Week in Review
Friday, July 20, 2018
A new series of reports from the
Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) outlines what policies have helped
improve opioid abuse prevention, treatment and recovery, and where the state
has significant room for improvement. The "Ohio Addiction Policy Inventory
and Scorecard" examines what policies implemented between 2013 and 2017
have had the most impact.
Nearly one year after members
officially began holding meetings, the House Task Force on Alzheimer's and
Dementia released its legislative recommendations for improving care that
members hope will be considered before the Legislature heads into the next
General Assembly. The report, issued by Task Force Chair Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville)
Tuesday, focused on two key areas: the training
requirements for individuals
providing long-term services and support for those diagnosed with Alzheimer's
or dementia, and the Ohio Department of Aging's definitions and guidelines
governing respite and supportive services for such individuals, their families
and their caregivers.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture
(ODAg) is now offering produce growers free, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
approved consultations to help farmers comply with the upcoming Food Safety
Modernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rule.
Ohio Attorney General
Mike DeWine announced a new initiative to help child victims of crime. Funded
by grants from the federal Victims of Crime Act, DeWine's office said it is
setting aside at least $25 million to fund children's programs in areas such as providing
comprehensive services to child victims of physical or sexual abuse; addressing
mental health issues in children who have experienced trauma; providing
trauma-informed care training to interested Ohio schools; helping children
whose families are struggling with substance abuse; researching the impact of
child abuse, neglect and other adverse childhood experiences; and locating
safe, trauma-informed living environments for children.
Implementation of safe harbor for
companies that meet cybersecurity requirements under SB220 (Hackett-Bacon) and
further increasing youth engagement and entry in cybersecurity fields were key
topics of discussion at Thursday's quarterly meeting of Attorney General Mike
DeWine's CyberOhio Advisory Board.
Attorney General Mike DeWine
announced a multi-state action Thursday against a Florida-based
"nonprofit" accused of misleading donors across the U.S. into
believing their money would primarily benefit ex-service members. The action is
part of a nationwide crackdown on sham veterans' charities, the AG said. Help
the Vets reportedly collected more than $11 million from donors in Ohio and
other states between 2014 and 2016 but used less than five percent of it on
charitable programming. Instead, the vast majority of funds went to its founder
and paid fundraisers, according to DeWine's office.
Ohioans may once again be asked to change their constitution
after two groups submitted signatures before the July 4 deadline seeking to put
amendments on the November ballot. Secretary of State Jon Husted is expected to
announce next week whether the amendments addressing dialysis clinics and drug
penalties qualify for the ballot, or whether the groups behind them will need
to collect more signatures. The two were among the seven that began the process
of trying to get a constitutional amendment before voters since the
presidential election in 2016. Where are the other five issues? A check by Hannah News found some have been
abandoned, while others continue to collect signatures in hopes of making the
ballot in 2019.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce's
Research Foundation Wednesday released recommendations outlining ways to expand
the state’s "innovation economy" while leaving exact details on
implementation up to policymakers after the November election. Implementing the
report, referred to as "Ohio BOLD," would require hundreds of
millions of dollars in spending over an extended period of time, according to
Brian Hicks, president of the research foundation's board of directors. The
report noted, however, that "significant revenue" already exists for
the vast majority of resources required by drawing on the Ohio research and
development bond fund and JobsOhio's liquor profits, as well as federal
workforce funds and private capital investments.
The rising number of Ohio inmates
with severe mental illnesses (SMI) has resulted in increasing costs of
psychotropic drugs and struggles to comply with state law, according to an
ongoing series of reports from the Center for Community Solutions (CCS). The
second and third installments of the center's "By the Numbers 4"
report examined the mental health services currently offered in Ohio jails and
presented survey results from jail administrators regarding mental health
practices. The first installment of the report provided a broad overview and
history of the institutionalization of individuals with SMI.
The Department of Rehabilitation
and Correction (DRC) reported Wednesday morning that the execution of Robert
Van Hook had been carried out at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in
Lucasville. The time of death was 10:44 a.m.; he died by lethal injection.
Sponsors who are shutting down
charter schools have a longer and more detailed set of tasks to perform to
assure the state the schools' affairs are in order, under a new policy from the
Ohio Department of Education (ODE) taking effect this summer. The new policy
comes after the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West earlier this year
shut down Ohio's largest online charter school, Electronic Classroom of
Tomorrow (ECOT). Updates to the policy governing charter closings were already
in the works before the January shutdown, according to ODE.
