Legislative Update
Prepared by: David Field
Report created on June 25, 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, June 15, 2018

 

 

ABORTION

 

A majority of sitting judges on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday voted to vacate the previous ruling of a three-person panel that upheld blocking an Ohio law that sought to divert funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. The full appellate court will consider the case instead.

 

AGING

 

The top-rated nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as judged by interviews with residents, were identified Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Aging's (ODA) Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The statewide average score was 77.8 out of 100 for nursing homes and 85.2 for assisted living facilities. The 2017 Long-Term Care Resident Satisfaction Survey gauged satisfaction with an array of focus areas related to care and everyday life, according to ODA.

 

AGRICULTURE

 

The Ohio State Fair Homebrew Competition celebrated its 23rd year with 539 judged entries from 153 entrants in the divisions of beer, meads and ciders from Ohio homebrewers and homebrewers from neighboring states who are active members of Ohio homebrew clubs. The judges evaluated each entry based on five different criteria including aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel and overall impression. Craig Davis from Columbus, OH took home the best of show award with his Czech premium pale lager titled "I Ain't No BMC" in the Czech lager category.

 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced approval for local sponsors to purchase agricultural easements on 51 family farms representing 6,107 acres in 22 counties. Local sponsoring organizations, which include land trusts, counties and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, receive funding from the Clean Ohio Fund to manage the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. The easement ensures farms remain permanently in agricultural production.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL

 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with 41 other attorneys general, announced a $100 million settlement with Citibank for fraudulent conduct involving the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, a key interest rate with widespread impact on global markets. Most of the settlement funds -- about $95 million -- will be used to reimburse governments and not-for-profit organizations that were affected by the conduct and had Libor-linked swaps and other financial contracts with Citibank.

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

Lawmakers should quit "dancing around" the issue of criminal justice reform and pass legislation giving Ohio judges clear policy goals to achieve, Hancock County Common Pleas Judge Reginald Routson told members of the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission (OCSC) Thursday.

 

DEATH PENALTY

 

The Ohio Supreme Court announced Friday that convicted killer Charles Lorraine will be executed on March 15, 2023. He joins 26 others on Death Row who have execution dates and is the second now set for 2023: Antonio Franklin is set to be executed on Jan. 12, 2023.

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

JobsOhio is achieving "top-tier performance outcomes" compared to other economic development organizations in the surrounding region and "competitive peers" in a variety of states including New York, Texas, California and the Southeastern U.S., according to a performance assessment by McKinsey officially released recently.

 

EDUCATION

 

The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) recently launched the Comprehensive Center Network (CC Network) website which brings together more than 700 resources developed by the 23 Comprehensive Centers and information on over 200 projects currently underway in states across the country. Information is also available by state.

 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Monday released the Drug Use Prevention Education Resource Guide aimed at helping schools implement effective drug use prevention programming. The guide builds on the 2017 report that said Ohio schools should provide consistent, age-appropriate, evidence-based substance-use prevention education for all students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

 

Members of the State Board of Education's Achievement and Graduation Committee discussed Monday how to stay on the same page with a graduation requirements workgroup and the Legislature as they try to design a new system for awarding diplomas. The committee is discussing long-term changes to the graduation system for the classes of 2021 and beyond, and its efforts are being complemented by a workgroup convened by Superintendent Paolo DeMaria to discuss the same topic. His workgroup is to submit recommendations to the committee by October, in anticipation of a December vote by the full board.

 

Reps. Keith Faber (R-Celina) and Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) picked up Auditor Dave Yost's recommended changes to e-school oversight in a new bill Tuesday, presenting it to the House Education and Career Readiness Committee. House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) told reporters ahead of Tuesday's committee hearing that the bill could see quick action.

 

Attorney General Mike DeWine said Wednesday his office is expanding its offerings to help schools plan for emergencies, including armed attacks. One initiative announced Wednesday will offer use of six drones from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) for schools to supplement the building schematics in their emergency plans with high-quality aerial photographs of building exteriors. The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, another arm of the attorney general's office, had previously developed a training course to help educators prepare for active shooter responses. DeWine said Wednesday his office is developing short, supplemental videos for use by educators as well as parents, law enforcement and others in the community on what do in response to an attack.

