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Latest Government News From Ohio

Week in Review

Friday, October 14, 2016


Attorney General (AG) Mike DeWine announced the award of $79.5 million in grants to 356 crime victim service providers across Ohio, led by more than $3.1 million to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Part of his one-year-old “Expanding Services and Empowering Victims Initiative,” the grants will provide an estimated $25 million to victims of domestic violence, $20 million to victims of sexual assault, and more than $14 million to services for abused children.


The Coordinating Committee of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission (OCMC) began looking into changing gender-specific pronouns in the Ohio Constitution at the urging of Senior Policy Advisor Stephen Steinglass, who made a presentation to the committee.

The OCMC Constitutional Revision and Updating Committee took up the issue of citizen-initiated referendums Thursday and the possibility of requiring the public to pass a constitutional amendment not once but twice before it could take effect.

OCMC’s Legislative Branch and Executive Branch Committee turned to a fairly light schedule Thursday, with no reports, recommendations or votes on the agenda and no formal presentations scheduled. Members instead read through working drafts of Article II, Sections 3, 4, 5, 11 and 31 as one group and Article II, Sections 6,7,8,9,13 and 14 as another.


The federal and state governments should decriminalize possession of illicit drugs for personal use, according to a new study from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch (HRW). Enforcement of the current law ruins lives, discriminates against people of color, and undermines public health, says the report, “Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States.”


The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Ohio Manufacturers’ Association (OMA) say they’ll work with either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as the next U.S. president in order to revitalize the country’s failing infrastructure. The associations announced a new initiative Wednesday to strengthen manufacturing with updated roads and bridges, rails, ports and water treatment systems.


The U.S. Department of Education’s (USDOE) inspector general told the agency in a recent report its charter school grant program is susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse, among other risks, because of insufficient protections against improper relationships between charter schools and their management organizations. Ohio charter schools and the Ohio Department of Education were not among those selected for review by the inspector general’s office. Ohio has won the grants numerous times, most recently securing a $32 million award, spending of which is under tight federal monitoring because of the state’s own recent troubles in charter oversight. Ohio received additional awards in 2007, 2004, 2001 and 1998.

Cleveland Municipal School District was one of 16 award recipients of a U.S Department of Education (USDOE) Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant announced recently. According to USDOE, the district will receive $2.3 million through the program to implement comprehensive, integrated physical activity and nutrition programs for its students.

An international law firm hired by the Turkish government filed a complaint Tuesday with Auditor Dave Yost, asking him to investigate a chain of charter schools the firm says are organized to divert public funding to an exiled cleric regarded by Turkey as a terrorist. The schools rebutted the allegations as false, noting previous attacks were found baseless. Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners detailed the allegations at a press conference hosted by ProgressOhio, which has been critical of the Ohio charters affiliated with Concept Schools and helped organize former teachers to testify about the schools before State Board of Education. Turkey hired Amsterdam to investigate the dealings of Fethullah Gulen, who is linked to Concept Schools and whom Turkey suspects of involvement in this summer’s attempted coup against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) is seeking expedited appellate consideration of its lawsuit against the state, citing the effect of the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) enrollment findings on its relationship with lenders. Meanwhile, the school also started an administrative appeal of the state’s finding that its 2015-2016 enrollment was substantially lower than the online charter school reported.

The Ohio e-School Families & Friends Coalition announced it has give its Golden Apple Award to Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell), chairman of the House Education Committee, in recognition of his support for parental choice in education. According to the coalition, Brenner was given the award Wednesday by the Dutcher family, who have a child enrolled in an online charter school. “I love that my daughter gets to work at her own pace and isn’t distracted by the typical happenings of the brick and mortar classroom,” said a statement from Tamela Dutcher.

