Week in Review
Friday, Oct. 20, 2017
The House Speaker's Task Force on
Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education, and Safety (H.O.P.E.S.) made a stop in Columbus
on Tuesday to invite input from professionals at Ohio State University (OSU),
Franklin County and the greater Columbus community. This was the sixth
roundtable held by the roving group, which has recently visited Wright State
University near Dayton, Summa Health in Akron and the Center for Addiction
Treatment in Cincinnati. Rep. Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) who chairs the task
force, conducted the meeting informally, asking for personal and professional
experiences regarding the state's opioid abuse and overdose epidemic.
Ohio Third Frontier hit its launch
date Wednesday for the $8 million Opioid Technology Challenge, the second piece
of technology drug funding introduced in Gov. John Kasich's 2017 "State of
the State" speech. As the state moves toward final awards for existing
opioid applications, the challenge program is now accepting proposals for new
technologies in the treatment of opioid addiction.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Late on Thursday, Oct. 12, President
Donald Trump continued his dismantling of Obamacare, announcing that the
federal government would immediately halt its payments for cost-sharing
reductions (CSR) -- payments to health insurers to assist them in offering
health insurance policies to Americans seeking coverage on the Healthcare Marketplace.
This came on the heels of his executive order altering other insurance
protections enacted under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- Obamacare -- that
this administration says will improve access and lower costs but which others
maintain will destabilize the health insurance market and jeopardize coverage
for millions nationwide.
The next round of harmful algal
bloom (HAB) reduction funding is now available through the federal Regional
Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), the Ohio Department of Agriculture
(ODAg) announced Monday. The funding is part of a five-year, $17.5 million
program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS).
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
announced Friday that he is awarding $85.5 million to 367 crime victim service
providers across Ohio as part of the "Ohio Attorney General's Expanding
Services and Empowering Victims Initiative." Of the $85.5 million in
grants, an estimated $28 million will go toward providing services to domestic
violence victims, approximately $25 million will go toward serving victims of
sexual assault, and more than $16 million will go toward services for abused
children. Additional funds will assist agencies that provide services to
at-risk youth, victims with disabilities and other victims who traditionally
have not accessed victim services.
Three weeks out from Election Day
with early voting already underway, Matt Borges, senior campaign advisor for
the Yes on Issue 2 campaign, told reporters in a conference call Tuesday that
their polling shows their campaign remains very much in the race despite
"an onslaught of dishonest advertising" for which the opposition
"should be ashamed." He added that, "This is a race." He
doesn't expect either side to pull any punches. "This will be a fight to
the finish." Specifically, he said their polling, when voters were forced
to answer whether they will vote "yes" or "no," shows 51
percent voting yes and 49 percent voting no.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation
and Correction (DRC) employees are passionate about reducing recidivism by
providing inmates access to education and jobs, department officials told the Small
Business Advisory Council (SBAC) on Wednesday. Jessica Dennis, DRC deputy
director of programming, development and evaluation, said the department
provides access to literacy courses, pre-GED courses, GED courses, college
courses, career technical education and apprenticeships. She said offering
these programs not only improves inmate conduct in prison, but reduces
recidivism by preparing released offenders to attain and keep employment.
The Ohio Department of Education
(ODE) plans to re-release state report cards for career-technical districts
later this month after finding a "systemic data compilation error."
The error excluded "a small number of students" from calculations for
the Graduation Rate, Prepared for Success and Nontraditional Participation
measures, according to department spokesperson Brittany Halpin.
"Know Your Charter," a
project of think tank Innovation Ohio and the Ohio Education Association,
released its latest report. The groups, which are often critical of Ohio
charter schools' performance and the state's method of funding them, highlight
in the report the total funding deducted from district schools to send to
charters, as well as the proportion of that funding that flowed from a district
to worse-performing charter schools.
