Week In Review - October 25, 2021



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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.


ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE


Gov. Mike DeWine Friday announced that RecoveryOhio, the Addiction Policy Forum and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) are teaming up to host a free, statewide training to help those affected by addiction on Tuesday, Nov. 9. The program, called enCompass, is a comprehensive resource for navigating substance use disorder. Funded by OhioMHAS, enCompass targets family members who are trying to navigate the complex world of addiction while helping loved ones achieve recovery and others on the frontline.


New research out of Ohio State University (OSU) suggests that access to naloxone, a medication used to reverse an opioid overdose, doesn't make people see drug use as safer. Naloxone is so effective at saving the lives of opioid overdose victims that it raised concerns drug users might be inclined to think heroin and related drugs are no longer risky, researchers said. However, the study found increased access to naloxone didn't lead Americans, even drug users, to think heroin was less risky, the findings showed.


AGING


The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) announced that Jennifer Carlson has joined the agency as assistant director where she will serve as chief adviser to ODA Director Ursel McElroy and will drive the development of innovative policy and programs to improve the health, wellness and safety of older Ohioans. Carlson previously was associate vice president for government affairs at Ohio State University's Office of Health Sciences. Her other experience includes serving as chief of staff to former Lt. Gov. Maureen O'Connor, chief policy adviser over five cabinet agencies for former Gov. Bob Taft and director of federal relations and health policy for former Attorney General Betty Montgomery.


Students can apply to the Ohio Scholars in Aging program through the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education. The program provides scholars of all academic backgrounds with the opportunity to learn about aging-related policymaking, establish professional contacts, and gain career knowledge and skills in the field of aging. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled in an accredited educational institution in Ohio and to emerging professionals in a variety of careers. The application deadline is Sunday, Oct. 31. Find more information at https://tinyurl.com/4c4cv7mm.


AGRICULTURE


Due to a late harvest and adverse weather conditions, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) extended the 2021 H2Ohio program deadline for planting cover crops and incorporating manure. H2Ohio producers enrolled in the 24-county area will now have until Monday, Nov. 1 to plant their overwintering cover crops and complete all manure incorporation requirements, the department said.


ATTORNEY GENERAL


Attorney General Dave Yost redoubled his critique of police defunding Tuesday in a 2021 Law Enforcement Conference address highlighting "buyers' remorse" in a number of cities that downsized police and reassuring officers who've remained on the job that most Ohioans and Americans, Black or White, support the people in blue. "The past 18 months have been especially difficult for everyone in law enforcement, and we all know how widespread demonization of the blue has boosted retirements and impeded recruitment," Yost told the virtual gathering, saying undeserved criticism has only deepened the naturally hostile environment of policing. "Like every other institution, law enforcement has always adapted to circumstances as society changes and expectations evolve. And we've continually gotten better, year after year, decade after decade. And now we have a new period where we're going to raise the level of officer training and weed out the very few people who have a badge but shouldn't. Bad cops don't just hurt the people they mistreat. The anger and distrust they create in the community makes the job that much harder and that much more dangerous for the vast majority of good cops -- all of you who are dedicated to protecting their communities. ... The vast majority of Americans trust and support law enforcement, especially when they experience the alternative. Our job is to make sure that we continue to merit that trust and support."


BUSINESS/CORPORATE


The Ohio Manufacturers' Association (OMA) will hold its annual Workforce Summit in two virtual half-day sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 27 and 28. The year's theme is "Attracting the 21st Century Manufacturing Workforce," and OMA called the event Ohio's "most recognized gathering of manufacturers and their workforce suppliers and partners."


CHILDREN/FAMILIES


The number of children suffering from lead exposure in Ohio has decreased in recent years, though the state is still well above the national average, according to panelists at Monday's Ohio Legislative Children's Caucus meeting. New research recently published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that over half of all children nationwide have detectable lead levels in their blood and that Ohio's levels are more than twice the national rate. The research found that Ohio has the second highest proportion of children with lead in their blood compared to all 50 states. The full study can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/457n5cxt. In 2019, over 3,500 Ohio children were diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels, according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Caucus co-chair Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) said also that for most this lead exposure was caused by lead-based paint and dust and chips in older homes. She said lead pipes that deliver water are also a major factor with the state's having more than 650,000 lead pipes still in use.


