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Week in Review - June 19, 2023


Ohio statehouse government affairs week in review January 2023


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

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AGING The DeWine and Yost administrations observed World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Thursday to help Ohioans better recognize mistreatment and neglect of older adults and how to report it. Elder Abuse Awareness Day is observed every June 15 to highlight the larger problem and to educate communities to look for its signs. The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) said nearly 3 million Ohioans are over the age of 60, of which national studies show one in 10 is a victim of elder abuse. It can include physical, sexual or psychological abuse as well as self-neglect, neglect by others, abandonment or financial exploitation. AGRICULTURE The 2023 Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program (VEAP) is now open to new and existing Ohio vineyards, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) announced. "VEAP allows wineries to invest in and plant high-quality, high-value grapes onsite instead of purchasing them from other states," ODAg said. VEAP is an incentive program created and funded by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee (OGIC). ARTS, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT The National Football League (NFL) urged Ohio to become a full-fledged member of its Smart Heart Sports Coalition Wednesday and enact requirements in HB47 (Brown-Bird) for automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) at public and private K-12 schools and municipal and township sports facilities and for the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to adopt a model emergency action plan for use of AEDs. NFL Vice President of Public Policy Ken Edmonds gathered at the Ohio Statehouse with a dozen supporters of the Smart Heart coalition led by Reps. Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) and Adam Bird (R-Cincinnati), joint sponsors of the bill, before it passed 84-6 on the House floor. ATTORNEY GENERAL Drugmakers Teva and Allergan and pharmacies CVS and Walgreens will pay a combined $679.6 million over 15 years to Ohio to settle allegations about their role in the opiate crisis. Attorney General Dave Yost announced the settlement agreement Friday. The money, due to start arriving by the end of the year, will be distributed in accordance with the agreement that led to establishment of the OneOhio Recovery Foundation, which will get 55 percent of the proceeds. Local governments will share in 30 percent, and the state will get 15 percent. Payout amounts and timing are as follows:

