Friday, March 17, 2017
Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to review a lower court's decision allowing
Toledo's last abortion clinic to remain open. Ohio's Attorney General Mike
DeWine filed the appeal last September. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) had
attempted to force Capital Care to close based on language contained in budget
bill, 130-HB59 (Amstutz), after the clinic failed to obtain a written transfer
agreement with a local hospital, as it was contracted with a facility in
Michigan. The clinic sued, winning in both the Lucas County Court of Common
Pleas and the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals.
number of local organizations opposing abortion and euthanasia are creating a
new statewide association to advance their policy goals. The Right to Life
Action Coalition of Ohio (RTLACO) includes members from Greater Toledo Right to
Life, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, Dayton
Right to Life and Cleveland Right to Life, among others that have not been
named at this point, RTLACO President Ed Sitter told Hannah News. He said the group will be an "alternative
voice" to Ohio Right to Life (ORTL), although the local groups may remain
affiliated with ORTL.
could see an influx of more than $50 million in federal funding to help fight
the opioid epidemic through the 21st Century CURES Act, the Ohio Department of
Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) said.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
time for partisan political fights over health care reform is over, according
to Gov. John Kasich, who wrote an opinion editorial column in The New York Times Friday. Kasich wrote
that when Democrats pushed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through Congress back
in 2010, they did so without including the input of Republicans. He wrote that
he now sees his party doing the same. "Now, with the political tables
turned in Washington, the Republicans are starting down the same unilateral
path, a course that can only further divide the nation. A true and lasting reform
of the health insurance system must be accomplished by bringing the two sides
together, not by replacing one divisive wedge with another," he said.
Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) and health care providers are worried that the U.S.
House Republican health care plan will cause many Ohioans to lose coverage,
rolling back gains made under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as
"Obamacare." On a conference call with reporters Friday, ODP Chairman
David Pepper said reducing health care coverage would be particularly harmful
at this time, noting the state's struggle with opioid addiction and infant
mortality. The American Health Care Act (AHCA), backed by President Donald
Trump, received criticism from both Republicans and Democrats after being
General Mike DeWine announced the following winners of the 2016 Take Action
Video Contest, in which Ohio high school students were asked to create
60-second videos on consumer protection: First place, Nickolas Belliveau (Green
High School); second place, Sam
Richardson (Loveland High School); and third
place, Maggie Cripes (Van Wert High School).
AUDITOR OF STATE
auditors issued 414 public records-related citations to 357 public entities in
calendar year 2016, Auditor of State Dave Yost announced Sunday, the first day
of 2017 Sunshine Week. The majority of citations stemmed from officials'
neglecting to attend state-required public records trainings, entities lacking
public records policies, or a failure to make the policy readily available to
employees and the general public. Auditors routinely review public records
practices during audits.
of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) Director Gary Mohr and Department of
Youth Services (DYS) Department Director Harvey Reed Tuesday brought much the
same message to the House Finance Transportation Subcommittee regarding their
approaches to corrections which, in both instances, sees a strong focus on
community-based corrections. Mohr called it a "sea change" in
policy and addiction groups voiced concerns with proposed changes to the
state's Medicaid program and addiction services contained in the governor's
proposed budget, HB49 (R. Smith). Many argued Tuesday that changes would mean
some would be unable to pay for health care. Others criticized the
implementation of health care changes and the proposed new policies. Medicaid
and mental health, topics heavily intermixed with the opioid crisis, drew
testimony from nearly 20 speakers before the House Finance Health and Human
Staff of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS)
subjected to a grilling in a Wednesday budget subcommittee hearing that focused
on the agency's eLicense system. House Finance State
Government and Agency Review Subcommittee Chair Keith Faber (R-Celina) said the
$39 million system, which will also cost $4.2 million for boards, commissions
and licensees in FY19, "seems like a very expensive computer
program." He asked if the state was getting its money's worth from the
system, which is being developed by California-based Salesforce.
should scrap the Kasich administration's proposed changes to veterans'
organization funding, Ohio State Association of County Veterans Service
Officers President Nichole Coleman said Wednesday. Coleman was joined by Ohio
State Association of Veterans Service Commissioners President Ted Bruner in
testifying before the House Finance Transportation Subcommittee regarding the
Ohio Department of Veterans Services' (DVS) budget proposal.