New state data show about three
quarters of the class of 2018 appeared on track to graduate as of the end of
their junior year, an improvement from a year ago. Members of the class of
2019, meanwhile, appear to be performing similarly to their predecessors,
according to data from the end of their sophomore year. The State Board of
Education's Achievement and Graduation Requirements Committee took a look at
the progress of the two classes Tuesday, following up on statistics from last
fall that led some educators to sound alarm bells and prompted lawmakers to add
new graduation options for the class of 2018. The data presented Tuesday
showing the two classes performing similarly prompted some board members to
urge consideration of more options for 2019 as well.
The Ohio State Board of Education's
Educators and Student Options Committee reviewed the results of the state's
teacher licensure assessments. The overall results of the assessments were not
made public, but the board was told results remained largely flat and
Secretary of State Jon Husted
announced Tuesday that an estimated 145,555 absentee ballots have been
requested statewide, as of Friday, Oct. 13 -- nearly three weeks ahead of the
Nov. 7 General Election. Of the 144,555 ballots requested, 11,125 have been
cast by mail and in-person. Among military and overseas voters, 931 have
requested an absentee ballot, and 118 of those have been cast.
Ohio voters will not see J.D. Vance
on a ballot in 2018, the Hillbilly Elegy
author told Hannah News on Friday.
"I'm on a campaign for entrepreneurship, not political office," Vance
said in between stops on his "Rise of the Rest" bus tour with
colleague Steve Case, known for co-founding America Online.
Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville)
announced Monday that she will be exiting the secretary of state's race,
clearing the way for Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Copley) to secure the Republican
Franklin County Auditor Clarence
Mingo said Tuesday that he is ending his campaign for treasurer. In a letter to
supporters, Mingo said that "time and resources will not allow the
momentum needed to continue this movement forward successfully." Mingo
said he will instead run for re-election to the county auditor's office, and
backed Rep. Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) for the nomination.
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor outlined plans
Monday to create a more business-friendly state government structure which she
said will build upon the principles of the Common Sense Initiative (CSI). Taylor
said the new structure will create a comprehensive and coordinated strategy
among business-facing agencies such as the departments of taxation,
environmental protection, workers' compensation, transportation and commerce.
Dayton Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial
candidate Nan Whaley made an appearance in Xenia on Wednesday to reiterate her
stance against drug distribution companies that she said fueled the ongoing
opioid abuse and overdose epidemic. Whaley said
that, as governor, she would implement a nickel per dose surcharge that opioid
manufacturers would pay. She said that such a policy could generate as much as
$31.5 million to fight the epidemic each year.
Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) announced
she will run for the Ohio Senate in 2018, seeking to replace Sen. Kevin Bacon
(R-Columbus), who is term-limited. Gonzales is currently serving in her final
term in the Ohio House. She cannot seek another term in the House due to term
Michael Canty will run for the 6th
House District seat in 2018, the Cleveland businessman told other members of
the Small Business Advisory Council (SBAC) on Wednesday. The Alloy Bellows and
Precision Welding Inc. president and CEO is seeking to replace fellow
Republican Rep. Marlene Anielski (Walton Hills), who is term-limited.
- Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell)
said Thursday that he is planning to run for the 19th Ohio Senate District in
2018 and is not interested in running for Congress. The Senate seat is currently
held by Sen. Kris Jordan (R-Powell), who is term limited. Brenner said he has
been asked about running for Congress in the wake of U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi's
announcement that he is leaving next year, but said he has already told the
Delaware County Republican Central Committee his Senate intentions.
The following endorsements were
made over the week:
- U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty
(D-Columbus) endorsed Kathleen Clyde for secretary of state.
- Former Ohio Attorney General
Betty Montgomery endorsed Frank LaRose for secretary of state.
- The American Civil Liberties Union
of Ohio announced opposition to Issue 1, the crime victims' amendment also
known as Marsy's Law, saying the issue "threatens the fundamental rights
of the accused in the criminal justice system."
- The Ohio AFL-CIO endorsed Sherrod
Brown for re-election to the U.S. Senate.