  • $156 million over 13 years from Teva

  • $93 million over seven years from Allergan

  • $206.3 million over 10 years from CVS

  • $224.3 million over 15 years from Walgreens

AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY With over 25,000 new electric vehicle (EV)-related jobs expected by 2030, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Tuesday a state strategy to strengthen Ohio's advanced manufacturing workforce specific to EVs. It was developed through collaboration by industry partners, employers, education and training organizations, and community partners in order to identify and develop solutions for industry workforce gaps. BALLOT ISSUES In response to the Ohio Supreme Court's decision issued Monday, the Ohio Ballot Board voted 3-2 Tuesday to adopt a slightly adjusted ballot title and language for Issue 1 to reflect the Court's wishes. The board accepted new language that made minor changes to the previous language. Specifically, the second point in the language now reads that the amendment would "Require that any initiative petition filed on or after Jan. 1, 2024, with the secretary of state proposing to amend the Constitution of the State of Ohio be signed by at least 5 percent of the electors of each county based on the total vote in the county for governor in the last preceding election." LaRose also gave the issue the new title of "Elevating the standards to qualify for an initiated constitutional amendment and to pass a constitutional amendment." Ohioans won't be "tricked into voting their rights away" this August, League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWVO) Executive Director Jen Miller said Friday. Miller said LWVO and other advocates are planning to execute a multifaceted campaign to ensure Ohioans are aware of what is at stake in August when they vote on Issue 1 which proposes to increase the passage threshold for future constitutional amendments to 60 percent. With military and overseas voting set to begin next week for the Tuesday, Aug. 8 special election, both sides of the Issue 1 campaign continued to roll out endorsements for and against the proposed increase to the constitutional amendment passage threshold. Leadership Now Project, a business group, released an open letter signed by more than 25 Ohio business leaders opposing the passage of Issue 1. Among the signatories were John Pepper, former chairman and CEO, the Procter & Gamble Company and former non-executive chairman, the Walt Disney Company; Jeni Britton Bauer, founder and chief creative officer, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams; Charles (Chuck) Ratner, director, The Max Collaborative, former board chairman and CEO, Forest City Realty Trust, and CEO, Forest City Enterprises; former Rep. Charles (Rocky) Saxbe; former Rep. Mike Curtin; Sharen Davies, president and CEO of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation; and Ronald Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. Meanwhile, proponents of Issue 1 continued to announce endorsements in favor, including the Ohio Pork Council and the Ohio Chapter of Republican National Lawyers Association. FY24-25 BUDGET The Senate passed its version of budget bill HB33 (Edwards) by a vote of 24-7 on Thursday, with Republicans touting the measure's tax cuts and education policies and Democrats condemning the legislation as "out of touch" and harmful to Ohioans. The bill now heads to the House for a concurrence vote and will likely be sent to a conference committee. The Senate Finance Committee had made a final round of budget changes Wednesday in a 2,100-plus page omnibus amendment. The omnibus packaged dozens and dozens of individual amendments addressing everything from tax policy to preemption of local tobacco regulations to limiting how much time state employees can spend working from home. Compared to the substitute bill version of HB33 unveiled the previous week, the version reported by committee Wednesday included about $58 million more in state-only General Revenue Fund (GRF) money for FY24 and about $43 million more for FY25. Funding totals remain below House-proposed levels by more than 2 percent in each fiscal year. Among major changes is the inclusion of SB83 (Cirino), a major rewrite of higher education laws sponsored by the finance committee vice chair, Sen. Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland), as well as the inclusion of SB1 (Reineke) which removes most of the authority of the State Board of Education, giving it to a new state education department under the governor. Human service groups who had earlier focused on issues ranging from children to housing said in a webinar Friday that the Senate's proposed version of budget bill HB33 (Edwards) will not only roll back promising provisions of the executive and House-passed budgets, but make the situation related to many of these issues worse for the state. Advocates for Ohio's Future Director Kelsey Bergfeld said during a webinar with stakeholders Friday that the proposed budget accepted by the Senate Finance Committee earlier in the week sees a lot of ground lost in investments across the human services sector. Still, she said it is not the end of the process, with a likely conference committee with the House. BUSINESS/CORPORATE The Ohio Chamber of Commerce and Dayton Chamber of Commerce joined with their national and Michigan counterparts to file a lawsuit against the federal government to block the new Medicare drug price negotiation law, saying it amounts to price control and will limit access to care. The litigation challenges provisions of the federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which directed the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a drug price negotiation program to certain qualifying drugs, covering 10 drugs at first and then ramping up over a period of years to include more. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday the recent creation of a Crime Task Force made up of representatives of the retail community and law enforcement officials, part of an effort to examine retail theft and other crimes that it said can throttle commercial growth. CHILDREN/FAMILIES HB68 (Click) which would prohibit gender transition services for children and ban transgender women and girls from playing women's and girls' school sports was reported out of the House Public Health Policy Committee on Wednesday. Rep. Andrea White (R-Kettering) joined all Democrats in voting against the legislation. White said she supports parts of the bill, but believed it needed more work before being reported out of committee. Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) said the bill "dehumanizes" transgender individuals and inappropriately puts the government in charge of medical decisions that are best made by families and their doctors. House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) told reporters after Wednesday's floor session that HB68 will "probably" be on the House floor the week of June 19. Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted reinforced parental consent to child social media access reinserted by the Senate in budget bill HB33 (Edwards), saying Monday that online peer pressure and bullying can lead not only to juvenile mental health problems but even death. Executive language restored by the upper chamber not only would allow parents and legal guardians to block youth from social media but also to censor or moderate content if they do allow kids access. DeWine and Husted joined Director Lori Criss of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) and Executive Director Tony Coder of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF) at a Riffe Center press conference on the revived Social Media Parental Notification Act. ECONOMY A recent study by personal finance site WalletHub ranked Ohio as having the 37th-best state economy, with subrankings of 30th in economic activity, 33rd in innovation potential and 46th in economic health. Overall, the Buckeye State trailed Michigan (20th), Indiana (27th) and Pennsylvania (28th), while leading Kentucky (45th) and West Virginia (51st, including the District of Columbia.) The report measured which "states are pulling the most weight even during this time of economic difficulty caused by inflation" and had 28 key indicators of economic performance and strength. The top five states were Washington, Utah, Massachusetts, Colorado and California. EDUCATION The Senate version of the budget would allow private schools to continue withholding records from students who choose to transfer to public schools, State Board of Education (SBOE) member Teresa Fedor said Monday. The Senate should have retained the House provision in HB33 (Edwards) requiring schools to provide a transfer student's school records to the new school within five days of the request, Fedor said following a budget presentation from Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Budget and School Funding Chief Aaron Rausch and ODE Policy and Legislative Affairs Director Jennie Stump at the State Board of Education meeting. An attempt by State Board of Education member Meryl Johnson to have the board ask lawmakers to prioritize public education funding failed in a committee vote Monday. As the General Assembly deliberates various budget drafts that all would substantially expand EdChoice scholarships, Johnson asked the board's Legislative and Budget Committee to take up her "Resolution in Support of Public Education as a Resource for Ohio." The resolution invokes the constitutional basis of Ohio's education system and states the board's desire to "advance equal access to high quality public education" and the need to "protect public resources." It goes on to ask "that the Ohio Legislature prioritize the success of Ohio's system of public education, the education opportunity that is available to all, exists everywhere, unites communities in common purpose, and serves the common good, as it decides how to best allocate funds for educating Ohio's youth." The resolution failed with two votes in favor and four against. Board member Teresa Fedor, a former legislator and like Johnson a former teacher, joined Johnson in support, while members Walt Davis, Diana Fessler, John Hagan and Jim Mermis voted against it. The General Assembly should pass legislation that would add information about a wide range of diverse communities to Ohio's social studies model curriculum, supporters of HB171 (Lightbody) said during a Statehouse rally on Tuesday. The legislation, which has been referred to the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee, would require the State Board of Education to update the social studies model curriculum to include "appropriate instruction in the migration journeys, experiences and societal contributions of a range of communities in Ohio and the United States." Communities included in the model curriculum would include the following:

  • African American communities

  • Asian American and Pacific Islander communities

  • Arab, African and North African immigrant, refugee and asylee communities

  • Appalachian communities

  • Jewish communities

  • Latin American communities

  • Native American communities

The Ohio STEM Committee recently announced the approval of new or extended STEM designations for Ohio schools. Under state law, schools must have a partnership with public and private entities and offer a curriculum that meets specific criteria. Designate or redesignated schools include the following:

  • Metro Early College High School received five additional years of STEM Designation starting in the 2022-2023 school year.

  • Baldwin Road Junior High School received five additional years of STEM Designation starting in the 2022-2023 school year.

  • The Dayton Regional STEM School received five additional years of STEM Designation starting in the 2022-2023 school year.

  • Indian Hill Primary School received five years of STEM Designation starting in the 2023-2024 school year.

  • Indian Hill Elementary School received five years of STEM Designation starting in the 2023-2024 school year.

  • Hawkins STEMM Academy received five years of STEM Designation starting in the 2023-2024 school year.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is offering an estimated $400 million in competitive grant funding to replace older school buses with electric or low-emission models or install electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Applications will be taken through Tuesday, Aug. 22. USEPA is offering several webinars for those interested in more information throughout the summer. Registration information is at https://tinyurl.com/bdhhjz8v. More information about the funding is at https://tinyurl.com/483zrdub.

ELECTIONS 2023

The following endorsement was made over the week:

  • The SEIU District 1199 Executive Board endorsed the proposed Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety Amendment to the Ohio Constitution.

ELECTIONS 2024 The following endorsements were made over the week:

  • The 9th Congressional District campaign of Craig Riedel announced the endorsements of State Sens. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), George Lang (R-West Chester), and Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario); and Reps. Roy Klopfenstein (R-Haviland), Gary Click (R-Vickery), Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky), Rodney Creech (R-West Alexandria), Thomas Hall (R-Middletown), Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Minerva), Brian Lampton (R-Beavercreek), and Jon Cross (R-Kenton).

