Legislative Update
Prepared by: David Field
Report created on February 24, 2018
 
HB34HEALTH CARE COMPACT (RETHERFORD W) To enter into the Health Care Compact.
 Current Status:   12/8/2016 - REPORTED OUT, Senate Government Oversight and Reform, (Third Hearing)
 
HB64OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) To make operating appropriations for the biennium beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30, 2017, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of state programs.
 Current Status:   6/30/2015 - SIGNED BY GOVERNOR; eff. 6/30/15; certain provisions effective 9/29/15, other dates
 
HB65TAX-EXPENDITURE APPRAISAL (DRIEHAUS D) To provide for the periodic appraisal of the effectiveness of tax expenditures.
 Current Status:   3/24/2015 - House Ways and Means, (First Hearing)
 
HB259CERTIFICATES OF INSURANCE (RYAN S, SEARS B) To regulate certificates of insurance prepared or issued to verify the purchase of property or casualty insurance coverage.
 Current Status:   12/22/2015 - SIGNED BY GOVERNOR; eff. 3/23/16
 
HB326TAX LAW-JOINT FILING (AMSTUTZ R, MCCLAIN J) To make technical changes to the state income tax law, to modify the requirements for receiving the joint filing credit, and to provide that, for the 2015 taxable year, any taxable business income under $125,000 for married taxpayers filing separately or $250,000 for other taxpayers is subject to the graduated tax rates applicable to nonbusiness income, while business income in excess of those amounts remains subject to the existing 3% flat tax.
 Current Status:   10/26/2015 - House Ways and Means, (Fifth Hearing)
 
HB368HEALTH INSURANCE LIMITS-EXCLUSIONS (SEARS B) To make changes to the health coverage benefit limits and coverage exclusions for life and health insurance guaranty associations.
 Current Status:   11/4/2015 - House Insurance, (First Hearing)
 
HB416JOINT SELF-INSURANCE POOLS (SCHURING K) To enable state colleges and universities to establish joint self-insurance pools.
 Current Status:   11/29/2016 - REPORTED OUT, House Insurance, (Third Hearing)
 
SB64CREDIT HISTORY-INSURANCE PREMIUM (TAVARES C) To prohibit an insurer's use of a credit score, credit history, or credit report in fixing a premium rate for, or the terms and conditions of, an insurance policy, or in determining whether to issue, continue, or renew an insurance policy.
 Current Status:   6/16/2015 - Senate Insurance, (First Hearing)
 
SB68CONTRACEPTION INSURANCE (TAVARES C) To require health insurers to provide coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and to prohibit employment discrimination under the Ohio Civil Rights Law on the basis of reproductive health decisions.
 Current Status:   3/24/2015 - Senate Insurance, (First Hearing)
 
SB115CERTIFICATES OF INSURANCE (BACON K, BEAGLE B) To regulate certificates of insurance prepared or issued as evidence of property or casualty insurance coverage.
 Current Status:   6/16/2015 - SUBSTITUTE BILL ACCEPTED & REPORTED OUT, Senate Insurance, (Third Hearing)
 
Week in Review

Week in Review

 

Friday, Feb. 23, 2018

 

 

AGRICULTURE

 

With its strong law enforcement relationships and established status as the go-to agency for dealing with dangerous wild animals (DWA), the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) no longer requires the assistance of panels created in 129-SB310 (Balderson), department spokesperson Mark Bruce told Hannah News. Under HB31 (Cupp), effective on Tuesday, Feb. 20, the Dangerous and Restricted Wild Animals Advisory Board and the Dangerous Wild Animal State Emergency Response Commission were officially abolished. A number of other state entities were also abolished in the bill

 

Rep. Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) has proposed legislation increasing standards for high volume dog breeders, saying HB506 is the appropriate vehicle to address the issues as opposed to a proposed constitutional amendment. He said the bill would address the "deficiencies" that have been identified in current law, including standards for food, water, caging, exercise, socialization and health care.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL

 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning Ohioans to avoid scams this tax season. Since January, the Attorney General's Office has received about 190 reports of tax-related scams. They include IRS impostor scams, W-2 phishing scams and tax identity theft.