 

At Wednesday evening's meeting of the Graduation Advisory Committee led by Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria, education officials from around the state gathered to discuss alternate pathways to graduation.

 

ELECTIONS

 

Local boards of elections officials will have five opportunities to participate in cybersecurity training workshops across the state this summer, Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Tuesday. "Those of you who will be attending one of these events can expect to experience real-world scenarios that will enable you to respond in a way that simulates a real situation," Husted told elections officials at the 2018 Ohio Secretary of State Summer Conference at Ohio State University.

 

ELECTIONS 2018

 

Despite similar fundraising levels since the pre-primary report, Attorney General Mike DeWine holds a $4.6 million lead over opponent and former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, according to new campaign finance reports filed Friday. The Republican caucus committees lead their Democrat counterparts by $3.5 million in the Ohio Senate and $2.6 million in the Ohio House. Friday was the post-primary deadline to report all campaign finance activity from April 19 to June 8 for candidates on the ballot this year.

 

Among the other statewide candidates, Democrat Steve Dettelbach far outraised Yost, $695,810 to $245,465, but spent more than twice as much -- $178,016 to $82,355. Yost has $2.8 million on hand while Dettelbach has nearly $2.7 million. Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) is the only other statewide candidate to hold more than $1 million on hand, with almost $1.2 million, though Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Copley) isn't far behind in the secretary of state's race with $900,329. Ohio treasurer candidate Rob Richardson has $609,421 on hand, while Rep. Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) has $252,841 on hand after a primary challenge. Among the auditor candidates, Rep. Keith Faber (R-Celina) holds $785,421 to former U.S. Rep. Zack Space's $605,196.

 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray met Wednesday with Franklin County health professionals, academics and community advocates to discuss Ohio's infant mortality rate, which is the 11th highest in the nation, seeking solutions that the state could implement to decrease the number of infant deaths statewide.

 

Secretary of State Jon Husted released numbers Thursday on voters who affiliated with a political party by voting in a partisan primary this year, finding Democrats added more voters this year but Republicans have more voters overall.

 

Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken told reporters Thursday that the party's statewide candidates are ready for the job on day one and more qualified than their Democratic opponents. Timken was joined on a press call by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Pat McDonald, the director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, to discuss the upcoming election and promote Republican candidates for attorney general, auditor, secretary of state, and treasurer.

 

Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike DeWine's campaign announced Thursday that the Republican candidates for statewide office will appear at his family's annual ice cream social to be held Sunday, June 24, at the DeWine home in Cedarville.

 

The following endorsements were made over the week:

 

- Emily's List endorsed Theresa Gasper for Congress in Ohio's 10th District.

- The DeWine-Husted campaign announced that the Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT Ohio) and the Ohio Conference of Plasterers & Cement Masons have endorsed its campaign for governor and lieutenant governor.

- The Human Rights Campaign has endorsed Richard Cordray for governor and Betty Sutton for lieutenant governor.

 

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

 

The state unemployment rate for May remained at April's 4.3 percent, according to data released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Friday, but nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased by 22,600. The number of unemployed workers also increased from April to May, going from 249,000 to 250,000, but there has been a decrease of 42,000 in the past 12 months. The May 2017 unemployment rate was 5.1 percent.

 

ENERGY

 

Rural Ohio property owners packed the Senate Finance Hearing Room on Wednesday to express their ardent opposition to provisions of HB114 (Blessing) reducing wind turbine setbacks.

 

FEDERAL

 

Vice President Mike Pence Friday told a Columbus crowd to go out and tell all of their neighbors, friends, and fellow churchgoers about the accomplishments of the Trump administration at an event to promote the tax cuts signed by President Donald Trump in December. The event, which included protestors holding a "gay Pence party" outside of the downtown hotel, and which saw a number of protestors ejected during Pence's speech, also featured a panel discussion about the cuts that included U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-Centerville). It was put on by America First Policies, a nonprofit organization formed to promote Trump's policies.

