Statehouse News - Week in Review 

Updated 03/07/2019

AGRICULTURE

Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) Director Dorothy Pelanda will continue to conduct informal meet and greet events into mid-April, according to ODAg.

BUSINESS/CORPORATE

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) earlier this month released its non-partisan 2019-20 Public Policy Agenda, a guide that outlines the top policy priorities of its members for the next two years. According to the group, the public policy objectives support GCP's 2018 ForwardCLE Strategic Plan and focus on the following priorities: an adaptable government and public sector; a sustainable and predictable tax and regulatory environment; and talent development and retention to advance business growth.

CIVIL RIGHTS

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio (ACLU of Ohio) and Legal Aid Society of Cleveland recently sued the city of Bedford, alleging officials are "aggressively enforcing an unconstitutional and discriminatory" criminal activity ordinance. "This ordinance is primarily and unlawfully used to make housing unavailable to people of color, women, people with disabilities and other protected classes who seek police protection and services. The ordinance operates without providing targeted renters with basic due process in the form of notice or an opportunity to respond," the two organizations said; they are seeking for it to be struck down by the court.

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

The bail bond industry pushed back Wednesday on draft recommendations of the Ohio Supreme Court panel examining reforms to the state's bail system, saying a move away from monetary hurdles to jail release toward broad-based risk assessment will increase racial bias in the courts, threaten public safety and increase taxpayer costs for an already burdened criminal justice system. In its second meeting since Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor convened the Task Force to Examine the Ohio Bail System in January, members heard presentations from a long list of witnesses led by John Handler, president of the Ohio State Bail Bond Association and central director of the Ohio Professional Bail Association, and Executive Director Jeffrey Clayton of the American Bail Coalition. Chief Justice O'Connor attended the day's hearing.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Gov. Mike DeWine's administration announced Monday the approval of assistance for seven projects expected to create 1,430 new jobs and retain 1,970 jobs statewide. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought to the board by JobsOhio and its regional partners. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $96 million and spur more than $100 million in investments across Ohio.

EDUCATION

Superintendent Paolo DeMaria said Tuesday he's appointed Randall Sampson as a member and the new chairman of the Lorain Academic Distress Commission. Sampson has experience as an administrator, teacher and "transformation specialist," has worked with the Harvard University Achievement Gap Initiative and has engaged in research on teacher quality, according to the Ohio Department of Education. He has a master's degree from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from Capella University.

Superintendent Paolo DeMaria and Ohio Department of Education (ODE) staff gave lawmakers an overview Tuesday of proposed changes to state model curriculum on science, social studies and financial literacy, part of a legal requirement to present the content to the General Assembly before final adoption by the State Board of Education. DeMaria and Brian Roget, associate director of ODE's Office of Learning and Instructional Strategies, presented the model curriculum to both the House and Senate education committees.

Several Ohio school districts have their local share of funding in hand and are ready to start construction and renovation of buildings, but the state won't have money to get the projects started for more than a year, education officials told lawmakers Tuesday. Local superintendents and education associations urged the Senate Finance Committee to pass SB4 (Kunze-Rulli), which would allow the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to issue an additional $100 million in bonds to get those projects rolling. Sens. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) and Michael Rulli (R-Salem) also provided sponsor testimony on the legislation.

The Ohio Department of Education's (ODE) Center for Teaching, Leading and Learning recently launched

www.OhioHCRC.org, a website to help schools establish comprehensive approaches to human capital management in support of the state's new strategic plan for education.

Applications are now open at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) for schools interested in a school climate state grant for the 2019-2020 academic year. A total of $2 million in awards is available. Grant funding can be used to help schools implement positive behavioral interventions (PBIS) frameworks and evidence- or research-based social and emotional learning initiatives. The goal is to decrease disciplinary incidents that result in suspension or expulsion of young elementary students. Applications can be submitted until 4:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 21 via ODE's CCIP electronic grants system. Awardees will be notified in April. More information is available at https://tinyurl.com/yxlh7blk .