Most of Ohio’s sponsors of charter schools earned the rating of “ineffective,” the second lowest of four possible designations, in long-awaited evaluations the state released Thursday. About a third were rated “poor,” meaning they could lose their sponsorship authority entirely. No sponsor earned the highest rating of “exemplary,” while five were one rung down in the “effective” category: Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, Jefferson County Educational Service Center, St. Aloysius Orphanage and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

The Joint Education Oversight Committee (JEOC) on Thursday unanimously approved a list of proposed research projects from JEOC Executive Director Lauren Monowar-Jones. Items on the list include educational choices, assessments, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), accountability, early learning investment, value added, career technical education and transportation. The last item was the focus of Thursday’s meeting, and the committee plans to hear more testimony on the topic in November. A report summarizing the transportation testimony and making recommendations could come sometime after that, according to the proposal.

The Controlling Board will be considering a request to increase the legal budget for the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to help pay for the ongoing court battle with the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 17.


Groups behind a lawsuit challenging laws from the 130th General Assembly regarding absentee and provisional ballots said they will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court after the full U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider a decision by a three-judge panel of the court.


After months of disagreeing with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump while still overall supporting his candidacy, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) joined other high profile Republicans in pulling his endorsement from Trump over the weekend after tape surfaced with Trump making lewd comments about women more than a decade ago.

Absentee voting began Wednesday, Oct. 12, after the deadline to register closed on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Boards of election will be accepting mail-in ballots as well as be open for in-person voting as follows:
- Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 12-14: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Monday-Friday, Oct. 17-21: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Monday-Friday, Oct. 24-28: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 29: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sunday, Oct. 30: 1 to 5 p.m.
- Monday, Oct. 31-Friday, Nov. 4: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 5: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 6: 1 to 5 p.m.
- Monday, Nov. 7: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Then on Election Day — Tuesday, Nov. 8 – polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Ohio Democrats spoke out against gun violence in Columbus Monday during a stop of a bus tour by a group started by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). The “Vocal Majority” bus tour is encouraging people to register to vote and elect candidates who are committed to addressing gun violence and what organizers said is responsible change to gun laws.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop at Ohio State University Monday evening, nestled between the latest presidential debate and Ohio’s last day to register to vote and drawing what her campaign said was the “largest crowd to date.”

The state’s largest teachers union organized a teleconference Tuesday to discuss reports from educators in Ohio and elsewhere of increases in bullying as a result of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s behavior and rhetoric on the campaign trail.

Secretary of State Jon Husted said Tuesday that an estimated 1,091,188 absentee ballot applications have been received by county boards of elections statewide as of Friday, Oct. 8. Of the applications received, 17,300 came from military and overseas voters, whose absentee ballots began going out on Sept. 24. Of those ballots, 1,445 have been returned.

Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) released guides Tuesday for early voting by mail and in-person as voter registration ended Tuesday, Ovt 11 for the Nov. 8 General Election. Clyde said she has been traveling across the state, talking to voters about efforts to improve early voting and voter access.

Baldwin Wallace University (BW) released a new poll of likely Ohio voters Wednesday showing a 9 percentage point lead for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over Republican nominee Donald Trump.

As presidential candidates ramp up outreach to religious voters in battleground states, faith leaders in the Columbus-area released a non-partisan voter reflection guide. More than 250 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders support the guide, which will be distributed in Columbus-area congregations as part of efforts to educate and register voters.

President Barack Obama urged Democrats to get out and work to elect Hillary Clinton as president and Ted Strickland to the U.S. Senate, while criticizing their Republican opponents on the ballot. Speaking at the Ohio Democratic Party’s state dinner Thursday night, Obama never mentioned incumbent U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) by name, but criticized him for supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump until recently, among other things.

Two authors appeared on a panel Thursday at the Ohio Statehouse, discussing Ohio’s impact on presidential elections. Kyle Kondik, author of The Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President, and Ronald Shafer, author of The Carnival Campaign, joined former Statehouse reporter and now assistant professor at the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University Tom Suddes, in a noon panel in the Museum Gallery to discuss both the presidential election of 1840 and more recent presidential elections where Ohio has played a predictive role.

