top of page

Week in Review June 10, 2024

Updated: 22 hours ago


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.



ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE


Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order Tuesday enacting emergency rules to ban nine synthetic opioids known as nitazenes, a drug type the administration says is playing an increasing role in overdose deaths. DeWine's office said nitazenes were developed long ago as potential morphine alternatives but were never approved for medical use. Under Order 2024-06D, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy can immediately adopt rules classifying the nine nitazenes as Schedule I controlled substances, banning their sale and use. More information about the nitazene order is at https://tinyurl.com/57983txk.


Ohio was recently ranked 27th in drug use for each state, according to a report by personal finance site WalletHub, and was last among neighbors on a scale where that meant the lowest rates of drug use. West Virginia was second, followed by Michigan, 10th; Kentucky, 12th; Indiana, 13th; and Pennsylvania, 24th. The highest national rankings were New Mexico, West Virginia, Nevada, the District of Columbia and Colorado. The lowest five were Maryland, Florida, Nebraska, Utah and Hawaii.


AGING


With June being World Elder Abuse Awareness Month, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) are encouraging Ohioans to learn to recognize the signs of elder abuse among their older family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues and how to report it. "On average, more than 100 referrals [for potential elder abuse] are received by adult protective services in Ohio each day," said ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder. Elder abuse can include physical, sexual or psychological abuse, as well as self-neglect, neglect by others, abandonment or financial exploitation of older adults. Abuse can be intentional or unknowing against an older adult by their caregiver or any other person putting an older adult at risk of harm. Studies suggest that one in 10 seniors nationally is a victim of elder abuse, according to ODJFS. Ohio's population currently includes almost 3 million adults age 60 or older.


ARTS, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT


Attorney General Dave Yost announced Thursday, May 30 that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has agreed to end its official practice of yanking transfer students' athletic eligibility until they have fulfilled one year's academic residence at their new institution -a 10-state settlement led by Ohio. Judge John Preston Bailey of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia previously had issued a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the association's Transfer Eligibility Rule and Rule of Restitution, the latter which allows the NCAA to punish students and institutions that have relied on a court injunction against the transfer rule that was later vacated, reversed or stayed. With the judge's approval, Thursday's announcement makes that permanent. "[T]he Transfer Eligibility Rule is an illegal agreement to restrain and suppress competition in the nationwide market for Division I student-athletes' labor in intercollegiate athletics," say plaintiff states including Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia, along with the District of Columbia.


ATTORNEY GENERAL


Attorney General Dave Yost filed a six-count lawsuit against Hebrew Union College and Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati for allegedly abusing its charitable trust and fiduciary duties by working to sell off holdings from its 149-year-old collection of rare Hebraica at the Klau Cincinnati Library. Invoking his legal role as parens patriae or "parent of the homeland," Yost says the nation's oldest Jewish school of theology has violated the Ohio Revised Code and common law by exploring the library's transfer to the University of Cincinnati and the University of Chicago, hiring Sotheby's of London to put a price tag on its collection, and deliberating the sale of priceless holdings to offset HUC-JIR's $8 million deficit. Considered one of the world's leading trove of Judaica, the collection includes rare incunabula, illuminated manuscripts, Biblical codices and other documents including one of 12 surviving sets of the 16th century Bomberg Talmud and Kaifeng manuscripts in Hebrew and Chinese from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).


FY24-25 BUDGET


Tax revenues were back on target in May after a slide over the past several months that turned a $200 million-plus overage into a $400 million-plus shortfall in collections, according to preliminary figures from the Office of Budget and Management (OBM). Year-to-date underspending, however, far exceeds any revenue shortfalls. May collections were ahead of the month's estimates by $17.3 million or 0.7 percent, yielding nearly $2.6 billion versus expectations of $2.57 billion. With one month remaining in FY24, tax collections stand at $25.34 billion versus expectations of $25.77 billion, down $429.4 million or 1.7 percent.


DISABILITIES


The Ohio Developmental Disability Council (ODDC) announced recently the availability of federal grant funding for projects that promote systems change, capacity building and advocacy for people with developmental disabilities. The total federal funding available is $216,000 in four project areas centered around outreach and public policy. Grant amounts can range from $26,000 to $100,000, depending on the request. A complete description of each project, known as the State Plan Language, can be found as part of the Notice of Funds Available on www.ddsuite.org. All grant awards are contingent on the availability of federal funds. Applicants must provide cash or in-kind "matching" funds of 33.33 percent in non-poverty areas and 11.11 percent in poverty areas. More information about the available projects and application process can be found at https://tinyurl.com/fzeyzm6y or by calling 800-766-7426.


