Statehouse News - Week in Review 

Week in Review 

Friday, July 6, 2018

 

 

ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE

 

Auditor Dave Yost released a report recently that shows the number of Ohio Medicaid recipients with an opioid-related diagnosis (dependence, abuse or overdose) climbed 430 percent between 2010 and 2016, with the state now providing assistance to a growing number of Ohioans addicted to opioids. The Office of Health Transformation said the report shows the necessity of Gov. John Kasich's decision to expand Medicaid because of the access to addiction services it provides.

 

BALLOT ISSUES

 

Two groups submitted signatures on two separate proposed constitutional amendments by Wednesday's deadline in order to qualify for the November ballot. According to the secretary of state's office, 472,308 signatures were submitted for the Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection amendment, which would cap the amount of profit dialysis clinics can make and would require regular inspections on clinics. The secretary of state's office also said 730,031 signatures were submitted for the Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation amendment, which would reduce some drug penalties down to misdemeanors and promotes rehabilitation over incarceration.

 

BUSINESS/CORPORATE

 

Restaurant sales are "soaring" as part of the state's "robust business environment," according to a recent quarterly report by the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) that found 382 new establishments and 6,400 employees were added last year, citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

CENSUS

 

Ahead of Independence Day, the U.S. Census Bureau highlighted some relevant facts and figures about the nearly 242 year-old nation. On July 4, 1776, there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the new country, far fewer than the 326 million who lived here as of July 4, 2017. For reference, the state of Pennsylvania was founded with a population of 434,373, compared to 12.8 million in 2017.

 

DEATH PENALTY

 

Gov. John Kasich denied executive clemency Friday for Death Row inmate Robert Van Hook, scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday, July 18. Van Hook, 58, was convicted and sentenced three decades ago for the murder of David Self, who the former Army private lured from a Cincinnati bar to the victim's apartment in 1985, strangling and stabbing him to death.

 

The Ohio Supreme Court denied Death Row inmate Robert Van Hook a stay of execution Thursday, clearing the way for the state's first lethal injection since September 2017. Van Hook, who received an unfavorable clemency decision from Gov. John Kasich last week, is scheduled to die on Wednesday, July 18, his seventh execution date in the last three years.

 

EDUCATION

 

Innovation Ohio's Steve Dyer and Central Ohio educators gathered Monday to highlight the effects of the now-shuttered Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) on Central Ohio schools' budgets and criticize Republicans for enabling the defunct online charter school for years. Dyer called a press conference outside the state offices of Attorney General Mike DeWine, who he said should be pursuing "serious criminal probes" given the thousands of children affected by the school's downfall and the millions of dollars at stake. DeWine's office countered that it's "shocking that they don't understand Ohio law," which holds that the attorney general's original prosecutorial authority is constrained to limited topics such as Medicaid fraud and organized crime. On most matters, DeWine can only prosecute at the request of other authorities.

 

William Lager, founder of Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), violated public contract law and his fiduciary duty to the online school by doing business with it through two other companies tied to him, and he could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars, Attorney General Mike DeWine's office argued in a civil court filing Tuesday.

 

The summer application window for Ohio's EdChoice Scholarship Program is now open for eligible students interested in applying for a scholarship for the 2018-19 school year. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, July 31.

 

In a recent, first-ever ceremony held at Ohio State University, the Ohio Department of Education recognized the members of the class of 2018 who are joining the U.S. military. "Ohio salutes these recent graduates and we beam with pride as they take the first steps into their careers in the U.S. military," said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. "In service to our country, opportunity of all kinds awaits them. We wish them well as they embark on this new journey."

 

Ohio Democrats argued Thursday that Attorney General Mike DeWine's decision this week to file court papers outlining plans to go after the founder of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) shows he's finally buckling to political pressure after ignoring problems with the online charter school for years. DeWine's office countered that two legal theories underpinning its strategy have only been established in case law for a few months.

 

The home school district of a student placed by children services in an out-of-state facility can be required to bear the expense of that placement, Attorney General Mike DeWine's office said this week in a formal legal opinion that overturns one written more than 50 years ago.

