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Week In Review - July 6, 2021

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.

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AGRICULTURE Tax bills for Ohio's agricultural producers are remaining low under the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) formula implemented in 132-HB49 (R. Smith). During the Ohio Department of Taxation's (ODT) hearing unveiling the 2021 CAUV tables on Wednesday, ODT analyst Meghan Homsher said the capitalization rate is 7.8 percent in 2021, slightly down from 8.0 percent in 2018. However, the capitalization rate remains much higher than 2015, when it was 6.6 percent. ARTS, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT Leaders in the live events industry predicted that consumer confidence will continue to increase through 2021 and into 2022 as people become more comfortable with crowds in a post-pandemic society at Wednesday's meeting of the Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC). However, new challenges have emerged since the pandemic, including a new labor shortage and new "industrial hygiene" practices. BALLOT ISSUES Attorney General Dave Yost Wednesday certified a revised petition for a proposed constitutional amendment known as the "Nursing Facility Patients' Bill of Rights." Also known as Carolyn's Law, the proposal would require the Ohio Department of Health to establish a number of regulations regarding health facilities, including requirements setting a minimum of nurses/certified nursing assistant staff ratio to patients at nursing, skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities. FY22-23 BUDGET The Conference Committee on HB110, the operating budget for FY22-23, reported its recommendations out unanimously late Monday afternoon, having gone through 400+ pages of differences and nearly 200 amendments in just under two hours. Besides "almost entirely" restoring the House's Fair School Funding Plan, according to Conference Committee Chairman Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), the committee addressed a wide range of topics, many of them controversial and many not so, such as the provision making Juneteenth a state holiday. The bill went on to passage by large, bipartisan majorities in both chambers. The final compromise that revived much of the Cupp-Patterson school funding plan propelled the new operating budget to wide bipartisan approval Monday in the Senate, where senators also cheered brownfield remediation, broadband expansion, post-partum health care coverage and other provisions of HB110. The House saw overwhelming support on the conference committee report for HB110, adopting it by a vote of 82-13, with most votes against it coming from Democrats, who said they felt the budget doesn't go far enough to help Ohioans who are still struggling. Rep. Bill Dean (R-Xenia) was the lone Republican vote against the bill. Ahead of the governor’s signing of the state budget, legislative Democrats asked him to veto several items, including a tax cut they said would primarily benefit the wealthy and further restrictions on abortion clinic operations. Voting rights groups also asked him to veto voting-related language. Gov. Mike DeWine signed the biennial budget bill, HB110 (Oelslager), early in the morning of Thursday, July 1, after receiving the budget bill around 7 p.m. Wednesday. He issued 14 line-item vetoes, a relatively low number. The vetoes removed Medicaid rates from state law, axed language on lawmaker intervention in lawsuits filed by the executive branch and eliminated a provision voiding penalties businesses incurred for violation COVID-19 restrictions. Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, key legislators and other officials gathered Thursday to celebrate the newly signed FY22-23 biennial budget touting its focus on children, economic development, public safety and the environment among other areas. The governor also elaborated on some of his reasoning behind line-item vetoes that struck language in 14 topics. "This budget speaks to what pulls us together," said DeWine, noting the large, bipartisan majorities that voted for the final version of HB110 (Oelslager) earlier this week. Ignoring line-item veto requests from Democrats, LGBTQ advocates and reproductive rights supporters, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a budget that further restricts abortion clinics and allows medical providers to deny health care services to patients based on religious beliefs. Under HB110 (Oelslager), ambulatory surgical facilities (ASF) with a variance must have a relationship with a consulting physician with admitting privileges within 25 miles of the ASF. The consulting physician also must practice clinical medicine within 25 miles of the ASF. CRIME AND PUNISHMENT The state's decades-long drumbeat for a centralized criminal information system is moving forward with a web-based Ohio Sentencing Data Platform (OSDP) and a three-county expansion -- Summit, Lake and Highland -- of the original pilot project by month's end. The online platform will spur adoption of a statewide Uniform Sentencing Entry (USE) system by all courts as the pilot completes its findings. The Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission (OCSC) rolled out the OSDP Friday with links to all USE and Method of Conviction (MOC) entries developed by the commission's Uniform Sentencing Entry Ad Hoc Committee. Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor asked OCSC to convene the committee in 2019 with the charge of creating the clearest and most concise language possible on standardized data trends in Ohio's felony courts. DEATH PENALTY The Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week on whether the state prison system violated rulemaking statutes when it created Ohio's standing lethal injection protocol without submitting it to the Ohio Secretary of State's Office (SOS), Legislative Service Commission (LSC) and Joint Committee of Agency Rule Review (JCARR), which has the power to invalidate administrative language violating any of six "prongs" of rulemaking authority. Death Row inmates James O'Neal and Cleveland Jackson argue that Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) breached its rulemaking duties under R.C. 115.15, Ohio's general rules statute, and R.C. 5120, which among other things requires that DRC "shall make rules for the proper execution of its powers." DISASTERS Ohio Task Force 1 announced Wednesday afternoon that it would be sending approximately 80 members, including canine search teams, to the condominium collapse in Surfside, FL. Search and rescue efforts were temporarily paused Thursday morning, however, due to fears the rest of the building could fall. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Gov. Mike DeWine's administration announced Monday the approval of assistance for nine projects expected to create 1,456 new jobs and retain 1,168 jobs statewide. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought by JobsOhio and its regional partners. The projects are expected to collectively result in more than $107 million in new payroll and spur more than $322 million in investments across Ohio. ECONOMY Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Friday that the state is launching four grant programs to help new businesses, bars and restaurants, entertainment venues and the lodging industry. The programs will provide a total of $155 million in funds made available as a result of SB108 (S. Huffman-Romanchuk) and SB109 (Manning-Rulli). The programs will be administered by the Development Services Agency (DSA), and guidelines, terms, conditions and required documentation are available at BusinessHelp.Ohio.Gov. Applications opened Tuesday, June 29. EDUCATION The budget conference report on HB110 (Oelslager) "almost entirely" restores the K-12 formula laid out in the House's Fair School Funding Plan, in the words of Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), the conference committee chairman. However, intent language speaking to how the House plan would go into effect beyond this coming biennium was deleted, as were proposed and previously authorized cost studies on various elements of the formula. The final version of the budget also grants Senate-proposed increases to funding for school choice programs. The State Board of Education (SBOE) Executive Committee voted 5-1 Monday to send a proposed 3 percent increase for Superintendent Paolo DeMaria on to the full board, following a closed session on goals of the board and superintendent. This action would raise DeMaria's salary from $209,996.80 to $216,299.20 effective July 3, 2021, and will now be considered by the full board at its July meeting. Changes to voucher funding in the new state budget have not dissuaded a coalition of dozens of Ohio school districts that plan to sue the state over the choice program. The Vouchers Hurt Ohio group said it will move "full speed ahead" on litigation. The coalition already has attorneys lined up for a lawsuit. Lawmakers used HB110 (Oelslager) to end the controversial deduction method of funding for state scholarship programs in favor of direct state funding, but in doing so they also expanded voucher amounts and eligibility criteria. Ohio Supreme Court justices deliberated Wednesday on whether a charter school director who applied for funds later misspent by a treasurer who did not report to him should be held personally liable for the misspending. The case arises from the saga of New City charter school in Dayton, one of a few schools for which Carl Shye served as treasurer, and from which he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars, as he admitted and pleaded guilty to in federal court several years ago. New City's director was Robert Burns, and in that role he applied for funding from the state to operate the school. The money went into a bank account controlled by Shye, who was appointed by and reported to the board, rather than Burns. Superintendent Paolo DeMaria will retire in September, after five years at the helm of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The department said Thursday that DeMaria had notified State Board of Education President Laura Kohler of his plans earlier in the day. Gov. Mike DeWine named Walter Davis of Lebanon as a new member of the State Board of Education, succeeding Reginald Wilkinson, whom DeWine appointed to the Board of Trustees at Ohio State University. Davis, now involved in farming in his retirement, is a former community college and career technical education leader for aviation programs. The workgroup that spent years developing and advocating for the new school funding formula now partly enshrined in law got together to celebrate that milestone Wednesday night but also recognizes their work is not finished, former Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) said Thursday. ELECTIONS 2021 Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) is launched a campaign for Cleveland City Council's Ward 7 on Thursday. Howse will be unable to run for re-election next year to her House seat due to term limits. Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown received the endorsement of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and U.S. Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) in her bid for the Democratic nomination for the 11th Congressional District. The following endorsements were made over the week:

  • The congressional campaign of Allison Russo announced the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

  • The congressional campaign of Bob Peterson announced the endorsements of Morgan County Auditor Gary Woodward, Morgan County Engineer Stevan Hook, Morgan County Recorder Melissa Hivnor, Morgan County Treasurer Randy Williams, former Ohio Department of Veterans Services Director Tom Moe, former Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen; former Lancaster Police Chief Dave Bailey; former Lancaster Council President Bob Hedges; and former Lancaster School Superintendent Steve Wigton.

ELECTIONS 2022 J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, scheduled an event Thursday night to announce his candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who is not running for re-election. The following endorsements were made over the week:

  • The gubernatorial campaign of Nan Whaley announced the endorsement of the Ohio State Council of Machinists.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reminded Ohioans that the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program providing an additional $300 in unemployment compensation would end in the state Saturday, June 26. The companion Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program also ended on Saturday. It provides a supplemental benefit of $100 per week to eligible traditional unemployment claimants who also earned at least $5,000 in self-employment wages during the taxable year immediately before their approved unemployment application. During its Tuesday meeting, the Unemployment Compensation Modernization and Improvement Council (UCMIC) heard updates from Emily Redman, legislative director for Ohio Auditor Keith Faber, and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Deputy Director Julie Smith. Redman discussed the status of efforts under 133-HB614 (Fraizer-Richardson), which required the auditor's office to look at 18 discrete items in its performance audit of ODJFS. Faber spent the past year in roundtables with constituents on their challenges with the unemployment compensation system, she said, and they have been working on unemployment issues as early as June 2020. For the week ending June 26, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 10,473 initial unemployment claims to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). That number is lower than last week when the department reported 12,953 jobless claims. ENERGY/UTILITIES County commissioners seeking to block construction of wind and solar facilities would need to provide public notices 30 days ahead of holding a meeting to create such restrictions under an amendment added to SB52 (McColley-Reineke). The House Public Utilities Committee reconvened on Friday morning after going into recess on Thursday. The committee added several amendments, but did not hold a vote on the bill. One of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's (PUCO) top critics says the $5 million-plus paid to University of Dayton, Honda and other stakeholders in AES Ohio's 2018-2019 "significantly excessive earnings" case is only the latest example of utilities' trading cash for signatures to secure commission approval. Urging legislative reform, the Office of Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) says the decision will cost Ohioans a half billion dollars in unlawful charges beyond the hundreds of millions that will never be refunded by AES. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has subpoenaed FirstEnergy records identified by its new CEO documenting a $4.3 million "consulting agreement" linked to former commission Chairman Sam Randazzo. Wasting no time in granting the Office of Ohio Consumers' Counsel's (OCC) request, commissioners also are subpoenaing financials showing what OCC describes as "large, unprecedented increases" in money shifted between the utility companies and FirstEnergy Foundation, including a $15 million payment in 2018 months before scandal-ridden 133-HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) dropped that was more than 250 times the previous year's contribution. Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor and likely challengers for the top seat grilled Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) attorneys Tuesday on whether commission approval of FirstEnergy Advisors (FEA) as a new energy marketer was simply a "ministerial" function not requiring a complete evidentiary record, or whether PUCO's admission of Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) and Office of Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) as intervenors in the case signaled a more substantive proceeding warranting discovery and hearings on FEA's "corporate separation" from its embattled parent. ENVIRONMENT A new H2Ohio project will work to remove aging lead pipes at Cleveland day care facilities, Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) Director Laurie Stevenson said Friday. H2Ohio is awarding the city of Cleveland a $500,000 grant for removal and replacement of city-owned lead service lines supplying water to the day care centers. The Cleveland Water Department estimates more than 440 centers in the area are connected to lead pipes. The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) has issued $75 million in revenue bonds to finance an air quality facility project for Cargill Incorporated, an international provider of food, agricultural and industrial products. The project is part of a larger expansion -- approximately $250 million -- of the company's soybean waste facility in Sidney, located in Shelby County, according to a news release from OAQDA. GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE The House Friday approved Senate amendments to a bill that would use federal stimulus money to pay off the state's unemployment compensation debt and that also includes the distribution of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act money to local governments including townships. The $422 million for local governments including townships and villages had been approved by the House on Thursday as part of SB111 (Blessing-Brenner), but House Republicans also included language on mandatory vaccine requirements for public and private entities, to which the Senate balked. Instead, the Senate added the ARP funds to HB168 (Fraizer) and sent it back to the House. Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB168 Tuesday, along with HB75 (Oelslager), the workers’ compensation budget. The House on Monday appointed Kevin Miller, legislative liaison for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, as the new member for the 72nd District, replacing the expelled Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford). Rep. Erica Crawley was selected by Franklin County Democrats to be the next Franklin County commissioner, replacing Marilyn Brown. House Democrats said they will announce an application process for Crawley’s replacement later this week. Aside from concurrence on the unemployment and local government funding measure HB168, Friday’s House session included passage of SB126 (Kunze-Gavarone), an anti-hazing bill; HB22 (LaRe-Wilkin), increasing penalties for failure to follow police orders; SB80 (Gavarone-Cirino), to include party identification on ballot for some judicial candidates; HCR18 (Schmidt) and HR57 (Click-Bird), which both urge Congress to keep the U.S. Supreme Court at nine justices; HB44 (Roemer-Miller), increasing penalties for assaults on sports officials; and concurrence with Senate amendment to HB75 (Oelslager), the workers’ compensation budget. Aside from adoption of the biennial budget, Monday’s Senate session included passage of HB244 (White-Lampton), a military education bill amended to bar COVID-19 vaccination requirements by public schools and universities; and concurrence with House changes to SB126 (Kunze-Gavarone), an anti-hazing bill; and SB52 (Reineke-McColley), regarding wind and solar development. In addition to final budget approval, Monday’s House session included passage of SB52 (Reineke-McColley), regarding wind and solar development; SB19 (Schaffer), regarding wetland projects; HB95 (Manchester-Lightbody), regarding tax credits for beginning farmers; concurrence with Senate changes to HB244 (White-Lampton), a military education bill amended to bar COVID-19 vaccine mandates in public colleges and schools; and rejection of Senate amendments to HB29 (Wiggam), regarding veterans ID, college athlete naming/image/likeness rights and sports gambling, and to HB132 (Hillyer-Jones), regarding storage and towing. GOVERNOR Gov. Mike DeWine signed numerous bills over the week, including operating budget HB110 (Oelslager), workers’ compensation budget HB75 (Oelslager), and unemployment compensation debt payoff and local government funding measure HB168 (Fraizer). Other bills signed include the following:

