Friday, July 28, 2017
recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study shows Ohio has fared much better
than the nation at large in the battle against prescription opioids. In 2011 the
state implemented pain clinic regulation and mandated that clinicians review
prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) data, which the CDC says correlates
with a decrease of morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) prescribed per capita
in 85 percent of Ohio counties. Other states that enacted the same mandates
showed similar reductions.
The Ohio State Fair announced that there will be 195 food
and drink vendors offering anything from funnel cakes to deep fried Oreos
wrapped in bacon. This year, as is the case every year, there will be new foods
available at various concessions throughout the grounds.
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor led kickoff
festivities at the Ohio State Fair's opening day Wednesday as Gov. John Kasich
tended to a more solemn duty at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Kasich
was monitoring the state's first execution in more than three years during the
state and national press, Gov. John Kasich vowed Thursday that while he was
saddened, the 2017 Ohio State Fair would not be defined by the ride incident
that killed one and injured seven the night before. Kasich said he had "full
and total confidence" in the Ohio State Highway Patrol investigation,
which he said would be done without his involvement and with great
transparency, and said the lessons learned could then be passed on to amusement
parks and fairs across the U.S.
AUDITOR OF STATE
Auditor Dave Yost Wednesday
released a report, alongside legislation from Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake)
and Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), that encourages
more control and oversight of how local governments are
allowed to use credit cards. At the Statehouse, Yost detailed the
report, which showed that some of Ohio's local governments lack policy on the
use of credit cards for public purposes, with instances ranging from small
negligence to outright misuse of public funds.
State Jon Husted announced the order of issues for the November 2017 ballot: an
initiated constitutional amendment on crime victims' rights will be Issue 1,
and an initiated statute on prescription drug prices will be Issue 2. Ballot
language will be determined later.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) endorsed Issue 2, the Ohio
Drug Price Relief Act, on Monday, giving backers clout among left-leaning
voters in the state. The initiated statute, which will appear on the ballot as
Issue 2, limits what the state can pay for prescription drugs.
While Gov. John Kasich used his
veto pen on proposed changes to aquatic amusement ride inspections in the
budget, several provisions regarding inflatable rides made it into the final
version of HB49 (R. Smith). The vetoed provision would have subjected all
aquatic amusement rides built or renovated after the bill's effective date to
be approved by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). It also would have required
that, starting in April 2018, all aquatic amusement rides be subjected to
inspection and licensure by local health districts. Representatives for
inflatable ride companies pushed for changes to how their industry is regulated
during the budget process. The budget includes language eliminating the current
$105 fee for inflatable inspections and requires ODAg
to set a new fee by rule.
Advocates against domestic violence were able to salvage
nearly a quarter million dollars in the biennial
budget for education, intervention and staff training overseen by the Ohio
Attorney General's Office. The Senate had cut funding included in executive and
House versions of HB49 (R. Smith) but restored it in the face of push-back from
the Ohio Domestic Violence Network and Choices for Victims of Domestic
The latest United Way Champion of
Children report examines strengthening relationships to foster better
communities and help children grow in a healthier environment, leading to a
discussion at the Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC) on how to foster better
social interactions with youth. Much of the discussion among Wednesday's panel
focused on Columbus, especially efforts on the south side to get Columbus youth
to open up about their needs and to provide youth a
safe place where they can go.
There were no reported
complications Wednesday when child rapist/murderer Ronald Phillips, 43, died by
lethal injection at 10:43 a.m. in the Ohio Death House. Officially scheduled
for 10 a.m., the execution was reportedly delayed somewhat to allow Phillips to
visit with family.
Auditor Dave Yost wants the Ohio Department of Education to
hold back some of Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow's (ECOT) funding for the
upcoming school year and scrutinize its enrollment records for overlap with
other schools. Statements the online charter school made in court don't jibe
with the 14,000-plus student headcount the school is claiming for the 2017-2018
academic year, Yost wrote in a letter to Superintendent Paolo DeMaria last week.