 

ELECTIONS

 

The League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWV Ohio) announced this week that it has received the Strengthening Democracy State Award from the League of Women Voters of the United States for its work on redistricting reform.

 

The Libertarian Party of Ohio has filed paperwork seeking to regain its minor political party status in Ohio. According to the secretary of state's office, petitioners filed 102,762 signatures this week. To establish a minor political party, petitioners need 1 percent of all votes cast for presidential candidates in the 2016 general election, or 54,964 valid signatures. Petitioners must also have collected at least 500 valid signatures in at least half of the state's congressional districts.

 

ELECTIONS 2018

 

Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Dettelbach, a former federal prosecutor, released a new policy platform Tuesday outlining how he would go after perpetrators and help victims of human trafficking, calling for several changes to Ohio law. Dettelbach noted that he worked on trafficking cases in other states as a federal prosecutor before becoming the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio under the Obama administration, when he worked on several cases as well.

 

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Tuesday that Jonathan Heavey and Adam Hudak, who had filed petitions to run as independent candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in the 2018 General Election, failed to meet the minimum valid signature requirements for certification to the November ballot.

 

The following endorsements were made over the week:

- The Ohio State Medical Association endorsed Sherrod Brown for U.S. Senate.

- NFIB endorsed Troy Balderson in the special election for the 12th Congressional District.

- The Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed Mike DeWine and Jon Husted for governor and lieutenant governor; Dave Yost for attorney general; Keith Faber for auditor; Frank LaRose for secretary of state; Robert Sprague for treasurer; Mary DeGenaro and Craig Baldwin for Ohio Supreme Court; Jim Renacci for U.S. Senate; Steve Chabot, Brad Wenstrup, Jim Jordan, Bob Latta, Bill Johnson, Bob Gibbs, Warren Davidson, Steven Kraus, Mike Turner, Troy Balderson, Chris DePizzo, Dave Joyce and Anthony Gonzalez for Congress; Robert McColley, Anne Gonzales, Stephen Huffman, Steve Wilson, Bob Peterson, Andy Brenner, Kristina Roegner, Kirk Schuring and Jay Hottinger for Ohio Senate; and Scott Wiggam, Mark Romanchuk, Theresa Gavarone, Robert Cupp , Tim Ginter, Jim Trakas, Tom Patton, Jay Carson, Tim Barhorst, Bobby Mitchell, Stu Harris, Laura Lanese, Debbie Staggs, Tom Brinkman, Jonathan Dever, Louis Blessing, Bill Seitz, Marilyn Tunnat, Judith Boyce, Tony DeVitis, Mike Rasor, Bill Roemer, Phil Plummer, Jim Butler, Niraj Antani, Jeffrey Todd Smith, Derek Merrin, Scott Oelslager, James Haavisto, Reggie Stoltzfus, Sara Carruthers, George Lang, Candice Keller, Paul Zeltwanger, Rob Weber, Dick Stein, David Simon, Don Manning, Jamie Callender, Scott Lipps, John Becker, Doug Green, Kris Jordan, Rick Carfagna, Steve Hambley, Darrell Kick, Scott Ryan, Larry Householder, Rick Perales, Bill Dean, Jim Lutz, Sarah LaTourette, Tim Schaffer, Ron Hood, Kyle Koehler, Jena Powell, Jim Hoops, Craig Riedel, Jon Cross, Susan Manchester, Nino Vitale, Tracy Richardson, Riordan McClain, Steven Arndt, Brian Baldridge, Shane Wilkin, Gary Scherer, Ryan Smith, Jay Edwards, Don Jones, Bob Mazeroski, Brian Hill, Brett Hillyer and Michael Pircio for Ohio House.

- The re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced the endorsement of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters (OAPFF).

- Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio endorsed Paul Bradley, Louise Valentine, Sara Bitter, Adam VanHo, Sharon Sweda, Lauren Friedman, Scott Dailey, and Melinda Miller for Ohio Senate; and Kevin Barnet, Paula Hicks-Hudson, Lane Winters, Lorraine Wilburn, Tristam Cheeseman, Susan Vaughn, Phillip Robinson, Kelly Kraus Mencke, Aziz Ahmad, James Johnson, Terrence Upchurch, Patty Lawrence, Juanita Brent, Jeff Richards, Bride Rose Sweeney, Kathleen Tate, Cassimir Svigelj, Jeremy Blake, Mary Lightbody, Kim McCarthy, Beth Liston, Randi Clites, Russ Harris, John Kennedy, Allison Russo, Brett Pransky, Erica Crawley, Amber Daniels, Christine Fisher, Amanda Finfrock, Jessica Miranda, Glenn Coble, Sedrick Denson, Mary Pierce-Broadwater, Tim Piatt, Rachel Crooks, Casey Weinstein, Joe Helle, Elliott Kolkovich, Beth Workman, Ryan Taylor, Taylor Sappington, Zach Dickerson, Kristine Geis and Lisa Sobecki for Ohio House.

- The Ohio Democratic Party Executive Committee has endorsed Richard Cordray for governor and Betty Sutton for lieutenant governor; Jill Schiller, Janet Garrett, J. Michael Galbraith, Vanessa Enoch, Theresa Gasper, Danny O'Connor, Rick Neal, and Susan Moran Palmer for Congress; Sara Bitter, Teresa Fedor, Sharon Sweda, and Nickie J. Antonio for Ohio Senate; and Kevin Barnet, Lane J. Winters, Tristam Cheeseman, John R. Dyce, Phil Robinson, Aziz Ahmad, Terrence Upchurch, Juanita Brent, Michael J. Skindell, Bride Rose Sweeney, Cassimir Svigelj, Mary Lightbody, Beth Liston, Russell Harris, Allison Russo, Erica C. Crawley, Christine Fisher, Jessica E. Miranda, Carrie Davis, Clayton Adams, Sedrick Denson, Timothy Paul Piatt, Casey Weinstein, Elliot Kolkovich, Ryan Taylor, John McManus, Zachary Dickerson, Dan Foley, Paula Hicks-Hudson, Lisa A. Sobeck, Gary C. Newnham, Lorraine Wilburn, Cassie Gabelt, Susan Vaughn, Kathy Wyenandt, Rebecca Howard, Nikki Foster, Kelly Kraus Mencke, Joe Miller, James Johnson, Eric C. Ungaro, Rick Walker, Jim Staton, Patricia L. Lawrence, Jeff Richards, Cory D. Hoffman, Kathleen A. Tate, Carol Brenstuhl, Steve Johnson, Jeremy Eugene Blake, Tyler Shipley, Kim McCarthy, Anne Gorman, Randi Clites, John P. Kennedy, Brett Pransky, Amber Daniels, Amanda Finfrock, Janet Breneman, Aden Wyatt Baker, Joseph Monbeck, Garrett Baldwin, Glenn Coble, Mary E. Pierce-Broadwater, Rachel Crooks, Joe Helle, Adrienne D. Buckler, Beth Workman, Taylor Sappington, Dan Milleson, Kristine Geis and Jeremiah M. Johnson.

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) is offering financial assistance through the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) to help low- to moderate-income homeowners repair and replace failing home sewage treatment systems (HSTS). Depending on the household income and the number of residents, homeowners may qualify for 50 percent to 100 percent of the total costs for HSTS repair or replacement, Ohio EPA said in a news release.

 

Harmful algal blooms are already present in Lake Erie's Western Basin, Central Basin and Sandusky Bay, according to a bulletin issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday. "The microcystis cyanobacteria bloom continues in the Western Basin. Recent satellite imagery indicates the bloom is still present along both the Michigan and Ohio coasts of Maumee Bay, 15 miles offshore the Michigan coast extending east of West Sister Island to Isle St. George, and 7 miles northwest of Pelee Island," NOAA said.

 

President Donald Trump on Thursday accepted the resignation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has been plagued with a number of reported scandals over his tenure. Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director at the Ohio Environmental Council, provided the following statement: "After a year and a half of ethical transgressions against our environment, Scott Pruitt was forced to resign thanks in part to organizations around the country like the Ohio Environmental Council and others calling out dangerous actions."