  • HB5 (Manning) creates two pathways to become a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor II. This type of counselor works with those who have substance use disorders and will help fill the shortage of these counselors in Ohio.

  • HB9 (Koehler) prohibits retailers from selling a drug containing dextromethorphan to anyone younger than 18 without a prescription. While safe if used appropriately, misuse of it has increased in recent years among adolescents and young adults.

  • HB82 (Cross-Jones) permits parents of high school students to opt them out of the state administration of the ACT or SAT. In addition, the measure reduces the number of rated components of the new report card from six to five for the 2021- 2022 school year. Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) introduced companion legislation in the Ohio Senate.

  • HB106 (Cross) designates January as Radon Awareness Month in Ohio. The measure is also known as the Annie Cacciato Act, recognizing an individual diagnosed with lung cancer after she was exposed to radon at her workplace.

  • HB137 (Upchurch-Blackshear), establishes March 29 as Ohio Tuskegee Airmen Day in Ohio. HB201 (Stephens) prevents local governments from limiting the use of natural gas and propane and ensures individuals access to distribution services or retail natural gas services. Sens. George Lang (R-West Chester) and Michael Rulli (RSalem) introduced companion legislation in the Ohio Senate.

  • HB222 (Wilkin-Upchurch) specifies that a nonprofit formed or acquired by a county hospital or joint township district hospital is a separate entity from the hospital.

  • HB252 (White-Plummer) enters Ohio into the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact that allows professionals to practice under their home state license in member states.

  • SB3 (Roegner) enters Ohio into the Nurse Licensure Compact on Jan. 1, 2023, which allows nursing professionals to obtain from their home state a multistate license which allows the nurse to practice in other states who are members of the compact.

