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Latest Government News From Ohio

Week in Review

Friday, November 15, 2019

ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Priority House legislation drawing unanimous support for a new Governor’s Office of Drug Policy in the lower chamber was met with Senate skepticism Tuesday as some finance committee members questioned the need for another, overlapping state agency to address the opioid crisis. Reps. Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) and Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Minerva) made another case for HB10 (Brown-Stoltzfus) in the Senate Finance Committee after the bill’s being re-referred from the Senate General Government and Agency Review Committee. The bill would create a “permanent,” centralized office on Ohio drug policy that would not be vulnerable to subsequent changes in administration.

As part of a federal research study to reduce opioid overdose deaths, a coalition of academic, state and community partners led by Ohio State University (OSU) will begin assisting counties with prevention, treatment and recovery programs this December. In April, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $65.9 million grant to OSU to lead Ohio’s participation in the HEALing Communities Study, launched by NIH and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to investigate tools for preventing and treating opioid misuse.

The Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health released research recently indicating hepatitis C rates across the state may correspond with rates of opioid misuse. According to research team member Orman Hall, executive in residence at Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP), these findings support the notion that Appalachian Ohio has been the hardest hit area of the state’s opioid epidemic. “Hepatitis C is growing in incidence in Southeast Ohio and it is directly linked to injectable drug use and injectable drug use is directly linked to opioid misuse,” agreed Rifat Haider, assistant professor in CHSP’s Department of Social and Public Health.

With studies having found veterans are twice as likely to die from an accidental drug overdose, legislators, anti-drug groups and veterans organizations met in Columbus Thursday to discuss current efforts and identify additional actions that can be pursued to deal with those addiction issues. Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) moderated a panel that included Sen. Frank Hoagland (R-Adena), social worker Gary Stofle of the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center and representatives of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, Ohio National Guard Counterdrug Task Force and the Ohio departments of AMVETS, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion.

BALLOT ISSUES

Forces on either side of HB6′s (Callender-Wilkin) energy subsidies agreed Wednesday that the central issue raised by a federal court facing the Ohio Supreme Court is whether the state constitution intends referendum organizers to have the full 90 days between a bill’s signing and effective date to collect signatures. Opposing briefs demonstrated, however, that the “plain language” answer to that question may not be so obvious, as suggested by Supreme Court rulings in the century following the 1912 constitutional convention. Anti-HB6 parties including Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts (OACB) and a coalition of amici led by the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC), and pro-HB6 parties including Ohioans for Energy Security and FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), argued why the Court should or should not accept five certified questions of law forwarded by the U.S. District Court in Columbus, which had refused OACB’s request to extend the 90 days to correct a history of statutory attacks on referendum rights.

FY21-22 CAPITAL APPROPRIATIONS

Deadlines are approaching for state agencies and lawmakers to get capital budget requests in ahead of an expected January introduction. The Office of Budget and Management (OBM) issued guidance to state agencies last month on capital reappropriation requests, requiring all information to be submitted to the agency’s OBM budget analyst no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15. OBM advised agencies in its guidance that a reappropriation should be requested for every line item expected to have available balances as of June 30, 2020. If the item is not in the reappropriations bill, an unencumbered appropriation amount may lapse at the end of FY20.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are also preparing to submit their requests for capital funding for community projects, with a deadline for submissions around Friday, Jan. 10, 2020.

BUSINESS/CORPORATE

Business groups appeared before a Senate committee Tuesday to urge members to pass legislation that would prevent local governments from banning or taxing the use of certain containers like plastic grocery bags. Proponents of SB222 (Rulli) appeared before the Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee, telling the committee that various local ordinances raise the cost of doing business around Ohio.