CORONAVIRUS


From mid-August to mid-September, nursing home deaths from COVID in Ohio increased from 0.04 per 100 to 0.2 per 100, with national trends also rising, according to AARP. The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard showed more than 2,000 deaths nationwide. Infections among staff and residents of nursing homes also increased, from 0.6 per 100 to 1.92 per 100 among residents, and among staff from 1.2 per 100 to 2.95 per 100.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late Wednesday took action to expand the use of a booster dose for COVID-19 vaccines in eligible populations. According to a release from the agency, it has amended its emergency use authorizations (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines to allow for the use of a single booster dose as follows:


* The use of a single booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series to individuals

  • 65 years of age and older.

  • 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19.

  • 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

* The use of a single booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least two months after completion of the single-dose primary regimen to individuals 18 years of age and older.


* The use of each of the available COVID-19 vaccines as a "mix and match" booster dose in eligible individuals following completion of primary vaccination with a different available COVID-19 vaccine.


* To clarify that a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series to individuals 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2.


Saying he likely watches the numbers as closely as anyone in the state, Gov. Mike DeWine told reporters Thursday that around 6,000 to 7,000 Ohioans are receiving their first vaccination each day, with the rate of booster doses much higher than that. DeWine continued that he would like that number to be higher but said there is a shrinking number of unvaccinated people who could receive a first dose. Of those age 12 and up, 64.25 percent have started vaccination and 60 percent have completed it, under Ohio Department of Health (ODH) definitions. ODH also reported 432,383 Ohioans have received an additional dose, including 15,105 in the last 24 hours.


DEATH PENALTY


The Supreme Court of Ohio has unanimously rejected Death Row inmates' attempt to quash the state execution protocol as a violation of Ohio's rulemaking process. Clearing up some judicial confusion over rulemaking laws, the Court said Tuesday that the five-year-old protocol is neither an "internal management" rule that requires filing with the Legislative Service Commission (LSC) and Ohio Secretary of State (SOS) nor a "general" rule that must be filed with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) in addition to LSC and SOS. Death Row inmate James O'Neal challenged the lethal injection protocol as an unvetted rule in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court in 2018. Cleveland Jackson, convicted of fatally shooting a teenager and 3-year-old during a 2002 robbery, intervened in the case several months later. They claimed the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) had violated its rulemaking duties under R.C. 115.15, Ohio's general rules statute, and R.C. 5120, the code section controlling DRC.


DISABILITIES


Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) named Cleveland Clinic the Governor's Inclusive Employer Award winner for 2021 based on its commitment to employing individuals with disabilities.


Moments after taking the oath of office, Gov. Mike DeWine had signed Executive Order 2019-03D to establish Ohio as a Disability Inclusion State and a Model Employer of Individuals with Disabilities. Reinforcing this commitment, budget bill HB110 (Oelslager) calls for an awards presentation during October's National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) to employers meeting criteria for hiring individuals with disabilities.


ECONOMY


A new survey of Ohio's academic economists shows that not a single respondent thought coal subsidies would improve the state economy. The survey published by Scioto Analysis found that of the 22 economists who responded, 21 disagreed that "subsidies for coal plants paid for through state-mandated rate increases such as those in [133-HB6] have economic benefits that outweigh their costs" with 13 disagreeing strongly. The remaining economist was uncertain about the effect of such subsidies. Among those who disagreed, the problem of the negative external cost of coal pollution was raised in comments multiple times.


EDUCATION


While Ohio's state report cards lacked A-F school ratings because of legislation passed in light of pandemic disruptions to education, the underlying data reveal important trends, according to advocacy groups on education and child welfare. The Children's Defense Fund-Ohio (CDF-Ohio) said the data highlight the need to focus on equity in education, but contrasted that message to the State Board of Education's vote the day before the report card release to repeal a resolution supporting equity and condemning racism in education. Groundwork Ohio said dropping enrollment, attendance and performance data raise concerns about long-term student attainment and Ohio's workforce and economy. The Fordham Institute noted that while low-income and minority students lost more ground academically amid the pandemic, performance data from the Big Eight districts show the drop in the Performance Index was slightly smaller among charter schools in those districts, with a 28.6 percent decrease from the charters versus 32.2 percent for the districts.


Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) troopers were "highly visible" along bus routes and in school zones this week for the observance of National School Bus Safety Week. The patrol noted the requirements for drivers near a stopped school bus: Motorists approaching a stopped school bus from either direction are required to stop at least 10 feet from the bus while the bus is receiving or discharging students. When a road is divided into four or more lanes, only traffic driving in the same direction as the bus must stop. Drivers may not resume their travels until the bus resumes traveling.


The Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN), which supports the work of STEM schools in the state, announced a leadership transition Monday. Heather Sherman, director of the network, will move on to lead STEMx, a multi-state STEM advocacy coalition that, like OSLN, is also affiliated with Battelle. Kelly Gaier Evans, also with Battelle, will become the new OSLN director.


ELECTIONS


The Board of Professional Conduct announced judicial campaign conduct seminars for 2022 candidates Tuesday. The Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct requires incumbent judges and other candidates to attend a two-hour seminar on campaign practices, finance and ethics. Judicial candidates must complete the required course from one year prior to 60 days after they are certified to appear on the ballot. The seminar features presentations by Board of Professional Conduct staff and the Ohio Secretary of State's Office along with a question-and-answer segment.


ELECTIONS 2022


U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on Monday endorsed Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley in the race for Ohio governor. Brown called Whaley "a fighter for all of Ohio" and lauded her leadership through tough times.


Former U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth), a candidate for governor, welcomed Lara Trump to the Republican Party of Medina County's annual finance dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 20. The event also featured special guests like Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy, former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and Women for Trump spokesperson Madison Gesiotto.


The following endorsements were made over the week:

  • The gubernatorial campaign of John Cranley announced the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 67.

  • The U.S. Senate campaign of Josh Mandel announced the endorsement of retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

ENERGY


The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) approved another round of solar projects Thursday, giving a green light to Clearview Solar I in Champaign County and Ross County Solar, LLC.


ENVIRONMENT


Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson announced Friday that $3.7 million in H2Ohio grants will go to several local communities to help improve drinking water quality and to repair or replace aging water and wastewater infrastructure.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE


Members of the Capital Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) on Thursday unanimously approved a capital budget request of nearly $20.2 million for FY23-24. That is the largest capital request since the Ohio Statehouse renovation, which took place from 1990 to 1996, CSRAB Executive Director Laura Battocletti told Hannah News. The proposal seeks to spend more than $6.4 million to replace mechanical equipment such as the air handling unit, controls, exhaust/ventilation fans, piping supports/sump and air quality control retrofit; nearly $4.6 million on electrical upgrades such as repairing or replacing transformers, secondary power lines and panels; $4 million on repairs and renovations to the elevators; and $2 million on security improvements to the building.


For the first time in more than two decades, both chambers of the Legislature adopted a concurrent resolution invalidating a rule from the executive branch. The Senate voted 30-0 to adopt HCR35 (Callender), which nullifies the Ohio Department of Education's (ODE) rule that would have removed requirements for all schools to provide courses in personal safety and assault prevention, foreign language, technology, family/consumer science and business education. The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) had recommended the General Assembly invalidate the rule following opponent testimony from educators and business groups. That recommendation was introduced by JCARR Chair Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) as HCR35, which was then adopted unanimously by the House. Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), vice chair of JCARR, said state agencies normally work with lawmakers on the oversight panel when there is an issue with a rule. That didn't occur in this case, she said, noting nobody from ODE testified in support of the rule at the JCARR hearing.


After Wednesday's session, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) told reporters that he expects the Conference Committee on HB29 (Wiggam-Miller) to complete work on sports gambling legalization in the next 10 days.


In other action, the Senate passed bills on knife rights [SB156 (Roegner)] and gun rights [SB185 (Schaffer)] by votes of 23-7. The chamber also passed an emergency pandemic blended learning bill [SB229 (Blessing)] by a vote of 30-0.


The Law Enforcement Training Funding Study Commission enacted by budget bill HB110 (Oelslager) is approaching full membership and its first gathering to develop a predictable, annual funding system for peace officer training in Ohio. The commission must issue recommendations by March 1, 2022 to allow the General Assembly 10 months to adopt a stable funding system before the $15 million pilot program created by HB110 and administered by the Ohio Attorney General's Office concludes at the end of next year. Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) has appointed Sens. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati), Sandra O'Brien (R-Rome) and Frank Hoagland (R-Adena) to the commission, with the governor adding Muskingum County Sheriff Matthew Lutz, Middletown Mayor Nicole Anne Condrey, Delaware Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski and President Gary Allen Wolske (Cuyahoga County) of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio.


A lack of certainty is one of the dominant issues corporate executives face in regard to government, Ohio Business Roundtable President and CEO Pat Tiberi told the legislative Business First Caucus Tuesday.


