Friday, December 18, 2015
Friday, Attorney General Mike DeWine announced
that his office has concluded its investigation
into the alleged sale of tissue by Planned Parenthood affiliates, finding no indication that fetal
tissue was sold by the organization’s state affiliates. However, the
investigation did reveal, he said, that aborted fetuses from Planned Parenthood
facilities are ultimately disposed of in landfill sites -- a charge Planned
Parenthood denied, calling the accusations “inflammatory and false.”
Monday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Edmund Sargus
granted Planned Parenthood the temporary restraining order (TRO) it sought in a
suit filed over the weekend, heading off action DeWine vowed to take Friday.
The TRO is for 28 days, with a hearing set by Sargus
for early January.
on Monday, four Republican representatives unveiled plans for two bills to deal
with what they called the "horrific" revelations regarding aborted
fetus disposal. The first bill from Reps. Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania) and Tim Ginter (R-Salem) will require the Ohio Department of Health
to write rules for the disposal of fetuses, mandating either burial or
cremation. As Sears explained, this will bring some specificity to current
rules which require only the disposal in a "humane manner."
second bill, which Reps. Robert McColley (R-Napoleon) and Kyle Koehler
(R-Springfield) said they had already been working on, will require the woman
seeking the abortion to determine how the fetus should be disposed of,
providing the clinic written notice of that decision. They said Sen. Joe Uecker
(R-Loveland) has the companion bill in the Senate which was introduced on
Monday. It is SB254.
Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) rescinded its
order prohibiting bird exhibitions in Ohio on Thursday, noting there is no
immediate threat of a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak.
John R. Kasich Thursday named Dr. Amit Majmudar of
Dublin, OH as Ohio's first poet laureate. As a poet, Majmudar
has taken a nontraditional path. He is a medical doctor and serves as a
diagnostic and nuclear radiologist in Columbus. During his two-year term,
beginning Jan. 1, 2016, Majmudar said he intends to
bring an interdisciplinary approach to promoting poetry by establishing a link
with the existing, thriving Ohio arts community. Another important component of
his outreach will be engaging Ohio high school students through a variety of
means to encourage the future of poetry in Ohio.
General Mike DeWine took time out from the unveiling of the state's first
annual Ohio Economic Development Manual Tuesday
to address the emerging lawsuit over his finding that aborted fetuses from
Planned Parenthood are being dumped in landfills contrary to state rule
requiring them to be handled in a "humane manner." The press
conference had been called originally for the purpose of announcing the new
manual, a "one-stop-guide" to Ohio laws, tax systems, funding sources
and agencies impacting commercial enterprise throughout the state, with an
audience focus on businesses, elected officials and development professionals. Reporters
turned to the controversy over Planned Parenthood, whose temporary injunction
against state action drew a favorable ruling in federal court Monday. Initial
proceedings are scheduled for early January. "Our lawyers are beginning
today to prepare for that hearing," announced DeWine, who could not
discuss the lawsuit further.
movie director Quentin Tarantino fumes over the preemption of The Hateful Eight's Los Angeles premier
by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ohio
Attorney General Mike DeWine is accusing AMC, Cinemark and Regal of colluding
with large studios to extort exclusive screening rights over smaller theaters
The group behind Issue 3, a proposal that would have
legalized marijuana for personal and medical use but restricted growing sites
to 10 pre-specified locations owned by the investors of the campaign, spent
nearly $6.3 million in the final days of the campaign in what would ultimately
be a losing effort. ResponsibleOhio spent
more than $20 million on the Issue 3 campaign.
Correctional Institution (ToCI) has made
"tremendous progress" since a sobering report in 2013, when the
Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC) described a violent,
overcrowded prison with high staff turnover and active drug trafficking, the
agency says in its latest inspection. Since then, the high-security facility
has gotten a new warden, more security staff and fewer prisoners, significantly
reducing the inmate-to-guard ratio.
JobsOhio President and Chief Investment Officer John
Minor says the nonprofit agency will build on its robust financing and growing
regional partnerships in 2016 with a new workforce initiative and redevelopment
program for sites with promising job potential. Minor told his Board of
Directors that those plans are taking shape in the final days of 2015.
"Our focus will include the acceleration of redeveloping sites that we
believe can support job opportunities for Ohioans. We will also build a
workforce team to focus on workforce issues important to companies here as well
as companies outside Ohio looking to invest here," he said. He also
expanded on the new ad campaign unveiled by his director of marketing and
communications, Scott Hanley.
Year 2015 will end with the Kasich administration having awarded an estimated
$100 million in publicly-funded tax credits to private business interests, which in turn have promised to invest more than $1.5
billion; create an estimated 15,511 new positions; and keep another 16,577
existing jobs in Ohio.