 

The Ohio Attorney General's Office said Thursday that cyber-crimes and intelligence analysts with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) had assisted in the investigation of online school threats in Scioto County, resulting in the arrest of a 15-year-old girl on five counts of inducing panic and one count of making a terroristic threat.

 

BALLOT ISSUES

 

The Ohio Ballot Board Tuesday unanimously approved the ballot language for a congressional redistricting reform amendment passed by the General Assembly in SJR5 (Huffman-Sykes) -- now Issue 1 -- for the May ballot. That language states that the proposed amendment would "end the partisan process for drawing congressional districts, and replace it with a process with the goals of promoting bipartisanship, keeping local communities together, and having district boundaries that are more compact." The Ballot Board also unanimously approved the explanation and arguments for and against Issue 1.

 

In other action, the ballot board certified a proposed constitutional amendment regarding kidney dialysis as one amendment. Attorney Don McTigue gave the only testimony on the amendment, telling the panel that the amendment is structured around providing safe and affordable treatment for kidney dialysis.

 

FY19-20 CAPITAL APPROPRIATIONS

 

Ohio's institutions of higher education are heeding the Kasich administration's order that they focus state capital dollars on maintaining what Ohio already has rather than building entirely new facilities, with only two projects seeking funds for new buildings. The state's four-year public universities are asking lawmakers for nearly $300 million in funds for capital projects, while community colleges are requesting $100 million, according to submissions made to the administration late last month. Higher education institutions took a different route for their requests in this budget cycle, with four-year universities and community colleges submitting separate lists instead of having one recommendation coming from a combined panel.

 

After Senate's Tuesday session, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said he expects the capital budget to be introduced next week and believes it will move quickly before the end of March. He said he expects a version to be introduced in both chambers so they can begin hearings on it sooner.

 

CHILDREN/FAMILIES

 

Ohio Children's Hospital Association (OCHA) and early learning advocacy group Groundwork Ohio will look to get gubernatorial candidates on the record in favor of education and health care for young children this year via the Vote for Ohio Kids Campaign. They cite "research and extensive brain science" showing how access to quality health care and education in formative years pays big dividends for children's development.

 

Voices for Ohio's Children held its advocacy day Thursday at the Statehouse, sending members to lawmakers' offices to talk to them about health and education priorities for children and presenting awards to partner organizations.

 

ECONOMY

 

Left-leaning think tank Prosperity Now, formerly known as the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), ranked Ohio 35th in the nation on its recently released "Prosperity Now 2018 Scorecard," which aggregated a broad range of outcome and policy measures related to personal finance, business success, housing, health care and education to give an overall picture of wellbeing in every state. Though Ohio garnered relatively high marks in the health care category, where it ranked eighth, it languished in the four other categories, where it ranked 36th and below.

 

EDUCATION

 

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow's (ECOT) court-appointed masters were authorized to abandon computer systems left in the field because they said the cost of recovering them and selling them would result in a net loss to the state. During Friday's hearing in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Judge Michael Holbrook also granted a request from interim master Myron Terlecky and assistant master for compliance Richard Kruse to sell equipment in ECOT's warehouse to Cleveland-based IT company MCPc for $85,000, netting the state a recovery of $74,000 when considering about $11,000 in equipment is still under lease from IBM.

 

The State Board of Education's Accountability and Continuous Improvement committee, along with a handful of external stakeholders, will review the state report card with an eye toward recommending both short- and long-term recommendations. Tess Elshoff, board president, announced the review this week as an alternative to the proposal by board member Lisa Woods to appoint two special committees -- one with members of the public, another with board members and appointees of state and local education officials -- to study the report cards.

 

House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee Chairman Louis Blessing (R-Cincinnati) is keeping an open mind regarding legislation consolidating several education-related state agencies into the Ohio Department of Learning and Achievement (DLA), the representative told reporters following HB512's (Reineke) first hearing on Tuesday.