DISASTERS


Gov. Mike DeWine is challenging the assessment of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration from President Joe Biden to address the damage affecting eight Southeastern Ohio counties hit by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes. According to DeWine's office, the severe weather events from Monday-Thursday, April 1-4, 2024 significantly damaged critical public infrastructure in Belmont, Monroe, Jefferson, Guernsey, Noble, Washington, Morgan and Meigs counties. "These eight Appalachian counties cannot afford to fix the tremendous amount of infrastructure damage on their own, and I believe it's the president's duty to step in and help," said DeWine in a letter to the White House sent Monday.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/URBAN REVITALIZATION


The Ohio Department of Development (DOD) recently announced it will provide $2.25 million in grants to five communities for infrastructure upgrades and elimination of safety hazards. The funds are part of the Residential Public Infrastructure Grant and Flexible Grant programs, both of which are supported by the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).


EDUCATION


Judge Timothy Tepe of Warren County Common Pleas Court issued an injunction recently against the Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) in litigation involving a Warren County Educational Service Center (ESC) program for students with complex behavioral health needs, following the recommendation of his magistrate. The dispute stems from a complaint filed with DEW by Disability Rights Ohio (DRO), a nonprofit designated by the state to advocate for people with disabilities. DEW responded with corrective action plans for the ESC, but later reconsidered its decisions, prompting DRO to file a new complaint with DEW, alleging it failed to follow its own procedures for this type of dispute and in the process cost students some of the services they'd been awarded under the corrective action plans.


The Ohio Education Association (OEA) held its Summer Celebration of Diverse Readers event over the weekend in East Cleveland to distribute thousands of free books with diverse characters and authors, joined by partner organizations. The event was part of the Read Across America Celebrate a Nation of Diverse Readers Initiative. OEA said it also donated books to the book vending machine program at East Cleveland City Schools.

State-funded family accounts that pay or reimburse for afterschool programs, summer camps, tutors, music lessons and other educational activities can be used for a year longer than originally expected, the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) announced this week. Lawmakers used $125 million in federal pandemic aid to create Afterschool Child Enrichment (ACE) accounts via the FY22-23 biennial budget, 134-HB110 (Oelslager). A federal spending omnibus, 134-HB45 (West-Roemer), later expanded the program, increasing account limits from $500 to $1,000 and increasing the income eligibility threshold from 300 percent of the federal poverty level to 400 percent. The ACE program is closed to new applicants, as enough families have already applied to use up all the funding.


ELECTIONS 2024


Special session legislation delaying the deadline for major political parties to certify their presidential and vice presidential candidates will take effect on Saturday, Aug. 31, Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in an advisory to county boards of elections. HB2 (Dobos) delays the certification deadline from Wednesday, Aug. 7 to Sunday, Sept. 1, giving the candidates one day to comply with the law if they choose to use the process under the legislation.


The secretary of state’s office this week published a list of 158,857 people who will have their voter registrations cancelled in several weeks unless they take steps to confirm or update their information. The list is made up of people identified by county boards of elections as those who filled out a national change of address form and are no longer eligible to vote at the prior address, or those flagged for removal because of inactivity. County boards have been directed by LaRose to complete removals by Monday, July 22, but people on the list can have their registration restored to active status if, before that date, they confirm or update their registration or engage in voter activity, such as updating or confirming their address with the county board of elections or BMV or signing a verified candidate or issue petition. Voters can confirm their registration online at www.voteohio.gov, by mail or in person. Those interested can search to see if their name is on the list or download the entire list at https://registrationreadiness.ohiosos.gov/.


ENERGY/UTILITIES


Residential customers of American Electric Power (AEP) of Ohio will be out an additional $1 billion over the next four years for an average monthly bill increase of $8 by 2028, the Office of Consumers' Counsel (OCC) says in its request for reconsideration granted last week by state regulators. OCC fears AEP's household disconnections -already twice that of any other Ohio utility -could mushroom. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) granted AEP Ohio's draft electric security plan (ESP), with changes, in April, followed by the utility's proposed "tariffs" or customer charges filed two weeks later to implement the modified ESP. They include a distribution investment rider (DIR) -one of more than a dozen line-item bill charges to be reheard -capped at $1.02 billion over the four-year term. "Opposing intervenor OCC argues that the DIR annual revenue requirement caps, $122.75 million for June through December 2024, $226 million for 2025, $256 million for 2026, $286 million for 2027 and $131 million for January through May 2028, would cause rate shock for customers by 2028 with a bill impact of $11.78 per month," PUCO says in its 164-page order of April 3.


ENVIRONMENT


The Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) has awarded $58.8 million in low interest loans to Ohio communities to improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. For the month of May, OWDA provided $29.8 million in loans for 16 projects that will provide improvements and replace aging infrastructure, OWDA said. The 16 awarded projects received an interest rate ranging from 3.37 percent to 3.85 percent.