The Ohioana Library recently announced the winners of the
2017 Ohioana Awards, including seven book awards and the Walter Rumsey Marvin
Grant. First given in 1942, the Ohioana Book Awards are the second oldest state
literary prizes in the nation. Nearly every major writer from Ohio in the past
75 years has been honored, from James Thurber to Toni Morrison.
The Ohio Department of Education announced a new effort
Tuesday with global staffing firm Adecco Group to help students get work
experience and businesses find talent while easing concerns about the practical
challenges of bringing teenagers into plants and offices.
The Lorain Academic Distress
Commission this week named David Hardy Jr., deputy superintendent of academics
for St. Louis Public Schools in Missouri, as its CEO. Under the new state
oversight model adopted in 2015, Hardy will take direct operational control of
Lorain City Schools and have broad powers to make changes in the district,
powers that will expand the longer he is in office. Lorain is the second
district to fall under this new
structure because of persistently low performance on state measures; Youngstown
was the first.
Ohio House members got an overview of the data on income
and academic achievement and discussed where to focus further discussions
Thursday at the first meeting of the Speaker's Task Force on Education and
Secretary of State Jon Husted responded on Monday to the
request from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity for
publicly available voter data, providing some voter information that is
available on his office's website but refusing to provide Social Security and
driver's license information.
Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) announced new legislation Monday
that would prevent the state from cancelling a voter's registration for moving
within the state or not voting in elections. Clyde, a Democratic candidate for
secretary of state, said her HB274 would still allow removing voters from the
rolls for valid reasons such as death, moving out of state, or if the voter
requests it. Calling the bill the "Stop the Purge
Act," she said she is introducing it on the heels of a report by the U.S.
Election Assistance Commission showing polling problems in Ohio.
Republican U.S. Senate
candidate Mike Gibbons announced Tuesday that he has launched a six-figure
cable television and digital advertising campaign. The ad, titled "Vacation,"
criticizes Congress for not passing legislation to repeal the Affordable Care
endorsements were made over the week:
- Reps. Robert Cupp, Bill Seitz, Steve Arndt, John Becker, Tom Brinkman,
Jim Butler, Margaret Conditt, Jonathan Dever, Jay Edwards, Tim Ginter, Wes Goodman, Steve Hambley, Brian Hill, Darrell Kick, Laura Lanese, Scott Lipps, Derek Merrin, Bill Reineke, Jeff Rezabek, Mark Romanchuk, Gary
Scherer and Dick Stein endorsed Dorothy Pelanda for
secretary of state.
Ohio's jobless rate edged back up to 5.0 percent last month
after falling to 4.9 percent in May, ranking it among the highest unemployment
rates in the nation. Total employment in the state was up 1 percent since June
2016, however, a number the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) called "statistically
significant." Non-agricultural wages and salary employment in Ohio
increased 11,500 over the month, from a revised 5,517,300 in May to 5,528,800
in June, BLS reported Friday.
Gov. John Kasich was in
Cleveland Tuesday to tout the success of past and continuing efforts to improve
Lake Erie water quality at a ceremonial bill signing at the Great Lakes Science
Center. Earlier this month, Kasich signed SB2 (Hite), which would make reforms
to the Lake Erie Commission and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
Tuesday was among majority Republicans who voted for the U.S. Senate to move
forward with debate on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care
Act (ACA). What that legislation will look like, however, remains unclear. On a
conference call, Portman reiterated his support for a "repeal and replace"
approach to the Affordable Care Act Wednesday while opposing a "repeal
only" attempt that he said would make conditions worse. "If you
repeal only, it would be disastrous for Ohio," he said, saying experts
told him it would lead to more insurance companies withdrawing from markets
while doing nothing for the counties that have no insurer.