- The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's
Association endorsed Josh Mandel for U.S. Senate.
A group of stakeholders led by the
Ohio Manufacturers' Association (OMA) issued a lengthy polemic Thursday against
cost-recovery legislation for coal-fired generation plants operated by the Ohio
Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC). Companion bills SB155 (Terhar-Peterson) and
HB239 (Smith-Carfagna) have enjoyed numerous hearings and are receiving ongoing
consideration by the General Assembly.
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income
(SSI) benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase 2.0 percent in
2018, the Social Security Administration announced Friday. The 2.0 percent
cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than
61 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2018. Increased payments to
more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 29, 2017. (Note:
some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits) The Social Security
Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as
determined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Columbus) announced Thursday that
he's leaving Congress to become president and CEO of the Ohio Business
A coalition of state agencies
Wednesday released the analysis of the second Ohio Gambling Survey, finding a
rise in the number of problem gamblers in the state but still trailing the
national average rates of problem gambling. The survey released by the Ohio for
Responsible Gambling coalition, which includes the Ohio casino control, lottery
and racing commissions and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction
Services (OhioMHAS), is a follow-up to the baseline survey done in 2012, before
the state's casinos and racinos had opened. According to the coalition, the new
2016-17 survey included 24,000 responses and includes the same prevalence
measurement used in 2012, the Canadian Problem Gambling Index.
Former Sen. Cliff Hite (R-Findlay)
on Wednesday apologized for improper interactions with a female state employee,
admitting that situation played a major role in his decision to resign on
Monday. "I'm not proud of recent inappropriate conversations that I had
with a state employee who did not work for me but worked in a nearby state
office. After we met, I sometimes asked her for hugs and talked with her in a
way that was not appropriate for a married man, father, and grandfather like
myself," Hite said in a statement. He also said he has been ill for the
last year and doesn't have the strength to continue to travel from home to the
When asked about the Hite
resignation, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said all members of the
Senate will soon be required to receive training on sexual harassment.
Obhof later in the week announced
the process for filing Hite's vacant seat, with applications due by 4 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 6.
The Senate Wednesday overwhelmingly
passed legislation allowing business owners using a professional employer
organization (PEO) to be eligible for the business income tax deduction adopted
in the 130th General Assembly, though some Democrats said they want to see the
deduction itself addressed. Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina), the sponsor of SB186,
called the legislation "a simple little tax bill" that he says
clarifies existing law and came out of interested party meetings between
business owners and the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT).
In other action, the Senate
unanimously passed SB143 (Eklund), designating Sept. 25 as "International
Ataxia Awareness Day" in Ohio and SB169 (Wilson-Eklund), which addresses
the sale of travel insurance.
A popular farmer's market held two
days a week from the spring through the fall will be getting a new, temporary
home on the Statehouse lawn over the next three years, according to the
director of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB). Laura
Battocletti told the board during its Thursday meeting that the Pearl Market,
held on Tuesdays and Fridays, will be moving next year due to renovations at
the Rhodes State Office Tower.
In other legislative action, the
Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee reported out HB52
(Rezabek) which regulates the solicitation of certain deeds; and the Senate
Ways and Means Committee reported out HB118 (Merrin) which deals with dismissal
of property tax complaints.
Gov. John Kasich joined former Vice
President Joe Biden to talk about bridging the political divide among
Americans, criticizing what he called a broken political system that punishes
people for compromising with those that have differing views. Kasich appeared
with Biden for 90 minutes at an event on the University of Delaware campus,
which is Biden's alma mater. The event was hosted by the university's Center
for Political Communication and the Biden Institute.
Gov. John Kasich signed three bills
- HB6 (Barnes), under which a
publisher will not be allowed to solicit or accept payments in exchange for
removing, correcting, modifying or refraining from publishing criminal record
- HB94 (Sykes-Perales), which
designates February as "Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month."