Third Frontier Program announced plans Thursday to increase funding outcomes by
50 percent in 2016, when the commission will have $31 million to spend on
high-tech development in Ohio. It finished the year in the black by awarding
all remaining funds from the $70 million targeted for 2015.
new report released by the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions and
the Fraser Institute of Canada ranked Ohio only 40th out of 50 states for
"economic freedom," saying the state is being held back by high
government spending on public employee pensions, workers' compensation and
first round of the Straight A Fund for this biennium
drew 140 applications, a smaller field to correspond to the smaller pool of
money available than in the past two years. Schools and educational
organizations can apply on their own or as part of a consortium, and the 140
applications represent more than 300 organizations requesting more than $100
million. Lawmakers appropriated $15 million for each fiscal year of the program
in HB64 (R. Smith), versus $250 million available in FY14-15.
State Board of Education (SBOE) Accountability Committee Monday debated how
tough the state should be on schools and districts when scoring them on how
they prepare students for college and careers. Committee members generally agreed
that the "Prepared for Success" (PFS) grading scale should have
rising benchmarks over time, but members disagreed on where the baseline should
be set for receiving a "C" or "D" grade. The PFS component,
created in 129-HB555 (Stebelton-Butler), will be
graded for the first time on the 2016 report card. It takes into account
students being remediation-free on the ACT/SAT, earning an industry credential
or earning an honors diploma.
Straight A Fund Governing Board Monday approved a
cadre of grant advisors consisting of six returning and 17 new advisors for the
FY16 review. In addition, the schedule for the review of the FY16 applications
was laid out. The board is due to reconvene on Monday, Jan. 25 with the
department planning is to take the recommendations to the Controlling Board on
Monday, Feb. 22.
State Board of Education (SBOE) voted 17-0 Tuesday to elect Lonny Rivera as
Ohio's interim superintendent of public instruction. Rivera, currently
associate superintendent at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), will
officially replace the retiring Richard Ross on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Rivera
was the only person nominated to take the job.
Woolard, accountability chief for the Ohio Department
of Education (ODE), led an update Tuesday to the State Board of Education on a
comprehensive evaluation system for charter school sponsors and the
recommendations of a three-person panel that met from August to December.
of the State Board of Education (SBOE) were told Tuesday they should "get
used to the acronym 'ESSA.'" Jeremy Marks, Ohio Department of Education
(ODE) director of federal programs, offered the SBOE Legislative and Budget
Committee an outline of key provisions included in the federal Every Student
Succeeds Act passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama last week.
State Board of Education Wednesday announced its meeting dates for 2016 through
July. All dates are Mondays and Tuesdays. They include the following: Jan.
11-12, 2016; Feb. 8-9, 2016; March 14-15, 2016; April 11-12, 2016; May 9-10,
2016; June 13-14, 2016; and July 11-12, 2016.
Ohio public school districts and consortia have been awarded grants to allow
students to take advantage of opportunities to learn on individualized paths at
their own place, time and pace, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE)
the weekly emailed missive from the Ohio Department of Education, "EdConnection," retiring Superintendent of Public
Instruction Richard Ross wrote a farewell letter to educators around the state
Thursday. "As 2015 draws to a close, I'm reflecting with gratitude on what
our state public education system has accomplished for the boys and girls of
Ohio this year. That sense of satisfaction grows when I think of what we've achieved
in the almost three years that I've led this system. I consider it a privilege
to have had this opportunity to serve," Ross wrote.
ACLU of Ohio and Demos Thursday sent a letter to Secretary of State Jon Husted
threatening a lawsuit if the state does not stop removing voters from its voter
registration rolls for not voting. The groups, acting on behalf of the Ohio A.
Phillip Randolph Institute, said Ohio is violating federal law by using failure
to vote as a reason to remove voters from its rolls.
filling deadline led to a few surprises, including Reps. Mike Curtin
(D-Columbus) and Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus) not running for re-election and Rep.
Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) moving forward with a re-election bid despite not
having the backing of his county party. Other expected moves included the
filing of former House Speaker Larry Householder for his old seat, which could
give House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) two former legislative
leaders in his caucus next General Assembly along with Senate President Keith
Faber (R-Celina), who filed to succeed Rep. Jim Buchy
proponent of heartbeat bill HB69 (Hagan-Hood) who has challenged Republican
senators over their refusal to pass the legislation was among those filing late
to run for the General Assembly next year. Janet Porter, who serves as
president of Faith2Action, filed as a Republican in the 22nd Senate District.
She will likely face incumbent Sen. Larry Obhof (R-Medina) in the Republican
primary in March.