U.S. Sen. Rob
Portman (R-OH) released a statement Thursday saying he would support passing a
health care bill out of the Senate with the goal of getting it to a
House-Senate conference committee to work out details. Portman's statement came
amidst reports that Senate leaders were seeking support of a "skinny
repeal" version of legislation that would repeal and replace the
Affordable Care Act (ACA), nicknamed Obamacare. That "skinny repeal"
effort ultimately failed.
While the Senate may have tried to save the Permanent Joint
Committee on Gaming and Wagering by taking language out of the biennial budget
that sunset it, the committee ultimately did not survive after the conference
committee restored the House-backed sunset measure and Gov. John Kasich signed
of the special panels House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) created,
the Speaker's Task Force on Alzheimer's and Dementia and the Speaker's Task Force
on Education and Poverty, announced members. Rep. Dorothy Pelanda
(R-Marysville), chair of the Alzheimer's panel, said members of her group
include Reps. Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland), Gary Scherer (R-Circleville),
Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira), Kristin Boggs
(D-Columbus) and Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati). Rep. Bob Cupp
(R-Lima), chairman the education panel, said members include Reps. Margy Conditt (R-Hamilton),
Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) and Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights); Dr. Bob Mengerink, superintendent
of Cuyahoga County ESC; Anthony Knickerbockerk,
career and technical education director of Lancaster City Schools; John Stack,
president and owner of Cambridge Education Group; Karen Boch,
superintendent of Wellston School District; Thomas Maridada
II, CEO of BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools; and Hannah Powell, executive
director of KIPP Columbus.
Rep. John Rogers
(D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) has been selected to participate in the Council of State
Governments' (CSG) Henry Toll Fellowship. He is one of 48 members in the
fellowship's class of 2017. The Toll Fellowship, named for CSG founder Henry
Wolcott Toll, has convened a group of the nation's top officials for the
intensive, six-day, five-night intellectual boot camp for more than 30 years.
This year's program will be held Aug. 25-30 in Lexington, KY.
during the week include the following:
- Comfort A. Cole-Keneh of Gahanna
(Franklin County), Ibrahima Sow of Reynoldsburg,
(Franklin County) and Eugenie Kirenga of Kettering
(Greene County), to the New African Immigrants Commission for terms beginning
July 21, 2017 and ending Oct. 7, 2017.
- Rosaire Ifedi
of Columbus (Franklin County), Abass M. Bangura of
Reynoldsburg, (Franklin County) and Tariq Mohamed of New Albany (Franklin
County) to the New African Immigrants Commission for terms beginning July 21,
2017 and ending Oct. 7, 2018.
- Brigadier General Todd M. Audet of
Sylvania (Lucas County) to the Transportation Review Advisory Board for a term
beginning July 21, 2017 and ending June 29, 2022.
- David Regula of Navarre (Stark Co.) reappointed to the
Transportation Review Advisory Board for a term beginning July 21, 2017 and
ending June 29, 2022.
- Todd L. Poole of Powell (Delaware
Co.) to the State Fire Council for a term beginning July 26, 2017, and ending
Nov. 1, 2019.
Steven A. Moore of Otway (Scioto County) to the Shawnee State University Board
of Trustees for a term beginning July 27, 2017 and ending June 30, 2026.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
A recent report issued by the Center for Community Solutions
(CCS) found that Ohio's infant mortality rate of 6.8 deaths per 1,000 births
was higher than the national average of 6.0 deaths per 1,000 births, and it
examined key factors contributing to the state's infant mortality rate by using
data from over 800,000 births in Ohio from 2010 to 2015.
The Ohio Department of Medicaid
(ODM) this week informed providers of its timeline for implementing a redesign
of behavioral health services, aiming for billing and coding under the redesign
to commence Jan. 1. But lawmakers are already halfway to forcing a six-month
delay of that effort by overriding one of Gov. John Kasich's budget vetoes.
to attendees of a Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) forum on Thursday,
University of Washington School of Public Health Assistant Professor Anjum Hajat emphasized the difference between income and wealth,
noting income is the flow of resources in a household at a given point in time,
while wealth is financial assets minus debt.
