Friday, Sept. 22, 2017
Lawmakers should move forward legislation
protecting employees and patients of reproductive health care facilities as
violent conduct increases at abortion clinics across the state, ProgressOhio said Thursday.
Ohio Third Frontier is moving
forward with Gov. John Kasich's $8 million Opioid Technology Challenge
following Controlling Board approval, with a launch date scheduled in just over
a month. Evaluators also are vetting more than two dozen applications for the
other half of $20 million in opioid technology funding introduced in Kasich's
2017 "State of the State" speech. Awards are due by December.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Gov. John Kasich and nine other
governors Tuesday urged U.S. Senate leaders to reject a Republican plan to
reform health care and to renew efforts for a bipartisan approach. The
governors, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Nevada Gov. Brian
Sandoval (R), Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I),
Virginia Gov. Terence McAuliffe (D), Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), asking them not to consider the
Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment, saying only a bipartisan approach can
achieve true, lasting reforms for health care.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture
(ODAg) has confirmed the first positive cases of West
Nile Virus (WNV) in Ohio horses for 2017.
An Ohio State University (OSU)
researcher is part of a new $750,000 project to determine whether conservation
incentives provided by the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)
are meeting one of their goals -- to persuade more farmers to adopt measures
that benefit water quality. Robyn Wilson, professor of risk analysis and
decision science at OSU's School of Environment and Natural Resources in the
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), will co-lead
the project's social component along with Stephen Gasteyer
of Michigan State University.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture
(ODAg) on Thursday recognized five families
representing each region of the state as winners of the 2017 Conservation Farm
ARTS, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Cincinnati leads the nation's 100
largest cities for Oktoberfest events and Columbus isn't far behind, personal
finance blog WalletHub found in a recent report. Ohio's capital was ranked
10th, with Cleveland at 31st and Toledo at 36th. While six other states had at
least four cities in the full list, Arizona was the only other one to have four
in the top 40.
Following its recognition as the
nation's best city for Oktoberfest events, Cincinnati was also named the 13th "most
fun" city among the 150 largest cities in a different report by personal
finance site WalletHub. The "fun cities" report used 58 metrics,
according to WalletHub, that ranged from "fitness centers per capita to
movie costs to average open hours of breweries." Cleveland was ranked 42nd
overall, followed by Columbus at 54th, Akron at 80th and Toledo at 99th.
The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) has
announced it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Governor's Awards for the
Arts until Monday, Oct. 23.
Ohio's puppy mill amendment
recently cleared its first hurdle, with the new petition earning certification
from the Ohio Attorney General's (AG) Office. The AG said the petition contains
the required 1,000 valid signatures and a "fair and truthful" summary
of the proposed ballot initiative. The Ohio Puppy Mill Prevention Amendment
would require minimum standards for veterinary care, adequate food and water,
appropriate housing and access to exercise and socialization, among other
The group promoting passage of
Issue 1, the crime victim bill of rights, announced that it has launched its
first television advertisement. The spot called "One Day" emphasizes
the right to notification of all court proceedings guaranteed to crime victims
under the proposed state constitutional amendment.
Backers of Issue 2, the Drug Price
Relief Act, pushed back on opponents of the proposal Thursday at a Statehouse
event, highlighting veterans who support the issue, which will limit what the
state pays for prescription drugs to no more than what the U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) pays for the same drug.
The Ohio Department of Education
(ODE) Friday, Sept. 15, submitted the state's plan, as approved by the State
Board of Education, to the U.S. Department of Education for implementing the
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Ohio's ESSA plan specifies, to the federal
government, key aspects of Ohio's education policy framework and reflects
engagement with parents, students, educators, and business and community
leaders, as well as the governor and General Assembly.
State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria
joined Chris Woolard, senior executive director for Accountability and
Continuous Improvement for ODE, Monday to provide the State Board of Education
an overview of how Ohio schools fared on their 2016-2017 report cards.
According to the two, they showed statewide performance increases amid some lagging
achievement grades. DeMaria cautioned the board from making broad assumptions
based on the report card results, especially given that Ohio's education system
is still in the process of phasing in new standards that came along with
changes to assessments within the past three years.
