Week In Review - November 14, 2022



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

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


ABORTION


With anti-abortion candidates winning every statewide race and retaining a solid majority in the General Assembly, Ohio Right to Life (ORTL) is calling on lawmakers to enact a total abortion ban during the lame duck session. Besides banning abortion at conception, ORTL CEO Peter Range said the anti-abortion movement should do the following, among other items, moving forward:

  • Support anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers through legislation, financial donations and volunteering.

  • "Educate all Ohioans on the dignity of the human person, whom their Creator endows with inherent worth and value being made in God's image and likeness."

  • "Refocus our efforts to strengthen families and marriages to ensure every child conceived is welcomed into a loving home."

ATTORNEY GENERAL


Ohio and 39 other states have reached two settlements with credit-reporting agency Experian over data breaches in 2012 and 2015 that compromised the personal information of millions of consumers nationwide, Attorney General Dave Yost announced Monday. Separately, a settlement has been reached with T-Mobile stemming from the 2015 Experian data breach, which affected more than 15 million people who submitted credit applications to the telecommunications company. As part of the trio of settlements, Experian and T-Mobile have agreed to improve their data-security practices and to pay 40 states a combined $16.1 million, with most of that money coming from Experian.


AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY


Lordstown Motors Corporation (LMC) will receive an investment of $170 million from Hon Hai Technology Group, known as Foxconn, according to an announcement by the two companies Monday. Foxconn and LMC entered a strategic partnership in November 2021. The investment represents $70 million worth of LMC's Class A common stock and up to $100 million of a newly created Series A Convertible Preferred Stock. LMC said it will use proceeds from the common stock for "general corporate purposes.” The preferred stock proceeds will go to fund development and design activities for a new electric vehicle (EV) program in collaboration with Foxconn.


BALLOT ISSUES


Both state issues on the ballot Tuesday won by overwhelming margins of 77 percent. State Issue 1 requires courts to consider factors such as public safety when setting bail amounts, while Issue 2 prohibits local governments from allowing non-electors to vote in their elections. Proponents of Issue 1 responded to the victory, with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost saying that it had been less than 10 months since the DuBose decision which prompted the issue.


Democratic Attorney General candidate Jeff Crossman said that Issue 2 may prevent 17-year-olds who will reach adulthood by the general election from voting in primary elections before that. Republican supporters of the measure, however, previously dismissed such concerns in a press conference about the issue. In particular, Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said it was a "red herring."


The Ohio Ballot Board Monday unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would set Ohio's minimum wage at $15 by 2028. The sole witness during the meeting was attorney Don McTigue, representing the "Raise the Wage Ohio" Committee, who told the board that all of the provisions of the amendment affect the current section of the Ohio Constitution dealing with the state's minimum wage, so it meets the single subject requirement.


FY22-23 BUDGET


Ohio's Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Monday announced that state revenues came in $111.6 million or 5.1 percent over estimates for October. Driving the overage were the sales taxes (auto and non-auto) and the personal income tax which brought in $48.2 million and $43.7 million, respectively, over estimates. Specifically, those numbers break down as follows:

  • Non-Auto Sales Tax collections were $40.2 million or 4.3 percent above the monthly estimate.

  • Auto Sales Tax collections were $8.0 million or 5.2 percent above estimate.

  • Personal Income Tax collections were $43.7 million or 6.1 percent above estimate for the month.

  • The Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) performed above estimate by $10.4 million or 11.1 percent.

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT


A Mexican national is facing first-degree felony drug charges after the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) stopped a U-Haul truck bearing Arizona license plates and $9 million worth of cocaine. Troopers stopped the truck on Nov. 2 for following too close along a stretch of I-70 in Madison County. They observed "criminal indicators" affirmed by a drug-sniffing K9 and seized 220 pounds of cocaine, according to OSHP.


DEATH PENALTY


Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday issued the following reprieves of execution:

  • Charles Lorraine, who was scheduled to be executed on March 15, 2023. The date of execution has been moved to May 13, 2026.

  • Gerald Hand, who was scheduled to be executed on May 17, 2023. The date of execution has been moved to June 17, 2026.

  • Cleveland Jackson, who was scheduled to be executed on June 15, 2023. The date of execution has been moved to July 15, 2026.

DeWine's office said he is issuing the reprieves due to ongoing problems involving the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), pursuant to DRC protocol, without endangering other Ohioans.


EDUCATION


Kurt Russell, the Ohio and National Teacher of the Year for 2022, discussed his thoughts on a handful of proposals to restrict classroom instruction on certain "divisive concepts" while speaking at a City Club of Cleveland forum Monday. Born and raised in Oberlin, Russell is in his 25th year in the classroom at Oberlin High School, where he teaches, among other history and social studies courses, African American history and Race, Gender and Oppression, a class he developed. He said he developed this latter course around 2006 because "students wanted more ... they wanted to see themselves more." The class focuses on issues that some might consider "controversial," Russell said, such as the women's rights movement, the gay rights movement, Black issues in America, and more. "The reason for it is to provide students with a holistic education. We can't consider ourselves civically engaged if we don't know [history]," Russell said.