Franklin University, a private, nonprofit institution, founded
in 1902 in Columbus, recently received approval for its change of status
application by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to bring Urbana University
under Franklin's accreditation as a branch campus, effective Aug. 1, 2017.
Youngstown State University (YSU) announced that it has signed
a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Western Galilee College in Israel as
part of the university's continued efforts to expand the institution's global
reach. The MOU, which sets the framework for a variety of educational
collaborations, is the result of a seven-day trip to Israel in January that
included YSU President Jim Tressel and a delegation
from Youngstown State University and the Youngstown Business Incubator.
Kent State University (KSU) is being recognized for the eighth
time as a "Great College to Work For" by the Chronicle of Higher Education, a trade publication for colleges and
universities. Now in its 10th year, the "Great Colleges to Work For"
annual report recognizes the colleges that get top ratings from their employees
on workforce practices and policies. The Chronicle
released its 2017 results on July 17, based on survey responses from more than
45,000 people at 232 institutions (155 four-year private and public colleges
and 77 two-year colleges).
A year after Pokemon GO's worldwide
release, Kent State University researchers have released a study on whether the
game actually did promote exercise. And they found
that playing a popular physically-interactive, smartphone-based game, like Pokemon GO, may actually promote
Ohio State University said Tuesday that its facilities
operations and development department has been recognized with the 2017 APPA
Sustainability Award. Ohio State's sustainability work includes recycling and
zero waste initiatives, green building guidelines and energy conservation.
Online social media networking site LinkedIn has teamed up
with BioEnterprise, the city of Cleveland, Cleveland
State University (CSU) and Cuyahoga County to provide data, analysis and market
research on the talent flows of software developers, data scientists, data
analysts and other computer science positions within the Northeast Ohio health
IT sector, according to BioEnterprise.
With a burgeoning population of
immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, including Columbus' sizable Somali
community, state leaders created a New African Immigrants Commission in 2009 to
develop relevant policies and programs. But until just days ago, it existed
only on paper, since governors' offices and legislative leaders had failed to
appoint anyone to the body. That changed Friday with Gov. John Kasich's
announcement of six appointees -- enough to meet a quorum and allow the 11-person
body to conduct business.
The Ohio Board of Professional
Conduct announced the availability of a new online docket Tuesday that provides
real-time access to case information and documents in lawyer and judge
A federal judge has granted a
motion that will allow a group of individuals with intellectual and
developmental disabilities to intervene in a lawsuit filed by Disability Rights
Ohio (DRO) against the state. The lawsuit claims the state is depriving the
developmentally disabled community of options in violation of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Auditor of State Dave Yost announced Friday that the city of
Wellston (Jackson County) has achieved financial stability after spending
nearly eight years in fiscal emergency.
A 2015 law requiring that police
officers be present at the site of red-light and speed cameras violates the
Ohio Constitution, the Ohio Supreme Court said Wednesday in a ruling that also
struck down two other restrictions on use of the cameras. The opinion by
Justice Patrick Fischer finds provisions of 130-SB342 (Seitz), which took
effect in 2015 after passage in late 2014, do not qualify as "general laws"
and thus violate municipalities' home rule powers in Article XVIII, Section 3
of the Ohio Constitution.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) on
Thursday released a draft map detailing where medical marijuana dispensaries
will be allowed to be located. The map is broken down into four quadrants including
a northwest region, northeast region, southwest region and southeast region.
Further maps break down the regions into districts, where various numbers of
dispensaries will be permitted. In the northwest region, 10 total dispensaries
will be permitted; in the northeast, 18; in the southeast, 17; and in the
Gov. John Kasich Friday ordered that all flags be flown
at half-staff on all public buildings and grounds throughout the state of Ohio
from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, July 22 in honor of the life and service of
Congressman Ralph Regula, who died Wednesday at the age of 92.