 

FEDERAL

 

Ohio's U.S. senators lauded the passage of the Senate version of the federal 2018 Farm Bill late Thursday night, with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) drawing attention to provisions in the bill he helped secure, including the removal of proposed work requirements to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

 

In a letter sent Friday, June 29, Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) asked Ohio Attorney General (AG) Mike DeWine to hire an objective third party to reopen the harassment investigation of Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati). The letter comes after it was reported that Taft Stettinius & Hollister, the law firm which conducted the original investigation, donated to Seitz's campaign and had employed Seitz for 36 years. That investigation, according to the legislators, "concluded that the allegations of inappropriate conduct made against Seitz by a female House employee did not constitute sexual harassment according to the House's anti-harassment policy and said the complaint may have been politically motivated. "The basis of the findings, however, directly conflict with the AG's anti-sexual harassment training given to state lawmakers and staff prior to the event," Fedor and Antonio observed.

 

Gov. John Kasich announced Monday he's appointing Rep. Jeff Rezabek (R-Dayton) to be a juvenile judge in Montgomery County, the position Rezabek was seeking election to on the fall ballot. Juvenile Judge Nick Kuntz died earlier this year, shy of his required retirement from the bench at year's end because of Ohio's constitutional age limits for judges. Rezabek announced in January he would seek the juvenile court seat rather than a third term in the House.

 

Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) told Hannah News she's had "no other option" but to file a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) alleging discrimination on the basis of her race and gender, citing a disconnect in discussions on her experiences with security officials. The complaint was filed against the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS), Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS), Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) and the Ohio House of Representatives, as she said all have a role in security at the Statehouse and Riffe Center.

 

The upper chamber will be in session on Tuesday, July 10 if payday lending reform bill HB123 (Koehler-Ashford) is ready for a vote, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) told Hannah News Thursday. Following Thursday's non-voting session, Obhof said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) is working with Pew Charitable Trusts on a number of amendments to the legislation.

 

The office of Attorney General Mike DeWine this week said that it cannot comment on the ongoing investigation into a sexual harassment complaint against Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), citing attorney-client privilege. In a letter dated July 2, First Assistant Attorney General Mary Mertz responded to calls from Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) for an independent investigation into Seitz after it came to light that the political action committee of law firm Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, the law firm hired to investigate Seitz, had made a campaign donation to the lawmaker.

 

GOVERNOR

 

Gov. John Kasich signed executive orders Friday that permit the emergency filing of Medicaid rules allowing behavioral health providers with certain criminal convictions to continue working after July 1, and that authorize the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (GOFBCI) to spend $6.54 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds on a variety of support programs.

 

�Gov. John R. Kasich Friday signed 15 bills into law.

 

�- HB8 (Hambley-Rezabek) exempts from the Public Records Law certain information concerning a minor that is included in a record related to a traffic accident involving a school vehicle.

- HB21 (Hambley) makes changes regarding community school -- enrollments, school sponsor evaluation system, and exemptions for certain chartered nonpublic schools from state testing and graduation requirements; eliminates the current Education Management Information System (EMIS) Advisory Board, and requires the Department of Education to establish a new EMIS Advisory Council.

- HB111 (Carfagna-Ryan) authorizes certain advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to have a person involuntarily transported to a hospital for a mental health examination, among other modifications� to APRN's scope of practice; makes changes in the laws administered by the State Medical Board; establishes a biennial license renewal system for orthotists, prosthetists, and pedorthists; modifies an allocation to children's crisis care facilities; requires certification of certain addiction services; modifies the requirements for licensure of methadone treatment programs and requires licensure of other opioid treatment programs; and declares an emergency. Eff. 6/29/18

- HB133 (Ryan) creates the Disaster Relief Act to exempt out-of-state disaster businesses and qualifying out-of-state employees from certain taxes and laws with respect to disaster work.

- HB159 (Riedel) designates May as "Drive Ohio Byways Month" and incrementally increases the required contribution for Fraternal Order of Police license plates.

- HB225 (Thompson) modifies the law governing idle and orphaned oil and gas wells and to make additional appropriations.

