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Latest Government News From Ohio

Week in Review

Friday, July 13, 2018

ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE
A new analysis of opioid overdose death data found that the drugs slashed half a million years from the lives of Ohioans between 2010 and 2016. Using actuarial analysis techniques that predict individuals’ lifespans and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Bureau of Vital Statistics data that show how old overdose victims were when they died, researchers found that more than 500,000 expected years of life were lost to opioid overdoses in the seven year period. The study was conducted by the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health (OAIPH), led by former ODH director Rick Hodges. Also on the team were staff members from Ohio University and the University of Toledo, and former Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addition Services (ODADAS) director Orman Hall.
Thousands of Ohioans enrolled in Medicaid were still prescribed opioids despite steps the state has taken to reduce opioid over-prescribing and doctor shopping, according to a new report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
ATTORNEY GENERAL
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has named more than 300 high school students to his Teen Ambassador Board for the 2018-19 academic year. Representing over 160 public, private and home schools in 52 counties, students will get an “inside look” at state law and government, advise the AG’s office on issues affecting teens and work with their peers on solutions.
AUDITOR OF STATE
With a growing number of teachers using crowdfunding websites as a means of raising money for educational supplies, Ohio Auditor Dave Yost issued a report outlining best practices for school districts to ensure the sites are used properly. The auditor said one estimate found that teachers spend an average of $600 a year of their own money to provide items ranging from notebooks and pencils to specialized furniture for special-needs students. When their own resources are not enough, teachers have turned to a variety of websites for donations of money and educational materials, including some geared toward teachers. One, DonorsChoose, said it has helped with 600,000 classroom projects raising $621 million from almost 3 million individual and corporate donors.
BALLOT ISSUES
While county boards of elections continue to check whether a group seeking to put a constitutional amendment before voters limiting profits of dialysis clinics and require regular inspections of those clinics has enough signatures, the official opposition group to the campaign announced its formation. Ohioans Against the Reckless Dialysis Amendment said it is a “broad coalition of leading kidney care organizations, nurses, physicians, and patient advocates.” The group said the amendment threatens to reduce access to Ohio’s 326 outpatient dialysis clinics for the 18,000 Ohioans suffering from kidney failure.
FY18-19 BUDGET
The state’s Rainy Day Fund (RDF) now sits nearly at its statutory maximum of $2.7 billion after Gov. John Kasich announced Wednesday a deposit of $657.5 million from the FY18 surplus. That fund, which is characterized as the state’s “savings account,” is also known as the Budget Stabilization Fund. It now totals $2,691,554,191.27. In addition, $162.4 million from the FY18 surplus funds an ending balance that equals one-half of one percent of the FY18 revenues as provided for in Ohio Revised Code Sec. 131.44 while $30 million was transferred to the Medicaid Local Sales Tax Transition Fund to be distributed to counties and transit authorities to help mitigate the loss of the managed care organizations (MCO) sales tax that is no longer being collected under provisions in the FY18-19 budget bill, HB49. Those groups received a total of $207 million last year at the end of FY17.
Following Wednesday’s RDF announcement, Policy Matters Ohio (PMO) released a statement saying that “… instead of banking this money, the state should have used it to make lives better … for millions of Ohioans by strengthening public libraries, expanding bus service, extending broadband, sending more toddlers to preschool, making public college more affordable, restoring support to local governments and meeting the many needs of people and communities across the state.”
DEATH PENALTY
Without comment, the Ohio Supreme Court Wednesday unanimously denied a motion from Death Row inmate Robert Van Hook to reconsider its denial of a stay of execution. Van Hook is scheduled to die on Wednesday, July 18 for the murder of David Self in 1985. This will be the state’s first execution since September 2017.
EDUCATION
Among dozens of bills passing before lawmakers’ summer recess were several changing education policy in Ohio. While last-minute amendments addressed e-school accountability in the wake of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) scandal, other bills set to become law upon the governor’s signature addressed everything from educational service center (ESC) governance to restrictions on the use of suspension and expulsion of students.
The third grade English test score required for promotion to fourth grade under the state’s third grade reading guarantee will increase from 672 to 677 in the coming school year following a vote Tuesday of the State Board of Education. A board committee had recommended a more aggressive increase to 682 earlier in the day, but that proposal failed narrowly at the full board.