In its final meeting of the year, the Broadcast Educational Media Commission (BEMC) approved recommendations regarding its joint master control (JMC) operations as well as reviewed other multi-media projects for classrooms. BEMC provides partial or total JMC services to public educational television stations across the state, as well as to the Ohio Channel. Since 2015, the agency has been working to modernize and centralize its master control facility.


The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) will host its 67th annual Capital Conference and Trade Show from Sunday, Nov. 13 through Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. More than 6,000 school board members, superintendents and other education officials are expected to attend the annual event, which is one of the largest education conventions in the nation. The event will feature more than 170 workshops and seminars focused on the needs of public school districts.


ELECTIONS 2022


Hannah News compiled a preliminary list of the winners of the Nov. 8 election which can be found HERE. In addition, the preliminary version of Hannah’s “Faces of the 135th General Assembly,” which also includes Ohio’s congressional delegation for 2023-24 and the Ohio Supreme Court, can be found HERE.


After a grueling Republican primary and a hard-fought general election campaign, J.D. Vance will be the next U.S. senator representing the state of Ohio. As the polls predicted, the race between Vance and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) was much closer than the other statewide races. As of early Wednesday morning, Vance was leading 53.3 percent to 46.7 percent. Vance will replace U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who is retiring at the end of his term. During his victory speech at the Ohio Republican Party's (ORP) election night event, Vance said he was "overwhelmed with gratitude," specifically thanking Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and ORP Chair Bob Paduchik.


While there weren't many bright spots for Democrats on Tuesday night, they did win the three competitive U.S. House seats. Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman defeated U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) in the 1st Congressional District; U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) beat J.R. Majewski in the 9th Congressional District; and Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) won against Madison Gesiotto Gilbert in the 13th Congressional District. As of early Wednesday morning, Landsman was leading Chabot 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent, Kaptur was leading Majewski 56.5 percent to 43.5 percent and Sykes was leading Gesiotto Gilbert 52.6 percent to 47.4 percent.


For the seventh time in eight election cycles, Republicans swept the six statewide constitutional offices with all six incumbents easily winning re-election. Gov. Mike DeWine and running mate Lt. Gov. Jon Husted had the most resounding victory, having their race over former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Cheryl Stephens called by multiple news sources very shortly after polls closed. According to unofficial results, DeWine currently leads Whaley with nearly 63 percent of the vote, better than any other statewide office on the ballot. Attorney General Dave Yost, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Treasurer Robert Sprague, and Auditor Keith Faber also earned around 59 percent of the vote, with Yost breaking 60 percent against Democrat Jeff Crossman.


The Ohio Supreme Court will once again be led by Republicans with a 4-3 majority after Tuesday's election. Justice Sharon Kennedy led the way with her preliminary 56.3 to 43.7 percentage win over Justice Jennifer Brunner as they both sought to succeed Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor on the next Court. The winning margins were similar for Justices Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer. Fischer won his re-election bid with 57.2 percent of the vote to Judge Terri Jamison's 42.8 percent while DeWine won with 56.6 percent of the vote to Judge Marilyn Zayas' 43.4 percent. All votes are preliminary.


Republicans won the four "races to watch" in the Ohio Senate on Tuesday night, adding a 26th member to the Senate GOP's majority in the 33-member chamber. Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said Michele Reynolds' victory over Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) will take his caucus to a level not reached in more than 70 years. "The last time the Senate had a 26-member super-majority was during the 99th General Assembly in 1951," Huffman said in a statement.


Two members of the House Democratic Caucus' leadership team were losing Tuesday evening, according to unofficial election results, and Republicans were picking up seats in Lucas and Trumbull counties to add to their supermajority in the next General Assembly. House Assistant Minority Leader Thomas West (D-Canton) lost his re-election bid to Jackson Township Trustee Jim Thomas in a redrawn district that Joe Biden barely edged Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential race. Meanwhile, Assistant Minority Whip Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) trailed by 96 votes with provisional and late arriving absentee ballots still to be counted. In Lucas County, attorney Josh Williams won the seat currently held by Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo), who ran for Lucas County commissioner. Williams defeated retired social worker Nancy Larson with nearly 52 percent of the vote. In Trumbull County, a county that has trended red in recent election cycles, Republican Nick Santucci, who works in workforce development, defeated Democrat Vincent Peterson, a former police officer and aide to U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles). The seat is currently held by the term-limited Rep. Michael O'Brien (D-Warren). Democrats picked up one seat with Rachel Baker defeating Jenn Giroux for the seat currently held by Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Cincinnati).