With President Donald Trump scheduled to make an
appearance in Youngstown on Tuesday for a campaign rally, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan
(D-Niles) took aim at the president in a conference call held Monday, saying
Trump has not followed through on his promises.
Department of Commerce (DOC) Director Jacqueline Williams on Monday announced
the appointment of Jeff Hussey as state fire marshal. Hussey had been serving
as interim state fire marshal since the retirement of Larry Flowers in May.
Prior to his promotion, Hussey served as chief deputy state fire marshal under
Division of Unclaimed Funds will hold an auction of safe deposit box items on
Friday, July 28. This is the third auction to take place this year. The auction
will start at 9 a.m. at the Apple Tree Auction Center, 1625 W. Church St. in
Newark, OH 43055. Private previews can be scheduled on Monday and Tuesday, July
24 and 25 by calling 740-344-4282. Public previews will be on Wednesday and
Thursday, July 26 and 27 from noon to 5 p.m.
Controlling Board Monday approved all of the requests
on its 75-item agenda, including requests for a cash transfer to allow the
Department of Commerce to implement its seed-to-sale marijuana database program
and a waiver of competitive selection for the Ohio Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) to purchase testing equipment for the growing harmful algal bloom
(HAB) problem on Lake Erie.
EPA is helping eligible homeowners in 21 additional counties repair or replace
failing home sewage treatment systems (HSTS) with principal forgiveness loans
to their county commissions or health departments. This is in addition to the
aid announced earlier to Crawford, Marion, Seneca and Wyandot counties.
Ohio Arts Council Board approved more than $12 million in grants to support
Ohio artists, organizations, students, educators and public arts programming
during its initial FY18 funding round. The 15-member board approved 635 grants
at its July 19 meeting.
leaders appointed members of the Tax Expenditure Review Committee created in
131-HB9 (Boose): Sens. John Eklund (R-Chardon), Scott
Oelslager (R-North Canton) and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron)
and Reps. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster), Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and John
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is citing
Youngstown Thermal's "financial struggles" in establishing an
emergency surcharge as efforts to place the utility into receivership proceed.
PUCO also has directed Youngstown Thermal to establish a segregated escrow
account in which future customer payments should be deposited. On June 14,
Youngstown Thermal notified the commission of its financial troubles, and PUCO
began a review of its financial stability.
With the shape of Ohio's smart
grid still emerging, presenters at the second installment of the Public
Utilities Commission of Ohio's (PUCO) PowerForward
series Tuesday said the components of its electric "platform" and the
way it communicates with people and consumer apps must remain flexible enough
to accommodate the future demands of customers and technology.
John McDonald, a smart grid
business development leader with GE, discussed where electric power systems may
go in the future at Tuesday's session of the Public Utilities Commission of
Ohio (PUCO) PowerForward summit.
It is rare to get Ohio's four major electric utilities around
the same table and the same set of policy questions, company representatives
agreed Wednesday, when they did exactly that as part of the Public Utilities
Commission of Ohio's (PUCO) three-day PowerForward
smart grid conference. Officials for American Electric Power (AEP) of Ohio,
Duke Energy, Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) and FirstEnergy spoke to a number of issues facing the utility industry as new
generation and distribution technologies and new customer expectations loom.
Following presentations Wednesday
from experts on the evolving power grid, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
(PUCO) Chairman Asim Haque
laid out lofty goals for the future of electric utilities in Ohio. "The
thing we're trying to do is frankly start a revolution here," Haque said on the possibilities of modernizing Ohio's
electric grid through installing smart meters with built-in processing power,
and providing energy consumers with real-time energy usage updates through
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) has announced
more than a quarter million dollars in workplace
safety grants as part of its latest round of awards. Twelve Ohio employers will
share more than $294,675.00 in Safety Intervention Grants to purchase equipment
meant to substantially reduce or eliminate workplace injuries and illnesses.