- SB27 (Beagle), which designates
the period beginning March 13 and ending April 15 as "Ohio Deaf History
Appointments made during the week
include the following:
- Neil J. Giering of Garfield Hts.
(Cuyahoga County) reappointed to the Board of Building Appeals for a term
beginning Oct. 13, 2017, and ending Oct. 13, 2021.
- Donald B. Leach, Jr. of Columbus
(Franklin County), Terence M. McCafferty of Seven Hills (Cuyahoga County),
Donald R. McIlroy of Circleville (Pickaway County), Christopher L. Miller of
Dublin (Franklin County), John N. Pavlis of North Canton (Stark County), Carl
Schultz of Delaware (Delaware County), and A. Bailey Stanbery of Toledo (Lucas
County) reappointed to the Board of Building Standards for terms beginning Oct.
14, 2017, and ending Oct. 13, 2021.
- Lisa Haberbusch of Wooster (Wayne
County) and Erin Michel of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the
Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board for terms
beginning Oct. 13, 2017, and ending Oct. 10, 2020.
- Ronald F. Budzik of Centerville
(Montgomery County) and Richard Sadlier of Dayton (Montgomery County)
reappointed to the Sinclair Community College Board of Trustees for terms
beginning Oct. 13, 2017, and ending Oct. 12, 2022.
- Amy E. Barker of Centerville
(Montgomery County) reappointed to the Sinclair Community College Board of
Trustees for a term beginning Oct. 16, 2017, and ending Oct. 12, 2022.
- Margaret Knerr of Powell
(Franklin County) reappointed to the Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and
Family Therapist Board for a term beginning Oct. 16, 2017, and ending Oct. 10,
- Christin M. Jungers,
Ph.D. of Steubenville (Jefferson County) reappointed to the Counselor, Social
Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board for a term beginning Oct. 17,
2017, and ending Oct. 10, 2020.
- Deborah Allen of
Granville (Licking County) to the State Auctioneers Commission for a term
beginning Oct. 17, 2017 and ending Oct. 9, 2019.
- Vanessa L. Stallkamp, M.D. of Lima (Allen
County) to the Maternity and Newborn Advisory Council for a term beginning Nov.
1, 2017, and ending Oct. 31, 2022.
- Daniel L. Frobose of Pemberville
(Wood County) to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board for a term beginning
Oct. 18, 2017, and ending Jan. 25, 2020.
- Amy L. Francis of Hubbard
(Trumbull County) and Cynthia A. Gensamer of Massillon (Stark County) to the
Board of Executives of Long-term Services and Supports for terms beginning Oct.
18, 2017, and ending May 27, 2020.
- William "B.J." Nurczyk,
Jr. of Steubenville (Jefferson County) reappointed to the Eastern Gateway
Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Oct. 19, 2017, and
ending Oct. 16, 2022.
- Michael J. Scharfenberger of
Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Board of Executives of Long-term Services
and Supports for a term beginning Oct. 19, 2017, and ending May 27, 2020.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
While a bipartisan deal has been
struck in the U.S. Senate to continue making cost sharing reduction (CSR)
payments to insurance companies, Ohio senators are split on the issue. In
separate conference calls with reporters Thursday, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
and Rob Portman (R-OH) disagreed on whether to make the payments, which, until
recently, were paid by the federal government. They're aimed at helping
insurers keep premium costs down for coverage on the Healthcare Marketplace
under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Members of the Joint Medicaid Oversight
Committee (JMOC) relayed concerns about readiness and beta testing standards in
the Behavioral Health Redesign Initiative (BHRI) to Ohio Department of Medicaid
(ODM) Director Barbara Sears and Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction
Services (OhioMHAS) Director Tracy Plouck Thursday.
