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Latest Government News From Ohio

Week in Review

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Kasich administration’s effort to change nutrient management rules for distressed watersheds was dealt a fatal blow Monday, as the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) voted 8-1 to “authorize” the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) to “revise and refile” the package. The earliest the department could reappear before the committee is in late January, about a week after Gov.-elect Mike DeWine is sworn in as governor on Monday, Jan. 14, JCARR Chairman Sen. Joe Uecker (R-Loveland) told reporters following the meeting.
According to preliminary figures released by the Office of Budget and Management (OBM), Ohio’s revenue continues to come in over estimates. November’s tax revenues were 3.3 percent over estimates or nearly $66.3 million over, which brought the month’s total tax receipts to over $2 billion. For the year, the state is running 1.8 percent over estimates or $166.9 million. Total receipts so far this fiscal year — which began July 1, 2018 — are $9.5 billion. This total is a half-billion more than this time last year when the state had brought in just over $9.0 billion.
Gov. John Kasich announced Monday the approval of assistance for eight 12 projects set to create 1,454 new jobs and retain 3,341 jobs statewide. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought to the board by JobsOhio and its regional partners. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $69 million in payroll and spur more than $909 million in investments across Ohio.
State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria announced Friday that 57 schools have been recognized in the fourth round of the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) Purple Star Award for “military-friendly” schools.
A hearing scheduled for Monday on East Cleveland Schools’ request to halt a state takeover was delayed at the parties’ request. Both East Cleveland and the state agreed on the need to cancel the hearing, but not on the reasons for doing so.
At least 10 percent of the class of 2018 high school graduates used the flexibility lawmakers granted in earning a diploma, and the state’s overall graduation rate went up about 1 percent compared to 2017, according to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). Chris Woolard, lead accountability official for the department, said Ohio’s 2018 graduation rate reached 85.3 percent, compared to 84.1 percent the previous year.
The State Board of Education Tuesday asked Attorney General and Gov.-elect Mike DeWine’s office for legal advice on who should be able to participate in the board’s leadership election in January. The board also voted to name member Stephanie Dodd as temporary chair to preside over that election. Board President Tess Elshoff and Vice President Nancy Hollister are not returning as board members, as Elshoff faces term limits and Hollister declined to run for re-election, clearing the way for new leadership and creating the need for a temporary chair to preside in January.
Gov.-elect Mike DeWine said Wednesday his staff has been in discussions with Gov. John Kasich’s office about the upcoming appointment of four State Board of Education members whose terms would start in Kasich’s last days in office but stretch through DeWine’s four-year term as governor. Kasich does intend to make appointments to the board before leaving office, according to an email from his spokesman, Jon Keeling.
The Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) has dismissed complaints from the Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) and the Ohio Green Party that the Ohio Debate Commission illegally excluded the third parties’ gubernatorial candidates.
Secretary of State and Lt. Gov.-elect Jon Husted certified results Friday from the 2018 General Election. Complete certified results, including absentee and provisional ballot figures, can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y8cpwcld.
The federal unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent in the month of November as the nation added 155,000 jobs, according to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. The number of unemployed persons was little changed at 6.0 million, BLS said.
Revenues for casinos and video lottery terminals (VLTs) were up in October and November of 2018 over those months in 2017, according to figures released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) and the Ohio Lottery Commission (OLC). Ohio’s four casinos pulled in $67.7 million in November 2018 and $66.6 million in October 2018, compared to $66.4 million in November 2017 and $66.5 million in October 2017.
The Senate Wednesday passed eight bills, agreed to House amendments on two others, and passed the conference committee report on an omnibus bill creating various highway designations as it looks to wrap up most of its lame duck agenda this week. The chamber broke on party lines on two bills, HB494 (Antani), which specifies that a franchisor is not the employer or employee of a franchisee or the employee of a franchise for purposes of the Minimum Fair Wage Standards Law and other federal laws; and HB119 (Henne) addressing eligibility and benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Medicaid program.
Other bills that passed during Wednesday’s session included the following:
- HB271 (McColley-Rezabek), which addresses the filing of civil actions against businesses that are out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, giving those with minor violations a chance to correct them.