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) Thursday approved three resolutions aimed at providing districts more opportunities to move forward with locally-funded school construction projects years before the state provides its financial support.

Applications for the 2019 Appalachian Regional Commission/Oak Ridge National Laboratory Summer STEM Program are now available. All middle and high school students interested in math, science and technology who attend a public school in Appalachian Ohio are eligible to apply. The deadline is Friday, March 15.

ELECTIONS

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Friday the new adjusted campaign contribution limits for 2019-2021, which took effect on Monday, Feb. 25. The previous amounts were increased by 4.6 percent, to match the inflation rate measured by the Consumer Price Index in accordance with state law. Individuals, campaign committees and political action committees (PACs) will now be able to donate $13,292.35 in statewide, Senate and House races and to PACs; $39,877.05 to state parties; and $19,938.53 to legislative campaign funds, according to the chart released by LaRose.

ELECTIONS 2020

Former Gov. John Kasich was named Monday as one of a growing list of speakers at a "Conversations About America's Future" event in Austin, TX, organized by the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and the Texas Tribune. Kasich will be joined by Washington Post Associate Editor David Maraniss on Saturday, March 9.

The Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) released its delegate selection plan for the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Tuesday and opened a required 30-day comment period for members of the public to offer their feedback, according to Democratic National Committee rules. ODP said Ohio will have a total of 153 delegates and 11 alternates in 2020, evenly divided between men and women, with diversity goals for African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities and people ages 18 to 36.

ENERGY

Energy experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) told the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee Wednesday that -- contrary to critics of zero-emissions nuclear (ZEN) subsidies --Ohio's Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station and Perry Nuclear Generating Station could last another 40 years and are the state's cheapest way to meet environmental standards. MIT Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno and Senior Lecturer John Parsons summarized the result of a 2018 study they co-chaired, "The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World," saying generally that current nuclear technology is highly efficient in satisfying carbon emission benchmarks.

ENVIRONMENT

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Stand.earth charges that Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble (P&G) is among the worst offenders when it comes to its contribution to deforestation by manufacturing products like toilet paper and paper towels without recycled materials. "The Issue with Tissue: How Americans are Flushing Forests down the Toilet" grades some of the top brand name products on their environmental friendliness.

Andrew Wheeler was confirmed to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) by a vote of 52-47 in the U.S. Senate Thursday. The Hamilton, OH native worked as an energy company lobbyist before being confirmed by the U.S. Senate as USEPA deputy administrator in April 2018

GAMING/GAMBLING

As Ohio hosted its 16th annual Problem Gambling Conference beginning on Thursday, Ohio agencies that are part of Ohio for Responsible Gambling (ORG) sat down with reporters to highlight prevention programs as they seek to raise awareness. March has been designated by Gov. Mike DeWine as Problem Gambling Awareness Month. As part of that designation, the annual conference, this year titled "Mitigating Harm, Maximizing Effectiveness," was held in Columbus and included a roundtable with reporters on various programs.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

The Senate Tuesday passed legislation, SB6 (Coley-Hottinger), making it easier for organizations to set up temporary child accommodations for families in need, and SB53 (Roegner) which corrected what Senate Republicans said was a drafting error in a previous gun bill that could have banned some long rifles. SB6 passed 32-0 and SB53 passed as an emergency measure 24-8. The other bill on the calendar, SB30 (Kunze-Williams), which will create a Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission to help organize events celebrating the adoption of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for women, passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) told reporters after session that he may be in favor of passing an income tax reduction to offset a potential gas tax increase proposed by the DeWine administration in the transportation budget. He also said that an 18-cent increase in the gas tax is not set in stone.

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) announced Friday the application process to fill a vacancy that will occur at the end of March 2019 in Ohio's 20th Senate District when current Sen. Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) departs for a job in the private sector. This will be the second time in four months the seat has been filled. The district encompasses Fairfield, Guernsey, Hocking, Morgan and Muskingum counties as well as portions of Athens and Pickaway counties. Persons who applied for the seat late last year just have to let Obhof know they wish to reapply.