State Board of Education members and Superintendent Paolo DeMaria discussed Monday potential priorities for the FY20-21 budget proposal to be presented to the board in September. DeMaria identified the following 10 priorities he’d culled from conversations with board members ahead of the meeting: childhood education; whole child supports and wrap-around services; literacy; school improvement; instructional practices/personalized learning; family engagement; drug education and school safety; field staff; transportation; and technology.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the State Board of Education, a work group assigned the responsibility of recommending ways to improving the state’s school report card system revealed its first round of suggestions while acknowledging that more work would need to be done through the remainder of the summer and into the fall. Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee Chair Nancy Hollister emphasized that they were only the beginning of an ongoing conversation around the report card.
Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) has the right to seek court review of the State Board of Education’s vote to claw back $60 million in per-student funding, appellate judges ruled this week. In a 2-1 ruling, the 10th District Court of Appeals found that the board’s recovery decision was a quasi-judicial proceeding and thus subject to appeal, overturning a ruling from the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. The appellate court had previously determined the quasi-judicial nature of the decision in open meetings litigation the online charter school filed.
The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) Thursday unanimously approved a full agenda of items, including adjustments to construction in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, new FY19 school construction projects and legal authorization to seek restitution for improper facilities work.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recently announced 33 additional schools would be receiving the state’s Purple Star designation honoring military-friendly schools. Schools receive the designation for two years. To receive the designation, schools must have a staff member assigned to serve as a point of contact specifically for military families and their children who has undergone a professional development course offered by the department. Schools must also have a webpage dedicated to resources for military families.
ELECTIONS
Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Thursday that the Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) has met the necessary requirements to be recognized as a minor party in the state again. The party had lost its status after the passage of 130-SB193 (Seitz), a bill that changed the requirements a minor party needs to achieve in order to be recognized by the state. Subsequent lawsuits by Libertarians were rejected by state and federal courts.
Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a number of new directives that will allow voters to remain on the voting rolls and cast a ballot if they are removed through the supplemental process that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last month. Husted said Monday that his office will begin offering a new feature on MyOhioVote.com that will allow voters to check their registration and will inform them if their registration is in confirmation status. The notice will explain to the voter that the board of elections has mailed the voter a confirmation notice that the voter has not yet responded to in order to confirm or update their information. Husted did previously tell county boards of elections that despite the court ruling, no voter registrations are to be cancelled before this year’s elections.
Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Thursday a new collaboration between his office and state community colleges that will give local elections officials access to knowledgeable information technology professionals who will help them in complying with the cybersecurity requirements outlined in a directive released by Husted’s office earlier this year.
ELECTIONS 2018
Gov. John Kasich, fielding questions following the announcement of the deposit to the state’s Rainy Day Fund Wednesday, commented that, “I’m going to be for Mike [DeWine] … I’m going to vote for him.”
The number of law enforcement bulk cash smuggling task forces would “significantly” increase under a DeWine-Husted administration, Republican gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Mike DeWine said Friday. DeWine spokesperson Dan Tierney said only three of these task forces under the AG’s Organized Crime Investigations Commission can be acknowledged publicly — those in the areas of Columbus, Toledo and the Miami Valley. He said such task forces cannot be disclosed until they produce their first indictment or court filing.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Mike DeWine and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Richard Cordray separately addressed attendees of a candidates’ forum hosted by the Ohio Association of Regional Councils (OARC) on Tuesday. DeWine said that while he is not an expert in all areas of public policy, his administration will rely on the state’s thought leaders to tackle persistent challenges ranging from transportation infrastructure to Lake Erie water quality to the opioid crisis if he is elected. Later in the day, Cordray promoted his plan to improve infrastructure in Ohio and to work more collaboratively with local governments. The Democrat said it “will be a fundamentally different Ohio” if he is elected as opposed to electing DeWine.
Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Republican nominee for governor, told reporters Wednesday that his administration would continue the Medicaid expansion while seeking to reform it, including adding work requirements and a wellness component through managed care programs. DeWine also said his administration would make the process of selecting and using prescription benefit managers (PBM) more transparent and competitive.
Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth), the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, announced Tuesday that he will serve no more than two terms if he is elected to the U.S. Senate.
The re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announced it has raised $3.7 million in the second quarter of 2018, which the campaign said is its biggest haul of the 2018 election and nearly $700,000 more than Brown raised in the second quarter in 2012, his last re-election campaign.
The Ohio Republican Party announced Tuesday that Bob Murphy, a member of the party’s State Central Committee, had died. Murphy had also won a Republican primary for the 25th Senate District seat and would have faced Sen. Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) in November, but withdrew from the race before his death.
The Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) expanded its communications team, adding Rachel Coyle as press secretary for the 2018 election cycle.
Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), the Democratic nominee for secretary of state, announced a plan this week that she said would encourage economic development, job creation and innovation in the secretary of state’s office.
The following endorsements were made this week:
- The campaign of Democratic attorney general nominee Steve Dettelbach announced the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a former California attorney general.