State Auditor Dave Yost is joining
Sens. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and John Eklund (R-Chardon) to announce
legislation aimed at Medicaid fraud and overpayments which they say have cost
taxpayers nearly $29 million since 2011 and deprived Medicaid patients of
A new brief released by the
Children's Defense Fund-Ohio (CDF) recently examines the variety of factors
that lead to Ohio's troubling infant mortality rates and makes recommendations
to improve the health of mothers and babies. The report, "Birth Equity - A
Pathway Forward," specifically notes the disparity between infant
mortality rates for white and black babies. Last week, the Ohio Department of
Health (ODH) released their 2016 infant mortality report, showing white infant
mortality to be 5.8 percent and black infant mortality to be nearly three times
higher at 15.2 percent.
The Ohio Development Services Agency
(DSA) recently announced a new partnership with Cleveland State University's
(CSU) Monte Ahuja College of Business to offer the Ohio Export Internship
Program. This program matches businesses interested in exporting with college
students who have taken export-focused coursework. Cleveland State joins the
Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and Youngstown State
University's Williamson College of Business in helping Ohio companies identify
new export markets or improve export initiatives.
Angela Spalsbury, Ph.D., of
Chesterland, OH, has been selected as the new dean and chief administrative
officer of Kent State University at Geauga in Burton, OH, and Kent State's
Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg, OH. A Kent State alumna, Spalsbury
currently serves as professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and
Statistics at Youngstown State University. She will join Kent State on Jan. 1,
Youngstown State University
announced recently that it has been awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S.
Department of Economic Development to help create the Mahoning Valley
Innovation and Commercialization Center (MICC) in downtown Youngstown. The
project is one of only 35 nationwide to receive a grant from the federal
agency, and it is the largest grant to a university among the group.
Ohio Department of Insurance
Director Jillian Froment recently issued a consumer alert urging Ohioans to be
cautious in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma when purchasing a used
vehicle. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) estimates one million refurbished
vehicles with concealed flood damage could appear on the market outside of
Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI)
Director Jillian Froment Wednesday announced that the average rate changes in
2016 for the top 10 homeowners and private passenger auto insurance groups in
Ohio increased 1.9 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively. Ohioans pay among the
lowest average insurance premiums for homeowners and auto insurance.
The Board of Professional Conduct
Friday issued Advisory Opinion 2017-7 concerning court-established self-help
clinics for self-represented litigants.
Attorney General Mike DeWine
applauded the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday to hear his appeal in the Ohio v. American Express dispute. The
case will review a lower court finding that American Express's
"anti-steering" rules, which bar vendors from alerting customers to
lower-cost credit cards, violate federal anti-trust laws -- a decision which
the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned.
The Ohio Supreme Court will decide
whether a class action lawsuit can proceed against the Ohio Bureau of Workers'
Compensation (BWC) for "unjust enrichment" in assessing injured
workers more than $1 million in administrative banking fees as part of its
electronic debiting program for BWC benefits.
Granted new life by the Ohio Supreme
Court Thursday, the Cincinnati Reds will have another opportunity to explain
why it should not have to pay state use tax on bobbleheads, baseball cards and
other memorabilia distributed to fans as promotional items at home games.
Cincinnati previously missed a filing deadline for its 2017 appeal of a Board
of Tax Appeals (BTA) decision that went against the Reds.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) has
released a request for proposals (RFP) to provide a medical marijuana toll-free
telephone hotline. The board is required by law to establish a hotline to
respond to patients, caregivers and health professionals regarding
"adverse reactions" to medical marijuana. According to the RFP, the
hotline would be operational Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. The
contractor would also be required to provide web resources on medical
Forming a state office dedicated to
addressing military issues in Ohio is a "no-brainer," Rep. Rick
Perales (R-Beavercreek) told attendees of Tuesday's Ohio Defense Forum on Ohio
State University's main campus.
Ohio Sea Grant announced Monday that
it has completed reviews for the 2018-20 research grants programs and will fund
seven projects at universities across Ohio and along the Lake Erie coast. The
projects focus on various aspects of harmful algal blooms, fisheries,
pharmaceutical residues and tourism, Ohio Sea Grant said.