 

The House Education Committee plans to take a "comprehensive look" at school safety, according to its chairman, Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell). Brenner said the committee will have hearings on placeholder legislation to gather input from mental health professionals, law enforcement, local school officials and educators on what policies to include in the bill.

 

ELECTIONS

 

The minimum number of precinct elections officials would be reduced from four to two in precincts where electronic pollbooks are used under SB21 (Uecker) which was reported out of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday.

 

ELECTIONS 2018

 

Secretary of State Jon Husted Wednesday certified candidates for the statewide ballot, disqualifying four Democratic candidates due to a lack of sufficient valid signatures. Among the four Democrats disqualified were Jonathan Heavey and his running mate Adam Hudak. Also disqualified were Kelli Prather in the auditor's race and Neil Patel in the treasurer's race. Major party candidates must have 1,000 valid signatures to run for a statewide office, while minor party candidates need 500. Heavey has since said he will challenge the disqualification.

 

The Ohio Democratic Party Wednesday announced that it is partnering with WTOL-TV in Toledo to host a Democratic primary debate on Wednesday, March 7, with the candidates for governor who have participated in the party's vetting process: Richard Cordray, Dennis Kucinich, Bill O'Neill and Joe Schiavoni.

 

As the nation mourns the recent school shooting in Florida, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Schiavoni on Friday outlined his platform to improve school security and prevent school shootings in Ohio. He said he will be reintroducing a bill to fund increased safety measures in schools. He also said his campaign is sitting down with policy experts, firearms experts, advocacy groups, law enforcement and others to write legislation that would strengthen background checks in Ohio and help stop individuals with severe mental health issues from obtaining firearms.

 

The campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich said Friday that it will launch a statewide effort to enact a ban against military assault-style weapons in Ohio.

 

In wake of a recent school shooting in Florida, the gubernatorial campaign of Attorney General Mike DeWine released its school safety platform, pledging to put a licensed mental health professional in every school in Ohio.

 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray Tuesday followed other candidates and released his plan for addressing gun violence. Speaking at the Stark County Prosecutor's annual Crime Prevention Breakfast in Canton, Cordray said his plan would take a comprehensive and solutions-based approach to tackling both the causes and symptoms of gun violence. He said the plan will bring together law enforcement, local leaders, faith leaders and state government to address the issue.

 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray's campaign announced two hires of senior staff. Nelson Devezin will join the campaign as political director and Samantha Herd will serve as chief of staff to lieutenant governor candidate Betty Sutton.

 

The Ohio Democratic Party announced Tuesday that it has added Robyn Patterson to its communications staff. In her role as a senior communications advisor, she will focus on the Ohio governor's race.

 

Democrat Zach Scott's congressional campaign Wednesday announced that it has hired Mothership Strategies and Kalik & Associates for fundraising services for the campaign.

 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Schiavoni's campaign announced that it has hired Kari Oatman Nicholson to be a full-time field director in the Cleveland area.

 

The following endorsements were made over the week:

- The Republican Party of Cuyahoga County endorsed both Michael Canty and Jim Trakas for Ohio House District 6.

- The Ohio Education Association Board of Directors endorsed the congressional redistricting reform issue that was passed as a part of SJR5 (Huffman).

- The gubernatorial campaign of Mike DeWine announced the endorsements of the Cuyahoga and Adams county Republican parties.

 

ENERGY

 

The 22nd annual Ohio Energy Management Conference hosted a marathon panel discussion Wednesday with Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Asim Haque; Julie Sloat, president and chief operating officer for AEP Ohio; Eileen Mikkelsen, vice president of rates and regulatory affairs for FirstEnergy Corp.; Amy Spiller, vice president of government and community affairs for Duke Energy; Craig Jackson, chief financial officer for AES U.S. Strategic Business Unit, parent company to Dayton Power & Light (DP&L); Robert Flexon, president and chief executive officer for Dynegy Inc.; and Sam Randazzo, general counsel for Industrial Energy Users - Ohio. They all fielded the same six questions.