 

Following Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Mick Mulvaney telling a group of financial services lobbyists and executives that he would soon "hide" the bureau's consumer complaint database from the American people and the media, former Ohio Attorney General and DannLaw founder Marc Dann announced his firm's plan to continue to make the information available. "I am pleased to announce that DannLaw has downloaded all the information in the CFPB database and uploaded it into one that will remain accessible to the public and the media once Mulvaney carries out his threat," Dann said.

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

 

Nearly two weeks after winning the House speaker's gavel, Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) told reporters he's focused on policy and was looking to get the chamber through its business before its summer recess rather than launching any new initiatives. Smith sat down with reporters Tuesday, taking questions for about 45 minutes on issues ranging from healing the divide in his party to gun bills to charter schools.

 

Democrats in the General Assembly Tuesday announced resolutions in the Ohio House and Senate to oppose the Trump administration's "family separation immigration policy," with sponsors issuing statements in a joint press release from the two caucuses. SCR26 (Thomas-Yuko) was introduced Tuesday to "urge the Congress of the United States to enact legislation to prohibit the practice of separating families at our nation's border." It was co-sponsored by every member of the Ohio Senate Democrats.

 

Wednesday's House session saw the seating of Shane Wilkin as the replacement for former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), as well as passage of HB365 (Hughes-Boggs), regarding sentencing and tracking of violent offenders; SB4 (Kunze-Oelslager), regarding expungement for victims of human trafficking; HB2231 (Ginter-Sprague), regarding lockable and tamper-evident pill containers; HB296 (Gavarone), increasing penalties for drug trafficking near addiction treatment centers; HB58 (Brenner-Slaby), requiring development of model curriculum for cursive writing; HB139 (Perales-Keller), to lift exemptions from public disclosure on permanently retained records 100 years after their creation; HB342 (Merrin), which changes ballot language on local tax issues; HB361 (Greenspan), which expands the timeframe for deciding local property tax complaints; HB383 (Carfagna), which requires notice to parents when a child care center is found to have created serious risks to children's health and safety; HB402 (Hill), which changes telephone company regulation; HB406 (Lanese), which adds certain mental health professionals involved in criminal justice matters to the list of those whose home addresses are exempt from disclosure under public records laws; HB454 (Patterson-Arndt), addressing sold but unused township cemetery plots; HB477 (Koehler), which repeals outdated laws relevant to education; HB494 (Antani), specifying that franchisors are not to be regarded as the joint employer for franchisees' workers; HB513 (Brenner-Ginter), expanding the homestead exemption for surviving spouses of fallen first responders; HB522 (Lanese), allowing those with F liquor permits to participate in outdoor refreshment areas; HB531 (Schuring-Greenspan), regarding grants to promote major sporting events; HB541 (Patterson-LaTourette), waiving license restrictions for short-term volunteer service by health professionals from other states; HB548 (McClain), allowing motorcycle operators to wear earplugs for hearing protection while riding; HB552 (LaTourette), regarding chemical capture and euthanasia of animals; SB257 (Uecker-O'Brien), updating hunting and fishing license laws; SB86 (Hackett), an omnibus highway and bridge designation, license plate and awareness day measure; and the House concurred with Senate amendments to HB111 (Carfagna), regarding advanced practice nursing; and HB506 (Hill), regarding high-volume dog breeders.

 

The state would potentially be required to establish and maintain a public registry with basic information about individuals convicted of certain crimes against children under legislation proposed by Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek). Providing sponsor testimony on HB612 before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee on Wednesday, Perales said "Jacob's Law" would create the framework for a child abuse registry, similar to a sex offender registry.

 

The "classic payday loan" will be eliminated in Ohio, Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said Thursday, if his proposed changes to HB123 (Koehler-Ashford) are adopted. Proponents of the original bill won't like the changes, he acknowledged, but he called it "a complex, emotional, highly public issue" and compared it to congressional redistricting. He also said it may not be ready to pass by June 27 and that the Senate may have to come back in late July to keep working on it, though he's working to have it done before the summer break.