- HB229 (Romanchuck-Wiggam) designates Feb. 3 as "Charles Follis Day."

- HB332 (Antani) enacts sections of the Revised Code regarding anatomical gifts, transplantation and discrimination on the basis of disability, and to make an appropriation.

- HB366 (Gavarone) makes changes to the laws governing child support.

- HB438 (Hambley-Kick) permits the addition of appointed members to educational service center boards, permits a local school district to sever its territory from one educational service center and annex that territory to an adjacent service center under specified conditions, authorizes educational service centers to establish local professional development committees, and modifies eligibility for community school classroom facilities grants.

- HB506 (Hill) revises the law governing high volume dog breeders and other dog-related professionals and facilities.

- SB4 (Kunze-Oelslager) revises law governing expungement of official records of trafficked individuals; and allows intervention in lieu of conviction for persons charged with committing an offense while a victim of compelling prostitution, among other items.

- SB139 (Skindell-Eklund) adopts the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act.

- SB163 (Wilson) modifies the qualifications regarding notes eligible for investment of county inactive moneys.

- SB257 (Uecker-O'Brien) makes changes to the laws governing hunting and fishing.

 

Appointments made during the week include the following:

- Andrew M. Adolph of Canal Fulton (Stark County) as a student member on the University of Akron Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 2, 2018, and ending July 1, 2020.

- Bruce A. Langos of Dayton (Montgomery County) reappointed to the Wright State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2027.

- Timothy J. Paradiso of Port Clinton (Ottawa County) reappointed to the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission for a term beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2023.

- Donald "Rich" Miller III of Blacklick (Franklin County) to the State Board of Pharmacy for a term beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2022.

- Jennifer M. Rudell of Liberty Twp. (Butler County) reappointed to the State Board of Pharmacy for a term beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2022.

- Stuart D. Hobbs of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board for a term beginning June 29, 2018, and ending Jan. 14, 2021.

- Christopher R. Powell of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) reappointed to the Transportation Review Advisory Board for a term beginning July 2, 2018, and ending June 29, 2023.

- Sherry J. Hubbard of Buckeye Lake (Licking County), Kenneth A. Kempton of Mount Vernon (Knox County) and Jock J. Pitts of Oxford (Butler County) reappointed to the Public Benefits Advisory Board for terms beginning July 2, 2018, and ending June 30, 2021.

- Jill R. Pugh of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors for a term beginning July 2, 2018, and ending June 30, 2023.

- Ted S. Celeste of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority for a term beginning July 2, 2018, and ending June 30, 2026.

- Justin Howe of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 3, 2018, and ending Aug. 31, 2022.

 

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

 

The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) issued a report Friday saying that, with the implementation of behavioral health redesign and the transition of these services into managed care effective Sunday, July 1, that the state has also successfully met the extended deadline of July 1, 2018 it received from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to meet federal requirements of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). Under that act, plans that included mental health and substance use treatment benefits were required to make the coverage proportionate with other medical benefits.

 

After undergoing a big change to make them more secure, Medicare cards started to be mailed to recipients at the end of April -- a process that won't be completed until the end of April 2019. The Better Business Bureau (BBB), however, warns about scammers taking advantage of this switchover.

 

HIGHER EDUCATION

 

The Keenan Family Foundation has donated $17 million to Ohio State University's (OSU) Fisher College of Business to establish a new entrepreneurship center with a focus on strengthening the relationship between students and the startup business economy in Ohio. If approved by the OSU Board of Trustees, the Tim and Kathleen Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship hopes to empower a new generation of creative business leaders.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

Students from the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools marched to the Statehouse steps Thursday, waving signs and reciting pro-immigrant chants as a part of their "Where Are the Kids?" rally meant to draw attention to family separation of migrants at the nation's southern border.

 

JUDICIAL

 

The Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court violated a woman's constitutional rights by appointing her a guardian ad litem in a divorce case without first allowing the woman to challenge the appointment in a competency hearing, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled.