- HB411 (Seitz-Sykes) modifying the state’s wrongful imprisonment law to allow defendants to collect compensation if their case was dismissed because the prosecution did not turn over evidence during their trial.
- HB464 (Lipps) establishing protocols for assessment, treatment and transport to hospitals of stroke patients.
- HB541 (Patterson-LaTourette) authorizing health professionals licensed in other states to provide volunteer health services during charitable events.
- SB251 (Schiavoni), prohibiting the nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images, often known as “revenge porn.” Sponsor Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) expressed hope a version of the bill will pass during lame duck. He said the bill was necessary because, in the past, law enforcement and prosecutors had to be creative in charging the cases, but now have a statute they can pursue. He said the bill had been watered down from what he introduced by taking out protections for those affected by revenge porn, but he urged passage of the bill.
Legislation providing $54 million in new spending and creating a Lake Erie Improvement District passed the House by a vote of 66-21 on Wednesday. The House Finance Committee had introduced the Christmas tree omnibus amendment on Tuesday, attaching it to SB51 (Skindell-Eklund) — legislation creating a Lake Erie improvement district. The omnibus amendment included $20 million for reconstruction of the Statehouse underground parking garage; $15 million for Blanchard River flood mitigation; $15 million for construction of a new stadium for the Columbus Crew; $2 million for upgrades and repairs for the governor’s residence; a $1 million increase in the litigation line item for FY19; and a $1 million increase to expand the Hurt to Hope program. The House also passed SB273 (Hackett), which addresses insurance rating agencies.
A bill that originally only increased benefits for surviving family members of fallen law enforcement officers now includes compensation increases for members of the General Assembly, statewide executive officeholders, Ohio Supreme Court justices and other elected officials. Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) offered the amendment to increase compensation by varying amounts through 2028 and to create the Public Office Compensation Advisory Commission to make future recommendations. The bill, SB296 (LaRose) cleared the committee and passed both the House and Senate by sizable majorities on Thursday. Questions remain about whether the governor will veto it.
House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) told reporters Wednesday following session that lawmakers are “running out of time” to pass HJR19 (LaTourette-Holmes), a resolution proposing a ballot vote to modify the initiative petition process, during this General Assembly. He said it will be a priority in the 133rd General Assembly, though.
The Conference Committee on SB86 (Hackett) approved several changes to the naming bill but rejected a pair of Democratic amendments Wednesday before reporting the bill on a unanimous vote. Members first approved a Republican amendment that removes several designations already adopted in other legislation and that adds several more, including the annual designation of the week of July 20 as “One Small Step Week” in honor of Ohio native Neil Armstrong’s moon walk on that day in 1969. It was agreed to by the Senate on Wednesday and the House on Thursday, sending it on to the governor for his signature.
The Joint Education Oversight Committee (JEOC) heard testimony Tuesday on the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) recommendations of definitions related to online learning which Superintendent Paolo DeMaria delivered to the General Assembly and JEOC last month. Chairwoman Sen. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) said the purpose of the meeting was to satisfy provisions of SB216 (Huffman).
Saying it is time to look at the history and achievements of African Americans in Ohio and the nation in order to focus on how to help that community moving forward, members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) introduced legislation Tuesday that would create a new study committee. Sen. Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) was joined at a press conference Tuesday morning by Sen. Vern Sykes (D-Akron), Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland), Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and OLBC President Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) to announce SB346 (Tavares), which would create an African American progress committee.
Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC) Director Susan Ackerman told Hannah News she is taking a consulting position with Sellers Dorsey of Philadelphia in January. However, she will be staying in Ohio.
Word of her leaving came to light Tuesday when the meeting notice for JMOC was updated to reflect the naming of both an interim director and a search committee. Ackerman, who has been the only director of JMOC, has been in the position since May 2014.