The Board of Trustees for the Ohio
Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) Wednesday passed a proposal that
would change future cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that are provided
annually to all OPERS retirees. The board acted after receiving feedback from
OPERS retirees and other stakeholders. The proposed change requires passage by
the Ohio Legislature before it can become effective. If enacted, the proposal
would reduce the system's unfunded liabilities by approximately $4 billion,
The Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF)
honored four attorneys at its recent annual awards dinner. OSBF President Andrew C. Storar
presented the awards to the following honorees:
- 2017 Ritter Award Winner: Retired Honorable Evelyn Lundberg Stratton of Columbus
- 2017 Ramey Award for
Distinguished Community Service: Stephen F. Tilson of Galion with
Hottenroth Garverick Tilson & Garverick Co.
- 2017 Outstanding Program or
Organization Award: Sisters In Law, Toledo.
- 2017 Statewide Community
Service Award for Attorneys 40 & Under: Michael W. Kelley of Columbus
with Donald W. Kelley & Associates.
The only item held by Controlling
Board members on Monday received a number of questions from Democrats before
ultimately passing the panel with one member objecting. Sen. Charleta Tavares
(D-Columbus), who recorded the lone objection to the Development Service
Agency's (DSA) request to grant $1.6 million to Venture for America (VFA), raised
concerns that Ohio would not receive an adequate return on investment. The
fellowship grant, approved by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission in August,
aims to support the placement of recent college graduates into Ohio tech
Tax Commissioner Joe Testa was the
lone sponsor Tuesday at the first meeting of the latest group charged with
studying Ohio's tax expenditures -- more popularly known as "tax
loopholes." Led by Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton) and including Sens.
John Eklund (R-Chardon) and Vern Sykes (D-Akron) and Reps. Tim Schaffer
(R-Lancaster), Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and John Rogers
(D-Mentor-on-the-Lake), this committee was pointed to by the 2020 Tax Policy
Study Commission as key in the state's potential move toward a flat tax.
Ohio Tax Commissioner Joe Testa on
Thursday encouraged business taxpayers "that want to cut the cost of
reporting and filing municipal tax" to sign up for a new service provided
by the department. Registration is now available at the Ohio Department of
Taxation's (ODT) website (www.tax.ohio.gov) for business taxpayers seeking to opt-in for centralized
filing and state administration of the municipal net profit tax for the 2018
tax year, the department said in a news release. Taxpayers can register either
electronically or by filling out and submitting a paper registration form.
Fifty miles of roadside on the Ohio
Turnpike will soon be equipped with radio units that can communicate with state
vehicles. The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC) on Monday
approved a nearly $1.5 million contract with Logicalis Inc. to provide a
vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications network.
The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure
Commission also approved a resolution creating a memorial sign program honoring
those killed while working on the Ohio Turnpike.
The Public Utilities Commission of
Ohio (PUCO) is giving itself four months to complete a state audit of Duke
Energy's consumer disconnect procedures following a commission ruling that the
company had violated ratepayer protections in the Ohio Administrative Code for
the winter heating season, culminating in two persons' deaths. Duke rejects
that finding and says its policies are in compliance.
House members got up to speed
Tuesday on the latest round of legislation aimed at the resale of electricity
at marked up prices to residents of multi-family units -- otherwise known as
sub-metering. Companion legislation HB249 (Duffey) and SB157 (Bacon) have
revived the push to regulate Nationwide Energy Partners (NEP) and other
sub-metering companies after legislation was first introduced in the 130th
Thirty-eight Ohio fire departments will
share $406,270 in grants from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC)
under a new program to reduce firefighters' exposure to toxic environmental
elements. The fire departments are the first in the state to receive funding
under BWC's new Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements Grant Program,
which provides $2 million each year to help departments purchase safety gear
and equipment designed to protect firefighters from carcinogens and other
harmful elements encountered in a fire fight.