of State Jon Husted Tuesday said that 10,204 new entities filed to do business
in Ohio during February 2017, an increase of 803 entities when compared to
of legislation addressing certificates of qualification for employment (CQEs)
are proposing additional measures they say will further expand eligibility and
accessibility to the documents, which help individuals with criminal records
gain employment. Attorneys with the Ohio Poverty Law Center (OPLC) and Ohio
Justice and Policy Center (OJPC) praised various provisions of SB3
(Beagle-Balderson) for improving the CQE program during testimony in the Senate
Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee.
underfunded indigent defense system is creeping closer to inviting a
constitutional challenge, Ohio Public Defender Tim Young told lawmakers
Wednesday. "We haven't crossed a constitutional precipice, but we can see
it. And we certainly aren't carrying out the statutory mandate that we are
supposed to be carrying out," Young said, responding to a question from
House Finance Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Robert McColley (R-Napoleon)
during a hearing on HB49 (R. Smith). "With that in mind, it's a matter of
time before this becomes a moment that we can't keep ignoring and unfortunately
courts become involved, and I don't want to ever end up there. We owe our
system better than that."
special committee released proposals that would make significant changes to the
way Ohio handles bail and pretrial court proceedings at the quarterly meeting
of the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission. The Ad Hoc Committee on Bail and
Pretrial presented their report before the full body and took questions from
members. The committee's co-chair, Judge Ken Spanagel,
observed that some proposals were more concrete and actionable than others.
new report by the Upjohn Institute finds publicly funded business incentives
including job creation tax credits (JCTC) have little relationship to a state's
overall economic health. The study looks at 47 cities in 32 states plus the
District of Columbia, which comprise more than 90 percent of the national gross
domestic product (GDP). Ohio cities include Cincinnati and Cleveland;
surrounding states covered by the study were Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and
will delay sending its plan to comply with a new federal education law until
September, Superintendent Paolo DeMaria told the State Board of Education on
Monday, saying he didn't want the plan to become "divisive" among
stakeholders and lawmakers. DeMaria also laid out plans to develop an
overarching strategic plan for education in Ohio, and to conduct a review of
assessments, which will respond to criticisms of over-reliance on testing and
dovetails with the work of drafting the strategic plan and further updates to
the plan for implementing the federal Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) introduced HB129, the
"GET REALS Act," which they said would require the governor to
complete an annual 40-hour externship in a public elementary or secondary
school ranked A-F. The Governor's Externship for Training of Realistic
Expectations of Academic Leadership in Schools (GET REALS) was prompted by Gov.
John Kasich's budget provision requiring teachers to shadow businesspeople as a
condition of maintaining their professional education licensure.
State Board of Education started a series of discussions Monday on policies for
reducing student absenteeism, responding to lawmakers' call for a greater focus
on the issue and the Ohio Department of Education's plan to give it greater
weight on state report cards.
Ohio Attorney General's (AG) office presented its report of recommendations on
how the state should approach drug use prevention education to the State Board
of Education (SBOE) during its monthly meeting on Monday. Director of Criminal
Justice Initiatives Amy O'Grady outlined the recommendations relevant to the SBOE,
which include comprehensive K-12 substance abuse prevention, mandatory
reporting for schools and creating social and emotional learning content
standards that could be widely implemented.
House Education Committee voted Tuesday to approve a bill meant to expand
access to summer food programs to more children, but only after accepting an
amendment from Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville) along party lines to make schools'
participation optional rather than a requirement. The committee also heard
legislation on recruiters' access to schools. Under HB80
(LaTourette-K. Smith) as introduced, schools that decline to offer
summer food programs for financial reasons would have to open up facilities
where at least half of students are eligible for free lunch to outside program
Superintendent of Education Paolo DeMaria told the Senate Education Committee
Wednesday that he understands the concern in the communities and the
Legislature regarding testing in the state's schools. To better understand the
testing landscape in Ohio, he said he has formed an Advisory Committee on
Assessments which is to conduct "a holistic review of testing, including
both state required tests and those implemented by districts."