FEDERAL


U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Dayton) and Gov. Mike DeWine joined local leaders Monday in announcing that Dayton will be the site of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Parliamentary Assembly's 2025 spring session. It will be the first time a NATO session will be held in the U.S. since the fall of 2003. Turner heads the U.S. delegation to NATO and has been a member of its Parliamentary Assembly since January 2009. He also serves as vice chairman of its Defense and Security Committee.


GAMING/GAMBLING


Ohio's casinos and racinos saw slight drops in revenue in April 2024 compared to April 2023, according to data provided by the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) and Ohio Lottery Commission (OLC). However, total taxable revenue from the sports gambling industry was $73.9 million in April 2024, up from $63.4 million in April 2023. Total gross receipts (handle) for April 2024 was $673.2 million, up from $520.6 million in April 2023. Operating transfers to the Lottery Profits Education Fund (LPEF) for April 2024 totaled $129.9 million, up from $121.2 million in April 2023.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/SPECIAL SESSION


The Senate Friday voted 24-7 to pass HB1 (Seitz), which would prohibit foreign nationals from contributing to ballot issue campaigns, and 30-1 to pass HB2 (Dobos), which extends the deadline for major parties to submit the names of their presidential and vice presidential candidates. HB1 passed along party lines, and Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) was the only senator to vote against HB2. The House passed both bills on Thursday, May 30. The governor called the General Assembly into a special session to address both issues.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE


Ohio should not call for a convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, opponents of HJR3 (McClain-Willis) told the House Government Oversight Committee on Tuesday. "I have been studying both sides of this convention of states issue for three years, and I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that it would be a very dangerous experiment," Robert Tuttle said. Tuttle criticized the Convention of States (COS) organization, saying proponents of HJR3 are either ignoring the risks or don't understand what they're talking about. The states of Delaware, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia and New York have recently rescinded their applications for an Article V Convention, Tuttle said, noting New Hampshire is close to rescinding its application.


Opponents of HB451 (Wiggam-King), which sets a refundable remittance fee on money transmissions to people outside the U.S., gave overlapping testimony Tuesday in the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill is known as the WIRED Act, for "Withholding Illegal Revenue Entering Drug Markets." Similar legislation has been offered at the federal level by U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH). In-person opposition testimony was given by industry representatives Adam Fleisher, counsel for the Money Services Round Table, and Kathy Tomasofsky, executive director of the Money Services Business Association; the Ohio Chamber of Commerce; and religious organizations.


Nearly 120 individuals submitted testimony asking lawmakers to pass a bill that would require public schools to adopt a policy to allow students to be excused from school for "released time" religious instruction. Current law "permits" school districts to authorize released time religious instruction, but under HB445 (Cutrona-Click) districts would be required to adopt a policy allowing students to attend a religious course conducted by a private group off school property during regular school hours. The legislation maintains existing requirements for the policy, including that a student's parent or guardian provide written consent; that the private company take "complete responsibility for transportation to and from the place of instruction"; that no public dollars are spent on the religious instruction; that the student assumes responsibility for missed schoolwork; and that the company assumes liability for the student.


The House Criminal Justice Committee faced a witness list of four dozen proponents of anti-public cabaret show bill HB245 (King-Williams) Wednesday in the day's longest hearing. They included a number of elected county and city officials, though only four actually spoke on legislation invoking the U.S. Supreme Court "obscenity" test and existing state laws against sexual content "harmful to juveniles." House members heard from Gays Against Groomers, Center for Christian Virtue (CCV), Celina Council President Jason King, and a fellow resident of the city. Chapter Leader Jana Warnecke of Gays Against Groomers called HB245 the "gold standard" for legislation protecting children from adult entertainment.


In other legislative action, the House Civil Justice Committee reported out HB178 (Brent-Callender), the CROWN Act; the House Government Oversight Committee reported out HCR14 (Patton-Skindell) which urges Congress to pass the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; the House Health Provider Services Committee reported out HB236 (Lear-M. Miller), the Never Alone Act; the House Ways and Means Committee reported out HB277 (Ray-Brent) which addresses companion animals in rentals; and HB378 (Lorenz-Santucci) which deals with surviving spouses and the homestead exemption; the House Criminal Justice Committee reported out HB289 (Blasdel-Swearingen) which deals with SORN noncompliance; and HCR11 (Klopfenstein-King) which condemns China for its role in the global drug trade; and the House Homeland Security Committee reported out license plate bills HB222 (Schmidt) and HB232 (Callender-Loychik).


