclusively carry interstate traffic, leaving local traffic on the existing span. The initial design approved in 2012 showed the bridge taking up nearly 25 acres and spanning almost 150 feet in width, while the new design would cover 14 acres and 84 feet of width.


WORKFORCE


An Ohio Chamber of Commerce summit Thursday focused on the current workforce challenges and how the state government is working to address them through programs such as TechCred and the Individual Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP). Speakers and panelists included Ohio Department of Development (DOD) Director Lydia Mihalik, Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) and Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) Chancellor Randy Gardner, with Lt. Gov. Jon Husted giving short remarks by video. In opening the summit, Ohio Chamber President Steve Stivers said the "number one" issue raised by its member businesses is "finding and keeping the workforce." While Ohio has a low cost of living and high quality of life, there are areas for it to improve on workforce, including K-12 and higher education, more work-based learning and retaining more graduates after college.


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


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