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Ohio and its cities would stand to benefit immensely if they made a modest reduction in energy usage and invested in energy efficient technologies and materials according to a new report "Saving Energy, Saving Lives: The Health Impacts of Avoiding Power Plant Pollution with Energy Efficiency." Released by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Wednesday, it says that if Ohio were to make a 15 percent reduction in annual electric consumption, it would save around $1.2 billion, or $137 per person, in annual health harms, whether they be fewer trips to the emergency room for heart attacks or asthma, or reductions in respiratory illnesses treatment.

 

GAMING/GAMBLING

 

The skee ball and claw machines at the local Chuck E. Cheese's or Dave & Buster's will soon be regulated by the state as the Ohio Casino Control Commission puts the finishing touches on its rules. Beginning in April, skilled game operators around the state will have to begin registering with the commission, and those that don't register by August could face penalties.

 

The Ohio Casino Control Commission Wednesday hit the JACK Casino in Cincinnati with a $40,000 fine due to filing errors and violations observed by gaming agents. The casino had failed to submit reports with an accurate inventory of gaming equipment to the commission for more than seven months, according to the commission. Gaming agents also found the casino had been operating slot machines that had not been approved by the commission.

 

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) recently released its "Annual Report on Problem Gambling Services" for FY17, in which it detailed the accomplishments of its "Be the 95 Percent" problem gambling prevention campaign, as well as touted its industry accolades.

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

 

The Ohio Senate Tuesday unanimously passed HB1 (Sykes-Manning), legislation that would address dating violence by allowing for protection orders for those in dating relationships. Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park) said HB1 was a bill that they hoped to have passed much sooner, but added that it takes time to make sure there are not any unintended consequences and to get everything right. Bacon said the bill "addresses the realty that dating violence is a real problem in this country."

 

The Senate also unanimously passed HB45 (Sprague), which designates May as "Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month" and agreed to the House amendments to SB144 (Burke), which combines three state boards that address Ohioans with disabilities.

 

House Finance Committee members raised questions Tuesday about geographic limits and practical limitations for the new OhioCorps mentoring and education proposal, a priority of leadership. Sponsors said the legislation is a work in progress and they're trying to ensure legislative language doesn't impede community effort. Reps. Scott Ryan (R-Newark) and Bill Reineke Jr. (R-Tiffin) provided sponsor testimony on HB508, reiterating its basic aims: to pair Ohio college students with at-risk youth in mentoring relationships, and provide funding to assist both with education expenses.

 

Senate Democratic Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) Tuesday announced the hiring of Faith Oltman as communications director for the Senate Democratic Caucus. Oltman previously worked in the General Assembly as deputy communications director for the Ohio House Democratic Caucus and as a legislative aide to Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent).

 

Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) Thursday announced a number shifts in House committee assignments that saw recently seated Reps. Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) and Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky) receive committee assignments as well as Reps. Hoops, Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville), Laura Lanese (R-Grove City), Craig Riedel (R-Defiance), John Becker (R-Cincinnati) and Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) named vice chairs of various committees.

 

In other action, the House Education and Career Readiness Committee reported out HB438 (Hambley-Kick) which permits members be added to the board of educational service centers (ESCs); the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee reported out HB144 (Green-Rogers) which addresses the safety of stationary waste collection vehicles; and HB410 (Seitz-Butler) which deals with traffic law civil actions; the House State and Local Government Committee reported out HB470 (Edwards) which authorizes a property tax levy for lighting roads and public places; and SCR15 (S. O'Brien-Wilson) which designates 2018 as "Ohio's Year of the Trails"; the House Ways and Means Committee reported out HB337 (Duffey) which exempts textbooks purchased by post-secondary students from the sales tax; the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee reported out highway and bridge naming bills HB431 (Hughes), HB275 (Slaby), HB437 (Gavarone) and HB472 (Cera) and license plate bill HB474 (Antani); and the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee reported out HB115 (Gavarone-Wiggam) which establishes a registry of persons with communications disabilities.