Tuesday night's five State Board of Education (SBOE) races saw two incumbents lose. Jenny Kilgore lost to Katie Hofmann 54.7 to 45.3 percent and Tim Miller lost, garnering only 27.7 percent of the vote. The winner in that SBOE District 10 race, Tom Jackson, received 44.4 percent of the vote while a third candidate, Cierra Lynch Shehorn, received 27.9 percent of the vote. A familiar face is moving to the state board: former state Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) won the District 2 seat with 55.9 percent of the vote. She defeated Sarah McGervey. Board President Charlotte McGuire was unopposed. The final race on the ballot, that for District 9, was won by incumbent board member John Hagan. He received over 60 percent of the vote.


With voting complete and boards of elections working to finish counting late arriving absentee and provisional ballots, the 2022 campaign is coming to an end and the 2024 campaign will likely begin soon. The following are some of additional takeaways from the election on Tuesday identified by Hannah News:

  • Republicans won the competitive legislative seats.

  • The GOP has historic majorities in the House and Senate.

  • The overall vote for governor is trending below 2018.

  • When there is a lower gubernatorial vote, there is a lower signature threshold for ballot issues.

  • Fewer registered voters this election.

  • Voter turnout was lower as well.

Ohio Fair Courts Alliance (OFCA) warned of dark-money ads in Ohio Supreme Court races Friday as the state bar association separately admonished the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) for TV spots painting Republican Court candidates as "dangerous." The previous week, the bar association also censured the Republican State Leadership Committee for ads panning Democratic Court candidates as "reckless" and "soft on crime." Common Cause Ohio and Equality Ohio, members of OFCA, joined the People's Parity Project and the Brennan Center for Justice in a virtual press conference on dark money placing the Buckeye State in the top three nationally for Supreme Court campaign spending this year.


Before Election Day, Secretary of State Frank LaRose Friday released the following information he said Ohioans need to know ahead of time. "There is only one official source for Ohio election information -- VoteOhio.gov. He also asked that voters treat election workers with respect; “if you see something, say something”; and ending with emphasizing that "Ohio's elections are secure.”


Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) defeated her colleague Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Cincinnati) on Tuesday in the race for Hamilton County auditor. Kelly received about 53 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Hamilton County Board of Elections, while Brinkman has about 47 percent. Kelly will succeed long-time Auditor Dusty Rhodes.


Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) both won their races for the 10th District Court of Appeals. Leland was unopposed, while Boggs defeated Republican Laura Nesbitt.


In commissioner races, Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) won a Lucas County commissioner seat, getting about 57 percent of the vote over Republican John Jennewine. Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) faced write-in opposition and received 51 percent of the vote for the Champaign County commission.


While the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) suffered numerous statewide and state legislative losses on Nov. 8, ODP Chair Elizabeth Walters started her Wednesday post-election press briefing by focusing on one of the party's few bright spots -- the U.S. House. "Ohio really has the potential to be the dam that stops the red wave from crashing into Congress," Walters said.


From the much-watched U.S. Senate race to statewide contests and congressional races, panelists at Wednesday's Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC) forum broke down what the results of the 2022 midterm elections mean for Ohio and the nation. The forum featured Mike Thompson, chief content director at WOSU Public Media, as moderator. Panelists included Karen Kasler, bureau chief at the Statehouse News Bureau; Bradley Smith, professor of law at the Capital University Law School and the former chairman of the Federal Election Commission; and Wendy Smooth, professor of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Department of Political Science at Ohio State University.


The secretary of state's office said Monday that Ohio had broken an all-time record for early voting in a gubernatorial election, with 1,550,440 Ohioans requesting an absentee ballot or casting their ballot early in-person. Secretary of State Frank LaRose told reporters after Monday's Ballot Board meeting that there has been "massive participation in early voting."


According to Cleveland-based Center for Community Solutions (CCS), there were 37 county-wide health and human service levies on the Nov. 8 ballot across 30 Ohio counties. They ranged from mental health and addiction recovery, senior services, public health, developmental disabilities and children's services. Of those, the following seven counties had multiple human service levies: Hocking, Mahoning, Mercer, Muskingum, Preble, Ross and Tuscarawas. The site can be found at https://tinyurl.com/yuzsxa4w .


Late Friday, Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a warning of a potential targeted text messaging campaign in Ohio on Saturday from an organization called Voting Futures purportedly supplying voters with their poling locations. However, LaRose notes that similar efforts by the group in five other states provided inaccurate information, according to reports from NBC News. He instead urged the group to encourage voters use VoteOhio.gov to confirm their voting location.


The following endorsement was made over the week:

  • The Columbus Dispatch endorsed Nan Whaley for governor

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday, the national unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent in October as total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 261,000 jobs. BLS said the number of unemployed persons rose by 306,000 to 6.1 million in October. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.4 percent) and Whites (3.2 percent) rose in October. The jobless rates for adult men (3.3 percent), teenagers (11.0 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent), Asians (2.9 percent) and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change over the month.