The Ohio House of Representatives passed its first bill of the 133rd General Assembly on Wednesday, legislation correcting what Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) called a "clerical error" in the enacted version of 132-HB228 (Johnson) which had led to questions whether it would make certain firearms illegal by mistake once effective on Thursday, March 28. It passed with an emergency clause 76-20. Democrats had raised concerns with the speed with which it was clearing the Legislature.

Freshman Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) told Hannah News she believes it will "be a challenge being the minority of the minority," referring to being an Asian-American woman in the General Assembly.

Freshman Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Minerva) told Hannah News he is interested in solving practical challenges in his district such as improving the local economy by widening State Route 30 as an "energy corridor," improving the state's adoption tax credit and providing employers who cover the cost for employees' earning their commercial driver's licenses a tax credit.

In other legislatives action, the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee reported out the following naming/designation bills: HB25 (Rogers-Callender), HB26 (Rogers), HB28 (Kent-A. Miller), HB31 (Stein), HB45 (G. Holmes-Lepore-Hagan), HB53 (Cera) and HB64 (Arndt); and the Senate Judiciary Committee reported out SB21 (Dolan) dealing with benefit corporations.

GOVERNOR

Gov. Mike DeWine's RecoveryOhio Council met for the fifth time Monday as its reporting deadline approaches in advance of the scheduled executive budget introduction on Friday, March 15. RecoveryOhio members, including former Gov. Ted Strickland and former Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, continued the discussion on juvenile behavioral health, prevention measures and "next steps."

Appointments made during the week include the following:

- McKinley E. Brown of Cincinnati (Hamilton County), John S. Steinhauer of Akron (Summit County) and June E. Taylor of Beachwood (Cuyahoga County) reappointed to the Ohio Casino Control Commission for terms beginning Feb. 22, 2019 and ending Feb. 21, 2023.

- Brian L. Castner of Powell (Delaware County) to the Ohio AMBER Alert Advisory Committee for a term beginning Feb. 28, 2019 and ending Feb. 6, 2021, and Kristin L. Cadieux of Marysville (Union County), Brent L. Currence of Carroll (Fairfield County), Clark F. Donley of Columbus (Franklin County), Kathryn N. Farmer of Bluffton (Allen County), Clayton A. Harris of Solon (Cuyahoga County), Paul R. Jellison of Wilmington (Clinton County), Kenneth J. Kocab of London (Madison County), Christine H. Merritt of Powell (Delaware County), Grace E. Moran of Columbus (Franklin County), Ronald J. Myers of Scio (Harrison County), Leslie Prater of Ridgeway (Logan County) and Harry W. Trombitas of Dublin (Franklin County) reappointed for terms beginning Feb. 7, 2019 and ending Feb. 6, 2021

GREAT LAKES

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) on Tuesday announced the creation of three new assistance programs for producers in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The programs are being funded with $20 million in grants from 132-SB299 (Gardner), which included $23.5 million for soil and water conservation districts (SWCD) in the Western Lake Erie Basin. ODAg has already distributed $3.5 million of that to 24 SWCDs in northwest Ohio.

Toledo voters approved the "Lake Erie Bill of Rights" by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent in Tuesday's special election, according to the Lucas County Board of Elections. However, the city of Toledo was almost immediately sued in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on Wednesday morning by the Drewes Farms Partnership, represented by the Vorys law firm, challenging the issue.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Saying she has no stance on the hot button issue of abortion, Dr. Amy Acton, Gov. Mike DeWine's nominee for director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), added that she "will follow state law" during a Tuesday morning news conference where she was introduced as the governor's final cabinet appointment. DeWine introduced the Bexley resident by saying he intends "to elevate the profile of the Department of Health." He added that "so many of the things we are dealing with in this administration have to do with health," going on to delineate the "social determinants" of health such as poverty and socio-economic status affect health. "Addiction is about public health ... mental health challenges are about public health. ... Suicide among young people ... this is about public health." He also noted other issues that need addressing in the public health arena include early childhood education, lead paint and the drug epidemic.