 

In other action, the House Finance Committee reported out a substitute version of HB643 (Arndt-Patterson), which addresses the water quality of Lake Erie; the House Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development Committee reported out HB386 (Henne-Kelly), which addresses credit freeze fees; the House State and Local Government Committee reported out HB40 (Dever-Greenspan), which codifies the treasurer's Ohio State Government Expenditure Database; the House Ways and Means Committee reported out HB155 (Sprague-Howse), which provides a tax credit for training commercial drivers; the Senate Finance Committee reported out HB329 (Pelanda), which modifies the law governing pyramid promotional schemes; House Transportation and Public Safety Committee reported out HB570 (Brown-Lipps), a license plate bill; HB573 (Hoops), a road naming bill; HB687 (Rogers), a bridge naming bill; and HB634 (Stein), also a road naming bill;

 

GOVERNOR

 

Gov. John R. Kasich announced the appointment of Mark E. Kuhn of Minford (Scioto County) to serve as a judge on the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas, General Division. Kuhn will assume office on Monday, July 9, 2018, and must run in the November 2018 election to complete the remainder of the unexpired term which ends Dec. 31, 2020. Kuhn is replacing Judge William T. Marshall, who resigned.

 

Bills signed by the governor on June 14 included HB213 (Dever) which dealt with real estate appraiser licensing changes; HB292 (Scherer) which addresses the state's residency test; and HB430 (Schaffer) which addressed the sales tax exemption for oil and gas production, among other items. HB213 and HB292 went into effective immediately while HB430 goes into effect in 90 days.

 

Following a national television appearance Monday morning where he told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle there's "a disease in politics" because politicians are afraid of losing power, Gov. John Kasich told Statehouse reporters that "breaking up families" is counter to American values and is opposed "across the board" by everyone from "Laura Bush to Bernie Sanders." President Donald Trump is not exceeding his authority but his actions are "just not good." Congress is also failing to use its authority to counter the president, he said, out of fear of primary challenges.

 

With "so much doom and gloom" in the national news, Gov. John Kasich said Monday that it's important to celebrate victories such as the recent announcement that Ohio had created 520,500 private-sector jobs since 2011. Kasich joined legislators, state officials and business leaders in discussing the news at JobsOhio, which was credited for the accomplishment. He also discussed a number of national issues, including the divisive family separation policy and concerns over pre-existing conditions, at the event.

 

Appointments made during the week include the following:

 

- Mo M. Dioun of New Albany (Franklin County) to the New Americans Advisory Committee for a term beginning June 14, 2018, and ending May 14, 2019.

- George Charchar of Sylvania (Lucas County), Sudarshan Pyakurel of Columbus (Franklin County), and Maria Elena Galindo of Strongsville (Cuyahoga County) to the New Americans Advisory Committee for terms beginning June 14, 2018, and ending May 14, 2020.

- Guisselle Mendoza McDonald of Toledo (Lucas County), Yonathan M. Kebede of Dayton (Montgomery County), Nadir Abdi of Columbus (Franklin County), and Nadia Kasvin of Bexley (Franklin County) to the New Americans Advisory Committee for terms beginning June 14, 2018, and ending May 14, 2021.

- Ava A. Harter of Ottawa Hills (Lucas County) to the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 15, 2018, and ending May 17, 2027.

- Adam Smidi of Sylvania (Lucas County) as a student member on the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 15, 2018, and ending May 17, 2020.

- Angela S. Tate of Xenia (Greene County) to the Social Studies Academic Standards Review Committee for a term beginning June 15, 2018, and continuing at the pleasure of the governor.

- Sharon K. Parsons of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Dentist Loan Repayment Advisory Board for a term beginning June 15, 2018, and ending Jan. 28, 2020.

- Vickie Eaton Johnson of Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) to the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission for a term beginning June 15, 2018, and ending June 20, 2022.

- Rex A. Parrott of Marion (Marion County) reappointed to the Marion Technical College Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 15, 2018, and ending April 29, 2021.

- Michael P. Pell, II of West Union (Adams County) reappointed to the Southern State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 18, 2018, and ending May 11, 2024.

- Tracy O'Hara of Bethel (Brown County) to the Southern State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 18, 2018, and ending May 11, 2024.

- Cheryl Broadnax of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the English Language Arts Academic Standards Review Committee for a term beginning June 18, 2018, and continuing at the pleasure of the governor. - Lt. Charles C. Chandler of Cardington (Morrow County) to the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission for a term beginning June 18, 2018, and ending Aug. 21, 2020.