GOVERNOR


Gov. Mike DeWine signed both bills passed during the General Assembly's special session. On Sunday, the governor signed foreign campaign donation ban HB1 (Seitz) and presidential certification deadline delay measure HB2 (Dobos). Both are effective in 90 days. The House passed both bills on Thursday, May 30, and the Senate passed them on Friday, May 31. The governor called the special session on Thursday, May 23. HB1 prohibits foreign nationals -including lawful permanent U.S. residents, also known as "green card" holders -from directly or indirectly contributing to campaigns in Ohio. Under the bill, the attorney general has the exclusive authority to investigate and prosecute violations of the law regarding foreign nationals. The AG is required to investigate any alleged violation of the bill if a written request is submitted to the AG by the governor, secretary of state, General Assembly or Ohio Elections Commission. The AG is also required to investigate any complaint filed by an elector in Ohio. HB2 delays the deadline -from Wednesday Aug. 7 to Sunday, Sept. 1 -for a major political party to certify its presidential and vice presidential candidates to the secretary of state for the 2024 general election. There are 91 days between June 2, when the governor signed the bill, and Sept. 1.


Gov. Mike DeWine told reporters Wednesday he plans to attend the Republican convention in Milwaukee, WI in mid-July although on Tuesday, he has declined to comment on the conviction of presumptive nominee and former President Donald Trump on state charges in New York. Later in the day, asked about the state of the budget in light of the FY24 tax revenue shortfall, which reached $446 million in April, DeWine said he's not worried about it. Asked about the propriety of sending millions of dollars to county jails following the USA Today investigation finding that at least 219 people died in jails from 2020 to 2023, DeWine said jails need adequate funding to operate correctly.


Appointments made over the week include the following:


  • Paula M. O'Reilly of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending May 17, 2033; and Kathryn R. Ware of Findlay (Hancock County) as student member of the board for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending May 17, 2026.


  • Sterling A. Williams of Warren (Trumbull County) to the Youngstown State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning May 14, 2024, and ending April 30, 2033; and Zane A. Perrico of Youngstown (Mahoning County) as a student member for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending April 30, 2026.


  • Donald E. Jakeway of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Ohio Expositions Commission for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Dec. 1, 2026.


  • Lyda G. Garcia of Hilliard (Franklin County) and Sylvia Sue Zinni of New Albany (Franklin County) to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board for terms beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Jan. 15, 2027.


  • Joseph S. Hagan of Dublin (Franklin County) to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Jan. 31, 2030; and Mark R. Ricketts of Worthington (Franklin County) for a term beginning Sept. 1, 2024, and ending Jan. 31, 2030.


  • Marcella Straughter of Dublin (Franklin County), Anthony Moye of Pataskala (Licking County) and Chelsea E. Stinnett of Dayton (Montgomery County) to the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council for terms beginning May 31, 2024, and ending March 14, 2027; Shannon Monyak of Olmsted Township (Cuyahoga County) for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Oct. 26, 2026; Thomas P. Webb of Dayton (Montgomery County) for a term beginning June 2, 2024, and ending June 1, 2027; and Lisa N. Hickman of Westerville (Franklin County) and Suzanne M. Turner of Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) reappointed for terms beginning June 2, 2024, and ending June 1, 2027.


  • Kyle N. Erdeljac of Dublin (Franklin County) to the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Aug. 21, 2026; and John L. Hinton of Mansfield (Morrow County) for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Aug. 21, 2025.


  • Jon Paul Rion of Yellow Springs (Clark County) to the Ohio Public Defender Commission for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Jan. 12, 2025.


  • Gary D. Lewis Jr. of Gahanna (Franklin County) to the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Sept. 3, 2025; and George W. Lavender, Jr. of Chillicothe (Ross County) for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Sept. 3, 2026.


  • Gregory D. Nelsen appointed and Carol H. O'Brien of Delaware (Delaware County) reappointed to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission for terms beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Sept. 19, 2026.


  • Erin J. Pettegrew of Hilliard (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio AMBER Alert Advisory Committee for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Feb. 6, 2025.


  • Matthew A. Phillips of Pemberville (Wood County), Pradeesh M. George of Spring Valley (Greene County) to the State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire, and Transportation Services for terms beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Nov. 12, 2024; and Deana M. Pace of Warren (Trumbull County) for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Nov. 12, 2025.


  • S. Brad Bales of Minerva Park (Franklin County) appointed to the Ohio Board of Motor Vehicle Repair for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Jan. 1, 2025; Jason Rhoades of Chillicothe (Ross County) for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Jan. 1, 2027; Dennis E. Booth of Williamsport (Pickaway County) for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Jan. 1, 2026; and Randall Blanchard of Dublin (Delaware County) reappointed for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Jan. 1, 2027.


  • Jon D. Harvey of Germantown (Montgomery County) to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation Board of Directors for a term beginning May 9, 2024, and ending June 11, 2027; and Kenneth M. Haffey of Chesterland (Geauga County), Tracie J. Sanchez of Lima (Allen County) and David S. Currier of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed for terms beginning May 9, 2024, and ending June 11, 2027.


  • Larry L. Macon Jr. of Sagamore Hills (Summit County) appointed and S. Zaheer Hasan of Waterville (Lucas County), Tina I. Ernst of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) and Avraham L. Goldstein of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Advisory Board of the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending May 4, 2025.