ENVIRONMENT


The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) plans to hold a collection and recycling event for election yard signs on Saturday, Nov. 12. The event -- which will be held at the Bill McDonald Athletic Complex in North Columbus -- is free and open to any resident of Franklin County, according to SWACO. Metal sign stands and all paper and plastic signs, including coroplast, will be accepted free of charge. All materials collected will be recycled. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Bill McDonald Athletic Complex is located at 4990 Olentangy River Rd., Columbus, OH 43214.


The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) has approved bond financing totaling up to $100,000 for Osgar's Auto Body in Mansfield, the agency announced Tuesday. The body shop also received a $20,000 grant, OAQDA said. The bond financing and the grant were both provided through the OAQDA Clean Air Resource Center (CARC).


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) recently awarded six mini grants to programs in Cuyahoga, Franklin, Greene, Geauga, Hamilton, Lucas, Pickaway, Portage, Putnam and Summit counties. Eligible grant recipients include environmental groups, public and private schools, colleges and universities, trade or professional organizations, businesses, and state and local governments. Letters of intent for the next grant round are due to Ohio EPA no later than Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, and applications are due no later than Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Ohio Environmental Education Fund online at https://tinyurl.com/5heejs9f or at 614-644-2873 to discuss project ideas.


FEDERAL


A White House briefing this week on Biden administration policies promoting racial equity included Prentiss Haney, co-executive director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC), who focused on affordable child care and how federal policies have supported that industry. U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Marcia Fudge, a former U.S. representative from Ohio, also spoke during the event. Haney said his father has run a small business for 30 years in Dayton and that his mother is a caregiver for children and elderly in Ohio, which has left him "uniquely positioned" to help run the OOC. Policies in the Biden administration have "delivered dreams" for the Black community nationally and in Ohio, he added, particularly for the child care industry, which represents "the backbone of our economy."


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE


The Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting will take place on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., according to the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB).


GOVERNOR


Appointments made during the week include the following:

  • Rebecca Jane Ault of Hudson (Summit County) and Johnathan Robert Haggerty of Hicksville (Defiance County) reappointed to the State Chiropractic Board for terms beginning Nov. 4, 2022 and ending Nov. 1, 2026.

  • Patrick Jay Beam of Powell (Delaware County) reappointed to the Ohio Landscape Architects Board for a term beginning Nov. 10, 2022 and ending Nov. 9, 2027.

  • Mashawn Leah Rigmaiden of Franklin (Warren County) to the State Cosmetology and Barber Board for a term beginning Nov. 9, 2022 and ending Oct. 31, 2027.

  • David L. Levacy of Millersport (Fairfield County) to the Governor's Executive Workforce Board for a term beginning Jan. 1, 2023 and continuing at the pleasure of the governor.

  • Chad Vernon Minor of Avon Lake (Lorain County) and Donald L. Mason of Zanesville (Muskingum County) to the Governor's Executive Workforce Board for terms beginning Nov. 4, 2022 and continuing at the pleasure of the governor.

  • Michael Marcel Waleryszak of Fremont (Sandusky County) reappointed to the Terra State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Dec. 31, 2022 and ending Dec. 30, 2028.

  • Juan Jose Perez of Westerville (Delaware County) and Pierre Bigby of Lewis Center (Delaware County) to the Ohio State University Board of Trustees for terms beginning Nov. 7, 2022 and ending May 13, 2031.

  • Taylor Ann Schwein of Columbus (Franklin County) as a student member on the Ohio State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning Nov. 7, 2022 and ending May 13, 2024.

  • Vladimir Kogan of Columbus (Franklin County) and Kevin Scott Miller of New Albany (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio Humanities Council for terms beginning Nov. 4, 2022 and ending Oct. 30, 2024.

  • Rhonda L. Sheakley of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Holocaust and Genocide Memorial and Education Commission for a term beginning Oct. 26, 2022 and ending Oct. 25, 2025.

  • Tracy Sue Freeman of Pickerington (Fairfield County) reappointed to the Environmental Education Council for a term beginning Nov. 4, 2022 and ending Oct. 1, 2024.

  • Allison Rose Cain of Belmont (Belmont County) to the Technical Advisory Council on Oil and Gas for a term beginning Nov. 4, 2022 and ending Jan. 31, 2024.

  • Phillip Lindsey Parker of Beavercreek (Greene County) reappointed to the Oil and Gas Commission for a term beginning on Nov. 4, 2022 and ending Oct. 14, 2027.

  • Frances Seiberling Buchholzer of Akron (Summit County) and Jennifer Robin Bowman of Athens (Athens County) reappointed to the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission for terms beginning Nov. 4, 2022 and ending June 30, 2026.

  • Christie Ann Ward of Lockbourne (Franklin County) to the Board of Building Standards for a term beginning Nov. 4, 2022 and ending Oct. 13, 2025.