Endorsements made over the week include the following:

- The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) endorsed the following candidates: for State Board of Education – Tanyce Addison District 1 (educator); Roz Painter-Goffi District 5 (educator); Antoinette Miranda District 6 (educator); Debbie Phillips District 8; Stephanie Dodd District 9; Braydon Bevens District 10; and Meryl Johnson District 11 (educator). For Ohio House of Representatives - Adam Miller (D) House District 17; Kristin Boggs (D) House District 18 (incumbent); Michael Johnston (D) House District 19; Heather Bishoff (D) House District 20 (incumbent); David Leland (D) House District 22 (incumbent); Lee Schreiner (D) House District 23; Jim Hughes (R) House District 24; Bernadine Kent (D) House District 25; Hearcel Craig (D) House District 26 (incumbent); Barb Niemeyer (D) House District 74; Brad Nicodemus (D) House District 77; Scott Crider (D) House District 86; Joe Otis (D) House District 27; Jessica Miranda (D) House District 28; Brigid Kelly (D) House District 31; Catherine Ingram (D) House District 32; Alicia Reece (D) House District 33 (incumbent); Fred Strahorn (D) House District 39 (incumbent); David Sparks (D) House District 43; Suzi Rubin (D) House District 53; Samuel Ronan (D) House District 62; Alex Wendt (D) House District 79; John Dyce (D) House District 5; Phillip Robinson (D) House District 6; Kent Smith (D) House District 8 (incumbent); Janine Boyd (D) House District 9 (incumbent); Stephanie Howse (D) House District 11 (incumbent); Jill Miller Zimon (D) House District 12; Nickie Antonio (D) House District 13 (incumbent); Tommy Greene (D) House District 16; Emilia Sykes (D) House District 34 (incumbent); Greta Johnson (D) House District 35 (incumbent); Casey Weinstein (D) House District 37; Judith Lynn Lee (D) House District 38; Kirk Schuring (R) House District 48 (incumbent); Thomas West (D) House District 49; John Juergenson (D) House District 50; Michele Lepore-Hagan (D) House District 58 (incumbent); John Rogers (D) House District 60 (incumbent); Frank Zona (D) House District 69; Kathleen Clyde (D) House District 75 (incumbent); Terri McIntee (D) House District 76; John Patterson (D) House District 99 (incumbent); Kelly Wicks (D) House District 3; Michael Ashford (D) House District 44 (incumbent); Teresa Fedor (D) House District 45 (incumbent); Michael Sheehy (D) House District 46 (incumbent); Dan Ramos (D) House District 56 (incumbent); Tom Dunlap (D) House District 57; Larry Hartlaub (D) House District 89; and Ginny Favede (D) House District 95. For Ohio Senate - Randy Gardner (R) Senate District 2 (incumbent); Peggy Lehner (R) Senate District 6 (incumbent); Cathy Johnson (D) Senate District 16; Emily Hagan (D) Senate District 24; Vernon Sykes (D) Senate District 28; Lou Gentile (D) Senate District 30 (incumbent); and Kristen Rock (D) Senate District 32. For Ohio Supreme Court - Cynthia Rice (statewide). For U.S. Senate - Ted Strickland (D). For Congress - Rob Klepinger (D) District 10.

- Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio endorsed the following candidates (incumbents designated by asterisk): U.S. Senate – Rob Portman*. Ohio Supreme Court – Maureen O’Connor*, Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer. Congress - Dist. 1 Steve Chabot*, Dist. 2 Brad Wenstrup*, Dist. 3 John Adams, Dist. 5 Bob Latta*, Dist. 4 Jim Jordan*, Dist. 6 Bill Johnson*, Dist. 8 Warren Davidson*, Dist. 7 Bob Gibbs*, Dist. 11 Beverly Goldstein, Dist. 12 Pat Tiberi*, Dist. 13 Richard Morckel, Dist. 15 Steve Stivers*, and Dist. 16 Jim Renacci. Ohio Senate - Dist. 4 Bill Coley*, Dist. 8 Lou Terhar, Dist. 10 Robert Hackett*, Dist. 12 Matt Huffman, Dist. 22 Larry Obhof*, Dist. 24 Matt Dolan and Dist. 30 Frank Hoagland. Ohio House of Representatives – Dist. 1 Scott Wiggam (Wayne), Dist. 2 Mark Romanchuk* (Richland), Dist. 4 Tom Brinkman* (Hamilton), Dist. 17 John Rush (Franklin), Dist. 20 Lisa Schacht (Franklin), Dist. 29 Lou Blessing III* (Hamilton), Dist. 30 Bill Seitz (Hamilton), Dist. 31 Mary Yeager (Hamilton), Dist. 37 Kristina Roegner* (Summit), Dist. 38 Marilyn Slaby* (Summit), Dist. 40 Mike Henne* (Montgomery), Dist. 41 James Butler* (Montgomery), Dist. 42 Niraj Antani* (Montgomery), Dist. 47 Derrick Merrin * (Fulton and Lucas), Dist. 48 Kirk Schuring* (Stark), Dist. 50 Christina Hagan* (Stark), Dist. 51 Wes Retherford* (Butler), Dist. 52 Margaret Conditt* (Butler), Dist. 54 Paul Zeltwanger* (Butler and Warren), Dist. 61 Ron Young* (Lake), Dist. 62 Scott Lipps (Warren), Dist. 65 John Becker* (Clermont), Dist. 66 Doug Green* (Brown and Clermont), Dist. 67 Andrew Brenner* (Delaware), Dist. 69 Steve Hambley* (Medina), Dist. 71 Scott Ryan* (Licking), Dist. 73 Ricker Perales* (Greene), Dist. 74 William Dean* (Clark and Greene), Dist. 77 Tim Schaffer* (Fairfield), Dist. 78 Ron Hood* (Athens, Fairfield, Hocking, Morgan, Pickaway & Muskingum), Dist. 79 Kyle Koehler* (Clark), Dist. 80 Stephen Huffman* (Darke and Miami), Dist. 81 Rob McColley* (Fulton, Henry, Putnam and Williams), Dist. 82 Craig Riedel (Auglaize, Defiance, Paulding and Van Wert), Dist. 83 Robert Sprague* (Hancock, Hardin and Logan), Dist. 84 Keith Faber (Auglaize, Darke, Mercer and Shelby), Dist. 85 Nino Vitale* (Champaign, Logan and Shelby), Dist. 86 Dorothy Pelanda* (Marion and Union), Dist. 88 William Reineke* (Seneca and Sandusky), Dist. 89 Steve Arndt* (Erie and Ottawa), Dist. 91 Cliff Rosenberger* (Clinton, Highland, Pike and Ross), Dist. 92 Gary Scherer* (Fayette, Ross and Pickaway), Dist. 93 Ryan Smith* (Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence and Vinton), Dist. 95 Andy Thompson* (Belmont, Carroll, Harrison, Noble and Washington) and Dist. 97 Brian Hill* (Guernsey and Muskingum).

- The Portage County TEA Party endorsed Donald Trump for president and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) for Congress while withholding endorsement of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R) and U.S. Rep. David Joyce (R-Twinsburg) for their failure to support Trump.

- The Columbus Dispatch endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and Sen. Rob Portman for the U.S. Senate.

- Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio endorsed the following: President - Donald J. Trump. U.S. Senate - Sen. Rob Portman. Ohio Supreme Court - Cynthia Rice. Fifth District Court of Appeals - David Gormley. Ohio Senate Dist. 2, Randy Gardner; Dist. 6, Peggy Lehner; Dist. 18, John Eklund; Dist. 22, Larry Obhof; Dist. 26, Dave Burke; and Dist. 30, Lou Gentile. Ohio House of Representatives – Dist. 5, John Dyce; Dist. 7, Tom Patton; Dist. 16, Tommy Greene; Dist. 35, Greta Johnson; Dist. 36, Bobby McDowall; Dist. 37, Casey Weinstein; Dist. 39, Fred Strahorn; Dist. 55, Nathan Manning; Dist. 56, Dan Ramos; Dist. 60, John Rogers; Dist. 69, Frank Zona; Dist. 75, Kathleen Clyde; and Dist. 94, Sarah Grace.


The national unemployment rate rose slightly from 4.9 percent to 5 percent in September, according to new figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as the national total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 jobs.


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) announced that it is offering water quality training at Ken Green’s Farm, 943 Water St., Woodville, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016.