- The Ohio State Medical Association endorsed the DeWine-Husted ticket for governor/lieutenant governor.
EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT
Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 213,000 in June, according to new figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday, and the national unemployment rate went up to 4 percent in part because of more people rejoining the workforce. BLS said the number of unemployed persons increased by 499,000 in June to 6.6 million. In June 2017, the number of unemployed persons was 7 million, and the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent.
ENERGY
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) said that natural gas production in the first quarter of 2018 increased by 42.85 percent compared to 2017′s first quarter, though oil production decreased by 3.6 percent.
FEDERAL
Reactions rolled in Tuesday following the Monday night announcement by President Donald Trump of his nomination of D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Kavanaugh, 53, has served on the appeals court since 2006. In remarks accepting the nomination, Kavanaugh said, “My judicial philosophy is straightforward. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.”
Echoing concerns he expressed earlier, Ohio’s Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said Tuesday that he is concerned about both retaliatory tariffs and the resulting cost increases for products around the president’s tariffs. And while he said a stronger hand was needed in dealings with China, he said he believes the president’s approach with Canada, the EU and other allies is a “misuse” of the national security provisions in the Trade Expansion Act.
Though she has Ohio roots, Kathy Kraninger does not have a background in consumer protection and is unlikely to win his confirmation vote for leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said Wednesday. Brown said Kraninger, an official in the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was an intern in his office many years ago, but he hasn’t kept in touch with her.
GAMING/GAMBLING
For the second month, nearly all of Ohio’s four casinos showed June revenue increases over their earnings in 2017, with Cincinnati’s Jack Cincinnati Casino coming up slightly short. Only one casino surpassed its May revenue. Overall, Ohio’s casinos earned $67.1 million in June, down from $68.7 million in May, but on the whole up from $64.1 in June 2017 according to records released Monday by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE
The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) announced Wednesday that “Phase I” work of power-washing, sealing and striping asphalt in the Ohio Statehouse parking garage is ahead of schedule. The bulk of the work is being conducted during off-hours from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and weekends, with overnight parking prohibited.
GOVERNOR
Gov. John Kasich continued to say Wednesday that he does not know what he will do after he leaves office in a few months, but that he will be looking for the best way to keep his voice out there, speaking about things he thinks are wrong for the country. Kasich spoke at a forum of the Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC) with Bret Stephens, a columnist for the New York Times who opened the program with comments about what it means to be conservative in the current political environment and the age of Trumpism.
Gov. John Kasich spoke at length in defense of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Thursday at the National Press Club (NPC) in Washington, D.C., saying that a “wrecking ball strategy” does not make sense and that relationships with world leaders are “fraying.” Kasich also held subsequent interviews with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and was scheduled for a Thursday evening appearance on PBS NewsHour.
Appointments made during the week include the following:
- Tracy Intihar of Columbus (Franklin County) to the State Dental Board for a term beginning July 6, 2018 and ending April 6, 2021.
- Dasmine Wright of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Public Benefits Advisory Board for a term beginning July 6, 2018 and ending June 30, 2021.
- Guy C. Coviello of Youngstown (Trumbull County) reappointed to the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission for a term beginning July 6, 2018 and ending June 30, 2023.
- Darryl D. Mehaffie of Greenville (Darke County), Farid Naffah of Cortland (Trumbull County) and Neal F. Zimmers of Granville (Licking County) reappointed to the Ohio Arts Council for terms beginning July 6, 2018 and ending July 1, 2023.
- Bernita Jo Freimann of Marietta (Washington County) to the Washington State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 9, 2018 and ending Feb. 16, 2021.
- Shelly M. Niese of Crestline (Crawford County) to the North Central State College Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 9, 2018 and ending Jan. 16, 2020.
- Mary Kaye Scaramucci of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the State Dental Board for a term beginning July 9, 2018 and ending April 6, 2022.
- Mark L. Martin of Massillon (Stark County) to the Statewide Emergency Services Internet Protocol Network Steering Committee for a term beginning July 10, 2018 and ending Dec. 31, 2020.
- Jill N. Tayfel of Brecksville (Cuyahoga County) reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Juvenile Justice for a term beginning July 10, 2018 and ending Oct. 31, 2020.
- Frederick Odame of Liberty Township (Hamilton County) to the New Americans Advisory Committee for a term beginning July 10, 2018 and ending May 14, 2020.
- Davin Marcum of Coal Grove (Lawrence County) and Renee M. Wood of Toledo (Lucas County) to the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council for terms beginning July 10, 2018 and ending March 14, 2021.