CENSUS

The U.S. Census Bureau recently launched a new version of www.2020census.gov. The new website adds features, resources and materials meant to help inform the public about the 2020 Census. The site includes new Statistics in Schools materials, a new webpage to share facts about the 2020 Census, information on applying for jobs, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

CORRECTIONS

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer — and also a former member of the Ohio House and Senate and its Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC) — urged the committee Wednesday to take oversight of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) seriously as a separate branch of government. He agreed with the department liaison, however, that renewed DRC leadership under the DeWine administration is committed to working with CIIC to correct previous lapses. Pfeifer, executive director of the Ohio Judicial Conference (OJC), recounted his former role on the committee during the Lucasville prison riots and subsequent DRC reforms.

EDUCATION

Receptive sentiments from legislative leadership and the many failings of the current system give hope for a new, functioning school formula in the next biennium, economist and education finance expert Howard Fleeter said at the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Capital Conference in Columbus. Failure to take advantage of those circumstances, however, invites a DeRolph-style lawsuit, he cautioned.

Many school officials aren’t energetically mobilizing against academic distress commissions (ADCs) because “white” schools haven’t yet been subjected to a state takeover, Youngstown Board of Education member Tina Cvetkovich said during a session of the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Capital Conference on Monday.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s education policies were largely praised by members of an Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Black Caucus panel, with State Board of Education Vice President Charlotte McGuire saying the plan is student-focused. “DeWine’s plan gave an infusion of dollars to local districts … recognizing that intact families are needed. The schools can’t be all things to all children. We need some wraparound services, we need trauma-informed learning, but we need to be deregulated and free to connect with that child and tap into their potential,” McGuire said.

The Ohio School Boards Association’s (OSBA) Delegate Assembly Monday approved five amendments to the association’s legislative platform — the document that lays out where OSBA stands on issues affecting public education for legislators, policymakers, the public and the media. In addition, the assembly elected Scott E. Huddle as the association’s 2020 president-elect. Huddle serves on the Mad River Local Schools Board of Education in Montgomery County. Current OSBA President-elect Lee Schreiner, a member of the South-Western City Board of Education in Franklin County, will become OSBA president on Jan. 1, 2020.

The House Finance Committee considered HB305 (Cupp-Patterson) Wednesday, the new school funding proposal that is receiving a hearing on each component. The latest hearing was on how funds would be distributed, with Chardon Local Schools Superintendent Michael Hanlon and Trimble Local Schools CFO Jared Bunting offering proponent testimony. Hanlon said there needs to be a “sensitive and accurate balance” between the state and local districts so that the local share is commensurate with that district’s capacity to raise funds. Toward that end, supporters worked to find a methodology that is easy to understand, relies on both property and income wealth, can be applied the same to all districts and reflects the exclusive circumstances of individual districts.

The State Board of Education debated Tuesday whether it should devise a policy for members’ research and information requests to Ohio Department of Education (ODE) staff, hearing concerns that broad queries could divert staff from other priorities but also that members need relevant information to make informed decisions for their constituents. The discussion stemmed from Superintendent Paolo DeMaria’s monthly report to the board, which explained the state system for rating charter school sponsors ahead of Friday’s scheduled release of the 2018-2019 ratings.

Nathan Yaussy, a science teacher at Fairport Harbor Schools’ Harding Early College High School, is Ohio’s 2019-2020 winner of the Milken Educator Award from the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. Yaussy is one of 40 honorees nationwide for the 2019-2020 award season and the first from his district.

The State Board of Education awarded Superintendent Paolo DeMaria a $20,000 bonus for the previous fiscal year but did away with future bonuses and raised his overall salary to a level board leadership said would bring his pay closer to that of his peers. But debate on the increase revealed five members want DeMaria to resign.

Representatives of local school superintendents, teachers unions and education reform groups pitched their ideas and principles Wednesday for a new state report card system, with most urging abandonment of the A-F framework in favor of simpler performance categories or an informational dashboard. The Report Card Study Committee, established in the biennial budget bill, held its second meeting and heard testimony from the Buckeye Association of School Superintendents (BASA), Ohio Education Association (OEA), Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), Alliance for High Quality Education (AHQE), Ohio Excels, the Fordham Institute and the State Board of Education.

ELECTIONS 2020

Calling himself “the real hometown choice,” Columbus attorney Joel Newby announced Tuesday that he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for the 15th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus), who is running for re-election.