  • The U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Bernie Moreno announced the endorsements of Kash Patel, former chief of staff to the U.S. Department of Defense; former U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin; and 100 state and local leaders including Reps. Brian Lampton (R-Beavercreek) and Rodney Creech (R-West Alexandria), State Board of Education member Brendan Shea, and former Sen. Joy Padgett.

  • The U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Matt Dolan announced in recent weeks the endorsements of Findlay Mayor Christina Muryn, Logan County Sheriff Randall Dodds, Harding County Sheriff Keith Everhart, Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser, Hancock County Sheriff Michael Heldma, Lake County Sheriff Frank Leonbruno, Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas, Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville, Morgan County Sheriff Doug McGrath, Champaign County Sheriff Matt Melvin, Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks, Ashtabula County Sheriff Bill Niemi, Union County Sheriff Jamie Patton, Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer, Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, and Madison County Sheriff John Swaney.

ENERGY/UTILITIES The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) granted approval Thursday to the final solar project fully grandfathered from the restrictions of renewable energy oversight bill 134-SB52 (Reineke-McColley). Members cleared the 300 megawatt (MW) Yellow Wood Solar Energy farm for 4,400 acres in Clinton County's Clark and Jefferson townships. Facilities will occupy roughly 2,460 acres. ENVIRONMENT Due to improved air quality conditions throughout the state on Friday, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) discontinued the statewide air quality advisory. "Smoke from Canadian wildfires is now having less of an impact throughout the state," Ohio EPA said. Particulate levels may remain elevated in isolated areas into the weekend, resulting in some local air agencies and metropolitan planning organizations issuing local advisories, the agency said. The Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) has awarded $27 million in low interest loans to Ohio communities to improve wastewater/drinking water infrastructure and make water quality improvements, the agency announced Tuesday. For the month of May, the OWDA funded eight projects that will provide improvements and replace aging infrastructure. The projects received an interest rate ranging from 1.88 percent to 3.86 percent, OWDA said. FEDERAL Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) were among the participants at a White House gathering to discuss reproductive rights and other issues, their offices said. Rep. Anita Somani (D-Dublin) and Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) were also in attendance at the White House State Legislative Convening on Reproductive Rights. The leaders said the panel also discussed Ohio's Issue 1, which would raise the voter threshold for future constitutional amendments from 50 to 60 percent, which they said is an attempt to diminish the chances a reproductive and abortion rights ballot measure that may go before voters in November to succeed. GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE The governor, Senate and House would be granted the specific right to intervene in a court case any time there is a challenge to the Ohio Constitution or the laws of the state, under legislation passed by the House on Wednesday. The chamber voted 67-26 along party lines to pass SB21 (McColley-Reynolds), which would also allow appeals of orders by state agencies to be heard in the home county of the licensee or the licensee's business, as opposed to only Franklin County. The bill is similar to 134-HB286 (Seitz), which was vetoed by Gov. Mike DeWine. In other action, the House voted 73-21 to pass HB17 (Schmidt-Swearingen), which would prohibit the use of TikTok, WeChat or other applications owned by an entity in China. The House voted 65-27 to pass HB100 (K. Miller), which would prohibit homeowner associations from restricting the display of the "thin blue line" flag. Rep. Kevin Miller (R-Newark) said the flag, which signifies support for the police, would receive protections like those given to the American flag, Ohio flag and various military flags. Miller insisted that displaying the flag is "not political" and should not be controversial while Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) said she supports law enforcement, but also understands that the thin blue line flag undoubtedly causes anger and division in certain communities. The House also passed the following bills:


  • HB191 (Swearingen-Seitz), which makes changes to the state's bail laws. The bill passed unanimously, and an emergency clause was added by a vote of 90-1.

  • HB76 (Hall-White), which would update notice requirements for certain government functions. The bill passed 93-1.