  • Karen D. Riel of Batavia (Clermont County) to the Credit Union Council for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Sept. 22, 2024; and Jarod N. Bach of Powell (Delaware County) for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Sept. 22, 2026.


  • Lisa M. Duty of Reynoldsburg (Franklin County), Margo D. Arnold of Columbus (Franklin County), Julie A. Weagraff of North Royalton (Cuyahoga County) and Mykayla E. Kroeger of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) appointed and Briana K. Lusheck of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio Commission on Service and Volunteerism for terms beginning May 31, 2024, and ending April 21, 2027.


  • Brodi J. Conover of Lebanon (Warren County), Susan Ferraro Smith of Westlake (Cuyahoga County) and Katherine R. Fell of Findlay (Hancock County) reappointed to the Ohio Humanities Council for terms beginning May 31, 2024, and ending Oct. 30, 2026.


  • Helen Conger of Euclid (Cuyahoga County) and Lonna McKinley of Xenia (Greene County) to the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board for a term beginning May 31, 2024, and ending March 31, 2027.


  • Jeffrey A. Snyder of Oxford (Butler County) and Charles W. DeJonckheere of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) appointed Michael G. Dinneen of Worthington (Franklin County), Alexander T. Boehnke of Columbus (Franklin County) and Jennifer G. Fenderbosch of Avon Lake (Lorain County) reappointed to the Materials Management Advisory Council for terms beginning May 31, 2024, and ending July 1, 2026.


  • Jacqueline Johnson-Wilkinson of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission for the Mt. Healthy City School District for a term beginning April 19, 2024, and continuing at the pleasure of the governor.


HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES


Nurses and other health care professionals Wednesday called on lawmakers to do more to protect them from physical violence in the workplace and specifically suggested enacting stiffer penalties for using bodily fluids as a weapon. Rick Lucas and Jacinta Tucker, both with the Ohio Nurses Association, and Drs. Nicole Veitinger and RJ Sontag, both with the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, told the House Public Health Policy Committee that violence against nurses and physicians is getting worse and is further exacerbating the shortage of health care workers. They asked lawmakers to approve HB452 (White-Baker), which would require all behaviors as well as to establish a workplace violence incident reporting system, including posting notices of aggressive behavior, among other provisions.


HIGHER EDUCATION


Gov. Mike DeWine addressed trustees of Ohio's 37 public colleges and universities Wednesday, offering his perspective on a range of challenges currently facing higher education institutions. The remarks were part of the 2024 Trustees Conference held by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). He framed the address as thoughts on "the world according to Mike DeWine" and so it covered a range of higher education topics including how career tech, two-year and four-year institutions can work together; the importance of early childhood education and the role of colleges in training future teachers; what can be done to attract students to Ohio colleges and keep them in the state after graduating; and the work trustees can do with data as well as their role in selecting new university presidents. The current challenges include that many are questioning the need for and value of higher education as well as concerns on student debt, DeWine said. He also said trustees must balance an obligation to the institution and the state itself and noted he had been a college trustee after leaving the U.S. Senate.


Ohio State University (OSU) has selected Matthew J. Smith as its next dean and director of Ohio State University at Newark, effective Thursday, Aug. 1. Smith currently serves as dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences at Radford University, a public university in Radford, VA, where he is also a professor of communication. In his deanship at Radford, Smith leads the university's largest college, which includes about 120 full-time faculty and up to 2,200 students. The college includes a school, eight departments, four interdisciplinary programs and Army ROTC. Prior to joining Radford in 2018, Smith held leadership and faculty roles at Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH where he served in various leadership roles including as Department of Communication chair, co-director of communication and business leadership experience, and director of cinema studies.


OSU also announced the selection of Jason Opal as its next dean and director of the Ohio State University Mansfield campus, effective Thursday, Aug. 15. Opal currently serves as associate dean of graduate studies in the Faculty of Arts at McGill University, a public research institution in Canada. He is also a professor in McGill's Department of History and Classics with 20 years of experience. In his role as associate dean at McGill, Opal is responsible for overseeing graduate programs and improving the student experience. Before joining the dean's office, Opal chaired the Department of History and Classics, the largest department in the Faculty of Arts. Before joining McGill in 2009, he was an assistant professor at Colby College in Waterville, ME.


Kent State University is expanding its police academy to Twinsburg, OH this fall. Kent State's Basic Peace Officer Training Academy, designated a STAR Academy by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission and the Ohio Attorney General's Office, offers basic Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) training along with "unique methods" for pursuing a career as a police officer or corrections officer. The Kent State Police Academy offers undergraduate college credit in addition to state accreditation. For more information, visit www.kent.edu/policeacademy or call 330-675-7666. To apply, go to https://tinyurl.com/2tshys8f.