  • Kyle Matthew Petty of Hilliard (Franklin County) to the Statewide Emergency Services Internet Protocol Network Steering Committee for a term beginning Jan. 1, 2023 and ending Dec. 31, 2026.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES


Director of the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) Maureen Corcoran Friday gave the keynote presentation at Ohio University's (OU) first ever Health Scholars Research Symposium. Corcoran highlighted various new ODM initiatives and priorities. The event was hosted by the OU Health Collaborative, which is comprised of the university's College of Health Sciences and Professions, the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Service. The initiative focuses on research dealing with social determinants of health. The symposium featured presentations on health research studies by students and postdoctoral fellows on topics such as suicide prevention, breastfeeding practices, second-hand smoke exposure, type 1 diabetes, femur fractures, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and more.


The Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) will administer $3.6 million in new grants provided by the federal Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) of 2022. The governor's office announced Friday that the funding will assist 67 local victims' service providers in 51 counties.


Overall cancer death rates continued to decline among men, women, children, adolescents and young adults in every major racial and ethnic group in the U.S. from 2015 to 2019, according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. The report is issued jointly by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). From 2014 to 2018, overall cancer incidence, or new cases of cancer, remained stable for men and children but increased slightly for women and adolescents and young adults. All of the findings in the 2022 report are based on data from before the COVID-19 pandemic.


Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Director Matt Damschroder announced Thursday that Ohio will receive $1.26 million in federal funds over five years to provide safe access to child support and parenting resources for domestic violence survivors. Included is $420,000 for FY23 to begin implementation of a new national demonstration model called Safe Access for Victims' Economic Security (SAVES). Ohio is one of 13 states and tribes chosen for the program.


HIGHER EDUCATION


Bowling Green State University (BGSU) announced a newly formed partnership with regional airline Republic Airways to provide students a pipeline to a career through conditional job offers, which they can receive as early as their second year in the aviation program. "The demand for pilots is especially intense right now," said Carlton Braun, the program coordinator of BGSU Aviation. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Republic Airways operates under its major airline partner brands of American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express.


BGSU, the University of Findlay and Owens Community College announced the appointment of an executive director for the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics. Tim Mayle, who previously served as director of Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development, assumed the position Tuesday, Nov. 1. Mayle had been with Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development since 2011 and has led the division within the Findlay-Hancock County Alliance since 2016.


Stark State College, located in North Canton, and the LeBron James Family Foundation announced a new partnership to support the undergraduate education of both students and their parents or guardians. Students in the foundation's Akron I PROMISE Network plus two parents or guardians residing in the students' homes will receive two academic years of free tuition, resources and focused attention at Stark State. Eligible students will receive last-dollar tuition scholarships for any program, certificate or associate degree in an effort to bridge the gap between financial aid from grants and scholarships and the cost of tuition.


The Ohio Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at Youngstown State University (YSU) announced a new pilot program, in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Development, aimed at connecting local companies with students. The Procurement Internship Program will train students and allow them to apply that training during internships with local companies engaged in government contracting. The program will benefit small- to midsize businesses in the Mahoning Valley area by matching them with a government procurement-trained intern, YSU said.


IMPACT OHIO


Further tax cuts should not be the focus of the next biennial budget, House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said Thursday during the Ohio Chamber of Commerce's Impact Ohio 2022 Post-General Election Conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. "I am sure, given our massive Republican super-majorities in the House and in the Senate, that there will be an outcry for further tax cuts, including some rather unachievable ideas like, 'Let's eliminate the income tax and the Commercial Activity Tax.' I guess we could be like the federal government and print money that doesn't exist ... but there will be pressure, as there always is, to provide further tax cuts. Against that, however, realism must set in," Seitz said. "We are in a period of rampant inflation. It is providing upward pressure on wages. It is providing upward pressure on food prices and upward pressure on gas prices," Seitz continued. "You say, 'What does that have to do with the state government?' Well, our hospitals and nursing homes feed a lot of people. Their costs have gone through the roof. Our hospitals and nursing homes are facing workforce shortages, and Medicaid funds those operations. The upward pressure on wages results in the need to adjust their compensation, and hopefully we'll get some of that done here yet in lame duck for the nursing homes, but those pressures are real, and I don't see them subsiding." Seitz said gas prices can also affect the state budget, pointing to ambulance providers that have contracts with Medicaid. He also emphasized the importance of properly funding the Cupp-Patterson school funding formula and urged support for some of Gov. Mike DeWine's proposals, such as his packages on mental health and early childhood education.


U.S. Sen.-elect J.D. Vance gave his first public remarks since election night to the Capitol Square community at the Impact Ohio forum Thursday, telling participants he's ready to put the political rancor of the last year and a half behind him and "get on with governing. … I still don't think my children have any idea what the hell I've been doing the last year and half," Vance mused, relating a post-election outing with his family where a stranger approached him with some encouraging words. "I didn't vote for you, but I'm proud of you and hope you do really well," the individual told him. Vance acknowledged the challenge he'll have in Washington, D.C., with or without a U.S. Senate majority that still hangs in the balance.