  • HB114 (Humphrey-Seitz), which would allow a candidate to use campaign funds to pay for certain child care costs. The bill passed 64-28.

  • HB101 (Bird-Schmidt), which modifies the law regarding village dissolution. The bill passed 86-9.

  • HB121 (Blasdel-Mathews), which allows businesses with remote workers to use a modified municipal income tax apportionment formula. The bill passed 91-0.

At a press conference at the Statehouse Wednesday, the sponsors of legislation that would prevent discrimination against individuals based on hair texture and hair styles expressed hope that the bill would move this legislative session and have Ohio join 22 other states with a similar law. Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland), who has sponsored a version of HB178 (Brent-Callender), also known as the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act, in previous sessions, said having Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Callender) as a primary co-sponsor this session makes this different from previous efforts. She said discrimination over hair texture and styles is an "everybody problem."

The House Rules and Reference Committee took the rare step of hearing and amending a bill Tuesday, limiting the application of the proposal to require automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at public places. Under an amendment moved by Speaker Pro Tem Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), villages and townships with populations below 5,000 would be exempt from requirements to place AEDs in sports and recreation locations, to provide AED training for staff at those locations, and to adopt an emergency action plan for use of AEDs. The legislation generally requires placement of AEDs in schools and sports and recreation facilities. The bill, HB47 (Brown-Bird), later passed 84-6 on the House floor.

Municipalities and utilities appeared in opposition Tuesday to legislation that would ensure rental property owners do not receive a property tax lien for unpaid water and sewer services they did not contract, warning that the bill could have unintended consequences including higher utility bills. Rod Davisson, administrator for the village of Obetz, testified in opposition to HB93 (Johnson) before the House State and Local Government Committee on behalf of the Ohio Municipal League, saying his village runs water and sewer services on a thin margin, and there isn't a lot of leeway to take big losses. He said they have never had to file a utility lien because often they just have to turn off the service to the property. They also send bills to both the property owner and the tenant, which he said has worked well. If the property owner knows that a tenant is behind on utilities, they can react faster to the situation.


Rep. Roy Klopfenstein (R-Haviland) served as a Paulding County commissioner before running for the 82nd House District seat. He brings that and his experience as a life-long farmer to Columbus where he is vice chair of the House Agriculture Committee. He told Hannah News that it is important for the state to adequately support the Local Government Fund (LGF), “now, when state coffers are very robust.”

In other action, the House Commerce and Labor Committee reported out HB129 (Patton) which requires licensure of commercial roofing contractors; the House Criminal Justice Committee reported out HB122 (Pavliga-A. Miller) which expands intimidation offenses; and SB122 (Manning-Hicks-Hudson) and HB191 (Swearingen-Seitz) both of which address bail; the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee reported out HB8 (Swearingen-Carruthers) which enacts the “Parents’ Bill of Rights”; the House Transportation Committee reported out HB202, a highway naming bill; the House Ways and Means Committee reported out HB118 (Santucci-M. Miller) which exempts certain baby products from the sales tax; the House Higher Education Committee reported out HB98 (Blasdel) which prohibits colleges from reducing financial aid as a result of private scholarships; and the Senate Health Committee reported out SB28 (Roegner) which enters Ohio into the Physician Assistant Licensure Compact.


HIGHER EDUCATION


The Central State University Board of Trustees Wednesday appointed Alex Johnson as interim president effective July 1, 2023. Johnson has nearly 30 years of experience as a college president, the university said. He is a nationally recognized educator, author, and expert in institutional transformation. Most recently, he served as president of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), a position he held from 2013 through 2022.


HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS


Full-time workers need to earn at least $19.09 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in Ohio, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO). The 2023 Ohio Out of Reach report shows a significant and growing gap between renters' income and the cost of rent. Of the 10 jobs with the most employees in Ohio, only three earn more than the $19.09 an hour -- registered nurses, general operations managers, and truck drivers. In Ohio, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $993. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities -- without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing -- a household must earn $3,308 monthly or $39,702 annually, according to the report.