October 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of “National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This month serves as a reminder that bullying prevention must be addressed, and one way to accomplish this is through education of communities and youth. To that end, the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention is asking individuals to take the time this month to become more aware of the serious consequences of bullying and to learn more about what can be done to prevent bullying. More information can be found online at http://www.stopbullying.gov/.

A federal appeals court this week said the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) headed by former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray is unconstitutional because it puts unchecked power in the hands of a single director rather than a board that oversees the agency. The ruling drew opposite reactions from Ohio’s two U.S. senators.


Ohio’s casinos earned slightly less in September than they did a year ago, according to new numbers released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission. According to the commission, the four casinos earned nearly $63.9 million over the month, down from $64.3 million earned in September 2015. The casinos earned $62.8 million in August.


Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) said Wednesday he expects continued discussion on state energy standards in the post-election lame-duck session of the Legislature, and said he will be pushing the House to act on a few of his chamber’s priorities. While education issues could be on the lame-duck agenda, Faber said the debate over enrollment and attendance standards for online charter schools is “probably too big” to handle in the post-election session.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA championship trophy is making a stop at the Ohio Statehouse. The Larry O’Brien Trophy will be displayed in the Rotunda on Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB).


The governor made the following appointments during the week:

- W. Craig Zimpher of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the State Employment Relations Board for a term beginning Oct. 7, 2016, and ending Oct. 6, 2022.
- Daniel L. Wilson of Pepper Pike (Cuyahoga County) reappointed to the School Employees Retirement Board for a term beginning Oct. 7, 2016, and ending Sept. 27, 2020.
- Daniel J. Massey of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Industrial Commission Nominating Council for a term beginning Oct. 12, 2016 and ending Oct. 20, 2017.
- Jack R. Green of Columbus (Franklin County) and Darrell L. McNair of Aurora (Portage County) reappointed to the Minority Development Financing Advisory Board for terms beginning Oct. 13, 2016 and ending Sept. 30, 2023.
- Shawn E. Saunders of Gallipolis (Gallia County) reappointed to the Rio Grande Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning Oct. 13, 2016 and ending Oct. 10, 2021.


Cleveland State University (CSU) broke ground Monday on a new 100,000-square-foot, $60 million addition to its Washkewicz College of Engineering — the fastest growing college on its campus. This state-of-the-art facility was financed through a public-private partnership, with support coming from the state of Ohio as well as Donald and Pamela Washkewicz and the Parker Hannifin Foundation.

A $1 million donation from a two-time graduate of the University of Toledo (UT) Judith Herb College of Education, Janet Keller, will support generations of future teachers, the university said.

Although the higher education mid-biennium review bill did not clear the Legislature before it went on its summer break, the Ohio community colleges went on their own initiative and signed an agreement with the online Western Governors University (WGU) to provide opportunities that the MBR bill called for. The Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) joined with representatives of WGU to sign the agreement, which will allow community college graduates to transfer their credits seamlessly to WGU, plus allow nursing students to work towards their bachelor’s and master’s degrees while attending a community college campus.

Ohio State University said it will begin a restoration of Mirror Lake, the school’s popular landmark, saying it will focus the lake and surrounding area on safety and sustainability. In November 2013, the university began exploring ways to make the lake more sustainable. A series of modifications over many decades had resulted in a body of water that was both polluted and leaking, requiring consistent maintenance and creating thousands of gallons of waste water daily, Ohio State said.

The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) announced Thursday that it has received $88,400 in UPS scholarships for distribution to 34 low-income students at private colleges and universities in the state. The scholarships were made possible by a grant from the UPS Educational Endowment Fund administered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in Washington, D.C.


The Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) reports that while “Ohioans will likely see increases in auto and homeowners insurance premiums, they’ll likely not be as severe as in most other parts of the U.S., based on auto and homeowners insurance rate change report information recently released by the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI).”