State Board of Education members
focused discussions Monday morning on student supports and the effects of
trauma on their ability to learn and function in school. The board's
Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee heard a briefing from the
head of Ohio's Family and Children First Cabinet Council, Chad Hibbs, about a
new pilot project to address absenteeism involving dozens of districts across
The State Board of Education geared
up Tuesday afternoon to vote on recommendations to reduce testing, then
reversed course after hours of procedural debate and pushed the discussion to a
later meeting. Meanwhile, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) sent a staff
member to the board to say he won't even consider one of the ideas they were
discussing, the elimination of Ohio's high school exam on American government.
Ohio's recent reported graduation
rate for students with disabilities would be halved under new federal standards,
ODE staff told State Board of Education members Tuesday.
Ohio educators who have
successfully used Project WILD can now provide students with additional
hands-on learning about wildlife and habitat through grants, the Ohio
Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced Tuesday. Grants totaling $500
each will be awarded on a competitive basis to 40 schools or organizations
currently participating in Project WILD, a supplemental environmental education
curriculum for preschool through grade 12. The grants will be awarded on a
first-come, first-served basis, and only one grant per project site is allowed
per state fiscal year.
State Board of Education Member
Kara Morgan, a registered Democrat and Kasich appointee to the board, brings
experience in metrics and problem solving to the goal of learning, having
earned a doctorate in engineering.
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, a Republican
gubernatorial candidate, announced in Cleveland Monday her plan to address
health care in the Buckeye State and implement a fiscally sustainable model
that she said will replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The plan would include an end to the expansion of Medicaid under Gov. John
The following endorsements were
made over the week:
- Reps. Nicholas Celebrezze (D-Parma), Nickie
Antonio (D-Lakewood), Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), Teresa Fedor
(D-Toledo), Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) endorsed Betty
Sutton for governor.
Ohio's unemployment rate was 5.4
percent in August 2017, up from 5.2 percent in July 2017, the Ohio Department
of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) said Friday. Ohio's nonagricultural wage and
salary employment increased 5,200 over the month, from a revised 5,540,000 in
July to 5,545,200 in August, according to the latest business establishment
survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
in cooperation with ODJFS.
Recently proposed legislation that
would revise wind setback restrictions was praised by environmentalists and
medical professionals during a Statehouse press conference Wednesday. Sen.
Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) said his SB188 offers a compromise between those who
want to harvest wind and those who do not want turbines near where they live.
According to the bill, the actual setback distance required is increased from
1,125 feet to 1,225 feet. However, the distance is only measured from the tip
of its nearest blade at 90 degrees to the exterior of the nearest habitable
residential structure on an adjacent property, not to the property line.
Ohio Environmental Protection
Agency (Ohio EPA) Director Craig Butler said Wednesday while Rover Pipeline LLC
is successfully working toward compliance with July's "unprecedented"
unilateral order, the company is still in violation of
at least one component. That violation has resulted in a referral to Attorney
General Mike DeWine to bring Rover into compliance and to compel it pay a civil
penalty, Butler said.
A coalition including the Ohio
Environmental Council (OEC), Center for Biological Diversity and other
environmental groups sounded the alarm Thursday as the federal Bureau of Land
Management (BLM) auctioned another 141 acres in Wayne National Forest for oil
and gas development, its third lease since approving horizontal drilling in
Ohio's only national forest last December. The auction brings to nearly 2,000
acres land leased for "fracking" out of a total of 18,000 acres of
forest earmarked for development.
Legislation proposed in the Senate
would eliminate the duty of an individual to retreat before using force in
self-defense in nearly all circumstances. "More than 30 states in the
country recognize the right to self-defense in their criminal statutes,"
Sen. Joe Uecker (R-Loveland) told the Senate
Judiciary Committee during sponsor testimony on SB180 (Uecker-Hottinger)
Tuesday. The bill would allow an individual to use force in self-defense
anywhere as long as they are legally allowed to be there. Currently, Ohio's "stand-your-ground"
law only applies to situations occurring in the person's residence, vehicle or
the vehicle of a family member.