Citing the issue of vaccine mandates, Tiberi said he was troubled by both federal efforts to require many businesses to ensure their staff is vaccinated or undergoes weekly testing and attempts by some state governments to prohibit private businesses from having the option to require their employees be vaccinated. He also said they should be free to require masks on their premises. Tiberi thanked the caucus members for helping voice business leaders' frustrations regarding the Biden administration mandate as well, saying that if policymakers can think through the lens of business leaders, then Ohio will be able to grow more jobs.


In other action, the Senate Financial Institutions and Technology Committee reported out HB177 (Carfagna-Fraizer) which permits governments to use blockchain; and the House Criminal Justice Committee reported out HB226 (Pavliga-A. Miller) which expands intimidation offenses to include guardians ad litem and court appointed special advocates; SB36 (Manning-S. Huffman) to address crime victims reparations standards; and HB3 (Boyd-Carruthers) which enacts Aisha's Law addressing strangulation in domestic violence circumstances.


GOVERNOR


Appointments made during the week include the following:

  • Richard C. Perry of Solon (Cuyahoga County) to the Central State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending June 30, 2027.

  • Sam D. Bassitt of Lima (Allen County) reappointed to the James A. Rhodes State College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Aug. 31, 2024.

  • Cynthia Booth of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning on Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Aug. 31, 2022.

  • Terri W. Meldrum of New Albany (Franklin County) reappointed to the Columbus State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Aug. 31, 2027.

  • Matthew T. McAlear of Whitehouse (Lucas County) to the Owens Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Sept. 21, 2026.

  • Lucinda D. Erickson of McConnelsville (Morgan County) to the Washington State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Oct. 20, 2021 and ending Feb. 16, 2027.

  • Cheryl Ann Rice of Grove City (Franklin County), Leah R. Amstutz of Richwood (Union County) and Rachel Marie Johanson of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Joint Legislative Study Committee Regarding Career Pathways and Post-Secondary Workforce Training Programs in Ohio for terms beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending upon completion of the duties of the committee.

  • Melinda Sykes Haggerty of Upper Arlington (Franklin County) to the Children's Trust Fund Board for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending July 2, 2024.

  • Dorsey Lee Hager, Jr. of Milford Center (Union County) to the Unemployment Compensation Modernization and Improvement Council for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Feb. 4, 2023.

  • Catherine Rose Cline of Woodsfield (Monroe County) to the Credit Union Council for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Sept. 22, 2024.

  • Joy Darlene Davis of Logan (Hocking County) to the Tax Credit Authority for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Jan. 12, 2023.

  • Michael R. Bertolone of Concord (Lake County) to the Governor's Executive Workforce Board for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and continuing at the pleasure of the governor.

  • Russell Matthew Demagall of Columbia Station (Lorain County) to the Board of Building Appeals for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Oct. 13, 2025.

  • Anthony Sabo of Marysville (Union County)to the Advisory Board on Amusement Ride Safety for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Jan. 1, 2023.

  • J. Richard Lumpe of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the State Employment Relations Board for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Oct. 6, 2027.

  • Robin E. Judd of Bexley (Franklin County) to the Holocaust and Genocide Memorial and Education Commission for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Oct. 14, 2024.

  • Lesley Annette Linn of Galloway (Franklin County) and Rachel C. Mounts of Cuyahoga Falls (Summit County) to the Chemical Dependency Professionals Board for terms beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Dec. 23, 2023.

  • Donna C. Alexander of Hudson (Summit County) reappointed to the Board of Executives of Long-term Services and Supports for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending May 27, 2024.

  • Kierra S. Branch of Grove City (Franklin County) to the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending March 14, 2024.

  • Jeffrey D. Fishel, Jr. of Delaware (Delaware County) to the State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire, and Transportation Services for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Nov. 12, 2023.

  • Clayton A. Harris of Solon (Cuyahoga County), Richard Stephen Fambro of Powell (Delaware County) and Michael E. Heldman of Findlay (Hancock County) reappointed to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission for terms beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Sept. 20, 2024.

  • Charles T. McConville of Mount Vernon (Knox County) and Brooke Marie Burns of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission for terms beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Aug. 21, 2025.

  • Frederick E. Lampe of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) and Larry R. Dinkins, Jr. of Uniontown (Summit County) reappointed to the Ohio Rail Development Commission for terms beginning Oct. 21, 2021 and ending Oct. 20, 2027.