  • SB6 (Roegner-S. Huffman) allows Ohio to enter into the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact to help physicians licensed in Ohio get expediated licensure in compact member states.

  • SB40 (Schaffer) revises the way cigarettes' wholesale minimum sale price is calculated by referring to the manufacturer's gross invoice cost as the basis of a wholesaler's cost.

  • SB49 (Hottinger-Sykes) establishes a payment assurance program for registered design professionals, including architects, landscape architects, engineers, and surveyors.

  • SB80 (Gavarone-Cirino) requires political party affiliation to be listed on general election ballots in judicial elections increasing transparency. Reps. DJ Swearingen (R-Huron) and Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) introduced companion legislation in the Ohio House.

Appointments made during the week include the following:

  • Dennis Milstead of Washington Court House (Fayette County) to the Southern State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2021 and ending May 11, 2026.

  • Douglas Allen Wolf of Bexley (Franklin County) to the Children's Trust Fund Board for a term beginning June 30, 2021 and ending July 2, 2022.

  • Walter R. Davis of Lebanon (Warren County) to the State Board of Education for a term beginning June 30, 2021 and ending Dec. 31, 2022.

  • Reps. Darrell D. Kick of Loudonville (Ashland County) and Casey M. Weinstein of Hudson (Summit County) to the Holocaust and Genocide Memorial and Education Commission terms beginning June 30, 2021 and ending Dec. 31, 2022.

  • Yona Klein of University Heights (Cuyahoga County), Anne Lukawiec Lukas of South Euclid (Cuyahoga County), Sarah Lynn Weiss of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) and Mark Swaim-Fox of Cleveland Heights (Cuyahoga County) to the Holocaust and Genocide Memorial and Education Commission terms beginning June 30, 2021 and ending June 29, 2024.

  • JP Nauseef of Dayton (Montgomery County) reappointed to the JobsOhio Board of Directors for a term beginning July 6, 2021 and ending July 5, 2025 and reappointed to the Third Frontier Commission for a term beginning July 8, 2021.

  • Chris Kershner of Springboro (Warren County) reappointed to the Transportation Review Advisory Council for a term beginning June 30, 2021 and ending June 29, 2026.

  • Cassandra B. Robertson of Cleveland Heights (Cuyahoga County) reappointed to the State Council of Uniform Laws for a term beginning June 30, 2021 and ending June 5, 2024.

  • Mark A. Bechtel of Columbus (Franklin County) to the State Medical Board for a term beginning June 30, 2021 and ending March 18, 2026.

  • Anna Brunicardi Villarreal of Chillicothe (Ross County) to the Chiropractic Loan Repayment Advisory Board for a term beginning June 30, 2021 and ending Feb. 20, 2023.

  • Jimmie J. Blevins of Columbus (Franklin County) and Mark Alan Funke of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) reappointed to the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission for terms beginning July 2, 2021 and ending July 1, 2025.