 

GOVERNOR

 

Expressing "no confidence" in the U.S. Congress, Gov. John Kasich said Sunday that solutions to mass shootings must come from the state and local levels, and that he'd convened a committee to recommend what action should be taken. Kasich, interviewed by CNN's Dana Bash, said there is greater access to politicians in the state legislature, county commissions and city councils, and "that's where you need to put the pressure and call these people out." A page on Kasich's political website about his Second Amendment support, including his 2014 endorsement by the National Rifle Association (NRA), was deleted Sunday and on Monday it was replaced with a page titled "Common Sense on the Second Amendment." The new page says that Kasich supports the Second Amendment and "has signed multiple bills to protect gun rights" and that "(a)s a pragmatic conservative" he recognizes the need for common sense solutions to the nation's problems, including the "dramatic increase in school shootings and mass killings -- many with the use of semi-automatic weapons."

 

Appointments made during the week include the following:

 

- Sean D. Miller of Delaware (Delaware County) to the State Emergency Response Commission for a term beginning Feb. 15, 2018, and ending Jan. 13, 2020.

- G. Scott McComb of Blacklick (Franklin County) to the Banking Commission for a term beginning Feb. 15, 2018, and ending Jan. 31, 2022.

- Kenji C. Prince of Columbus (Franklin County) to the State Cosmetology and Barber Board for a term beginning Feb. 15, 2018, and ending Oct. 31, 2022.

- Kara M. Morris of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Dentist Loan Repayment Advisory Board for a term beginning Feb. 16, 2018, and ending Jan. 28, 2020.

- Beth L. Cameron of Beavercreek (Greene County) and John T. Urbanski of Findlay (Hancock County) reappointed to the Ohio Advisory Council for Aging for terms beginning Feb. 21, 2018, and ending Nov. 20, 2020.

- Patrick J. Beam of Powell (Delaware County) reappointed to the State Board of Landscape Architects Examiners for a term beginning Feb. 21, 2018, and ending Nov. 9, 2022.

 

GUNS

 

As the national political conversation continues to focus on gun violence following the Feb. 14 school shooting that killed 17 and the groundswell of student demonstrations in response, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) said he was working with his colleagues "to quickly pass laws that reduce gun violence." Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) introduced SB258 to provide non-competitive grants for school districts to increase or improve safety measures. Also, Sens. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) introduced SB260, which would significantly limit access to semi-automatic firearms.

 

"At the end of the day, what we should be looking at is what legislation will result in the least amount of losses in human life," Jim Irvine, board president of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said. He also dismissed the proposed registration of firearms and ammunition as ineffective. He also called bump stocks "a novelty item" that no one cared about until the Las Vegas shooting and questioned why they should be banned nationally following the Florida shooting, in which they were not used.

 

HIGHER EDUCATION

 

Ohio State University announced that it has joined the newly launched University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, an alliance of 13 North American research universities that will create a collaborative model to help local communities achieve their climate goals and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.

 

Ohio University (OU) has begun offering a new Master of Global Health (MGH) degree, joining the university's recently added Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.

 

INSURANCE

 

House Democrats Wednesday announced plans to fight policy changes implemented by one Anthem earlier this year that denies coverage to customers who visit the emergency room (ER) for non-emergency treatment. In late 2017, Anthem said, beginning January 2018, it would no longer provide coverage when patients go the emergency room with symptoms, such as temporary pain or seasonal allergies, that are not life-threatening in an effort to curb expensive ER visits and encourage patients to utilize their primary care doctor, urgent care or other treatment options. House Democrats argue that the policy could cause insurance enrollees to second-guess symptoms that might end up being life-threatening, saying that patients should not have to diagnose themselves before seeking treatment, especially if they have insurance.