House members got their first look
Tuesday at HB320 (Hagan-Roegner), aimed at a more
forward-looking approach to state budgeting through a Long-Range Financial
Outlook Council. The Republican sponsors said the permanent council would draw
research from the Legislative Service Commission, which would also appoint its
chairman, and as such would remain "impartial and fact-based."
vice president and commercial lender for Park National Bank, Tuesday called
legislation supported by the Ohio Treasurer "unfair government competition"
and observed in testimony, "I ... have been told that Republicans claim
that the private market can better serve the needs of its customers than
government can. Thus, it does not make sense that if you believe in a market
economy, you would have a government agency competing in such a market."
He was speaking about HB54 (Blessing-Gavarone).
House amendments to school
infrastructure and technology legislation SB8 (Gardner-Terhar) were unanimously
rejected by the Senate Wednesday, with Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina)
explaining that the bill could be further amended to address budget issues. "We're
happy with everything that's in the bill right now, but we might use that as a
vehicle for additional budget cleanup-related issues, or potentially some
issues where we're able to work out agreements with the administration instead
of doing additional overrides," Obhof told reporters after session. "I'm
not sure how that's going to turn out yet, but we thought it was best to have
it handy just in case."
On replacing the managed care organization
(MCO) sales tax, Obhof said progress continues to be made among the Senate,
House, governor's office and County Commissioners Association of Ohio. He said
it's possible that SB8 could be a vehicle for any agreement reached on that
The Senate unanimously concurred
with House amendments to SB37 (Hite), which requires the Ohio Peace Officer
Training Commission to develop and conduct a chief of police training course
for newly-appointed chiefs of police. The upper chamber also unanimously adopted
SR175 (Bacon-Kunze) which supports the proposed
Hyperloop route connecting Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh; HB59
(Leland-West), which designates Oct. 7 as "Moses Fleetwood Walker Day"
and SB163 (Wilson) which, according to the Legislative Service Commission
(LSC), "expands the categories of domestic corporate and U.S. depository
institution bonds in which a county may invest its inactive funds."
The House Wednesday overwhelmingly
passed HB116 (Merrin) that will exempt prescription
eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other optical aids from the state's sales and
use tax, though some Democrats said the Legislature should do more to make
local governments whole. Gov. John Kasich vetoed similar language in HB49 (R.
Smith), the biennial budget, arguing that the language was not compliant with
the Streamline Sales and Use Tax Agreement. After session, House Speaker Pro
Tempore Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) said HB116's
implementation is delayed in the bill, making it slightly different and giving
the state a chance to prepare for it.
In other action, the House
unanimously passed HB159 (Riedel) designating May as "Drive Ohio Byways
Month"; HB196 (Lipps) designating October as "Ohio
Chiropractic Awareness Month"; HB252 (Huffman) designating January as "Blood
Donor Awareness Month"; and SB57 (Kunze)
designating May 17 as "Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Awareness Day."
Also passing by a vote of 86-6 was HB215 (Riedel) creating the Paulding County
Municipal Court in Paulding and establishing one full-time judgeship on that
court and by a vote of 85-9, HB235 (Gavarone)
addressing the state education plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
A bill aimed at preventing fraud
would allow the Ohio Secretary of State to dissolve a limited liability company
(LLC) under certain circumstances. Sen. Frank LaRose
(R-Copley), who is running for secretary of state in 2018, offered sponsor
testimony on SB179 before members of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform
Committee on Wednesday.
Ohio medical providers and patient
advocates gathered at the Ohio Statehouse Wednesday to push legislation, SB56
(Lehner-Tavares) and HB72 (Johnson-Antonio), that would reform "step
therapy" practices. According to the coalition, "Step therapy is a
cost management tool health plans use where patients must first take, then fail, prescription medications deemed to be at less
cost than a drug originally prescribed. Only after patients 'fail first' on
medications required by the health plans, can patients then get what a
physician prescribed in the first place."