- Robert E. Stillion of Fayette (Fulton County) to the State Fire Council for a term beginning June 21, 2018, and ending Nov. 1, 2021.

 

HIGHER EDUCATION

 

The Ohio State University College of Medicine announced recently a plan to hire 500 new biomedical sciences faculty over the next five years. Under the plan, Ohio State will hire 350 clinicians and 150 research scientists. With the recruitment process already in motion, approximately 50 new research faculty are in the pipeline to join the College of Medicine.

 

Robin Lightner, Ph.D., has been appointed to serve as the next dean of the University of Cincinnati (UC) Blue Ash College. Lightner has served as interim dean of the college for the past year after the previous dean, Cady Short-Thompson, left for Hope College. Lightner is a tenured professor of psychology and has been a faculty leader at UC Blue Ash since joining the college in 2001, according to the university. Prior to becoming interim dean, she served for one year as associate dean of academic affairs at the college.

 

A green roof, a geothermal heating and cooling system that is 300 percent more efficient than standard systems, and a 15,000-gallon gray tank that recycles rainwater for irrigation and flushing bathroom fixtures: these are just a few of the sustainability features that helped Kent State University's Center for Architecture and Environmental Design receive LEED Platinum recognition.

 

The University of Toledo (UT) Board of Trustees extended the contract of President Sharon Gaber through June 2023, calling the vote "a strong show of support" for her leadership. Her original contract would have expired in June 2020.

 

Kent State University President Beverly J. Warren announced this week that the university will be holding a yearlong observance starting next year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970 tragedy in which four students were killed and nine others were wounded by the Ohio National Guard. The university said the tragedy that occurred during protests of the Vietnam War has had a lasting impact that continues to resonate nearly a half-century later. Kent State noted that the events of May 4, 1970, are viewed by many historians as the focal point of the national student movement and the cultural turning point of America's view on the Vietnam War.

 

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was joined by the presidents of nearly 40 of Ohio's two-year and four-year public and private colleges and universities Wednesday as part of his 11th annual College Presidents Conference in Washington D.C.

 

Dozens of staff, students and alumni of Western Governors University (WGU) gathered at the Statehouse Thursday to celebrate the launch of a new partnership aimed at expanding post-secondary education options for adult learners in the state. The new partnership university, WGU Ohio, will provide online, competency-based bachelor's and master's degree programs that are targeted toward working adults who did not complete college, are looking to expand on a community college credential or are looking to start a new career path.

 

HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS

 

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) Tuesday awarded $2,885,000 to McBride Place, a Dayton affordable housing development that will provide 59 units for seniors, with special preference given to veterans. OHFA is providing $985,000 in housing tax credits, $650,000 in Housing Development Assistance Programs funds and a $1.25 million Housing Development Loan.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

After adamantly maintaining for days that congressional action was required to end the separation policy that saw children taken from their families at the border, President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order ending the practice -- this after a crescendo of protests across the country and here in Ohio. On Tuesday, Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly announced resolutions opposing the practice, after Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Monday said "breaking up families" is counter to American values.

 

JUDICIAL

 

The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation's latest voluntary pro bono report says the number of pro bono hours provided by the attorneys who reported has increased by 15 percent, even though fewer lawyers reported pro bono duty. According to the report, 3,543 attorneys participated in voluntary pro bono reporting in 2017, which was 18 percent fewer attorneys than the year before.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on Monday issued decisions in two closely-watched cases challenging partisan gerrymandering, but avoided ruling on the constitutionality of the practice. In Gill v. Whitford, the Court ruled 9-0 that the plaintiffs -- 12 Democratic voters -- lacked standing to challenge Wisconsin's state legislative districts, which were drawn to favor Republicans. In Benisek v. Lamone, where Republican voters challenged a Democratic gerrymander of Maryland's Sixth Congressional District, the Court affirmed the decision of the district court to deny the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction.

 

The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection awarded $141,440 to 22 victims of attorney theft at its most recent meeting. Eight former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds. Cases involving three deceased attorneys were also among the claims presented to the Board of Commissioners.