- Mirta Reyes-Chapman of Youngstown (Mahoning County), Rajai Saleh of Gahanna (Franklin County), and Kevin R. Flynn of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council for terms beginning July 11, 2018, and ending March 14, 2021.
- Matthew G. Hiscock of Wadsworth (Medina County) reappointed to the Statewide Emergency Services Internet Protocol Network Steering Committee for a term beginning July 11, 2018, and ending Dec. 31, 2020.
- Kyle J. Corbin of Dayton (Montgomery County), Sarah J. Kelly of Orient (Pickaway County), and Sonia L. Tillman of Blacklick (Franklin County) to the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council for terms beginning July 12, 2018, and ending March 14, 2021.
- David W. Furbee of Jackson (Jackson County) reappointed to the Shawnee State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 12, 2018, and ending June 30, 2027.
- John W. Hemmings III of Wheelersburg (Scioto County) to the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation for a term beginning July 12, 2018, and ending June 2, 2023.
GREAT LAKES
Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday signed an executive order tightening regulations on agricultural enterprises operating in newly-designated “watersheds in distress,” drawing the praise of environmentalists and the ire of farmers. Kasich — joined at the Statehouse by Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) Director Craig Butler, Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) Director David Daniels, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Jim Zehringer, Lake Erie Foundation President James Stouffer and Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) Executive Director Heather Taylor-Miesle — said these additional actions are necessary to reduce fertilizer runoff in the Western Basin of Lake Erie, which is a major contributor to harmful algal blooms.
Representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted this year’s algal bloom in Lake Erie will be significant, but less severe than last year’s. Using a 10-point scale developed after the 2011 algal bloom, NOAA predicted the 2018 algal bloom will rank a “six,” while last year’s algal bloom ranked an “eight.”
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Though it’s planning an updated and statewide rollout of the managed care concepts in the MyCare waiver program, the Kasich administration will soon ask the federal government to extend MyCare for three years to avoid interruption in services. Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) Director Barbara Sears told members of the Managed Long-Term Services and Supports (MLTSS) Study Committee of plans to submit a letter requesting the extension. MyCare Ohio is demonstration project approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to coordinate and manage care for Ohioans who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
Suicide rates rose nationwide between 1999 and 2016, according to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Ohio’s 36 percent increase was 19th highest among all states. Ohio’s age-adjusted annual rate per 100,000 men increased from 20.4 in 1999-2001 to 25.5 in 2014-2016, while the female rate rose more gradually from 4.0 to 6.7. The combined rate went from 11.6 to 15.8, and Ohio is ranked 32nd in current suicide rates. The greatest rate increases (+1.4 and +1.0) were between 2011-2013 and 2014-2016, respectively.
HIGHER EDUCATION
Ohio State University (OSU) recently broke ground on the first of three facilities planned to be built at the Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory, also known as the Waterman Farm, on OSU’s campus. The Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Office’s construction began on June 29 and is planned as a community engagement facility for Franklin County. Its construction was made possible with an $11 million gift from Patricia Brundige, who supports various Ohio 4-H projects.
The president of Greater Cincinnati’s Thomas More College will be stepping down at the end of the month to become president of a Florida university. David Armstrong’s last day at the Crestview Hills, KY college will be July 31, though Kathleen Jagger, currently the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the institution, will take on the role of acting president beginning July 16. Armstrong is set to become the president of St. Thomas University in Miami, FL.
A University of Toledo (UT) College of Medicine Researcher has received national recognition for his work on research that cured genetic hypertension in rats. Dr. Xi Cheng, a postdoctoral research fellow, received the Physiological Genomics Group New Investigator Award from the American Physiological Society for his research.
JUDICIAL
Ten months after the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow’s (ECOT) enrollment dispute hit the Ohio Supreme Court, and five months after oral arguments in the case, Justice Pat DeWine recused himself from the proceedings. DeWine filed a one-sentence recusal notice with the Supreme Court’s clerk Monday. He is the second justice to bow out of the case. Justice Judith French recused last year soon after ECOT filed its appeal with the Supreme Court. Her daughter, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Jenifer French, was the trial court judge in the case.
Tenth District Appeals Court Judge Timothy Horton faces a range of ethics charges this month before a three-judge panel of the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct. The Democrat, who rose to the appellate bench in 2015 following nine years on the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, is accused of false campaign finance reporting, misuse of county staff and “inappropriate sexual conduct.”