The Governor's Advisory Committee on Home Visitation Wednesday worked to finalize its recommendations for submission to the governor by its deadline on Friday, March 1. Recommendations are targeted to improving "the delivery of Ohio's evidence-based home visiting program, Help Me Grow, so that the state can achieve Gov. Mike DeWine's goal of serving three times as many families with home visiting." The 22 recommendations were organized under the following topics: disparities; engaging and enrolling families; programming; financing home visiting; and workforce.

HIGHER EDUCATION

The Ohio State University (OSU) Board of Trustees has approved a second equipment lease with Apple, Inc., to continue the Digital Flagship initiative to outfit first-year students with iPads. The board also approved expansion of the digital textbook pilot program, which reduces textbook costs, and the hiring of Dr. Harold L. Paz as the university's first chancellor for health affairs.

Several Ohio universities and schools host 'Confucius Institutes,' educational programs designed to teach the Chinese language and the country's culture. While these institutions are hosted by Ohio universities, the Chinese government pays and staffs these programs. In a report released this week by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), lawmakers allege that China has not been transparent in its operation of these programs and say the country has spent $158 million on the programs since 2006.

Journalist, author and CNN host Fareed Zakaria has been selected to deliver the 2019 Spring commencement address at Ohio State University on Sunday, May 5. Zakaria will address about 11,700 diploma recipients at the ceremony.

HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently awarded nearly $104 million to support a total of 294 new homeless assistance programs across Ohio. According to HUD, this amount reflects an increase of nearly $8 million from the amount awarded last year and is among the top five awarded across the nation.

JUDICIAL

A new website was launched to share best practices in a first-of-its-kind, multi-state judicial effort to fight the opioid epidemic. The website highlights the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative (RJOI)'s background, purpose, information and statistics needed to address the epidemic. The courts are experiencing an ever-increasing number of opioid-related cases which span criminal, family, juvenile and civil dockets, the Ohio Supreme Court notes in a release. The website can be found at https://www.ncsc.org/rjoi.

The Ohio Supreme Court handed former Scioto County Common Pleas Judge William Marshall a six-month suspension of his law license Thursday after the Republican tried to pressure an Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) trooper and juvenile court judge to drop speeding charges against his minor daughter. Marshall -- who invoked a courtesy "code" against ticketing a judge's family members, and who was later replaced on the bench by the county prosecutor who handled his daughter's case -- was previously reprimanded by the Supreme Court in 2015 for a drunk driving conviction.

LOBBYISTS

Ohio Right to Life (ORTL) announced Monday that former executive director Stephanie Ranade Krider would be returning to that role and serving as vice president as well. Ranade Krider previously also worked as director of legislative affairs at ORTL, and most recently was then-Secretary of State Jon Husted's director of policy and legislative affairs. At ORTL, she will manage programs, activities and governmental and community advocacy.

Charlotte Hickcox launched Magog (may-gog) Consulting, a government affairs and advocacy consulting firm located in Columbus. It specializes in state government affairs but also offers assistance with local and federal issues. The firm also offers trade association management and consulting as well as advocacy training.

MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM

As the DeWine administration re-opens Ohio's multi-billion dollar Medicaid contracts, the trade group representing managed care plans released a report Thursday saying their efforts have saved the state billions and improved care for beneficiaries. The Ohio Association of Health Plans (OAHP) commissioned the report, "Transforming Ohio Medicaid Through Managed Care: Driving Quality, Cost Savings and Innovation," which estimates two-year savings of as much as $4.4 billion in managed care versus fee-for-service care delivery, as calculated by actuaries at Wakely Consulting Group.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Uncertified ginseng may not be possessed after Sunday, March 31 without a weight receipt, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). In Ohio, the harvest season for ginseng runs from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 each year. All harvested ginseng must be certified by the ODNR Division of Wildlife prior to export from the state to verify its weight and legal origin.

A total of $249,932 from the state's Waterways Safety Fund is being provided to support 13 community boating safety education programs in 2019, according to ODNR.