 

LOBBYISTS

 

Tom Smith, who is retiring at the end of June after 42 years on Statehouse Square, was featured in Hannah News' latest "Faces on Capitol Square" profile. He retires from the Ohio Council of Churches, where he has spent 23 years of those years. He is a former clerk of the Ohio Senate.

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in Toledo v. State that a trial court could not block implementation of the 2015 state law deducting funding to local governments that use traffic cameras to collect fines without first declaring the law unconstitutional.

 

MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM

 

Ohio Department of Medicaid Director Barbara Sears told Hannah News that the Ohio Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit Manager Performance Review released Thursday by her department is the first report of its kind in the nation and provides data that the managed care plans and pharmacies did not have before regarding the role of pharmacy middlemen -- the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). They will now have to decide whether they are getting value from the PBMs' service equal to the 8.8 percent they are being paid.

 

Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) Director Barbara Sears told members of the Medical Care Advisory Committee (MCAC) Thursday that the department is ready to begin integration of behavioral health care services into managed care on Sunday, July 1 as planned. She again reiterated all the steps the department has taken to prepare providers and managed care plans for this shift including weekly meetings and the creation of rapid response teams to address issues. She said the readiness reviews of the managed care plans have been completed.

 

PENSIONS

 

Paul Greff took over Monday as the new chief investment officer of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), replacing Rick Shafer, who is retiring after serving in the role for about three years. Greff joined the retirement system in 2009 as senior portfolio manager for global bonds and securities, then was promoted to deputy chief investment officer in 2015. In his new position, he will oversee 55 investment professionals who manage the nearly $100 billion in assets for the retirement system.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

 

The U.S. Fire Administration points out that recent federal tax reform legislation -- the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act -- includes incentives that make it more affordable for small business owners to install fire sprinklers. Fire sprinkler systems can reduce the spread of fire, heat and smoke in a building and contain the fire until the fire department arrives. More information about the available incentives provided in the tax code can be found online at https://nfsa.org/taxreform/ .

 

SECRETARY OF STATE

 

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said Friday that 12,082 new entities filed to do business in Ohio last month, an increase of 1,370 when compared to the same month in 2017. The total makes May 2018 the third-best month on record for new business filings, Husted's office said. This comes just one month after April 2018 set a state record for new filings with 12,874 entities formed.

 

TAXATION

 

The latest version of legislation to change how sales tax is collected for hotel bookings through the likes of Expedia and Travelocity sparked debate in a House committee Tuesday on whether it proposed simple parity among sellers or selective expansion of the tax to service fees. In HB571, Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) is proposing that online travel companies pay sales and lodging taxes based on the total price the customer pays for the room, not the wholesale rate the companies pay to the hotels.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled Thursday to overturn a 26-year-old precedent preventing states from requiring that out-of-state online sellers collect and remit sales taxes. In the 5-4 ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair, justices overruled the court's prior holdings in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota and National Bellas Hess v. Department of Revenue of Illinois. The precedent in those previous cases had prevented states from requiring out-of-state sellers without a physical presence to collect sales tax. The Trump administration and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, as well as the National Governors Association (NGA), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and other representatives of government jurisdictions had filed briefs urging justices to overturn Quill.

 

TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE

 

The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC) approved eight resolutions, including a nearly $6.3 million contract for Suburban Maintenance and Construction Inc. of North Royalton. The company will repair and rehabilitate the ramp bridge at milepost 218.7 and replace the mainline bridges over Mill Creek Bikeway at milepost 223 in Mahoning County. The commission also awarded a more than $5.5 million contract to Columbus-based Kokosing Construction Company Inc. to replace the Perrysburg-Holland Road Bridge at milepost 59 and repair and rehabilitate the Hessville Road Bridge deck at milepost 84.4 over the Ohio Turnpike in Lucas and Sandusky counties.

 

WORKFORCE

 

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) reports that during the first year of its Workplace Initiative of Ohio (WIO), 818 OOD job seekers were placed with employers across the state. This is a 37 percent increase, or approximately 220 persons, over the first-year goal, OOD noted. WIO is a three year partnership between OOD and the Poses Family Foundation (PFF) with a goal of placing 2,100 OOD job seekers.

 


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