The second round of grants to help
schools replace lead plumbing fixtures will conclude at the end of the month,
the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) notes. The program is offered through
the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC), successor agency to the
Ohio School Facilities Commission.
The Ohio Department of Education
(ODE) recently posted application materials for organizations interested in
becoming sponsors of charter schools. The deadline to apply for the 2018-2019
cycle is Monday, Dec. 31.
The Executive Committee of the
State Board of Education voted Wednesday to approve board members' evaluation
of Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, including a recommendation for a 2.75 percent
raise and payment of $20,000 of his salary that is contingent on his being
evaluated as effective. The committee met in executive session for more than an
hour before returning to vote on the evaluation.
Superintendent Paolo DeMaria floated a template Wednesday
for a new, customizable graduation pathway that would have high school students
pursue an "anchor experience" -- internship, research, portfolio,
community service project -- and then articulate their lessons learned via
writing, data analysis, presentations and other means.
Steve Dettelbach, Democratic
candidate for attorney general and former U.S. attorney, said Monday that
Republican leaders are making excuses for not having pursued Electronic
Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) earlier. Democrats and critics of Attorney General
Mike DeWine and Auditor Dave Yost have recently attacked the two men -- respectively
the GOP candidates for governor and attorney general -- for not going after the
online charter school sooner, including via criminal investigation. DeWine's
office has responded by noting the law limits the attorney general's jurisdiction
for original prosecutorial authority.
Meanwhile, Yost's campaign
criticized Dettelbach over his law firm's defense of drug companies involved in
litigation filed by Ohio over the addiction crisis. Citing reporting by the
Associated Press, Yost's campaign criticized Dettelbach for not sharing documentation
about firewalls he says are in place to protect against conflicts. The campaign
also criticized him for not disclosing his firm's role when speaking out
publicly in support of the state's litigation.
Four Democrats seeking to unseat
Republican incumbents reported raising more than their November opponents,
according to new campaign finance filings. Democrats in U.S. House Districts 1,
7, 10, and 15 all reported higher fundraising totals for the second quarter of
the year, though the incumbents still had more money in the bank.
Five candidates have filed to run as Libertarians for
statewide office a week after the Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) regained its
status as a minor party in the state. According to the secretary of state's
office, Travis Irvine filed to run for governor along with lieutenant governor
candidate J. Todd Grayson. Robert C. Coogan has filed to run for state auditor;
Dustin R. Nanna has filed to run for secretary of state; and Bruce E. Jaynes
has filed to run for U.S. Senate.
Secretary of State Jon Husted said Thursday that his office
has mailed over 855,000 informational notices to potential voters throughout
July as part of a partnership with the Electronic Registration Information
The following endorsements were
made over the week:
- The Ohio
Environmental Council Action Fund endorsed Richard Cordray for governor.
- The re-election campaign of Rep.
Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) announced the endorsements of the Fraternal Order
of Police Lodge 25 and the Ohio State Medical Association PAC.
- Emily's List endorsed Randi
Clites, Mary Lightbody, Beth Liston, Allison Russo and Bride Sweeney for the
Ohio House and Sharon Sweda for the Ohio Senate.
- The Ohio Federation of Republican
Women endorsed Jim Renacci for U.S. Senate; Mike DeWine and Jon Husted for
governor and lieutenant governor, respectively; Dave Yost for attorney general;
Keith Faber for auditor of state; Frank LaRose for secretary of state; Robert
Sprague for treasurer; and Mary DeGenaro and Craig Baldwin for Ohio Supreme
President Donald Trump's joint
press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin was met with swift
condemnation from American leaders from both major political parties on Monday,
including Gov. John Kasich, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Sen. Rob
Portman (R-OH). During the event, Trump took Putin's side and challenged the
accuracy of the findings of his own law enforcement and intelligence agencies,
which have concluded the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election. "The
president's appearance with Putin was not in America's best interest. Simply
put, President Trump is wrong. Putin's
should never be given equal weight of our own director of national intelligence
(DNI)," Kasich said in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said
Tuesday in a conference call with reporters that he was troubled that President
Donald Trump contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies' assessments that the
Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election during Monday's
summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he said Russia must be held
accountable for its actions. Regarding whether or not Russia
"meddled" in the 2016 election, Portman said, "I don't think
that's a matter of question, I think it's a matter of fact."
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said
Wednesday that intelligence officers he has spoken to believe that the Kremlin
taped President Donald Trump's private meeting with Russian President Vladimir
Putin, which occurred with only translators present apart from the two heads of
state before Monday's media conference. He added that while he has not levied
an allegation of treason against the president, he said he was "very
concerned" with the president's comments.