GREAT LAKES National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists -- along with researchers at Ohio State University (OSU), Heidelberg University and other institutions -- are predicting a smaller-than-average Lake Erie harmful algal bloom (HAB) in Summer 2021. The bloom is expected to measure at 3.0 -- with a potential range of 2.0 to 4.5 -- out of 10 on the severity index, meaning it would be among the smaller blooms experienced since 2011, researchers said during their official HAB forecast on Wednesday. GUNS Ohioans for Gun Safety (OGS), a group that was created to push for "common-sense background checks" in Ohio, will dissolve on Wednesday, June 30. The organization has been in existence since 2015 after being created by Anne Wallace and Susan Reis, according to a news release from OGS and the organization it will now join, Whitney/Strong. HIGHER EDUCATION Wright State University announced this week it is reducing the price of residential housing on its Dayton campus by as much as one-third beginning in the fall semester in an effort to support students living on campus post-pandemic. The Kent State University Board of Trustees have approved an addition to the Aeronautics and Engineering Building, home of the College of Aeronautics and Engineering that opened in spring 2015. Bowling Green State University broke ground on the School of the Built Environment facility this week. The $10.4 million project will include a 22,900 square-foot-expansion of the Park Avenue building, featuring a 6,500 square-foot innovation lab that will serve as a collaborative fabrication and construction area for students in both construction management and architecture and environmental design programs. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) players in Ohio can now earn compensation from their name, image and likeness (NIL) as a result of an executive order signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday. "Ohio's colleges and athletes need this directive. The NCAA and the federal government have yet to provide updated instructions on how to modernize collegiate programs and allow athletes to make money while making sure they remain amateurs," DeWine said, noting 17 other states have enacted similar policies. Later Monday, the House and Senate agreed to put NIL language into the final budget bill as well. The Hiram College Board of Trustees has appointed David P. Haney as the 23rd president, effectively immediately. Haney has served as the interim president since fall 2020. Upcoming ceremonies will be the first near-normal celebrations of student achievements at Ohio State University (OSU) since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the university announced recently. The university will hold two ceremonies during the first weekend in August to celebrate Ohio State's spring, summer and autumn 2020 graduates as well as the commencement for summer 2021 graduates. The University of Toledo (UT) has named a new assistant vice provost for institutional research. Anne Fulkerson, who received a bachelor's in psychology, a master's in experimental psychology and a doctoral degree in experimental psychology at UT, takes over the position on Thursday, July 29. Since 2018, she has served as director of institutional research at Owens Community College. Another lawsuit was filed Monday against Ohio State University (OSU) on behalf of 29 survivors of the alleged sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss. The suit, Moxley v. OSU, includes allegations that Timothy Moxley was abused as a minor at a wrestling camp held on campus and then again as a student-athlete. The University of Cincinnati (UC) has named Valerio Ferme, dean of UC's College of Arts and Sciences, as the next executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. Ferme will begin as the university's chief academic officer effective Tuesday, Aug. 3. His appointment will require approval by the Board of Trustees. Ferme has spent the last two years serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences where he led a college-wide commitment to sponsored research, helping faculty attract more than $16 million in research funding in FY21, up about $6 million from the previous five-year average, UC said. Wright State University cancer researcher Madhavi Kadakia has been named interim vice provost for research effective Thursday, July 1. She replaces Ellen Reinsch Friese, who is retiring. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has adopted a uniform interim policy suspending its name, image and likeness (NIL) restrictions for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports. The move was made as several state laws -- including the language in Ohio's budget bill HB110 (Oelslager) -- go into effect on Thursday. Ohio University (OU) has announced that effective Thursday the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs will be renamed the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service. The change comes after the Board of Trustees approved the name in October last year. The University of Toledo (UT) has named Monica Holiday-Goodman, associate dean of student affairs and diversity and inclusion for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the interim dean of the college. JUDICIAL The Board of Professional Conduct says purchasing online names and key words used by another lawyer or firm to divert potential clients in an Internet search shows a "lack of professional integrity" and violates a number of Rules of Professional Conduct, including prohibitions in Rule 8.4(c) against "dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." "The advertising lawyer is attempting to deceive the consumer into selecting the advertising lawyer or law firm's website, as opposed to the intended lawyer or law firm," the board says in Advisory Opinion 2021-04. "It calls into question the lawyer's trustworthiness, sense of fairness to others and respect for the rights of others, including those of fellow practitioners." While Volkswagen entered into a settlement agreement with the federal government over allegations that the German automaker manipulated its emissions-control systems, Ohio can still file its own lawsuit invoking state law against the company, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. In a 6-1 decision, the Court said the federal Clean Air Act does not pre-empt Ohio from invoking its anti-tampering law when it comes to Volkswagen's efforts to defeat pollution