MARIJUANA
Although the original plaintiff dropped its case after being awarded a license to grow medical marijuana, another spurned cannabis company has stepped into PharmaCann Ohio LLC’s place to resume challenging the constitutionality of certain provisions of the state’s medical marijuana law. Greenleaf Gardens LLC is arguing that language in 131-HB523 (Huffman) requiring at least 15 percent of licenses to be awarded to economically-disadvantaged groups is an unconstitutional “race-based quota.”
MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM
The Controlling Board Monday approved the Ohio Department of Medicaid’s request to transfer more than $310 million into the Health and Human Services Fund, a move that was specified in HB49 (R. Smith), the biennial budget. The request is designed for the agency to draw $750 million in federal funds that had been already appropriated and will fund the Medicaid program, the request said.
MENTAL HEALTH
Gov. John Kasich appointed Dr. Mark Hurst to serve as the next director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) beginning on July 13, replacing Tracy Plouck, who is leaving for the private sector. Hurst has served as the department’s medical director since 2012, providing leadership and supervision over Ohio’s state-run hospitals, including its six regional psychiatric hospitals and addiction services at Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction facilities.
NATURAL RESOURCES
Two Ohio wildfire crews from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) have spent the past week battling fires in both Utah and Texas. A 20-person Ohio wildfire crew traveled to Boise, ID. From there they were assigned to the Dollar Ridge Fire in Northeastern Utah. Additionally, an ODNR wildfire crew consisting of three people and one wildfire engine is assisting wildfire suppression efforts in Sweetwater, TX.
NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
The Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies changed its name to the Ohio Children’s Alliance. More information about the Ohio Children’s Alliance can be found online at http://www.ohiochildrensalliance.org/ .
The Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF) recently announced that it had awarded a total of $325,458 to 11 projects across Ohio. The foundation said each of the projects fulfills OSBF’s mission of promoting justice and public understanding of the rule of law.
PAYDAY LENDING
Following two hearings this week in the Senate Finance Committee where a substitute version of HB123 (Koehler-Ashford) was unveiled, the Ohio Senate went on to pass the measure on Tuesday by a vote of 21-9. Voting against the bill were Sens. Bill Coley (R-West Chester), John Eklund (R-Chardon), Robert Hackett (R-London), Frank Hoagland (R-Adena), Matt Huffman (R-Lima), Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander), Robert McColley (R-Napoleon), Louis Terhar (R-Cincinnati) and Joe Uecker (R-Loveland). The substitute bill, offered by Finance Chair Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), is called the “Fairness in Lending Act.” Oelslager said it would ensure loans are affordable, reduce the cost of loans and improve consumer protections through a number of provisions. A proponent hailed it as a “national model” while opponents from the industry said they felt left out of its drafting process.
PENSIONS
Thousands of retirees and workers from Ohio and across the U.S. traveled to the Ohio Statehouse Thursday to rally for action to save imperiled multi-employer pensions, whose failure would slash retirement incomes and threaten the viability of the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Teamsters, mine workers, other union members and retirees packed the West lawn and plaza of the Statehouse all the way from Broad Street to State Street, amassing the biggest labor gathering since the 2011 battle over collective bargaining rights in Ohio.
STATE GOVERNMENT
Following an investigation by the Ohio Inspector General (OIG), a former employee of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) has been indicted by a Franklin County Grand Jury for theft in office, tampering with records and filing a false or fraudulent tax return. Human Management Capital Analyst Tiffany Diggs, who had been responsible for processing payroll and employee benefits for all DODD employees, has been charged with posting fraudulent hours to another employee’s payroll and then diverting the money to her personal bank account. She was a 17-year employee of the department.
TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE
Central Ohio is one step closer to becoming home to the world’s largest, most comprehensive contained testing site for automated and connected vehicles. Gov. John Kasich — joined by representatives of the administration, JobsOhio, Ohio State University (OSU) and the General Assembly — met in a tent at the secretive Transportation Research Center (TRC) in East Liberty on Monday to break ground on the 540-acre “SMARTCenter.” Funding for the facility was announced in January 2017.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
The state’s highest court is giving the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) another chance to explain why it should not have to repay the city of Cleveland and dozens of other state and local public employers hundreds of millions of dollars for alleged premium overcharges equivalent to an even larger refund to private employers received in the San Allen v. Buehrer (2014) settlement. Led by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, the Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday accepted the bureau’s appeal in Cleveland v. BWC even as the related class action lawsuit Parma v. BWC awaits certification in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
The Ohio Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that an ongoing class action lawsuit against the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) was filed in the wrong court and must instead be heard in the Ohio Court of Claims. In the case of Cirino v. BWC, the court ruled 6-1 that appellee Michael Cirino seeks legal relief instead of equitable relief, meaning the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court did not have the proper jurisdiction to hear the case.

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