The following endorsements were made over the week:

- U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles), a former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination (see The Hannah Report, 10/24/19), endorsed Joe Biden for president.

- Former Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman endorsed Kamala Harris for president.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

A joint study released recently by Cleveland State University (CSU) and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) showed that employees with flexible work hours and paid sick leave had significantly more retirement savings than those who did not. Researchers said results of the study, published in the journal Community, Work & Family, indicated that after controlling for 12 demographic, education, household, and work-related variables, including income, workers with flexible work time had a 24.8 percent increase in retirement savings compared to those who did not have flexible work time. The study examined 994 U.S. male workers (ages 47-55) by their access to flextime (flexible hours and telecommuting), paid sick leave and vacation time.

ENERGY

The House on Wednesday reintroduced wind farm referendum language passed by the lower chamber but stripped from energy subsidy bill HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) in the Senate last summer. Republicans behind HB401 (Reineke) claim it would correct deficiencies in the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) and give rural voters a voice on the industrialization of agricultural areas backed by some urban lawmakers. Skeptics counter that Ohioans in wind-rich counties are no more deserving of local referendum rights than residents and property owners in “fracking” areas targeted for oil and gas development. Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) delivered sponsor testimony in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee on HB401, a bill with a dozen Republican co-sponsors, including two members of the committee. Companion bill SB234 (McColley) has yet to be heard.

ENVIRONMENT

The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) has issued $4 million in clean air bonds to a real estate organization creating a new housing project in downtown Cleveland. The 163-unit apartment building in the University Circle area will serve the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Cleveland Clinic communities, OAQDA said. The financing will help pay for energy-efficient equipment to provide a healthier building and environment.

FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development program awarded a total of $977,440 to rural communities around Ohio for business expansion and economic development, according to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

GAMING/GAMBLING

Statewide revenues at Ohio’s four casinos and seven racinos were higher in October 2019 than October 2018, according to statistics from the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) and Ohio Lottery Commission (OLC). Casinos made $68.1 million in October 2019, compared to $66.6 million in October 2018. Racino video lottery terminals (VLTs) raked in $90.3 million in October 2019, compared to $83.4 million in October 2018.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

The House Wednesday approved HB164 (Ginter) which proponents said aims to clarify students’ religious rights in public schools while opponents said the bill is unnecessary at best, and encouraging disruptive and unconstitutional behavior at worst. The vote was 61-31. The House also passed HB210 (Carruthers), which addresses TB screenings, by a vote of 59-33. In addition, the House passed HB29 (Koehler), which prohibits sales of cough medicine with dextromethorphan to individuals under 18 unless they have a prescription, by a vote of 88-4, and HB272 (Oelslager-Hillyer) which expands the basis of a court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction to include any basis consistent with the Ohio Constitution and the U.S. Constitution. HB272 passed 92-0.

In other action, the House rejected Senate amendments to infrastructure naming bill HB276 (Ghanbari) after Rep. Haraz Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg) said the Senate removed some of the naming items included by the House.

On Wednesday, the House seated its newest member, Rep. Mark Fraizer (R-Newark), who replaces former Rep. Scott Ryan (R-Newark) who resigned effective Tuesday, Nov. 12 to take a job with Ohio Third Frontier.

The Senate Wednesday unanimously passed all four bills on its calendar, including a House priority bill, HB2 (Cross-Lepore-Hagan), that creates a TechCred and Mircrocredential Assistance Program to help businesses find skilled workers. The Senate also unanimously passed HB16 (Perales), which grants in-state residency status for tuition for military members and their families; SB18 (Antonio-Lehner) prohibiting restraining or shackling pregnant prisoners; and SB173 (Kunze) to designate September as Hirschsprung’s Disease Awareness Month.

The Senate also requested a conference committee to SB7 (Lehner-Hackett), legislation addressing occupational licenses for military members and their spouses, and appointed Sens. Matt Huffman (R-Lima), Bob Hackett (R-London), and Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) as conferees. The Senate also insisted on its amendments to HB276 (Ghanbari), an omnibus highway naming bill.