control standards. According to the Court, the ruling will allow Ohio to pursue claims on a portion of the estimated 14,000 vehicles sold or leased in the state identified in 2016. Drug courts and other specialized dockets are in for a boost from Thursday's Ohio Supreme Court rule changes allowing magistrates to preside over specialty courts in the absence of judges. Effective July 1, this year's annual rules package completes a proposal begun two years ago in proposed amendments to Rule 19 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure. They were pulled from 2019 rule changes, however, to allow the Specialized Dockets Committee to craft companion language in the Rules of Superintendence specifically authorizing magistrates to handle specialized dockets. Ohioans have until Friday, Aug. 6 to submit nominations for the 2021 John and Ginny Elam Pro Bono Award, presented annually with support from the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA), Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF) and Columbus Bar Foundation. Nominations may be sent to Marion Smithberger, executive director, Columbus Bar Foundation, 175 S. Third Ave., Columbus 43215-5193, or to MARIJUANA/HEMP Proposed changes to the Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) dispensary license application evaluation were moved to "To Be Refiled (TBR)" status during Friday's Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), with Chair Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) thanking MMCP for their action. While the number of physicians with certificates to recommend (CTR) medical marijuana has been stagnant or dropping over the last year, patients are not being significantly affected because of the State Medical Board of Ohio's (SMBO) coronavirus-related emergency telemedicine rules, according to state officials. SMBO Chief Compliance Officer Brandi Dorcy told the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee (MMAC) that telemedicine visits have been -- and currently still are -- permitted for initial visits and for recommendation renewals. NATURAL RESOURCES First Lady Fran DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz recently celebrated the launch of Ohio's newest Storybook Trail, which is now open at the Shawnee State Park Ohio River property in Scioto County. Citizen scientists are encouraged to participate in surveying Ohio's wild turkey and ruffed grouse populations by reporting sightings in July and August, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Every summer, the ODNR Division of Wildlife conducts a turkey and grouse brood survey to estimate population growth, ODNR said in a news release. NEWS MEDIA Media outlets' response to the pandemic and the evolution of the digital landscape for journalism were among topics at a recent Columbus Metropolitan Club forum on the "Future of News in a Digital World." The panel included Columbus Dispatch Executive Editor Alan Miller, Columbus Underground co-founder and CEO Walker Evans and NBC4 News Director Denise Eck. It was hosted by WOSU's Ann Fisher. OHIO HISTORY The Ohio History Connection recently announced that its Ohio Village living history exhibit reopened Wednesday, June 30 for members and then will reopen for all visitors starting Wednesday, July 7 through Sunday, Oct. 31. PENSIONS The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&F) said Tuesday that its longtime general counsel, Mary Beth Foley, will take over as executive director permanently, after serving as acting director. John Gallagher announced his plans to retire as executive director earlier this year. He had led the system since 2012. Foley, general counsel since 2008, took over as acting director in April. PEOPLE The Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA) announced recently that Michael Deemer had been named CEO and president following a unanimous vote of the board. He filled those roles in an interim capacity after the retirement of Joe Marinucci and had led the nonprofit's business development efforts since 2011. Taylor Jach, press secretary of the House Republican Caucus since 2019, resigned to join the J.D. Vance for U.S. Senate campaign. Aaron Mulvey, the deputy press secretary for the caucus, will be handling media inquiries in the wake of Jach's departure. PUBLIC SAFETY The city of Middletown has been without statewide certification under the Ohio Community-Police Collaborative Advisory Board but Friday was named the newest participant in law enforcement standards administered by the Ohio Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Office of Criminal Justice Services. SECRETARY OF STATE Secretary of State Frank LaRose said Wednesday that a "significant upgrade" to his office's website will allow for faster and more convenient processing of records, with the goal of giving Ohioans the ability to file records online and complete applications on their own computer, rather than wait for mail processing. TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE Nearly 320,000 driver's licenses and vehicle registrations will no longer be valid after Thursday, July 1 because extensions passed by the Legislature expire that day. Charlie Norman, the registrar of the Oho Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), told Hannah News that at least one third of those renewals may be handled online before the expiration of the extension. AAA Ohio said it expects travel for the Independence Day holiday to return to pre-pandemic levels and warned travelers to be prepared for long lines as they go. Kimberly Schwind, AAA spokesperson, said the auto club is predicting its third highest state travel on record, only following the records set in 2019 and 2018, before the COVID-19 pandemic kept more at home last year. The busiest travel times for the holiday weekend are expected to be Thursday and Friday afternoons as people leave and Monday afternoon as people return. WORKERS' COMPENSATION The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors held its last virtual meeting under COVID-19 Friday in advance of next month's first in-person gathering since March 2020. Members unanimously approved the Actuarial Committee's recommendation to exclude COVID-19 claims for workers contracting the virus from employers' so-called "experience" rating, i.e. history of injuries or risk factor.

[Story originally published in The Hannah Report. Copyright 2021 Hannah News Service, Inc.]

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