PEOPLE

The Ohio Lobbying Association announced its 2019 board leadership and membership following its annual business meeting held earlier this week, with Jessica Mead of CareSource taking over the presidency from Rob Eshenbaugh of Capitol Advocates.

POLITICS

The Ohio Republican Party (ORP) announced Tuesday that it has hired Evan Machan as communications director and promoted Cameron Sagester from deputy political director to political director.

POVERTY

Ohio Democratic lawmakers are introducing legislation aimed at supporting low- and moderate-income Ohioans who struggle to make ends meet even while working. Reps. Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) are introducing legislation to make Ohio's Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refundable. It would also remove the income cap on the credit, allowing more Ohioans to access it, Skindell said.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Lawmakers, advocates and survivors filled a crowded Statehouse Atrium Thursday morning for the 10th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day, where victories were celebrated, including the recent shutdown of Backpage.com, but speakers agreed that more work needs to be done. Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), a key sponsor of the event, commended advocates for their "citizen-led effort" to inform lawmakers of the seriousness of human trafficking in Ohio and in her hometown of Toledo, once considered a hotbed of human trafficking.

TAXATION

Ohio Tax Commissioner Jeff McClain this week announced the appointment of five deputy tax commissioners -- all chosen from existing Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) staff. They include the following: Matt Chafin, deputy tax commissioner for audit and criminal investigations; Steve Gray, deputy tax commissioner/chief administrative officer; Brenda McDonald, deputy tax commissioner for tax operations; Sarah O'Leary, deputy tax commissioner, chief legal counsel; and Gregory Siegfried, deputy tax commissioner for analysis and fiscal services.

The Ohio History Connection is asking Ohio taxpayers who are currently filing for a return to pay attention to line 26e, where they can opt to donate part of their refund to the Ohio History Fund. The fund is a matching grant program that has funded 73 projects in 37 counties around the state, amounting to $688,000. The programs include school history programs, historic structure rehabilitation and digitization of historical records.

The Controlling Board Monday unanimously approved a request from the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) to transfer $2 million into its Municipal Tax Fund to cover upcoming distribution shortfalls to municipalities unforeseen by the centralized payment process enacted in the last budget bill, 132-HB49 (R. Smith). According to the agency, businesses are required to file a declaration of estimated taxes and make a corresponding payment each quarter. When businesses pay through the centralized payment process system enacted in 132-HB49, ODT is required to distribute the payment according to the business' declaration. As the tax year progresses, the businesses have a better picture of what their annual tax liability will be for each municipality and will make adjustments on subsequently-filed declarations to properly reflect its liability in a particular municipality.

TECHNOLOGY

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose joined proponents testifying before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee Tuesday in support of SB52 (Gavarone), which would create the "Civilian Cyber Security Reserve Forces" under the Ohio National Guard, a volunteer-based line of defense that small businesses, local governments and others could call to request assistance against cyber attacks. LaRose, then a senator, sponsored a previous measure to create the reserve under 132-SB327.

TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE

The Ohio State Highway Patrol wants authority for a one-time cash transfer to get through the upcoming biennium and will need a new revenue source for the years beyond, Public Safety Director Tom Stickrath told the House Finance Committee at a transportation budget hearing Tuesday. The House Finance Committee heard from Stickrath, as well as Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) Director Lydia Mihalik, Ohio Public Works Commission Director Linda Bailiff and Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) CEO Joanna Pinkerton during the hearing on HB62 (Oelslager).

The debate over the state transportation budget and a possible fuel tax increase moved to the Senate Tuesday, where senators heard informal testimony on the "impending crisis" facing Ohio's transportation system. Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Jack Marchbanks provided testimony to the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee Tuesday, both laying out the larger fiscal challenges facing the department as well as its proposal for raising the motor fuel tax by 18 cents.

