Week in Review
Friday, Feb. 23, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
Democrat Zach Scott's congressional
campaign Wednesday announced that it has hired Mothership Strategies and Kalik & Associates for fundraising services for the
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.