Christie Bryant Kuhns (D-Cincinnati) is not running
for re-election in 2016. Kuhns told supporters
earlier this month that she has accepted a job at University of Cincinnati
Health leading strategic community relations, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. She plans to finish
her term in the Ohio House, but is not seeking re-election.
Franklin City Councilman Scott Lipps
announced a run for the 62nd Ohio House
District, with the seat’s current occupant, Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon), serving as
the treasurer for his campaign.
Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus) is among those who have pulled
petitions to run for Franklin County
commissioner in 2016. The seat is currently held by Democrat Paula Brooks, who is expected to run
Endorsements made over the week include the
The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus endorsed
Vern Sykes for the 28th Ohio
Senate District. The caucus also endorsed Reps. Michael Ashford (Toledo), Janine Boyd (Cleveland), Kevin
Boyce (Columbus), Herschel Craig
(Columbus), Stephanie Howse (Cleveland), Alicia Reece (Cincinnati), Fred
Strahorn (Dayton) and Emilia Sykes (Akron) for re-election.
state's freeze of its energy-efficiency standards reduced electric utility
home-weatherization efforts for low-income households by 26 percent, according
to a new report from Policy Matters Ohio (PMO) and NextGen
Climate America (NGCA). Weatherization services reduce need for struggling
families to seek utility payment assistance plans, reduce costs of
ratepayer-funded assistance programs and create job opportunities in Ohio's
energy economy, says the study, "Weatherization Works."
U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D) and Rob Portman (R) have praised numerous priority
projects for their home state that were included in the $1.1 trillion federal
spending bill on which congressional Democrats and Republicans struck a deal
federal legislation action, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) told Ohio reporters
Friday he's pleased with the inclusion of his own provisions in the Every
Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) focusing on students' career readiness and ability
to earn college credits in high school, along with drug addiction recovery.
Portman's amendments that he co-authored with several Senate Democrats include
a career readiness piece that bolsters school counseling programs and has
states keep track of their school districts' career readiness factors.
Ohio Casino Control Commission on Wednesday approved Rock Ohio Caesars LLC's
refinancing proposal under certain conditions, deeming it "commercially
reasonable." Jessica Franks, commission spokesperson, said the move is the
"next step" in the transition as Rock Gaming LLC takes over
management of the Horseshoe casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati as well as
of the House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and Senate President Keith Faber
(R-Celina) released the tentative legislative schedule for the first six months
of 2016 on Thursday. Sessions begin in both chambers on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and
tentatively wrap-up with "if needed" sessions on Wednesday, June 15.
Board requests scheduled Monday ran the gamut from teeth whitening to
low-income housing to increased security at the Governor's Residence. The
latter proposal was a fraction of the $136 million which the Development
Services Agency (DSA) and Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) want to spend on
1,100 rental units -- a per-unit cost President Pro Tem Chris Widener
(R-Springfield) said was higher than new hotels.
Sunset Review Committee Monday voted to abolish 13 committees created in
statute that Chairman Tim Brown (R-Bowling Green) said had completed their
mission and therefore are no longer needed. The committees on the chopping
block because their work is done are the Compact with Ohio Cities Task Force;
Direct Care Worker Advisory Workgroup; Ohio Legislative Commission on the
Education and Preservation of State History; Foreign Language Advisory Council;
Governor's Policy Information Working Group; Legislative Task Force to Study
Anaerobic Digesters for Agricultural Use and Application in the State; Ohio
Housing Study Committee; Ohio Military Reserve Homeland Security Study
Commission; Privacy/Public Record Access Study Committee; Public-Private
Collaborative Commission Select Committee on Telecommunications Regulatory
Reform; Service Coordination Workgroup; and the Committee to Evaluate the
Implementation of TANF Youth Diversion Programs.
Rep. Mike Duffey's (R-Worthington) last meeting as
chairman of the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), all agenda items
cleared the panel without public comment or discussion. Duffey said Sen. Joe
Uecker (R-Loveland), current vice chair, would lead the committee in 2016,
while he becomes the vice chair in the new year. The chairmanship switches each
year between the Ohio House of Representatives and the Senate, with a senator
chairing the committee in even-numbered years.
governor made the following appointments during the week:
Marilyn A. Eisele of Shaker Heights (Cuyahoga County)
to the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning
Dec. 14, 2015, and ending May 17, 2023.
Tonya L. Rider of Sylvania (Lucas County) to the Owens State Community College
Board of Trustees for a term beginning Dec. 14, 2015, and ending Sept. 21,
Michael P. McAlear of Perrysburg (Wood County) to the
Owens State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Dec. 14,
2015, and ending Sept. 21, 2020.