In addition to voting on two abortion measures and a pay raise for elected officials, the House on Thursday voted to pass SB201 (Bacon-O’Brien), creating longer prison sentences for violent offenders, with an amendment that inserted the language HB719 (Pelanda), creating a sexual assault kit tracking system; SB214 (Terhar-Lehner), a ban on female genital mutilation, with an amendment that added the language of HB451 (Retherford), to shield explicit materials resulting from sex crimes cases from public release; SB259 (Hackett), which changes laws governing the practice of physician assistants; SB229 (Huffman), regarding regulation of controlled substances; HR518 (Stein), encouraging the federal government to allow states to develop nuclear technologies; SCR21, urging Congress to advance development of the Appalachian storage hub for energy resources, passed 80-6; SB21 (Uecker), allowing fewer poll workers at voting locations with electronic poll books; HB461 (Fedor-Galonski), eliminating disparate treatment of minors suspected of being trafficking victims based on their age; SB265 (Dolan), recognizing pharmacists as health care providers for reimbursement; SB268 (Wilson), increasing penalties for theft in public office; and SB255 (McColley), requiring regular review of occupational licensing and regulatory requirements.
Thursday’s Senate session, in addition to action on the pay raise legislation, included passage of HB402 (Hills), regarding telephone company regulations; HB41 (Pelanda) addressing voting laws, including the challenge to voter registration and appointments of observers; HB92 (Schaffer), addressing classification for offenders charged with public indecency; HB96 (Hughes), increasing the penalty for sexual imposition by offenders who have previously been convicted of the offense three or more times; HB131 (Gavarone-Reineke), modifying physical therapy laws; HB156 (Schuring), addressing limitations imposed by health insurers on vision care services; HB454 (Patterson-Arndt) ,requiring a township to offer compensation to owners of certain unused cemetery lots and right; HB497 (Rogers-Manning), which bans the nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images, an offense often known as “revenge porn”; HB502 (Anielski), addressing educator in-service training on youth suicide awareness and prevention; HB595 (Cupp-Rezabek), an omnibus bill brought by the Ohio State Bar Association that addresses various wills and trust laws; SB320 (Beagle-Lehner), which addresses state occupational licensing boards; HB480 (Hill) establishing requirements for multi-parcel auctions; and HB500 (Carfagna), making changes to township laws and providing appropriations for police and fire survivor benefits and Pike County murder prosecutions .
Bills that cleared both houses of the General Assembly this week and are on their way to the governor include the following:
- HB41 (Pelanda), addressing voting procedures.
- HB58 (Brenner-Slaby), requiring the Ohio Department of Education to include cursive handwriting instructional materials in the state’s model curriculum.
- HB119 (Henne), regarding eligibility for Medicaid and nutrition assistance.
- HB131 (Gavarone-Reineke), addressing the practice of physical therapy.
- HB156 (Schuring), regarding vision insurance,
- HB286 (LaTourette), creating the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Council and a related education program.
- HB291 (Wiggam), addressing employee dishonesty insurance.
- HB402 (Hill), regarding regulation of telephone companies
- HB411 (Seitz-Sykes), changing the law on wrongful imprisonment.
- HB454 (Patterson-Arndt), regarding cemetery plots.
- HB464 (Lipps), regarding stroke care.
- HB480 (Hill), regarding multi-parcel auctions.
- HB494 (Antani), specifying that franchisor corporations are not the joint employers of their franchisees’ workers.
- HB497 (Rogers-Manning), prohibiting dissemination of “revenge porn.”
- HB500 (Carfagna), which changes township laws and was amended to include appropriations for police and firefighter survivor benefits and the Pike County murder prosecutions.
- HB502 (Anielski), regarding educator training for suicide prevention.
- HB522 (Lanese), revising liquor control laws.
- HB541 (LaTourette-Patterson), regulating the practice of volunteer medical professionals from out of state.
- HB572 (Scherer-Howse), a pensions omnibus measure.
- HB595 (Cupp), updating probate and trust laws.
- SB51 (Skindell), original meant to address Lake Erie shoreline improvements but now acting as the Christmas Tree bill of the session, including appropriations for repairs to the Statehouse parking garage and governor’s residence and development of a new soccer stadium in Columbus.
- SB119 (Hackett) Regarding naltrexone and medication-assisted treatment.
- SB145 (Huffman), outlawing a certain abortion procedure often used in second trimester abortions.
- SB158 (Wilson), regarding elder fraud.
- SB201 (Bacon-O’Brien), portions of the Reagan Tokes law that allow for indefinite prison terms based on an inmate’s behavior in prison.
- SB229 (Eklund-Lehner) addressing the regulation of controlled substances.