Gov. Mike DeWine addressed a number of topics besides his introducing his nominee for state health director at a Tuesday morning news conference including whether he is getting any pushback on his proposed 18 cents per gallon gas tax increase. He said he owes it to the citizens of the state to tell the truth, calling his proposal "a conservative and responsible approach." He said the pushback he is seeing was his pushback when he was first told about the state of transportation funding.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Friday released searchable spreadsheets offering detailed numbers on what each Ohio county and municipality would receive through revenue generated by the proposed 18 cent increase in the motor vehicle fuel tax. Around 40 percent of the funding would be allocated to local governments, with each county receiving $4.2 million in state fiscal year (SFY) 2020, $4.3 million in SFY21 and SFY22, $4.4 million in SFY23 and $4.5 million in SFY24. State law requires equal allocation to counties, which would currently receive $2.4 million in SFY20. The proposed increase would give each county engineer's office an additional $1.7 million.

The Ohio Turnpike Commission Monday appointed Ferzan Ahmed as its new executive director, a role he assumed immediately. He previously served as vice president and leader of the Ohio transportation practice at engineering firm AECOM. In that role, he worked with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) as AECOM's project principal for DriveOhio autonomous and connected vehicle deployment projects and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) Hyperloop Feasibility Study. He also served as the Delaware County administrator and as ODOT's deputy director of District 6 from 2011 until 2016, where he oversaw an eight-county region encompassing nearly 5,000 miles of roads.

On Wednesday, Ahmed told members of the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee that he believes the toll road has reached its limit on borrowing after some planned for FY20 to pay for capital projects, and that the commission likely won't be comfortable going beyond that. The Ohio Turnpike Commission is currently paying debt service on more than $1 billion in bonds that were issued as part of an initiative proposed by former Gov. John Kasich and approved by the General Assembly to borrow against future revenues of the Ohio Turnpike to pay for road construction projects around the state, but mainly near the turnpike itself.

Deputy registrars across the state are continuing to suffer financially after 15 years of stagnant state fees, Ohio Deputy Registrars' Association (ODRA) Aldo Filippelli told the House Finance Committee during testimony on transportation budget HB62 (Oelslager) on Wednesday. While the General Assembly gave the Ohio Department of Public Safety's (ODPS) Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) the authority to increase the deputy registrar fee to $5.25 in the last transportation budget, 132-HB26 (McColley), administration officials have thus far declined to do so, Filippelli said. Because of that inaction, legislators should move to increase the fees in statute, he said. Also testifying on Wednesday was turnpike director Ferzan Ahmed.

As lawmakers weigh HB62 (Oelslager), the transportation budget, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) released more details of its proposed variable speed limit authority contained in the bill. Under the proposal, ODOT said it would identify specific roadways where variable speed limits could improve driver safety.

UTILITIES

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has forwarded the Legislature a partial report on electric company compliance with state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in 2016. Major utilities and competitive suppliers spent nearly $39 million on solar, wind and other renewables in the final year of the 131st General Assembly, and some fear costs could undermine ongoing compliance with RPS.

In Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Asim Haque's final hearing, the commission fined Columbia Gas of Ohio $400,000 for a residential fire and awarded a $7 million utility discount to a Putnam County business vetted by JobsOhio and subsidized by American Electric Power of Ohio (AEP) customers.

VETERANS

The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame is accepting nominations to recognize those who served in the U.S. armed forces and continue to contribute to communities, the state and nation through exceptional acts of volunteerism, advocacy, professional distinction, public service or philanthropy. The nomination deadline is June 1, 2019. A sample nomination, guidelines and more information are available at http://dvs.ohio.gov/main/veterans-hall-of-fame.html.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

The DeWine administration is weighing an Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) name change even as the Board of Directors Friday finalized a 20 percent cut in private employer insurance rates -- the largest in 60 years according to the bureau. The Board of Directors also removed Oxycontin tablets and the generic, oxycodone, from the BWC formulary, effective July 1, replacing them with the brand name Xtampza ER, a capsule form of oxycodone that the agency says is harder to abuse.

 

actionTRACK - Hannah News Service, Inc.

 

This information compiled by:
Ohio GFOA