JUDICIAL


Diana Stevenson will serve as a judge on the Barberton Municipal Court, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday. Stevenson will assume office on Monday, July 10 and will be taking the seat formerly held by Jill Flagg Lanzinger, who was selected to the 9th District Court of Appeals. Stevenson will serve the remainder of the unfinished term and will need to run for election in November 2023 to retain the seat for a subsequent term.


NATURAL RESOURCES


With Ohio's Free Fishing Days coming up on Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Thursday that four new tools helping Ohioans fish are available on the DataOhio Portal. The resources were made in partnership with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife and the InnovateOhio Platform and include interactive maps, graphs and table surveys.


PENSIONS


Investment expert and former county fiscal official Wade Steen has sued Gov. Mike DeWine and the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) Board of Trustees, asking a Franklin County judge to restore his board position. Steen disputes DeWine's assertion that he serves at the pleasure of the governor and can be replaced before his term ends. On the eve of election results for another board seat, DeWine announced he'd named investor G. Brent Bishop to Steen's seat. His office said they'd pick this timing intentionally, announcing the move after all votes in the board election were cast but before the results were announced, to avoid the appearance of trying to sway the election. Challenger Pat Davidson ousted incumbent Arthur Lard in that election.


State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) Board of Trustees members turned back an attempt Thursday to open their meeting with an executive session discussion on litigation against the system for the ouster of former trustee Wade Steen. The board did later convene for a very long closed-door session that included discussion of lawsuits.


PEOPLE


U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) announced Jalina Porter as the new communications director and senior advisor for her office. Porter previously served as a presidential appointee in the Biden-Harris administration as principal deputy spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State, as well as previous tours at the U.S. House of Representatives. Porter began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer and received the Franklin H. Williams Award from the Peace Corps for her lifetime commitment to humanitarian work and community service.


Rebecca Meuninck will serve as the next executive director of the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) Great Lakes Regional Center, the organization announced Tuesday. Meuninck will lead the region in restoring critical watersheds, building climate resilience and protecting the region's natural resources through a lens of equity and justice, NWF said. She will facilitate work with stakeholders, community partners and coalitions that support the protection of the largest freshwater lakes on Earth and their U.S. watersheds.


PUBLIC SAFETY


The state of Ohio had the fifth most mail carrier dog bites in the country in 2022, according to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). There were 311 dog bites in the Buckeye State in 2022, USPS said in a news release acknowledging National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which runs from Sunday, June 4 through Saturday, June 10. California led the nation in mailperson dog attacks, with 675 in 2022. The Golden State is followed by Texas (404 dog bites), New York (321), Pennsylvania (313), Ohio (311), Illinois (245), Florida (220), Michigan (206),

Missouri (166) and North Carolina (146).


STATE GOVERNMENT


In the last meeting before the end of FY23, the Controlling Board approved most of its agenda, including funds for the secretary of state's office to advertise ballot language for State Issue 1 in Ohio newspapers and cremation services for Ohio inmates who die at one of two facilities.


TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE


Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Jack Marchbanks Friday announced $54 million from ODOT's Highway Safety Improvement Program will be going toward traffic safety projects in 30 counties. The projects will specifically reduce the risk of pedestrian-involved crashes and roadway departure accidents, both of which are responsible for increased fatalities in recent years.

Leaders of Columbus- and Cincinnati-area airports discussed how passenger travel is rebounding after the pandemic and the strength of Ohio's cargo market during a meeting of the House Aviation and Aerospace Committee Tuesday. Revitalization of the Wilmington Air Park for cargo was also a presentation topic. Seth Cutter, vice president of public affairs for the CVG Airport Authority, described the current state of operations at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. While airports were "significantly impacted" during the pandemic, it had 7.6 million passengers in 2022 and was about 15 to 20 percent below 2019 totals. Many airports have regained all 2019 seat capacity and passenger demand is strong, he continued, though passengers have less of a focus on business travel now.










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


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