The Ohio Senate announced Thursday
that the following changes have been made to committee assignments: Sen. Joe
Schiavoni (D-Boardman) was removed from both the
Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee and the Senate Local
Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee and Sen. Sean O'Brien
(D-Cortland) was appointed instead. In addition, O'Brien was removed from the
Senate Ways and Means Committee and replaced by Schiavoni.
Senate President Larry Obhof
(R-Medina) hosted Linda McMahon, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA), at the Statehouse Thursday. He said the reason for the
meeting was to talk about ideas on how Ohio lawmakers and local leaders can
help small businesses grow.
In other legislative action, the
House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee reported out HB230
(Gonzales-Ginter) which prohibits landlords, etc. from preventing the display
of the Thin Blue Line Flag; the House Federalism and Interstate Relations
Committee reported out HB142 (Wiggam) which rescinds
the requirement an individual notify a law enforcement officer he or she is
carrying a concealed handgun; the House Finance Committee reported out HB168
(Stein) regarding cemetery maintenance; the House Health Committee reported out
HB184 (Gavarone-DeVitis) dealing with teledentistry and dental practice.; the House State and
Local Government Committee reported out SB62 (Yuko) designating July 8 as "Harrison
Dillard Day"; the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee
reported out license plate bill HB321 (Koehler-Green) and designation bills
HB308 (Cera), HB311 (Johnson), HB324 (Ashford-Sheehy)
and HB330 (Rogers); and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
reported out SR59 dealing with Soo Locks upgrades.
Gov. John Kasich again spoke of
having a purpose bigger than oneself while interviewing and honoring five
individuals from Central Ohio for their selfless acts. The lunchtime event in
Columbus on Tuesday was sponsored by the Dispatch Media Group, which sought to
recognize members of the Columbus area "whose extraordinarily selfless
acts set them apart in these divisive times." The five finalists and 20
semifinalists were selected by a panel of judges from 118 submissions.
Appointments made during the week include
- Joel A. Bokerman
reappointed to the Ohio Fair Plan Underwriting Association Board of Governors
for a term beginning Sept. 19, 2017, and ending Sept. 18, 2019.
Kenyon College has received a $75
million gift from an anonymous donor, the institution announced Friday.
President Sean Decatur and Board of Trustees Chair Brackett B. Denniston said the donation is the largest single gift in
the college's history.
Total and Columbus campus
enrollment hit record highs at Ohio State University (OSU), the institution
announced Friday. The university also noted it welcomed its "best-prepared
and most diverse" freshman class in history in Autumn
The University of Toledo (UT) will
teach more than more than 2,000 local high school students and teachers how to
use mathematics and computational thinking to solve cybersecurity problems in
smart vehicles as part of a new $1.8 million grant from the National Science
The Ohio State University Marching
Band has been selected to perform in the 2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, representing
the state of Ohio. This marks the first parade appearance for the band.
The University of
Toledo (UT) reports that the total enrollment for fall semester 2017 is 20,579
compared to the 20,648 students enrolled in fall semester 2016. In addition, "The
academic preparedness of the incoming class improved with an average ACT score
of 22.9, an increase from 22.7 in fall 2016, and an average GPA of 3.42, up
from 3.36 the year before," the school noted.
Ohio University reports that, for
the fifth consecutive year, it has enrolled more than 4,000 first-year
students, although the incoming freshman class of 4,045 is down 6.1 percent
from last year. However, the university notes, "The Class of 2021 set an
all-time university record for freshman quality with a class average of 24.1
composite ACT and a 3.54 average high school GPA.
Real estate investment firm Welltower Inc. Wednesday announced the transfer of over 100
acres of land and modern office buildings to the University of
Toledo (UT), a gift estimated to value over $30 million, the largest donation
in the university's history.
Dreamers from Central Ohio gathered
at the Statehouse for a Tuesday news conference to tell their stories and to
urge Congress to pass either the Recognizing America's
Children (RAC) Act or the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors
(DREAM) Act before President Trump's six-month deadline runs out.