Paolo DeMaria's workgroup on graduation requirements started narrowing down
options Wednesday for what it could recommend to the State Board of Education.
of State Dave Yost has released the East Knox Local School District (Knox
County) from fiscal emergency, a status it held for more than two years. The
district spent a combined four and a half years shifting between fiscal
caution, watch and emergency because of deficit fund balances and a failure to
adopt and submit an acceptable financial recovery plan.
Rep. Connie Pillich became the third Democrat to run for governor and the
fourth overall on Monday when she announced her campaign on Twitter. Pillich
has been laying the groundwork for a potential run over the last year, making
it official on Monday with a video aimed at Democrats and saying that Ohio
"needs new, progressive and unflinching leadership."
Buckland, a member of the Republican State Central Committee, announced that
she is running for the 83rd House District in 2018, seeking to replace Rep.
Robert Sprague (R-Findlay), who is running for treasurer.
national unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in February as the nation added
235,000 jobs over the month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS). BLS said jobs were added in the construction, private education
services, manufacturing, health care and mining sectors. The number of
unemployed was 7.5 million, slightly down from 7.6 million unemployed in
January. The number of those not in the labor force was 94.2 million, down from
a busy week of hearings, energy legislation was quietly introduced that would
restore several provisions from the vetoed 131-HB554 (Amstutz), including
making renewable energy benchmarks optional rather than mandatory and expanding
the energy efficiency opt-out mechanism for non-residential customers. Rep.
Louis Blessing III (R-Cincinnati) is carrying HB114, which also has 54 Republican
co-sponsors including House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), Speaker
Pro Tem Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), Majority Whip Tom Patton (R-Strongsville),
former Senate President and now Rep. Keith Faber (R-Celina), and Rep. Bill
making renewable energy benchmarks optional and reducing energy efficiency
mandates will advance expeditiously, House Public Utilities Committee Chairman
Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said Tuesday. "It is the chair's intention, and
the intention of leadership, to move this bill very smartly through this
committee with the goal of having the bill before the Ohio House by the end of
this month," Seitz said at the end of HB114's (Blessing) first hearing.
all of Ohio's public drinking water systems have submitted maps identifying
lead service lines to the Ohio
Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA). The maps are
available at http://epa.ohio.gov/ddagw/pws/leadandcopper/map.aspx.
former U.S. senator predicted dire consequences for the nation Tuesday if Ohio
and other states do not call an Article V convention and amend the U.S.
Constitution to curb federal powers. Retired U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) joined
a half dozen colleagues from the Convention of States (COS) Project in urging
the Ohio Legislature to pass HJR2 (Hagan-Patmon) and join the nine other states
that have already called for a convention.
Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) was not seen at the Statehouse this week following
his weekend arrest for a felony weapons violation and a misdemeanor drunk
driving offense. "Due to present circumstances, I regretfully will be
absent from session and all committee hearings in the Ohio House of
Representatives for the remainder of the week. Out of respect for my family, I
humbly ask for space and privacy as we move forward on this personal
matter," Retherford said in a statement Wednesday. House Speaker Cliff
Rosenberger (R-Clarksburg) said he does not plan to take any action while
Retherford deals with the legal battle.
Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) Friday released his caucus' major
policy priorities for the 132nd General Assembly, dubbing it the "Buckeye
Pathway." The plan covers topics ranging from infrastructure to curbing
the state's opioid and heroin addiction epidemic. The caucus said the plan
focuses on three overarching goals: improving Ohio's economic environment;
enhancing opportunities for all Ohioans; and strengthening families and
of the House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) released a revised House
schedule for the first half of 2017, cancelling sessions on Wednesday, April 5
and designating the following dates as "if needed": Thursday, March
30; Thursday, April 27; Tuesday, June 6; and Tuesday, June 13.
House session included passage of HB6 (Barnes), meant to crack down on
companies that publish criminal arrest records then demand fees for inaccurate
information to be withdrawn; and HB80 (LaTourette-Smith), meant to expand
access to summer food programs.
Senate session included passage of SB2 (Hite), regarding environmental
protection; SB44 (LaRose), to allow online filing of local office campaign
finance reports; and SB57 (Kunze), to designate May 17 as "Diffuse
Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Awareness Day."