 

JUDICIAL

 

National and state experts will share new ideas for using dispute resolution in courts at the Ohio Supreme Court's first statewide dispute resolution conference on Tuesday, March 13. The conference, which will take place at Ohio State University in Columbus, will feature 40 breakout sessions and a lunch panel of experts.

 

The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct issued its 2017 annual report, highlighting the disposition of 75 disciplinary cases, a new website and the availability of an online docket that includes access to disciplinary case documents.

 

LIBRARIES

 

The first annual OhioLINK summit was held this week in Columbus, bringing together representatives from the higher education and academic library communities for professional development regarding the state's academic library and information sharing network.

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

A Franklin County judge ruled Wednesday that municipal net profits tax provisions in the biennial budget do not run afoul of constitutional home rule protections for cities and villages, rejecting claims brought by dozens of municipalities against the state. The communities sued last year to challenge provisions in HB49 (R. Smith), the budget, as well as 130-HB5 (Grossman), an earlier law meant to reform municipal tax collections. In the budget, lawmakers gave taxpayers the option to file a single return with the state for municipal taxes levied on business income, rather than file in each individual community in which they did business. Kent Scarrett, executive director of the Ohio Municipal League, told Hannah News in an email that they plan to appeal Wednesday's decision and "to brace for the attack on municipal revenues."

 

Downtown Columbus continues to grow, with the number of people living in downtown expected to pass 10,000 by 2020, according to a new report released by Capital Crossroads and Discovery Special Improvement Districts in downtown Columbus.

 

MARIJUANA

 

The Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) is "willing to pause any portion" of the Medical Marijuana Control Program's (MMCP) implementation process if appropriately deemed necessary by the state auditor, DOC Director Jacqueline Williams wrote to Auditor Dave Yost in a letter. "The office is still reviewing this response from the department but have not reached a conclusion on next steps. Our auditing work continues, however," Yost spokesperson Benjamin Marrison told Hannah News on Friday.

However, on Wednesday, Yost told DOC it had missed its opportunity to responsibly freeze implementation of the MMCP.

 

Legislation that would set up a closed-loop banking system for the Ohio medical marijuana industry in Ohio will move through committee expeditiously, House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee Chairman Louis Blessing (R-Cincinnati) told Hannah News Tuesday. "We've got to act soon, because it's coming around to September," he said referring to the state's deadline for ensuring the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program is operational under 131-HB523 (Huffman).

 

A group of medical marijuana businesses that failed to receive state cultivator licenses -- led by CannAscend Chairman and CEO Jimmy Gould -- has sued the Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) for employing a "fundamentally unreasonable, arbitrary and unconscionable scoring process" that resulted in a number of deficiencies. The lawsuit, which will be considered by Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Kim Brown, names a number of defendants -- DOC Director Jacqueline Williams, department consultant Trevor Bozeman, Terradiol Ohio LLC, Cresco Labs Ohio LLC, Harvest Grows LLC, Parma Wellness Center LLC, Meade & Wing LLC and B&B Grow Solutions LLC. The companies named as defendants were awarded level one medical marijuana cultivator licenses.

 

The state auditor would be required to quickly conduct a performance audit of the Ohio Department of Commerce's (DOC) Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) under legislation introduced by Sen. Bill Coley (R-West Chester) on Thursday. According to SB264, the state auditor would be obligated to administer and release a performance audit of DOC's pot program within 30 days of the legislation's effective date. After the audit is released, DOC would be required to implement the auditor's recommendations within 30 days. The department would not be allowed to issue final licenses for cultivators, processors or testing laboratories until the recommendations are fully implemented.

 

MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM

 

The Kasich administration took the first steps Friday to seek federal approval for changes to insurance markets and the Medicaid program in Ohio, posting for public comment two waiver proposals that lawmakers ordered the administration to submit in the biennial budget. The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) posted its Section 1115 waiver proposal to institute work requirements in the Medicaid program, while the Ohio Department of Insurance posted notice of its intent to apply for a Section 1332 waiver proposal to waive the individual insurance mandate.