House and Senate leadership sized up the General Election and the waning biennium at Impact Ohio's forum as the Legislature heads into lame duck session and the 135th General Assembly. House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima), Senate Majority Whip Rob McColley (R-Napoleon), House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Hts.) joined a panel discussion moderated by Tom Zaino of Zaino Hall & Farin LLC, who led off with a question about election results. "The people have spoken. They believe in the Republican way of doing things. We're on the right track," McColley said. Russo said she was not surprised by the outcome but wished for better turnout, at least among Democratic voters. On the lame duck session, Yuko said there is pending legislation that should go to the floor and other bills that need more work. McColley said the Legislature needs to address unspent federal money, highlighting health care and water quality. Russo put the number at more than $1 billion in available federal funding.


Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose concluded Impact Ohio with a reference to his military service, offering an informal "after-action review" (AAR) of the General Election. "You sweat in training so you don't bleed in battle," LaRose said, invoking a U.S. Army maxim that he said describes his office's months of preparation for election day. LaRose said over 90 percent of all votes were tabulated by 10-11 p.m. Tuesday, as he had predicted, contrasting that with some other states that are still counting ballots. "We run our elections so well that the loser knows they lost," he said, identifying that as his administration's motto.


While he noted that full details will be forthcoming in Gov. Mike DeWine's inaugural and State of the State speeches, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted did tell reporters at Thursday's Impact Ohio conference the final term for the DeWine administration will feature some of the same priorities with a "greater sense of urgency." "He knows this is his last four years as governor, he has a long list of things he wants to accomplish," Husted said. "I think you're going to really see him try to focus on mental health issues, children's health issues, things that have always been important to him. I think if you're going to see any change, it's going to be even greater sense of urgency than he's already operated on." DeWine's priorities will also include "things that matter to people the most" such as good schools, safe neighborhoods and strong career opportunities, according to Husted. Improving outcomes for children in health care, education and poverty will remain a priority as well. The lame duck session will see a focus on priorities that were already promoted by the administration, including regulatory reform and one-time funding provided by the federal government for local infrastructure. Husted further said DeWine has a "good relationship" with the General Assembly, as there are regular conversations with Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima). He added that "a lot" of legislators in tight general election races had reached out to DeWine for help with their campaigns.


Three current members of Ohio's Republican congressional delegation, including two who will be members of the next Congress, said at Impact Ohio's post-election forum that they believe the next Congress will be slowing down what it does, arguing it will be a good thing especially when it comes to fiscal spending. They were joined by the retiring U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Rocky River), who did not run for re-election. He said he believes there will be modest reforms by the Republican House in a handful of areas, but it was hard for him to see "massive legislation" moving. All three said they expect U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to be the next House speaker. Carey and Balderson said the biggest leadership battles in their caucus will be for the whip spots.


Ways to sustain economic development success for businesses in Ohio was one topic during Impact Ohio, with Ohio Department of Development (DOD) Director Lydia Mihalik joining business leaders to discuss the DeWine administration's continued plans. Other panelists were Ohio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Stivers, JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef and Greater Cleveland Partnership President and CEO Baiju Shah. It was moderated by Jan Bans, senior director for legislative and regulatory affairs at AT&T. The discussion opened with Bans asking about the top three areas that have made Ohio attractive for businesses, as well as ways it can improve. Responses about what brings business to Ohio included the state's policy environment, economic diversity, political leadership, reputation, cost of living and location within the U.S. Mihalik and Shah said workforce is a major issue to improve on; Nauseef discussed how Ohio leaders should increase general awareness of what the state offers; and Stivers said action needs to be taken on workforce, lowering municipal taxes and decreasing state regulation.


JUDICIAL


Ohio's 2nd Appellate District says the 2020 federal court decision overturning former Gov. John Kasich's policy against gender changes on birth certificates does not require state courts to follow the DeWine administration's current guidelines for transgender requests or to use related probate forms enacted by the Ohio Supreme Court. Hailey Emmeline Adelaide, born Brian Edward Deboard, says the appeals court is flouting a federal judge's finding that the Ohio Revised Code (R.C.) 3705.15 provision for birth certificate corrections to information not "properly or accurately recorded" easily encompasses gender changes under the U.S. Constitution, and that nothing in the Ohio Revised Code states otherwise. Supported by Equality Ohio, the former Deboard asked the Clark County Probate Court for a name and gender change in 2021 after U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson's opinion the previous December barring the DeWine administration from enforcing Kasich's ODH policy.