Freshman legislator Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) told Hannah News that education, infrastructure, workforce, energy and tax reform are his recipe for economic competitiveness at the local level culminating in statewide competitiveness with neighbors near and far. “I don’t just want to beat them in football and basketball. I want to beat them in education and infrastructure,” he says.

In other action, the House Civil Justice Committee reported out HB251 (Lang-Hillyer) which shortens the timeframe for actions on a contract; the House Health Committee reported out HB379 which designates April 26 as “Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Day”; the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee reported out highway designation bills HB376 (Clites) and HB377 (Carfagna); the House Ways and Means Committee reported out HB17 (Ginter) which enhances the homestead exemption for surviving spouses of public safety personnel killed in the line of duty; the Senate Judiciary Committee reported out SB175 (Schaffer) which grants civil immunity to nonprofits for injuries/deaths related to carrying handguns; and the House Financial Institutions Committee reported out HB312 (Powell), regarding crowdfunding.

GOVERNOR

Appointments made during the week include the following:

- Steven R. Rench of Wadsworth (Medina County) reappointed to the Real Estate Appraiser Board for a term beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2022.

- Timothy K. Staup of Delphos (Allen County) reappointed to the Motor Vehicle Salvage Dealer’s Board for a term beginning Aug. 1, 2019 and ending July 31, 2022.

- Glorianna L. Corman of Grove City (Franklin County) to the Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Council for a term beginning Nov. 13, 2019 and ending July 30, 2023.

- James A. Armile of Poland (Mahoning County) and Jon Stainbrook of Toledo (Lucas County) reappointed to the Ohio Athletic Commission for a term beginning Sept. 3, 2019 and ending Sept. 2, 2022.

- Larry R. Mincks of Marietta (Washington County) reappointed to the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission for a term beginning Sept. 4, 2019 and ending Sept. 3, 2022.

- James F. Dicke II of New Bremen (Auglaize County) and Charles R. Moses of Dublin (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio History Connection Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 27, 2019 and ending June 26, 2022.

GUNS

A woman who was shot 12 times at her workplace in Cincinnati last year was among the five witnesses who appeared before a Senate committee Wednesday to urge passage of a package of gun reforms proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine in the wake of a mass shooting in Dayton over the summer. Whitney Austin became choked up when she recalled the shooting that occurred in the lobby of the Fifth Third Center in Cincinnati on Sept. 6, 2018. Three people, including the shooter, were killed, and two were injured, including Austin, who said that miraculously none of the bullets hit a major artery or organ. She said before that day, she believed she was immune to mass shootings, but now she is living testimony that it can happen to anyone. She said mass shootings have become “the great equalizer of gun violence in our country — and no one is immune.”

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Reps. Tim Ginter (R-Salem) and Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) Wednesday announced the introduction of HB412 creating an Ohio Rare Disease Council. With a membership composed of medical researchers, physicians, nurses, patients, lawmakers and state officials, the council would be charged with recommending ways to assist families dealing with a rare disease, opportunities for research and ways to collaborate with others around the state dealing with rare diseases including the families, health care facilities and government agencies, among others.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee, opponents of HB297 (Ginter-Powell) said state dollars would be better spent elsewhere because they viewed the pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) that would benefit from the bill as unethical and medically unsound. In a previous hearing, proponents said PRCs provide free services to women including pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, diapers and vitamins to be taken during pregnancy.

There were 1,836 suicides in Ohio in 2018, according to a report issued this week by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), and the overall suicide rate increased nearly 45 percent since 2007. ODH said five people in Ohio die by suicide every day, and one youth dies by suicide every 33 hours. However, ODH said the highest suicide rate was among adults 45 to 64 years-old. Males were disproportionately more likely to commit suicide among all ages, with their suicide rate nearly four times the rate among females.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Ohio University (OU) researchers received a $3.2 million grant from the federal Institute of Education Sciences to study the effectiveness of a new professional development program for elementary school teachers. The program, called the Classroom Behavior Support Program (CBS), is designed to assist educators with implementing strategies to help children with emotional and behavioral disorders succeed in school. Researchers said most professional development programs for teachers adopt a one-size-fits-all approach and offer little follow-up support which makes it difficult for teachers to sustain new practices.