Brown also highlighted his efforts
to secure provisions on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that
would secure defense spending contracts for Ohio businesses and keep government
intelligence and defense jobs in Ohio.
seeking to ban themselves from Ohio's casinos and racinos will soon be able to
do so anonymously under a one-stop-shop state program. Proposed administrative rules from
the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) and Ohio Lottery Commission (OLC)
creating the Ohio Voluntary Exclusion Program (VEP) were recently approved by
both state agencies.
As the Legislature begins to look
at legalizing sports betting in Ohio, the director of the Ohio Casino Control
Commission said that they are still learning about what other states are doing
to regulate it and the regulatory structure will ultimately be left up to
lawmakers. Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) has introduced HB714 and Sen. John
Eklund (R-Chardon), SB316, placeholder bills that will be used to explore
sports gambling in Ohio after the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that a
federal ban on the
practice is unconstitutional.
Casino Control Director Matt Schuler told reporters Wednesday that if the
General Assembly asks the commission to be the regulatory agency over sports
gambling, "we will give it 100 percent, but it is really their call."
The House will meet next Tuesday,
July 24 at 11 a.m. for a final vote on payday lending restrictions in HB123
(Koehler-Ashford) -- with co-sponsor Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) saying
he will ask for agreement to Senate amendments. In addition, Republicans plan
to name J. Todd Smith as the new 43rd District representative. Smith won the
Republican primary in the race to replace former Rep. Jeff Rezabek (R-Dayton),
who ran for Montgomery County juvenile judge rather than seek re-election. However,
in the meantime, Gov. John Kasich appointed Rezabek to that office after the
incumbent, Judge Nick Kuntz, died.
Joint Committee on Agency Rule
Review (JCARR) members had lengthy questions for Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
(Ohio EPA) witnesses on water system rules challenged by two churches and
several system operators, but ultimately approved the rules in Monday's
hearing. Also clearing the committee were rules from the Ohio Department of
Transportation on advertising billboards that maintained a requirement for two
permits when a billboard has a border or trim, in keeping with a federal
agreement. All other JCARR items were approved without discussion.
The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) is
looking to take advantage of a legislative break to get Statehouse construction
projects finished before lame duck session, though CSRAB Executive Director
Laura Battocletti told the board Thursday that she is unsure if all will get
done before lawmakers return later this year.
Appointments made during the week
include the following:
- Erin B. Lunday of Beavercreek
(Greene County) to the State Council on Educational Opportunity for Military
Children for a term beginning July 13, 2018, and continuing at the pleasure of
- Peter M. McLinden of Lebanon
(Warren County) to the Ohio Real Estate Commission for a term beginning July
13, 2018, and ending June 30, 2019.
- William R. Knapke of Fort Recovery
(Mercer County) reappointed to the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission
for a term beginning July 13, 2018, and ending June 30, 2022.
- Kathryn "Kate" Bartter
of Columbus (Franklin County) and Bethany Gibson of Ashville (Pickaway County)
to the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission for terms beginning July 13,
2018, and ending June 30, 2022.
- Paul F. Wise of Westerville
(Delaware County), Kelly Bensman of Toledo (Lucas County), and Francis J.
Szollosi reappointed to the Materials Management Advisory Council for terms
beginning July 13, 2018, and ending July 1, 2021.
- Helen S. Qin of Cleveland
(Cuyahoga County) to the New Americans Advisory Committee for a term beginning
July 13, 2018, and ending May 14, 2019.
- Jay C. Russell of Medina (Medina
County) reappointed to the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission for a
term beginning July 16, 2018 and ending July 1, 2022.
- Rashmi V. Nemade of Columbus
(Franklin County) to the Third Frontier Commission for a term beginning July
17, 2018, and ending Sept. 28, 2018.
- Jason R. Loree of Youngstown
(Mahoning County) reappointed to the Statewide Emergency Services Internet
Protocol Network Steering Committee for a term beginning July 18, 2018, and
ending Dec. 31, 2020.
Gov. John Kasich's recent executive
order tightening regulations on agricultural enterprises in the Western Basin
of Lake Erie is inappropriate, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) told
reporters Monday. "They intentionally, I think, kept the Legislature in
the dark about that," Obhof said following a non-voting session in the
Senate chambers. "We have several branches of government. Significant
policy decisions should be made by the legislative branch, and there is a
process for that. Issuing orders that have not been discussed or shared with
the Legislature is not the way to go about that." Kasich announced the
executive order, which has also been criticized by the Ohio Farm Bureau
Federation, during a Statehouse event last week.