  • Thomas G. Stephenson of Hamilton (Butler County) reappointed to the Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Release Compensation Board for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending July 10, 2024.

  • Randle Evan Solganik of Shaker Heights (Cuyahoga County) to the Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Council for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending July 30, 2025.

  • Jonathan Daniel Bernstein of Columbus (Franklin County) to theSewage Treatment System Technical Advisory Committee for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Dec. 31, 2022.

  • James F. McGregor of Gahanna (Franklin County) to the Oil and Gas Land Management Commission for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Sept. 29, 2025.

  • Brian J. Buschur of Tipp City (Miami County) reappointed to the Environmental Education Council for a term beginning Oct. 15, 2021 and ending Oct. 1, 2023.

GREAT LAKES


Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz was named vice chair of the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) at the group's annual meeting. "I am truly honored to be given this opportunity to help protect these beautiful bodies of water," Mertz said in a prepared statement. "I look forward to working more closely with the commission to implement our shared passion for the lakes and using that to keep them clean and safe for future generations to enjoy."


HIGHER EDUCATION


Clark State College also recently announced that Sharon Bommer has been appointed as the new dean of business and applied technologies. Bommer joins Clark State following years of industry and educational experience including most recently as an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Management, Systems, and Technology at the University of Dayton.


Wright State University (WSU) and Sinclair Community College renewed a partnership meant to provide affordable, efficient pathways for students pursuing bachelor's degrees. Wright State President Sue Edwards and Sinclair President Steve Johnson signed a new Wright Path agreement that introduces expanded services for students and 25 new associate and bachelor's degree pathways in high-demand career fields, including computer engineering, crime and justice studies, information technology, cybersecurity and more. The partnership provides a more affordable and seamless transition into a Wright State bachelor's program for students who earn an associate degree at Sinclair.


The Fairfield County Workforce Center, which officially opened late last month, offers training programs for high-demand industries including manufacturing, skilled trades, and health care. It is a collaborative partnership between the Fairfield County Commissioners, Ohio University (OU) Lancaster, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and Hocking College.


JUDICIAL


The Ohio Supreme Court acknowledged the passing of several members of the state judiciary, announcing Thursday that Judge T. Mark Beetham of Harrison County Court had died from complications of COVID-19. He followed Judges Nancy McDonnell and Joseph Russo of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, whose deaths were announced one week after Judge Larry Jones' of the 8th District Court of Appeals.


The Commission on Continuing Legal Education's (CLE) latest sanction of 146 attorneys are its lowest since the commission began imposing penalties in 2008. Eleven of those sanctioned for CLE noncompliance also were suspended from the practice of law -- two for failing to complete New Lawyers Training in their initial compliance period.


Disciplinary Counsel Joseph Caligiuri is hosting the state's first continuing legal education (CLE) on Ohio Supreme Court rules for client fund management of Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA). IOLTAs function similarly to homeowner escrow accounts, he notes. Lawyers safeguard client funds, including legal retainers and settlement funds, by depositing them in the trust account for subsequent disbursement. "Trust Accounting 101: Basic Management Skills and Best Practices," an in-person, interactive course, will address related sections of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. Lawyers will learn about different kinds of legal fees, how to account for them, and how to perform required monthly reconciliation. Offering 3.5 hours of CLE, the seminar is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 3. The course is limited to 30 people, and the $75 cost can be paid by check or money order to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.


The Ohio Supreme Court announced final adoption of amendments adding "Child Welfare Law" as a legal specialty in the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio. Rule changes to Appendix VI provide the following definition of the new field of specialization: "Child Welfare Law is the practice of law representing children, parents or the government in all child protection proceedings including emergency, temporary custody, adjudication, disposition, foster care, permanency planning, termination, guardianship and adoption. Child Welfare Law does not include representation in private custody and adoption disputes where the state is not a party." The rule language becomes effective on Monday, Nov. 1.


The Ohio Supreme Court's Republican majority upheld retroactive registration of violent offenders under "Sierah's Law" 4-3 Thursday, when Democrats accused them of befuddling Ohio's constitutional standard for retroactivity for the last 20 years. The Court could not even agree whether the overarching "Crimes - Procedure" in Title 29 of the Revised Code or "Penalties and Sentencing" in R.C. 2929 signals a criminal rather than civil enactment, or whether the ex post facto test developed under the U.S. Constitution determines whether an Ohio statute is substantive and criminal or remedial and civil.