The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct released the schedule for a series of seminars for next year's judicial candidates. The Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct requires court candidates, including incumbent judges, to attend a two-hour seminar on campaign practices, finance and ethics. They must complete the required course within the year prior or 60 days after they are certified to appear on the ballot. Each seminar includes presentations by Board of Professional Conduct staff and a representative from the Ohio Secretary of State and a question-and-answer session. The board is encouraging judicial candidates to bring their treasurers and other campaign staff to the seminars. Seminars for 2023 judicial candidates will be conducted on the following dates and times:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, 3:45 - 5:45 p.m., Embassy Suites Dublin

  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Holiday Inn Fairborn

  • Thursday, March 2, 2023, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Doubletree Cleveland South, Independence Thursday, June 22, 2023, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Zoom video replay

  • Thursday, Aug.10, 2023, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Zoom video replay

More information about judicial campaign rules may be found at www.bpc.ohio.gov/judicial-candidates .


LAW ENFORCEMENT


A new law enforcement standard under review by the Ohio Community-Police Collaborative Advisory Board would guide state and local jurisdictions in serving "persons in crisis," including the mentally ill and intellectually disabled, while also protecting peace officers and the larger community from harm. One board member said departments must prioritize public safety as a whole over individual needs. The community-police panel, which continues to issue statewide law enforcement standards in partnership with the Ohio Department of Public Safety's (ODPS) Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), vetted a draft version of crisis intervention language Wednesday at a lightly attended meeting.


NATURAL RESOURCES


The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Medina County Park District (MCPD) are collaborating on a wetland project as part of the H2Ohio initiative, the DeWine administration announced recently. The 173-acre land acquisition made through an H2Ohio grant will be the site of the new Little Killbuck Creek Wetlands project. At least 55 acres of wetland will be restored at the site. The project aims to provide significant nutrient reduction and water quality improvements, enabling the closure of a major point of weakness between the Mississippi Rivers Basin and the Great Lakes.


The state is awarding $1.7 million in grants to support dozens of new outdoor recreation projects across Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine and ODNR Director Mary Mertz announced Monday. The grants, awarded as part of the NatureWorks program, will support 68 outdoor recreation projects in 62 counties. Projects include the development of playgrounds, natural playscapes, trails, restrooms, dog parks, baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, splash pads and picnic shelters.


The ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves (DNAP) Scenic Rivers Program announced it has purchased 73 more acres of land along Little Beaver Creek, a State Wild and Scenic and National Scenic River. The new property protects approximately a half mile of forest corridor along Little Beaver Creek and more than a quarter mile of a perennial headwater stream.


Ohio's archery hunters have taken 48,583 deer through Sunday, Nov. 6, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The average bow harvest for the first seven weekends over the past three years is 54,021 deer. Through the same date in 2021, hunters checked 52,613 deer. Ohio's top 10 counties for archery harvest through Nov. 6, are the following: Coshocton (1,923), Tuscarawas (1,602), Ashtabula (1,488), Holmes (1,460), Trumbull (1,400), Licking (1,322), Knox (1,294), Muskingum (1,130), Guernsey (1,015) and Columbiana (1,013). This 2022 to-date total includes 21,650 bucks, 23,163 does, and 3,332 button bucks.


The ODNR Division of Wildlife recently closed the adjudication phase of one of Ohio's largest white-tailed deer commercialization cases, spanning four counties and two states. The case primarily concerned A&E Deer Processing in Gallia County and included the illegal taking of deer and selling venison. In all, the cases resulted in 14 defendants being charged with 122 counts in four counties and two states to include felonies and misdemeanors. They combined to pay $70,013 in fines and restitution. The group also collectively received a hunting license revocation totaling 63 years and paid more than $6,700 in court costs. All evidence seized during the execution of the search warrants was forfeited to the Division of Wildlife.


The Whipple State Nature Preserve has grown by nearly 90 acres, ODNR announced. ODNR's Division of Natural Areas and Preserves (DNAP) recently acquired the new land in Adams County. The Whipple State Nature Preserve is home to 40 rare species, including the only known site in Ohio for Allen's fern moss (Thuidium allenii). The newly acquired area, which brings the preserve to 473 acres, includes a number of state-listed species, mature mixed mesophytic forest, oak-hickory forest, dolomite cliffs, globally rare dry limestone prairies, springs, a waterfall, sinkholes, and headwater streams.


NEWS MEDIA


Associated Press (AP) Legal Affairs Reporter Andrew Welsh-Huggins is leaving the position after 24 years and coverage of six governors and 13 General Assemblies. Welsh-Huggins also covered 14 executions and one unsuccessful attempt, and is the author of the book No Winners Here Tonight on the history of the death penalty in Ohio. Welsh-Huggins also wrote Hatred at Home on post-9/11 terrorism prosecution and a series of seven fiction books about an Ohio private investigator, with the eighth -- The End of the Road -- coming in 2023. He has authored several short stories as well.


In addition, longtime Columbus Dispatch editor Darrel Rowland recently joined the news team of ABC 6 and FOX 28, with a focus on state government and politics. In a post on Twitter, Rowland said he had started working there 80 days after the elimination of his Dispatch role.


NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS


Columbus City Councilwoman Elizabeth Brown will be the next president and CEO of YWCA Columbus, the organization announced Thursday. Brown will officially start her new job on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. The organization's current president and CEO, Christie Angel, is set to step down at the end of the year. Brown is a sitting member of Columbus City Council, where she has served for seven years, and holds the office of president pro tempore. However, according to media reports, Brown plans to step down from Columbus City Council to lead YWCA Columbus.


PEOPLE


Former Gov. Richard Celeste will hold a book signing on Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Ohio Statehouse, according to the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB). The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Statehouse Museum Gallery. Celeste was the 64th governor of Ohio, serving from 1983 to 1991. After an interview with former Rep. Mike Curtin (D-Columbus) from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., Celeste will sign his new book, In the Heart of It All: An Unvarnished Account of My Life in Public Service. The book is a collection of memoirs about Celeste's journey from childhood to becoming a politician, ambassador, university president and more.


Long-time Rep. Barbara Boyd died Saturday at the age of 80. A former public school teacher who became involved in politics in the late 1970s, she became the first Black person to be elected to Cleveland Heights City Council in 1983 and later served as mayor. She served in the Ohio House from 1993-2000 and from 2006-2014. In between, she was an official with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.


POLITICS


Bob Paduchik is planning to step down from his position as chair of the Ohio Republican Party (ORP). "I am proud of the accomplishments of the ORP staff and members during my term as chairman. I will not run for reelection for the chairmanship of the Ohio Republican Party. It is time for a new leader to take leadership of the party and I look forward to the January election of ORP officers," Paduchik wrote in a letter to members of the Republican State Central Committee. "Thank you for your support and friendship during my 21-month chairmanship. I am certain we will continue working together to elect great Republican officers for years to come," Paduchik added. Paduchik did not explain in the letter exactly why he is stepping down. Ohio Republicans swept all statewide races in the Nov. 8 election.


PUBLIC SAFETY


The end of daylight saving time at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 reminds folks to not only move clocks back an hour but also to test each smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detector, the State Fire Marshal's Office said. State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon urged all Ohioans to check their home's smoke alarms regularly and replace when expired. Along with making sure all smoke alarms have a fresh set of batteries, checking the expiration date is crucial in early fire detection. To find out how old a smoke alarm is, as well as its expiration date, Reardon said to look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date. Any alarms with a manufacture date of 2012 or earlier should be replaced.


RACES TO WATCH


Hannah News has compiled all of its "Races to Watch" stories plus other selected elections stories -- including those on the statewide issues, U.S. Senate and congressional races, Supreme Court and State Board of Education contests -- that have been published in the run up to Nov. 8 into one document for easy reference. That compilation can be found HERE.


Newcomers Nancy Larson and Josh Williams vied for the reconfigured 41st District north and east of Toledo, roughly comprising term-limited Rep. Michael Sheehy's (D-Oregon) expiring District 46 as well as District 45 held by Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo), who is running for Lucas County commissioner. Larson, a former Air Force wife, retired social worker and mother of two, is an outspoken critic of Republican control over the Ohio General Assembly and all statewide offices. Her Republican challenger is something of a survivor, having grown up in a fatherless home after his dad died of cancer, dropping out his senior year after taking honors classes, suffering permanent disability from a 30-foot fall on the jobsite, lying in bed for years from debilitating back injuries, growing to 458 pounds, caring for a young son, losing weight and earning his G.E.D. along with associate’s, bachelor’s and law degrees.


REDISTRICTING/REAPPORTIONMENT


A recent episode of NPR's "This American Life" features an in-depth look at Ohio's redistricting process and what went wrong this year. "Not long ago, Republicans in Ohio passed a constitutional amendment to end gerrymandering in the state," the show's description states. "And then a funny thing happened. The same Ohio Republicans drew electoral maps that violated their own constitutional amendment. They'll be using them in this week's midterm elections. We try to understand how that could happen." The show is available at www.thisamericanlife.org/784/mapmaker.


STATE GOVERNMENT


All items on the Controlling Board's agenda were approved Monday in a meeting that lasted less than three minutes. They included a number of multi-million dollar requests from the Ohio departments of natural resources, transportation, health, higher education and agriculture. No items were held, though there were four abstentions.


TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE


Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks told Hannah News that the state agency has received $250 million so far from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and will be putting the funding through existing programs and projects that have already been deemed necessary. In addition to the $250 million received by the state in the first year from the bill, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, another $67 million was passed through to the regional metropolitan planning organizations, $40 million has gone directly to local governments, and other funds have gone directly to programs such as Safe Streets. Marchbanks said ODOT is using the $250 million to beef up formula programs, help the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) with its project list, and increase funding for safety programs -- an initiative of the DeWine administration.


The DeWine administration announced $121 million in state funding Friday for new traffic safety projects including roughly two dozen roundabouts statewide. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), whose Highway Safety Improvement Program is providing the money, says existing Ohio roundabouts had only six traffic deaths between 2017-2021 compared to 1,126 deaths at intersections with signals or stop signs.




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


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