Thomas Traynor has been named dean of the Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business effective Nov. 1. Traynor was named interim dean in April 2017 after serving as associate dean for graduate studies and executive education. Traynor replaced Joanne Li, who took the position of dean of the College of Business at Florida International University.

Cincinnati Christian University (CCU) recently announced it would no longer offer classes following the Fall 2019 semester. According to the university website, CCU intends to work with Central Christian College of the Bible (CCCB) to open an extension site in Cincinnati which would provide accredited ministerial degrees for the Spring 2020 semester.

HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded nearly $45 million in grants to address hazardous lead paint problems in low-income homes across Ohio.

INSURANCE

The House’s plan on out-of-network “surprise” medical billing, HB388 (Holmes), received proponent testimony Wednesday, with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Association of Health Plans (OAHP) and Ohio Association of Health Underwriters (OAHU) appearing before the House Finance Committee.

The Senate’s plan, SB198 (Huffman-Antonio), is different and has received support from the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) and other physician groups. In her testimony, OAHP President and CEO Miranda Motter said the Senate plan would essentially codify surprise billing and “only mask” the problem rather than solve it.

JUDICIAL

The Ohio Supreme Court declared its watershed test for developmental disability in State v. Lott (2002) “no longer valid” Thursday following a pair of U.S. Supreme Court death penalty decisions and ordered the Summit County trial court to apply new American Psychiatric Association (APA) standards to Death Row inmate Shawn Ford Jr., convicted in the 2013 attempted murder of his girlfriend and capital murder of her parents.

The Supreme Court of Ohio is seeking public feedback on proposed state adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) to provide reciprocity with other states and territories in full compliance with the national standard. It currently includes only one of Ohio’s neighbors and shifts scores away from a greater emphasis on written response to an equal dependence on multiple choice, which the task force behind the UBE proposal has recommended the Court “ameliorate” to prevent a potential bias toward men. Ohio currently uses UBE’s Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and Multistate Performance Test (MPT) but not the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). The task force report is available at https://tinyurl.com/ygxw3r9u. Comments must be submitted in writing by Wednesday, Dec. 4 to Gina Palmer, attorney services director, Ohio Supreme Court, 65 S. Front St., Fifth Floor, Columbus 43215-3431, or to gina.palmer@sc.ohio.gov.

MARIJUANA/HEMP

Madison County Common Pleas Judge Eamon Costello recently ruled that the provision requiring 15 percent of all dispensaries be awarded to economically-disadvantaged group (EDG) applicants was unconstitutional. The decision came in litigation brought by Pure Ohio Wellness LLC against the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, as Pure Ohio’s application received the highest score but was denied in favor of an EDG applicant. Costello ruled Monday that Pure Ohio should receive another hearing on its application for a dispensary in London. Pure Ohio separately received a dispensary license for a Dayton location Wednesday.

MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM

The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) has finalized and published the Unified Preferred Drug List (UPDL) in preparation for Jan. 1, 2020, implementation. The department explained that the initiative is another step toward reforming Medicaid pharmacy services and preparing to establish a single pharmacy benefit manager for the Medicaid program.

MENTAL HEALTH

Americans are using more out-of-network care and paying more out of pocket for behavioral health care than for treatment of other conditions, despite efforts to increase coverage and access to mental health services, according to a new study from researchers at Ohio State University (OSU). In the study, published recently in the journal JAMA Network Open, lead author Wendy Yi Xu, assistant professor of health services management and policy at OSU, and her colleagues examined claims from 3.2 million adults with mental health conditions – including those with drug and alcohol use disorders. The researchers said they compared those with claims from people with one of two common chronic conditions – diabetes and congestive heart failure.