The application period is now open
for school officials to apply for grants to help defray the transportation
costs for student field trips for grades four and up to the Ohio Supreme Court.
This is the seventh time grants have been offered to visit the Thomas J. Moyer
Ohio Judicial Center which includes both the Supreme Court and its Visitor
A county common pleas court can
consider local zoning and nuisance claims brought by a township against
property owners attempting to fill a rock quarry, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled
Thursday. Other complaints involving the owners' state land application
management plan (LAMP) must instead go before the Ohio Environmental Review
Appeals Commission (ERAC), according to the unanimous decision by the Court in Rocky
Ridge Development, L.L.C. v. Winters.
The city of Cleveland will enter a
bid to become the home for Amazon headquarters, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson
and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced Friday.
The Medical Marijuana Control
Program (MMCP) and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) on Tuesday released pot
dispensary application materials. Dispensary applications will be accepted
online from Friday, Nov. 3 until Friday, Nov. 17 and must be submitted
electronically using the link that will be provided at www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/dispensaries.
Re-filed Ohio Department of Medicaid
(ODM) rules for the Behavioral Health Redesign Initiative cleared the Joint
Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) on Monday, but not without debate and
testimony. Testimony was provided by Teresa Lampl, an
associate director with the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family
Services Providers, and Jim Tassie, assistant
director with ODM.
Several members of the Joint
Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC) took representatives of the administration
to task over the Medicaid spending plan for the current biennium at Thursday's
meeting of the group. Several took exception to the idea that the budget as
passed by the Legislature is actually underfunded for the biennium with Rep.
Scott Ryan (R-Newark) also objecting to the labeling of that assertion a "legislative
The Base Realignment and Closure
(BRAC) and Military Affairs Task Force scheduled its first four base visit
dates during an organizational meeting Thursday. Members will travel to
Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base on Tuesday, Oct. 3; Mansfield Air National
Guard Base on Thursday, Oct. 5; Toledo Air National Guard Base on Monday, Oct.
16; and Springfield Air National Guard Base on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Alex Lapso, legislative liaison for the Ohio National Guard
(ONG), said he would work on scheduling specific times for the visits. He also
suggested members visit an older ONG armory building and a newer ONG community
Hepatica Falls Tree Farm has been
named the 2017 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee. The
farm is located in Harrison County and owned by Randy and Koral
Clum, according to the Ohio Department of Natural
Representatives of the Ohio Farmers
Union (OFU) gave U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) the Golden Triangle, the senator's
office announced Friday. The Golden Triangle is the National Farmers Union's
(NFU) highest legislative honor.
Senate Democratic Caucus
Communication Director Mike Rowe recently announced the hiring of Giulia Cambieri as the caucus' deputy communication director.
Former Public Utilities Commission
of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Todd Snitchler will lead the
American Petroleum Institute's (API) market development department, the
association announced Tuesday.
Ohio State University researchers said this week that people
who tend to trust in their intuition or believe that the facts they hear are
politically biased are more likely to stand behind inaccurate beliefs.
House and Senate leadership is
joining the governor's office, Ohio Supreme Court and state attorney general to
launch a new public-private partnership with the Council of State Governments
Justice Center and federal officials, whose Justice Reinvestment Initiative
(JRI) Ohio first completed seven years ago. Gov. John Kasich, Senate President
Larry Obhof (R-Medina), House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), Chief
Justice Maureen O'Connor and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine have requested
another round of criminal justice review, entitled "JRI 2.0"
following Ohio's engagement with the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice
Center between 2008-2010 under former Gov. Ted Strickland.
An Ohio Department of Natural
Resources (ODNR) law enforcement staff officer improperly used state time and
equipment to plan aspects of his secondary business conducting firearms
training, according to Inspector General (IG) Randall Meyer.
It is important for toll roads to
embrace emerging technologies in the face of potential high-tech competition
like the Hyperloop, Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC)
Executive Director Randy Cole said Monday.
Nearly three quarters of Ohio
restaurants say they are experiencing labor challenges in a new survey
conducted by the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) and Cleveland Research
Company, which tracks the industry in Ohio.