House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) announced that the Ohio House
Democratic Caucus is requesting letters of interest from individuals seeking
appointment to state Rep. Greta Johnson's soon-to-be vacant 35th House District
Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) announced Thursday that expanded
televised coverage of Senate standing committees will begin next week. In
addition to the Senate Finance Committee which is already being televised, the
following committees will now be broadcast on the Ohio Channel: education;
transportation, commerce and workforce; and health, human services and
Medicaid. The Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs
Committee will replace the transportation committee in the broadcast schedule
at the conclusion of the biennial budget process in June.
Hannah News interview series on
new lawmakers featured Sen. Frank Hoagland (R-Adena), who calls himself
"mission-oriented." For a long time, the U.S. military picked his
missions -- he joined the Navy weeks out of high school, rose to serve in the
elite SEAL teams, then went to work for the U.S.
Department of Defense in the international war on terrorism. He traveled all
over the world -- "Places I haven't been to is
actually easier to talk about than places I have been to," he says.
other legislative action, House Civil Justice Committee reported out HB52
(Rezabek) regarding deed solicitation; House Health Committee reported out SB23
(Terhar) to designate Jan. 31 as "Omphalocele
Awareness Day" and HB45 (Sprague) to designate May as
"Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month"; House Transportation and Public
Safety Committee reported out HB88 (Anielski) to create "Cuyahoga Valley
Career Center" license plates and HB100 (Lipps) to designate part of Rt.
73 as "Officer Bill Johnson Memorial Highway."
John Kasich on Friday announced the appointment of Curt Hartman of Cincinnati
to serve as a judge on the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, General
Division. Hartman will assume office on Monday, March 20, and must run in the
November 2018 election to retain the seat for the remainder of the unexpired
term, which ends Feb. 10, 2021. Hartman is replacing Judge Beth Myers, who was
elected to Ohio's First District Court of Appeals.
John Kasich on Tuesday announced the appointment of Ronald O'Leary to serve as
a judge on the Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Division. O'Leary will assume
the bench on Monday, April 10, and must run in November 2017 to retain the seat
for the remainder of the unexpired term, which ends Jan. 1, 2020. O'Leary is replacing
Judge Raymond Pianka, who passed away.
governor made the following appointments during the week:
Joanna Ridgeway of Hilliard (Franklin County) to the Ohio Board of Nursing for
a term beginning March 10, 2017, and ending Dec. 31, 2018.
Russell D. Pollitt of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Ohio Historical Records
Advisory Board for a term beginning March 10, 2017, and ending March 31, 2019.
Rodney Williams of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the University of Cincinnati
Board of Trustees for a term beginning March 10, 2017, and ending Jan. 1, 2026.
Matthew Lane of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Sewage Treatment System
Technical Advisory Committee for a term beginning March 14, 2017 and ending
Dec. 31, 2018.
Rod Robinson of Mason (Warren County) to the Miami University Board of Trustees
for a term beginning March 14, 2017 and ending Feb. 28, 2026.
Bruce A. Edwards of Westerville (Delaware County) to the Transportation Review
Advisory Council for a term beginning March 15, 2017 and ending June 29, 2019.
- Gregory A. Hogg of Cincinnati (Hamilton
County) and Maximino Cortes of Parma (Cuyahoga County) reappointed to the
Chemical Dependency Professionals Board for terms beginning March 15, 2017 and
ending Dec. 23, 2019.
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Sears of the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) and Director Tracy Plouck of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and
Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) Thursday updated the Joint Medicaid Oversight
Committee (JMOC) on the progress their departments are making on behavioral
health redesign. In the process, they announced some revisions that stakeholders
had not yet been told about but which address some of the concerns they have
waste can partially replace the petroleum-based filler that has been used in
manufacturing tires for more than a century, researchers at Ohio State
University (OSU) have discovered.
House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee Wednesday heard a
presentation from the Legislative Service Commission (LSC) giving a brief
history of higher education in Ohio with a focus on budget issues. The
presentation was delivered by Carrie Burggraf, Edward
Milane, Hannah Wann, and
Adam Wefler. The Ohio Department of Higher Education,
which was originally formed as the Ohio Board of Regents in 1963. In 2007, the
board became an advisory board to the chancellor, who went from being appointed
by the board to being appointed by the governor. In 2015, the Board of Regents
became the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
community and faith leaders announced Wednesday the creation of an Ohio
coalition within a national immigration advocacy group, FWD.us, which seeks
comprehensive immigration reform from Congress. Members of the coalition
include Cleveland Jobs for Justice, Faith in Public Life, the Korean Chamber of
Commerce, Latino Business League and several others, including the president of
Xavier University and a president emeritus at the University of Dayton.