Then on Wednesday, House Republican
legislative leaders and farmers said Gov. John Kasich should rescind his
executive order tightening regulations on agricultural enterprises operating in
Basin of Lake Erie.
Kasich administration was dealt a setback Thursday as the Ohio Soil and Water
Conservation Commission (OSWCC) rebuffed its request to declare eight
watersheds in the Western Basin of Lake Erie as "in distress." By a
count of 4-2, members of the commission voted to send the proposal to subcommittee
for further consideration, which OSWCC Chairperson Tom Price said could take
from six to nine months.
Alan Michaels, dean of Ohio State
University's (OSU) Moritz College of Law, will deliver the university's summer commencement
address in August, where about 1,500 degrees will be awarded to graduates, the
university announced. Michaels plans to step down as dean in June 2019 but will
remain part of OSU faculty. The commencement takes place at 2 p.m. on Sunday,
Aug. 5 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
A federal class-action lawsuit
filed by four former Ohio State University (OSU) wrestlers against the
university alleged repeated complaints of sexual abuse and harassment were made
against former physician Richard Strauss as early as 1978, without action taken
to stop "his rampant sexual misconduct." Strauss committed suicide in
2005. The wrestlers, who were not identified in the filing, are represented by
Columbus attorney Simina Vourlis and four attorneys who are part of a national
coalition that seeks compensation for sexually abused athletes.
A fifth former wrestler, also
unidentified, filed a separate federal class-action lawsuit against the
university Tuesday making similar allegations. While the four wrestlers in the
first lawsuit said they had been abused in the late 1980's and 1990's, the
second suit alleged abuse between 1982 and 1984 and also seeks unspecified
damages and attorney's fees.
Shawnee State University recently
announced a new 15-credit hour certificate program focused on providing
students an introduction to the history, culture and identity of the
Appalachian region. The program will focus on the idea and perceptions around
Appalachia and how it is regarded in contemporary culture, media, literature
and the arts. It will include service- and project-based learning, as well as
technological training and collaborative research.
Thanks to a gift from American
Electric Power (AEP) Ohio, peer leaders from Ohio University will soon be
heading out to lead science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workshops
around Athens County. The $6,500 gift from AEP Ohio will support Ohio
University's Peer-Led Community Engagement with STEM Program, which is conducted
in partnership with the Athens-based Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery. The funding
will provide stipends for student leaders, along with funding for venue
At the third meeting of the Joint
Committee on Ohio College Affordability, members heard about both the
achievements and challenges of providing education at Ohio's 51 independent
colleges and universities, and received an overview of the innovative work
being done at Western Governors University.
Ohio State University announced
this week that it ended FY18 with over $600 million in financial gifts to
academics, health care, research, athletics and innovation -- more than the
university has ever raised in a single year. OSU reports that the gifts came
from almost 270,000 donors, one-third of whom are alumni. The number of donors,
fundraising activity and cash receipts all broke records for the university.
The Ohio Supreme Court is accepting
public comment on a series of proposed rule amendments, one dealing with
dispute resolution in cases regarding elder care and another two dealing with
the responsibilities of mediators.
At a cost to the state of $7.75 per
library per day, all Ohio public library card holders will soon have free,
unlimited access to LinkedIn's library of workforce development resources at
Lynda.com. The Ohio Library Council (OLC) formally announced the agreement
Tuesday. The partnership between LinkedIn, OLC and the Ohio Public Library
Information Network (OPLIN) will be the nation's first such arrangement between
LinkedIn and a state library system. The state will pay $710,000 per year as
part of the three-year commitment.
The Ohio Mayors Alliance called
local leaders' relationship with the current governor and Legislature
"difficult" Thursday but projected better things for the next state
executive, whether that is Democrat Richard Cordray or Republican Mike DeWine.
The alliance -- or two key members of its board of directors -- said both
candidates are responding positively to its concerns, laid out in two new
reports, and both are riding platforms favorable to local governments. The
alliance, comprising 20 Democratic and 10 Republican mayors, held a press
conference in Columbus to announce the release of five recommendations to DeWine
and Cordray as well as a second report on the importance of Ohio's metropolitan
areas to Ohio's overall economy.