- SB259 (Hackett) revising the law regulating physician assistant practice.
- SB263 (Huffman), the Notary Public Modernization Act.
Business and industry leaders in the state expressed concern Wednesday about the open question of who will serve as the Ohio House speaker in the 133rd General Assembly. In a letter addressed to Rep. Jim Butler (R-Dayton), various Ohio business and manufacturing organizations said that the uncertainty about who will lead the House next year is preventing the body from aligning its goals with those of Gov.-elect Mike DeWine. Butler, as House Republican Caucus dean, is responsible for scheduling the vote for speaker. Butler declined to comment on the letter to Hannah News Thursday. He said in November that he had not yet decided on setting a speaker vote as the two lead contenders attempt to garner support.
In other action, the House Ways and Means Committee reported out HB566, which deals with cigarette minimum pricing; the House Insurance Committee reported out SB227 (Huffman), which deals with insurance companies’ release of certain claim information; the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee reported out HB211 (Hughes) which deals with licensure of home inspectors; and the Senate Ways and Means Committee reported out HB343 (Merrin) which deals with challenges to property tax valuations; and HB361 (Greenspan), which deals with the handling of property tax complaints; House State and Local Government Committee reported out HB765 (Kick), designating the Monarch butterfly as the official state butterfly; and HB675 (Barnes), regarding the Hope for a Smile dental program; HB484 (Brenner), regarding credit card use by health districts;
With 34 days left in his term, Gov. John Kasich spoke Monday at the JobsOhio December board meeting about the need to protect it from efforts to use it toward more political ends, as well as further work needed to ensure Ohio’s position as a center for diverse industries in the U.S. and worldwide.
For the second time in a week, Gov. John Kasich Tuesday called the failure of public education to embrace workforce development Ohio’s biggest obstacle to future growth as he prepares to turn over the executive office to Gov.-elect Mike DeWine. Kasich led the final meeting of his Governor’s Executive Workforce Board at Cristo Rey Columbus High School, which has adopted the sort of cooperative education model advanced by Kasich. In an informal address to school administrators, faculty and students, he took stock of eight years of policy initiatives in calling workforce development “the biggest problem in the state.”
Appointments made during the week include the following:
- Brendan P. Fitzgerald of Westlake (Cuyahoga County) to the Accountancy Board for a term beginning Dec. 7, 2018 and ending Oct. 20, 2025.
- Ann M. Slone of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the State Speech and Hearing Professionals Board for a term beginning Dec. 7, 2018 and ending March 22, 2020.
- Karil M. Morrissey of Perrysburg (Wood County) to the Owens Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Dec. 7, 2018 and ending Sept. 21, 2024.
- Matthew Lane of Columbus (Franklin County) and Karen M. Manci of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Sewage Treatment System Technical Advisory Committee for terms beginning Jan. 1, 2019 and ending Dec. 31, 2021.
- Lisa M. Gossett of Marysville (Union County) to the Columbus State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Dec. 11, 2018 and ending Aug. 31, 2021.
- Ronald L. Clark of Hilliard (Franklin County) to the Ohio Private Investigation and Security Services Commission for a term beginning Dec. 11, 2018 and ending Dec. 31, 2020.
- Harun A. Rashid of Hudson (Summit County) to the Stark State College of Technology Board of Trustees for a term beginning Dec. 11, 2018 and ending Nov. 2, 2021.
- Robert Cantrell of Winchester (Adams County) to the Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Release Compensation Board for a term beginning Dec. 12, 2018 and ending July 10, 2020.
- Johnathan R. Haggerty of Hicksville (Defiance County) to the State Chiropractic Board for a term beginning Dec. 13, 2018 and ending Nov. 1, 2022.
- Monica J. Turner of West Chester (Butler County) to the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees for a term beginning Dec. 13, 2018 and ending Jan. 1, 2026.
- Ellen Marrison of Pickerington (Fairfield County) and Stephen M. White of Dublin (Franklin County) to the STEM Committee for terms beginning Dec. 13, 2018 and continuing at the pleasure of the governor.
The governor signed the following bills this week:
- HB202 DAY DESIGNATION-VETERANS SUICIDE AWARENESS (THOMPSON A, LANESE L) To designate the first Saturday of May as “Veterans Suicide Awareness Day.”