County leads the state in the number of attorneys prompting restitution from
the Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers' Fund for Client
Protection in its latest round of awards. The board released more than $70,000
to former clients of six suspended, former or deceased attorneys who had
practiced in the county.
The Ohio Supreme Court Tuesday issued a one-year stay of the suspension for
former part-time Medina city prosecutor Richard Barbera
of Medina and placed him on monitored probation. Barbera
violated professional conduct rules by mismanaging his client trust account and
failing to cooperate with investigators from the Office of the Disciplinary
The Ohio Board of
Pharmacy (OBP) will be able to issue 60 marijuana dispensary licenses before
Sept. 8, 2018, under new rules the agency sent to the Common Sense Initiative
(CSI). OBP raised the number of dispensaries from 40 after receiving a number
of public comments requesting the increase, according to a memo from Erin Reed,
the board's senior legal counsel. The agency will be able to issue more
licenses based on state population, patient population and geographic location.
Board approved nearly $26 million Monday to go toward the next stage of the
Buckeye Lake dam reconstruction. Steve Berezansky, chief of projects for the
Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), told the panel that the project is
expected to be completed by Fall 2018, and that the
overall cost will be $110 million to reconstruct the dam.
The Ohio Department
of Natural Resources (ODNR) has recommended projects from 14 Ohio communities
receive Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants, which will exceed $2.5
million. The community-based projects that were selected will help preserve
green space and improve outdoor recreational activities for families across
Ohio, according to a news release from the department. The funds are pending
by the National Park
Briggs Cole, former publisher of The
Hannah Report, died Thursday, March 9 in Florida, where she had been living
in recent years. Cole, who retired as publisher in 2007, was also very active
with the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus. A celebration of her
life is planned for later in the spring.
in Ohio united against tobacco use on Wednesday, March 15 as they joined
thousands of young people nationwide to mark "Kick Butts Day." More
than 1,000 events were planned across the United States for this annual day of
youth activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. On "Kick Butts
Day," kids encouraged their peers to be tobacco-free, rejected tobacco
companies' marketing efforts and urged elected officials to help make the next
generation tobacco-free, the campaign explained.
Some tickets are now
on sale for certain of the acts booked for the 2017 Ohio State Fair. While
tickets for other of the acts go on sale later, some of the concerts are free
with the price of admission to the fair. Acts booked include Pentatonix, George Thorogood and
the Destroyers, Rascal Flatts and McGuffey Lane. The
state fair runs Wednesday, July 26 through Sunday, Aug. 6.
of townships and municipalities are asking lawmakers for the authority to levy
an additional $5 motor vehicle license (MVL) fee in the transportation budget.
The House amended HB26 (McColley) to allow counties to charge $5 more in MVL
fees on top of the four other fees that can currently be charged by local
governments. The House also increased the deputy registrar fee from $3.50 to $5.25.
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has warned consumers of a utility
payment scam that has re-surfaced across the state. The scam targets electric
and natural gas utility customers, both residential and small business. A caller
claiming to represent the utility informs the customer that they owe money from
their past bill and must pay immediately or face termination of service.
Customers are instructed to purchase a prepaid debit card and then call a toll
free number to transfer the money.
Kasich administration announced another billion dollars back in workers'
compensation rebates to public and private employers Monday, bringing total
savings in the state insurance system to $6.3 billion since the governor took
office. Pending approval by the Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Board of
Directors, the rebate would return to employers 66 percent of all premiums for
the recently concluded policy year. Of the $1.1 billion, private employers are
due $967 million and public employers $133 million, including $92 million to
local governments and $41 million to school districts.
Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors on Thursday
approved a staff recommendation to hold private employer premiums at current
levels in FY18 after several years of rate cuts. The board also took a first
look at the latest proposed "billion back" rebate announced by the
governor this week and reviewed last week's record-breaking Ohio Safety Congress