The House Higher Education Committee heard presentations from representatives of three more public universities in Ohio in its series of hearings concerning universities' implementation of science of reading standards established in HB33 (Edwards). Representatives from Bowling Green State University (BGSU), Central State University (CSU) and Kent State University (KSU) appeared Tuesday before the committee. Then on Wednesday, officials from Ohio State University (OSU) and Youngstown State University (OSU) testified. Karla Zadnik, interim provost at OSU, was joined in testifying by Antoinette Miranda, chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at OSU's College of Education and Human Ecology and a member of the State Board of Education. Chair Tom Young (R-Centerville) quizzed the OSU witnesses on connections to Reading Recovery and use of the disfavored "three-cueing" approach to literacy instruction.


JUDICIAL


A major question from the Ohio Supreme Court's watershed Dubose v. McGuffey (2022) opinion must still be decided after Ohioans overturned the decision at the ballot to restore public safety as a reason for cash bail. Justice R. Patrick DeWine's dissent attacked not only the short-lived bond restriction but also routine Supreme Court review of bail determinations without major lower-court errors. Justices have sought public comment on expedited bail appeals to the Court along with other proposed rule changes since it released draft amendments last month in its first round of public comment on Rules of Practice for various types of appeals; different briefing requirements for appellants, respondents and friends of court; improved access to justice; and other changes. Among them is the addition of bail proceedings to the shorter timelines for cases currently limited to the revocation of parental rights and the adoption of minors. Bail would now appear in the short list of matters including constitutional questions and death penalty cases to be cited in notices of appeal to the Court, and parties would have either 20 days, 15 days or the "earliest practicable time" to respond, depending on the procedural phase, instead of the current 35 days. The initial public comment period on proposed Rules of Practice ended Friday, June 7.


Improvements in the institution's case management and efforts to provide assistance to courts throughout the state highlight the 2023 Annual Report released by the Ohio Supreme Court. The annual report highlights the Court's operations and notable work throughout 2023, following the ascension of Sharon Kennedy to chief justice on Jan. 1, 2023. Specifically, the report says, "the chief justice prioritized certification of more specialized dockets to get people back on track after involvement with the legal system due to unmanaged mental health or substance use. She advocated for Settlement Week opportunities to resolve civil disputes in a timely manner. And she encouraged judges to mentor young students, particularly in the underserved areas of the state, so that they could see their own possibilities for service to their community through the law, as they pursue a career." The report also highlights notable decisions by the Supreme Court in 2023 in areas of statewide issues, criminal law, civil law and public records. According to the report, a total of 1,650 cases were filed with the Supreme Court in 2023 in areas of jurisdictional appeals, merit cases and practice of law cases. In the same year, a total of 1,787 cases were disposed by the court, giving it a 108 percent clearance rate.


MARIJUANA/HEMP


Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) rules on adult use dispensaries, cultivators, processors and testing labs take effect on Friday, June 7. Under the rules, all current medical marijuana license holders will have the opportunity to apply to for a dual-use cannabis license, allowing the companies to work in the adult-use cannabis industry and the medical marijuana field. The applications will be available on June 7, but it's unclear how long it will take for companies to apply, and for DCC to review and approve the applications.


At least 56 Ohio municipal corporations or townships have passed moratoriums prohibiting adult-use cannabis businesses, according to the Ohio State University (OSU) Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC). The 56 jurisdictions represent just over 10 percent of Ohio's population, with the average population of moratorium localities hovering just under 22,000 residents, DEPC said in its recently updated report, "Local Moratoriums for Ohio Adult Use Marijuana Operators." The data provided in the report is accurate as of May 31. "We were able to collect the language of 50 of these moratoriums. Of the 50 ordinances we collected, 49 jurisdictions enacted full moratoriums for all types of adult use operators," the report says. DEPC researcher Dexter Ridgeway, an author of the report, told Hannah News that Kirtland has the one moratorium they observed that didn't ban all types of operators -it only prohibits dispensaries. The full report can be found at https://tinyurl.com/2zh4mftk.


MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM


The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) opened the application process Friday for vendors who will manage the care needs of Medicaid-Medicare dual eligible consumers as the MyCare program expands from 29 counties to the entire state, per provisions of the biennial budget. Under HB33 (Edwards), ODM must seek approval from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to take MyCare, a Kasich-era program, statewide. ODM will take applications through Friday, Aug. 2, but bidders must notify the agency of their intent to apply by 4 p.m. Friday, June 21 at intenttobid@medicaid.ohio.gov. Bid specifications are available at https://tinyurl.com/y4n3zc7a.


MENTAL HEALTH


Gov. Mike DeWine addressed local behavioral health professionals at a Columbus conference Tuesday, saying while he can use the bully pulpit of the governor's office to draw attention to mental health and recovery needs, they ultimately deliver the services people need. "I am not the expert in the area of mental health ... you are the experts," he said at the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities' 2024 Mental Health and Addiction Conference. DeWine said that while areas of disagreement with lawmakers often lead the news, across three budgets he's gotten "virtually everything I have asked them for" when it comes to mental health services.