Tamara A. Daulton of Batavia (Clermont County) reappointed to the State Board
of Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics for a term
beginning Dec. 14, 2015, and ending Dec. 6, 2018.
Diana Starkey of Findlay (Hancock County) to the Children's Trust Fund Board
for a term beginning Dec. 16, 2015 and ending July 2, 2016.
Carol L. Garner of Mt. Vernon (Knox County) to the Board of Trustees of the
Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Association for
a term beginning Dec. 17, 2015 and ending Sept. 15, 2018.
HEALTH & HUMAN
The Ohio Department
of Medicaid (ODM) offered lawmakers another update on its behavioral health
redesign plan on Thursday, focusing on its draft rates recently handed out to
health care providers. ODM Director John McCarthy stressed to members of the
Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC) that these draft rates are just a
starting point. Lawmakers voiced concerns that rates could be cut, reducing
access to services.
An Infant Mortality
Commission subcommittee on social determinants centered its meeting Thursday on
how state agencies must work together to bring issues such as access to housing
and transportation into the discussion of infant mortality. Members said
finding solutions doesn't just lie on the back of the health care system.
State announced Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with Pearson Education
to lead the college's efforts in marketing, recruiting, admission, and
retention through spring semester, 2026.
from 12 different Ohio universities are looking for business hosts as part of
the Ohio Export Internship Program, the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA)
announced Thursday. Companies interested in global growth are eligible for 50
percent reimbursement of intern wages.
Cuyahoga County juvenile court was wrong to hold a county social worker and
assistant county prosecutor in contempt for failing to remove a child from a
home in a manner that is not allowed by law, an Ohio appeals court ruled
Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) announced Thursday that its
Board of Trustees received a resolution Wednesday acknowledging the system's providing the treasurer's office "the data
necessary for the treasurer to include OPERS in his online checkbook
Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) Board of Directors announced that John D.
Barker will join the association as president and chief executive officer
(CEO), effective Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016.
reports from the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies (OACAA), in
conjunction with the University of Washington's School of Social Work, were
released Tuesday and are meant to help Ohioans chart a "realistic" course
out of poverty -- and then stay there.
SECRETARY OF STATE
of State Jon Husted announced Tuesday that 7,231 new entities filed to do
business in Ohio during November 2015. This is 865 more businesses than filed
during November 2014 when 6,366 entities were formed.
of State Jon Husted said Thursday that nearly 80,000 provisional ballots were
cast in the 2015 general election, and 12,208 were rejected for an 84.63
percent count rate.
JobsOhio President and CEO John Minor told the Ohio
2020 Tax Policy Study Commission that companies looking to locate in Ohio
consider the corporate tax structure, although the type of taxes a state has is
not as important. Minor said that a state's corporate tax is an indicator of
how business friendly a state is. He said the Commercial Activities Tax (CAT)
is a very competitive tax due to its low rate and exemptions on products sold
outside of Ohio. When it comes to luring companies, Minor said it is all about
being competitive with other states. At the request of Commission Chair Sen.
Bob Peterson (R-Sabine), Minor also addressed an increase in the severance tax,
saying the biggest driver to development in that industry tends to be commodity
prices, and in his opinion a modest increase would not hurt Ohio's competitive
advantage. He noted there are other taxes that could benefit from oil and gas
industry growth such as sales taxes on new equipment.
Joint Legislative Task Force on Department of Transportation Issues released
its report, recommending the state should do the following: maintain the current
70 miles per hour speed limit; retain the two license plate requirement; and
pursue limited driving privilege licenses in stand-alone legislation.
Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission approved its preliminary capital
budget requests during a meeting Monday. The proposal has a recommended
preliminary list of 2016 capital projects totaling nearly $134 million, and
nearly $10 million in uncommitted funds, which may be used for currently
unidentified capital projects that may be needed in 2016. The commission said
it was the largest capital budget in 15 years. It includes resources for
numerous roadway improvements, such as base pavement replacement, bridge
rehabilitation and repairs and resurfacing.
Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) staff followed this month's
precedent-setting recommendation for a FirstEnergy power purchase agreement
(PPA) with Tuesday's second commission proposal to reregulate aging power
plants struggling to compete in a generation market deregulated by the General
Assembly. Staff signed off on a settlement of American Electric Power (AEP) of
Ohio's PPA, which the Ohio Consumers' Counsel and AARP say would cost consumers
$2 billion more than market prices.
of the lesser known facts about the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)
is its regulatory power over commercial transportation, an arcane facet of
state government that put Robert Aleshire on a
collision course with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC). He
pleaded guilty in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to fifth-degree
felony theft for working while receiving benefits.