 

MILITARY AFFAIRS

 

Ohio Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Gordon L. Ellis has taken command of the 38th Infantry Division, headquartered in Indianapolis. Ellis now leads more than 8,000 National Guard Soldiers from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and Delaware, having officially taken command during a ceremony in Indianapolis on Feb. 11 from Maj. Gen. David C. Wood, who has led the 38th -- also known as the Cyclone Division -- since October 2014.

 

NATURAL RESOURCES

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Forest Service said recently that the Wayne National Forest will be revising its land management plan beginning in April. A land management plan is the principal document that guides the decisions of the forest service's managers, directing where and under what conditions an activity or project on a national forest can proceed. All projects and activities that are proposed must be evaluated by managers to ensure that it is consistent with the land management plan.

 

The Ohio Wildlife Council heard proposals for Ohio's 2018-2019 white-tailed deer hunting season dates and bag limits at its recent meeting, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The proposed season dates are nearly identical to previous seasons:

- Deer archery: Sept. 29, 2018-Feb. 3, 2019

- Youth deer gun: Nov. 17-18, 2018

- Deer gun: Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2018; Dec. 15-16, 2018

- Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 5-8, 2019

 

Under new legislation announced Tuesday, Ohio's sportsmen and women would be able to purchase multi-year, multi-activity licenses in an effort to grow the state's hunting, fishing and trapping communities. Sen. Joe Uecker (R-Loveland), co-sponsor of SB257 alongside Sen. Sean O'Brien (D-Cortland), said that the bipartisan companion bills introduced in the House and Senate this week would give ODNR's Division of Wildlife greater flexibility in designing its licenses and make special accommodations for certain sportsmen.

 

PEOPLE

 

Policy Matters Ohio announced it has hired Rob Moore as a researcher. Moore will focus on state budget analysis and human services policy, the group said. Previously, he worked at the Legislative Service Commission, where he evaluated the potential fiscal impact of state legislation. As a policy analyst with the University of California, Berkeley's American Jobs Project, Moore studied Ohio's advanced energy and manufacturing sectors.

 

A memorial service was held this week for former Celeste administration official Warren Tyler. Tyler died Feb. 14 at the age of 73. He served as both director of the Department of Commerce (1983 to 1985) and the Ohio EPA (1985 to 1987) under Gov. Richard Celeste.

 

STATE GOVERNMENT

 

Even though they have reached a settlement agreement, lawyers for individuals killed and injured on the Fire Ball ride at the 2017 Ohio State Fair are excoriating the Kasich administration for its handling of ride inspections and its actions following the accident.

 

The Ohio History Connection will hold its annual Statehood Day event in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium on Wednesday, Feb. 28. As part of the day's events, the 2018 Ohio History Leadership Award will be presented, and History Fund grants will be announced.

 

TOBACCO/SMOKING

 

While Ohio has made significant progress, the state could do more to curb harmful use of tobacco, according to a new report from the American Lung Association (ALA). The annual "State of Tobacco Control" report grades state and federal governments on their policy efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use levels. Ohio received "F" grades for its funding of tobacco prevention and control programs, taxing tobacco and raising the legal tobacco use age to 21. It received a "D" for its level of access to tobacco cessation programs. On the positive side, the state received an "A" in smoke-free air, reflecting its laws against smoking in the workplace and in many public spaces.

 

UTILITIES

 

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) on Wednesday approved Ohio Gas Company's application to increase its distribution rates and charges for natural gas service.

 

The Ohio Manufacturers' Association (OMA) has joined the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) and Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE) in asking the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to move forward with its investigation into the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's (TCJA) impact on utility rates. Contrary to the state's electric distribution utilities (EDU), consumer advocates say PUCO has the statutory authority to order immediate billing reductions to prevent "unreasonable, unjust, insufficient, unjustly discriminatory or unjustly preferential" charges to residential and commercial customers.

 


This information compiled by:
David W. Field, CAE
href="mailto:field@assnoffices.com">mailto:field@assnoffices.com
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