A study recently released by researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) indicates rising suicide rates, especially in rural communities. The study also highlights a cluster of other factors, including lack of insurance and the prevalence of gun shops that are associated with high suicide rates. The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, used national suicide data from 1999 to 2016 to provide a county-by-county national picture of the suicide toll among adults, researchers said. Suicide rates jumped 41 percent, from a median of 15 per 100,000 county residents in the first part of the study to 21.2 per 100,000 in the last three years of the analysis.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Ohio’s mineral resources produced more than $1.5 billion worth of geologic commodities in 2018, according to a newly released report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The total value of all nonfuel industrial minerals exceeded $1 billion for the fifth straight year.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has approved more than $3.3 million in project funding through the NatureWorks Grant Program, which will be used to improve outdoor recreational opportunities for Ohioans across the state.

PENSIONS

The state’s six public retirement plans are in good shape, RVK investment consultants told the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC) on Thursday. “Our reviews continue to indicate that on the whole, the Ohio pension plans are being prudently invested, prudently managed and well within expected risk levels when we look across pension plans across the U.S.,” RVK President Jim Voytko said, summarizing his firm’s investment performance analysis of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) defined benefit plan, OPERS health care trust, State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&F), School Employees Retirement System (SERS) and Highway Patrol Retirement System (HPRS). RVK analyzed the two quarters ending June 30, 2019.

PEOPLE

The Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association (OCTA) Thursday announced the selection of Steve Buehrer as its new executive director. Buehrer will assume the role effective immediately and replaces Jonathon McGee, who left the association to become chief of staff for Speaker of the House Larry Householder (R-Glenford) earlier this year.

POLLS/STUDIES

Survey results released recently by the Pew Research Center indicate growing partisan antipathy among Democrats and Republicans. The survey conducted Sept. 3-15 among 9,895 adults follows up on Pew’s 2016 survey examining partisan division. (It was completed before U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.) Since 2016, survey results show that people have only grown more divided with many Americans applying negative character traits to people in the opposing party. The survey found that the share of Republicans who give Democrats a “cold” rating on a feeling thermometer scaled 0-100 has risen 14 percentage points from 69 percent to 83 percent. Democrats’ views of Republicans have followed a similar trajectory – 79 percent give Republicans a cold rating, up from 61 percent three years ago.

VETERANS

Nineteen disabled Ohio veterans bagged 26 deer during a recent guided archery hunt at Zaleski State Forest and Lake Hope State Park, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Among the harvested 26 deer were 16 antlerless and 10 bucks, the department said.

Ohio’s legal aids report they are expanding their services to veterans with increased funding included in the FY20-21 budget. The additional $500,000 in statewide funding for Ohio’s legal aids is to be used solely to provide legal services for veterans and will be distributed by the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation.

Estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found Ohio’s homeless veteran population dropped 9.7 percent since 2018 and 55.7 percent since 2010. The national total decreased 2.1 percent since 2018, according to the report, which was generated through one-night “Point-in-Time” estimates at emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and unsheltered locations.

WOMEN’S HEALTH/ABORTION

Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) traveled with a delegation of state legislators to El Salvador, a country that has criminalized abortion and sentenced women to prison for having the medical procedure. She went “to see firsthand what a ban on abortion looks like.”

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has granted an ambulatory surgical facility license to Women’s Med Center of Dayton (WMCD), meaning the last abortion clinic in the city can continue providing surgical abortion services. According to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, the clinic was limited to providing medical abortions for 16 days following a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court to deny the clinic’s request for a motion to reconsider. WMCD was awarded a variance from ODH after the clinic secured four physicians to sign on as back-up doctors, NARAL said, noting Premier Health ignored hundreds of requests from Dayton residents to sign a written transfer agreement with WMCD.

Two House Republicans introduced a bill Thursday that would make abortion by any method subject to Ohio’s murder statutes and a capital offense. HB413 (Hood-Keller) was introduced by Reps. Candice Keller (R-Middletown) and Ron Hood (R-Ashville) and has 19 House co-sponsors, all Republicans.

 

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