Every two years, the Ohio Supreme Court Clerk’s Office undertakes a review of the rules that govern how cases are filed and proceed before the Supreme Court. Among rules slated for revision are the following: Pro Hac Vice admission; electronic filing of documents by email; and substitution of parties.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will attend her first meeting of the Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction after U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. appointed her to the panel created by the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday announced the release of a 16-page guide for domestic relations and juvenile courts addressing custody and visitation in light of domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Court noted.


Need a parking meter in the city of Columbus? Finding one is as easy as clicking a mouse or checking an app on a Smartphone or device, according to the city. The map can be found on the department’s website at https://www.columbus.gov/parkingmetermap.aspx.


The Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) has contracted with B&B Grow Solutions to assist the state with the development and implementation of rules and regulations affecting cultivators of medical marijuana, DOC spokesperson Kerry Francis told Hannah News. The company, which includes owners with experience in Colorado and Illinois, was one of 16 entities that responded to the department’s request for information (RFI).

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) made their appointments to the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee (MMAC) created in HB523 (Huffman). Rosenberger appointed Drug Free Action Alliance (DFAA) Executive Director Marcie Seidel and legislative analyst James “Ted” Bibart of Benesch Attorneys at Law to the committee, while Strahorn appointed Jason Kaseman, political director for United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1059.

Gov. John Kasich spokesperson Emmalee Kalmbach said the governor has chosen Curtis Passafume, vice president for pharmacy services at OhioHealth, to chair the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee (MMAC).


Ohio State Forester Robert Boyles was named a fellow by the Society of American Foresters (SAF), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced.

Ohioans planning to burn debris this fall should be aware of the state’s outdoor burning regulations and take necessary precautions, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).


The Ohio Retirement Study Council voted Thursday to recommend passage of an updated pension omnibus, following recent amendments to address concerns about the mitigating rate and the plight of some workers “orphaned” between two systems. The council also reviewed recent investment performance by the state retirement systems.


The Ohio Government Finance Officers Association (Ohio GFOA) recently elected its officers and trustees for 2016-17. Officers include president, Jill Thompson, auditor, Athens County; president-elect, Stacey Russell, fiscal officer, Muskingum County Library System, Zanesville; secretary, Jamie Nicholson, finance director, city of Pataskala; and treasurer, Jared Cottrell, partner, Kennedy Cottrell Richards, Gahanna.

Shawn M. Riley, who was elected as president of McDonald Hopkins earlier this year, officially assumed his duties on Oct. 1. He had previously headed up the firm’s Cleveland office. He succeeded Carl J. Grassi, who served as president since 2007 and who is now firm chairman.

Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (CMLaw) hosted a discussion of the legacy of U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes this week in conjunction with the publication of Stokes’ memoir, The Gentleman from Ohio.


For the second consecutive year, Ohio has exceeded the goal of its Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program, according to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). The state purchased 23.63 percent of eligible goods and services through certified minority-owned businesses, spending a record of nearly $298 million during FY16, according to the department.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) could save $3.5 million annually by replacing outdated structures with more efficient facilities that are more strategically located, according to a performance audit released Tuesday by Auditor of State Dave Yost.

Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission Executive Director Randy Cole has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA).

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Buffalo District has awarded a $3.7 million contract to dredge the Cleveland Harbor federal navigation channel to Ryba Marine Construction of Cheboygan, MI.


The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) joined a raft of complainants including the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association (OMA), Ohio Energy Group (OEG) and Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE) to press the argument that Dayton Power and Light’s (DP&L) old “stability” rider is in fact an illegal transition charge, notwithstanding the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s (PUCO) decision to revive the 2008 rider. The electric utility counters that under R.C. 4928.143(B), the billing rider reestablished by the commission in August would not be illegal even if it were a transition charge.

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Asim Haque said Wednesday the $400 million-$1 billion billing rider (DMR) granted to FirstEnergy — a fraction of the $4.5 billion “virtual PPA” it had requested — will ultimately drive grid modernization, but stakeholders including the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) and Ohio Manufacturers’ Association (OMA) said the smaller financial incentive is just another consumer subsidy to an otherwise deregulated industry and does not require the utility to actually invest in new infrastructure.


Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison recently announced the appointment of Kevin Cogan as the bureau’s chief legal counsel.

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