A 13th company has been awarded a
level two provisional medical marijuana cultivator license following its
administrative appeal hearing, Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) senior policy
adviser Mark Hamlin said Thursday. Pure OH LLC did not receive the minimum
qualifying score on the security section of its application during its original
examination by the department, Hamlin told members of the Medical Marijuana
Advisory Committee (MMAC) at the Rhodes State Office Tower. During its Ohio
Revised Code Chapter 119 hearing, the company demonstrated that its application
included elements that should have resulted in more security section points,
putting it over the threshold necessary for a license, Hamlin said.
Caremark, the pharmacy benefit
manager (PBM) for most of Ohio's Medicaid managed care plans, is suing the Ohio
Department of Medicaid (ODM) to block release of the full version of a recent
report about PBMs' practices. Caremark filed suit Monday afternoon, saying the
report includes proprietary information, disclosure of which "would be devastating
to Caremark's entire nationwide business model." The lawsuit is assigned
to Judge Jenifer French of Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
The Bay Point Marina in Marblehead
earned the state's first "platinum" Ohio Clean Marinas Program
certification, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced. Bay
Point is the first marina to participate in the new tiered certification
structure offered by the program, which is a partnership between ODNR and Ohio
Sea Grant. "Platinum" is the highest certification level available in
The decision to name the state's
newest public park and wildlife area after Ohio State University (OSU) and
Olympic track legend Jesse Owens was a no-brainer, Gov. John Kasich said
Tuesday at the park's dedication. The 5,735-acre Jesse Owens State Park and
Wildlife Area, which Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Jim
Zehringer said will expand to more than 13,000 acres over the next three years,
will provide opportunities for visitors to enjoy outdoor recreational
activities including hunting, fishing, hiking and camping. It is located in
panel of witnesses Friday told the congressional Joint Select Committee on the
Solvency of Multi-Employer Pensions that something needs to be done or else
businesses will not survive and people who rely on their benefits will be left
with nothing. Six witnesses testified as part of a hearing held in the Ohio Statehouse.
It was the first hearing held outside of Washington, D.C. The witnesses ranged
from business and labor interests to those invested in the pensions who worry
they will lose everything. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), panel co-chair, said
the solution needs to be bipartisan, a notion echoed by other members of the
committee, including U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
The Ohio Air Quality Development
Authority (OAQDA) announced it is looking for a new executive director after
Chadwick Smith left to take a position out of state.
Linda McMahon, the administrator of
the federal Small Business Administration, will speak at an Ohio Republican
Party luncheon that will be held at noon on Friday, July 27, in Mason, OH. McMahon
is the co-founder and former chief executive officer of WWE, based in Stamford,
CT. She helped grow WWE from a 13-person regional operation to a publicly
traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees in offices worldwide.
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein
has told Columbus police to stop enforcing a law that regulates touching
between nude and semi-nude dancers and the public, saying the Community Defense
Act is "legally problematic" and creates an inequitable application
of the law. The law was passed as a part of 127-SB16 (Harris) and regulates
sexually-oriented businesses. It was brought to the General Assembly by
Citizens for Community Values, and included language on when and where dancers
can touch patrons, as well as operating hours for adult businesses. Former Gov.
Ted Strickland allowed the bill to become law without his signature.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
Monday announced 10,123 new entities filed to do business in Ohio last month,
an increase of 289 when compared to June 2017. According to Husted's office,
Ohio is currently on track for 2018 to be another record-breaking year for new
business filings. Since January, the Buckeye State has seen 66,478 new
businesses file, up 3,299 from the same six-month period last year.
Regional planning officials
announced that a proposed high-speed route connecting Pittsburgh and Chicago is
moving forward with feasibility and environmental studies. Meanwhile, the
company behind the proposed Hyperloop tube transportation network said it hopes
to start construction on its next phase sometime at the beginning of the next
Seven people were convicted in June
on workers' compensation fraud-related charges, the Ohio Bureau of Workers'
Compensation (BWC) announced Friday, and more than $269,000 is owed in
restitution. The cases involved six employers and an injured worker who
received BWC disability benefits while working in Colorado, with three of the
employers accounting for most of the restitution amount.
Ohio private employers have until
Wednesday, Aug. 15 to complete a "true-up" report for the Ohio Bureau
of Workers' Compensation (BWC) so their premiums can be accurately calculated,
the bureau announced. "Prior to each policy year (July 1- June 30), employers
estimate their projected payroll, allowing BWC to set their premium. At the end
of that policy year, employers are required to 'true-up,' meaning they report
actual payroll for the policy year that ended June 30 and reconcile any
difference in premium paid," BWC explained.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Thursday
announced a proposal to lower local government rates by 12 percent, with the
BWC board of directors set to vote on it on Friday, Aug. 24.