- HB250 ELECTRIC BIKE REQUIREMENTS (BRINKMAN T) To establish requirements for the use of electric bicycles.
- HB315 DAY DESIGNATION- SMART PARENT DAY (ARNDT S) To designate October 6 as “S.M.A.R.T. Parent Day.”
- HB329 PYRAMID PROMOTIONAL SCHEMES (PELANDA D) To modify the law governing pyramid promotional schemes.
- HB414 DAY DESIGNATION-ATOMIC VETERANS (SCHAFFER T) To designate July 16 as “National Atomic Veterans Day” in Ohio.
- SB223 UNSAFE USED TIRES PROHIBITION (LAROSE F) To prohibit the installation of unsafe used tires on certain motor vehicles.
A bond issue to fund water quality improvements in the Western Basin of Lake Erie and other water bodies could be on the ballot in November 2019, Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) told Hannah News after a nonvoting session Tuesday. Gardner has introduced a resolution — SJR6 (Gardner-O’Brien) — that would provide $1 billion over 10 years to fund water quality improvements, with at least 50 percent going to counties in the Lake Erie Western Basin watershed. The resolution hasn’t received a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee, but Gardner said he “never really anticipated” the resolution would move during the 132nd General Assembly.
Lawmakers should have included a “red flag” provision in HB228 (T. Johnson) and excluded language changing the burden of proof in the bill, Gov. John Kasich said Friday, even though lawmakers removed the controversial “stand your ground” language from the bill. The bill passed both chambers of the General Assembly on Thursday and was officially sent to the governor on Friday.
The Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee adjourned Thursday, likely for the year, without taking action on HB142 (Wiggam-Holmes), legislation that addressed when a concealed handgun licensee must notify a law enforcement officer that the licensee is carrying a concealed handgun when stopped.
The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will not hear Planned Parenthood defunding cases from Louisiana and Kansas, leaving in place lower court rulings that blocked the states from withholding Medicaid dollars for non-abortion health services at the clinics. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer voted to deny certiorari in Gee v. Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast Inc. and Anderson v. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Four votes are needed to grant certiorari. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled a similar Ohio law — 131-HB294 (Patmon-Conditt) — unconstitutional, but a majority of that court’s judges voted to rehear the case en banc. The matter is still pending before the court.
Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor unveiled her plan for drug sentencing reform Thursday among the many recommendations now competing on Capitol Square following defeat of Issue 1. Backed by the Ohio Judicial Conference (OJC), O’Connor’s proposal would maintain the carrot-and-stick approach of “intensive” court supervision, prioritized treatment and threatened felony incarceration, along with statutory changes supporting repeated interventions-in-lieu-of-conviction for relapsed offenders who cooperate with the criminal justice system.
The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection returned $240,000 to 16 victims of attorney theft in its latest round of awards, implicating eight former or suspended members of the Ohio bar.
Columbus City Council has passed legislation addressing medical marijuana dispensaries, defining where they can be located and proximity and operation requirements.
The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) registered 1,948 patients during the patient and caregiver registry’s first week, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) announced Monday. Of those with a recommendation, 1,062 patients have activated their registry card, OBP said.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) has awarded its first medical marijuana dispensary certificate of operation, the agency announced Wednesday. Cresco Labs’ CY+ in Wintersville, an Eastern Ohio village near the city of Steubenville, can now sell medical marijuana products.
As several medical marijuana cultivators harvest plants and the first dispensary gets the green light to open, patients now only need testing laboratories to begin operating so they can find cannabis on Ohio store shelves. North Coast Testing Laboratories in Portage County and Hocking College in Athens County are scheduled to be inspected next week, Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) spokesperson Kerry Francis told Hannah News following Thursday’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee (MMAC) meeting.
The Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC) Thursday set the Medicaid growth rate at 3.3 percent for FY20 and 3.4 percent for FY21, an amount between the highest and the lowest actuarial bounds. JMOC first considered Sen. Lou Terhar’s (R-Cincinnati) motion to target the growth rate at the lowest actuarial bound — 2.8 percent for FY20 and 2.9 percent for FY21 — but that motion was not accepted.