Teenagers housed at a Northeast Ohio mental health treatment center were subjected to dangerous restraint techniques, abuse and other hazards, and state regulators haven't done enough to force improvements at the facility, according to a new report from Disability Rights Ohio (DRO). DRO, the nonprofit designated by the state to advocate for people with disabilities, said it issued the report to draw attention to the situation after concluding the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) would not take the needed actions. But the state agency says it's still engaged in efforts to address the situation at Youth Intensive Services (YIS).


Everybody needs to care about mental health care and suicide, according to Tony Coder, executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation. As a fitting finale of May's Mental Health Awareness Month on the month's final day, Coder joined a panel of behavioral health care experts at the Cleveland City Club on Friday to discuss how the state of Ohio and the Cleveland area specifically can address issues like mental health care availability and access to lethal means that can impact suicide prevention. Panel moderator Brian Lane, president of the Center for Health Affairs, said that his organization had studied firearm violence in Cuyahoga County, and suicides by firearms accounted for 58 percent of suicide deaths in the county during the time period studied. That number goes even higher for suicide deaths among Black males. He added that 90 percent of suicide attempts by firearms are fatal, whereas that number drops to five percent for suicide attempts by other methods.


The Governor's Work Group on Competency Restoration and Diversion welcomed two new members Thursday and did a deep dive into Tennessee's model to keep those with mental illness out of the criminal justice system. The panel added Manager David Edelblute of the Ohio Supreme Court's Children and Families Section and Thomas Hayes, who brings "lived experience" as a patient of Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in Columbus. Members then received a virtual presentation from Executive Director Jeff Feix of Tennessee's Office of Forensic and Juvenile Court Services, Clinical Director Natalie Hanlon of Adult Services at Tennessee Voices, and Criminal Justice Services Director Shara Biggs of the state's Mental Health Cooperative.


NATURAL RESOURCES


The Ohio Department of Development (DOD) announced Tuesday that it will provide over $6.2 million to support 14 projects to generate more innovation in the coal industry. The funds are part of the Ohio Coal Research and Development Program, which provides nearly $12 million in total. The program is meant to promote economic growth, job creation and environmental sustainability. The projects receiving grants aim to modernize use of Ohio coal "through advanced technologies and processes such as rare earth element extractions for manufacturing, alternate uses for coal waste, and even the conversion of coal into high-quality materials for housing construction," according to DOD.


OHIO HISTORY


Ohio Village, a recreated 19th-century community located on the grounds of the Ohio History Center in Columbus, will close until 2026 at the conclusion of the Ohio State Fair to undergo renovations. Additions will include a nature-based play space, a reimagined town center for performances and other events, new experiences for visitors, expanded food and beverage offerings, a stronger "physical connection" with the Ohio History Center, infrastructure upgrades and safety upgrades including walkways, lights, connectivity improvements, and hardscape streets. The renovation is part of a number of other construction projects happening at the Ohio History Center, which serves as the Ohio History Connection's headquarters, and as part of other projects at the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair.


PEOPLE


Former House Speaker Larry Householder, now imprisoned following his federal convictions from the nuclear bribery scandal, appeared by video Friday to enter a not guilty plea in the state criminal case filed against him this spring. Attorney General Dave Yost announced the 10-count indictment against Householder in March. He is charged with crimes including theft in office, aggravated theft, telecommunications fraud, money laundering and tampering with records, all felonies of various degrees. The theft in office charge bears penalties including disqualification from serving in public office. According to court records, Householder entered his plea and was given a pre-trial hearing date of 9 a.m. Monday, June 24 before Judge Kevin Kelley of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.


John Adams, the longest-serving chief of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) Bureau of Adult Detention, retired effective Monday, June 3, the agency said. Adams has served since 2014 as head of the bureau, which provides regulatory oversight to more than 300 jails in Ohio, including annual inspections of all jails, investigating complaints and critical incidents, reviewing and approving plans for the construction and renovation of jails, and collecting data from the jails. Most recently, Adams led the effort to revive and implement DRC's jail capital funding program, DRC said. He also managed Gov. Mike DeWine's Ohio Jail Safety and Security Program on behalf of DRC. This program has awarded more than $175 million in capital funding to the jails in the last several years. DRC said Christopher Galli, currently the chief of the Bureau of Community Sanctions, will be acting as the chief of the Bureau of Adult Detention.


POLITICS


The Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee approved membership of the party's standing committees Friday under a new process that takes committee appointment power out of the hands of the party chair. Party Chair Alex Triantafilou noted that new party bylaws adopted last year following his elevation removed the "singular power" of the chair to name committee members and instead instituted a Committee on Committees to recommend appointments to be approved by the full central committee. The Committee on Committees consists of the five elected executive officers of the party, the national committeeman and committeewoman, and five at-large appointees of the chair to represent various regions.


The Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) announced Wednesday that it has hired Katie Seewer to serve as press secretary and party spokesperson. She takes over for Matt Keyes, who is transitioning to the Friends of Sherrod Brown campaign as deputy communications director. In addition, ODP said Eliza Green is joining as press secretary. Green comes from the public affairs department at Forbes Tate Partners, where she was communications specialist for the One Country Project, which focuses on policies important to rural Americans. She is a Hudson native and Ohio State University graduate.


PUBLIC SAFETY


The Ohio Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Division of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) recently honored first responders from across the state who showed courage and dedication in the face of difficult, life-threatening circumstances. The 13 honorees were recognized during the 50th anniversary of EMS Week at the annual Star of Life Awards recognition ceremony.


The Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) Division of State Fire Marshal (SFM) Forensic Laboratory has been awarded a $239,250 grant to purchase cutting-edge technology to improve its investigation capabilities, DOC announced Tuesday. The forensic lab investigates fires and explosions that occur across the state. This latest funding fulfills a three-year, $771,000 grant, and is part of $3.4 million awarded to 11 crime labs across the state by the Ohio Crime Lab Efficiency Program, DOC said. The program was created by Gov. Mike DeWine in 2022 to help crime labs throughout the state increase efficiency and decrease evidence processing time.


The DeWine administration has added two more law enforcement agencies to the hundreds that have adopted state standards, including police in Georgetown (Brown County) and Lordstown (Trumbull). The Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) has certified Georgetown and Lordstown for use of force, including deadly force, and agency recruitment and hiring. The administration also recertified three agencies under standards promulgated by the Ohio Community-Police Collaborative Advisory Board, including the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and police in Athens (Athens) and Pierce Township (Clermont).


STATE GOVERNMENT


The Controlling Board approved all items on its agenda Monday after two were deferred and one was withdrawn by request of the agency. Eight items were approved without objection after being held for questions. Deferred items included a Columbus State Community College request to release $82,262 for the Student Success Classroom Upgrade project and an Office of Budget and Management request for $103,500 to renew an existing contract with eCivis on use of the company's software to track federal grant funding opportunities. The withdrawn item was from the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) and had sought approval for a change of intent amounting to $780,981 with various suppliers to enhance professional licensing systems.


TAXATION


Gov. Mike DeWine Friday announced dates for an expanded sales tax holiday this year, which will last 10 days rather than the 14 that had been proposed by the Legislature in the biennial budget. DeWine used his line-item veto on a provision of HB33 (Edwards) that would have specified the 2024 sales tax holiday would last two weeks, saying it would be too difficult to predict whether the funding lawmakers had provided to offset revenue losses from the holiday is sufficient for a holiday of that length. Lawmakers had passed language expanding the sales tax holiday to items priced at $500 or less starting in 2024 in any year in which at least $60 million in surplus revenue is available after the Rainy Day Fund target is met. The use of surplus revenue replaces the Income Tax Reduction Fund, a disused mechanism for sending surplus revenue back to taxpayers via income tax cuts. The governor's office said that the 2024 expanded sales tax holiday will take place from midnight on Tuesday, July 30 until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8.


TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE


Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) roadside crews have been struck by vehicles 46 times since January, ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said Wednesday. "We're just in June -early June. Forty-six times, compared to 56 times all of last year," Marchbanks said during a press conference at the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) headquarters. Gov. Mike DeWine said unsafe driving in construction zones continues to be a problem year after year, noting there have been nearly 26,000 crashes in work zones on Ohio roads since 2019. Those crashes resulted in more than 9,000 people being injured, and 99 fatalities. "I have directed the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) to significantly increase enforcement in work zones across the state of Ohio," DeWine said.


WORKERS’ COMPENSATION


The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors on Friday approved state agency contribution rates for three new agencies and a commission that were not addressed earlier in 2024. In January 2024, The BWC Board had approved an 8.6 percent contribution rate reduction for state agencies. Some personnel from the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) have transferred to the State Board of Education and Ohio Deaf and Blind Education Services. The contribution rates for all three will be the same -0.0512. Some personnel from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) transferred to the Ohio Department of Children and Youth (DCY), and additional staffers may transfer to DCY in the future. The rate for DCY will be the same as the rate for ODJFS -0.0900. The Ohio New African Immigrants Commission, which was formed in 2008, will hire an executive director as its first employee in the upcoming fiscal year. The contribution rate for this commission will be 0.0505.


BWC Administrator/CEO John Logue, BWC Board Chair Chan Cochran and several other members of the board said goodbye to board member Michael Taylor, whose term expires on Tuesday, June 11, making Friday his last board meeting. Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday the appointment of Jon D. Harvey of Germantown to the board.




 



 

 

 

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



 



89 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page