 

The Ohio Supreme Court's 2017 annual report features both significant cases and civic education highlights from the last year which included the seating of two new justices -- Justices Patrick F. Fischer and R. Patrick DeWine. Court decisions featured in the report include the following: the unconstitutionality of three state law provisions regulating red light and speed cameras, and a county coroner's successful attempt to deny unredacted autopsy reports of a mass murder.

 

The Supreme Court of Ohio wants to make it easier for lawyers and judges to meet required hours for continuing legal education (CLE) by reducing minimum course length and by allowing all 24 hours of biennial credit to be acquired through self-study webinars. The Court is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to Rule X of the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio requested by the Supreme Court Judicial College and Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA).

 

A series of rule changes affecting practice and procedure in Ohio's courts took effect July 1. Amendments alter rules governing civil, criminal and juvenile proceedings and rules of evidence. Proposed changes were submitted to the Ohio Supreme Court by its Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure and incorporate two rounds of public comments.

 

MARIJUANA

 

The Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) issued its first certificate of operation to FN Group Holdings Friday, according to Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) spokesperson Stephanie Gostomski. The level-two cultivator, which she said will do business as WellSpring Fields in Ravenna (Portage County), can now begin planting. In addition, two provisional licenses for university testing laboratories were also issued to Central State University in Wilberforce (Greene County) and Hocking College in Nelsonville (Athens County).

 

NATURAL RESOURCES

 

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced it will participate in "Operation Dry Water" as part of a nationally-coordinated effort to increase knowledge about the dangers of boating under the influence (BUI). Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in recreational boating deaths," ODNR said.

 

POLLS/STUDIES


According to Pew Research Center, "If you feel like there is too much news and you can't keep up, you are not alone. A sizable portion of Americans are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of news there is, though the sentiment is more common on the right side of the political spectrum ...." This is according to a survey conducted from Feb. 22 to March 4, 2018.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

 

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said that eight individuals lost their lives in traffic fatalities from July 3 through July 4, while another 296 were arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI). An additional 276 arrests were made during traffic stops for drug-related charges. Traffic fatalities are down from last year, when 21 people died in car crashes, according to the highway patrol.

 

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) officers issued eight boating under the influence (BUI) violations and 102 other citations during "Operation Dry Water" last weekend, the department has announced. There were three boating-related fatalities in Ohio during the weekend crackdown, which aims to educate boaters about the importance of soberly operating vessels.

 

TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE

 

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) this week introduced a single, central point of production for state driver licenses and identification cards which it said will "ensure greater security and identification protection for customers." The changes were effective Monday, July 2 and bring Ohio into compliance with federal regulations.

 

Engineers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) are taking to the sky to improve traffic safety in one of the busiest driving states in America, according to the university. UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science assembled a team of experts in computer science and electrical, mechanical and aerospace engineering to help Ohio's Department of Transportation (ODOT) to use drones to assist core business functions such as monitoring traffic, inspecting bridges and improving safety for drivers.

 

UTILITIES

 

A long list of intervenors is seeking to weigh in on American Electric Power (AEP) of Ohio's attempt to address a majority of consumer issues raised by Republicans' federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in a standalone case separate from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's (PUCO) pending investigation into ratepayer tax rebates.

 

VETERANS

 

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter will serve as the National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) president and CEO, the downtown Columbus institution recently announced ahead of its fall 2018 opening. Ferriter assumed the role immediately following the June 19 announcement, and on June 21 the memorial and museum was officially received federal recognition.

 

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

 

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) is expanding its safety grant program to provide $8 million for Ohio schools and police departments as part of two-year, $44 million safety investment following the $1.5 billion rebate program.

 

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) announced Friday that 75 Ohio fire departments will be awarded funds from the Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements Grant Program totaling $745,000. The grants will help purchase safety gear, exhaust systems and specialized washing machines to help protect firefighters from carcinogens and other harmful elements.

 

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) has awarded more than $2.9 million in grants to 110 Ohio employers to purchase equipment designed to substantially reduce or eliminate workplace injuries and illnesses. BWC said employers receiving grants operate in 56 counties around the state.

 

 

actionTRACK - Hannah News Service, Inc.

 

This information compiled by:
Ohio GFOA