The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) recently released its 2018 Managed Care Plans Report Card, breaking down the performance of Ohio’s five managed care providers across a variety of performance factors. The plans scored largely the same, most earning three stars for average performance in Getting Care, which is defined as how well the plan provides access and how well patients report getting the care they need when they need it. Only Molina Healthcare scored below three, earning two stars for low performance.
Monica Nieporte, the president and publisher of the APG Ohio media group in Athens, will become the next president and executive director of the Ohio News Media Association in 2019. The announcement was made by Ron Waite, publisher of the Sandusky Register and chair of the ONMA search committee that was charged to find a replacement for Executive Director Dennis Hetzel. Nieporte and Hetzel will work together from mid-January until April when Hetzel will depart.
The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s Board of Directors announced that Kelley Griesmer has been selected the organization’s new president and chief executive officer (CEO). She begins her new role on Monday, Dec. 17.
Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Copley) announced that he was recently presented the 2018 Award for Civility in State Governance by the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) National Summit in Columbus.
The funeral for former State Rep. Rose Vesper was held Monday, Dec. 10 following her death on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Vesper was 81. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Dr. Lee Vesper, and three daughters and their families.
The Ohio Inspector General’s Office announced Thursday that consultants exerted “improper influence” in the hiring process for an information technology (IT) consultant at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), with the report sent to the Ohio Auditor of State for further consideration and six recommendations offered to BWC and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS).
Speaking to associations representing county commissioners and county engineers Monday, Gov.-elect Mike DeWine said he wouldn’t make promises on whether he would restore cuts to the Local Government Fund made under the Kasich administration, but said he would look at it and promised some services will get more state support. He said while he wouldn’t make promises on the Local Government Fund, he will be significantly increasing the amount of money going to counties for children’s services, noting that Ohio is 50th in states that send state money to children services. He also said that his administration will be looking to fund more multi-county task forces that will go after Mexican drug cartels and other suppliers of the drug crisis.
Gov.-elect Mike DeWine Wednesday announced the following members of his cabinet and staff: Thomas Stickrath, director of the Department of Public Safety; Sheryl Creed Maxfield, director of the Department of Commerce; Kimberly Murnicks, director of the Office of Budget and Management; and Matthew Donahue, chief legal counsel to the governor.
Treasurer-elect Robert Sprague announced senior staff for his administration Monday, including Jody Foltyn, his campaign manager, as chief of staff; term-limited Sen. Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) as senior director of policy and program administration; House Chief Counsel Michael Lenzo as chief legal counsel; Sam Rossi as communications director; and House Chief Administrative Officer Kim Flasher as chief administrative officer. Beagle was elected in November as Miami County commissioner, but a spokesman for Sprague told Hannah News that Beagle will not be taking the commission seat.
The heartbeat bill, HB258 (Hagan-Hood), is headed to Gov. John Kasich’s desk and a likely veto. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 18 to 13 Wednesday, sending it back to the House for a concurrence vote. House concurrence was triggered after the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee added two amendments to the bill earlier in the day, one of which specifies that a transvaginal ultrasound is not required (which was accepted without objection), and another which allows the State Medical Board to suspend the licenses of doctors who perform abortions prior to the conclusion of criminal proceedings. The House followed up early Friday — at a session that began Thursday afternoon — by concurring on a vote of 53-32.
The most common method of abortion used during the second trimester would be banned under legislation also now headed to Gov. John Kasich’s desk. The House Criminal Justice Committee voted Tuesday to pass SB145 (Huffman), which would prohibit health care providers from performing the surgical procedure known as “dilation and evacuation” (D&E). According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, medication-assisted abortions can also be conducted during the second trimester, which takes place after 13 weeks of pregnancy, but surgical abortions have fewer complications. The full House passed it Thursday, 62-27, and the Senate concurred with changes, 23-9.
On a bipartisan vote, members of the House Insurance Committee on Wednesday narrowly blocked a proposal to bar Ohio insurers from covering abortion services. Rep. Bill Dean (R-Xenia) introduced the concept as an amendment to SB227 (Huffman), legislation meant to expand insurers’ disclosure of claims information to employers. It was tabled 5-4 when members of the committee decided there were questions that needed answering before passing the proposal.

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