Week in Review
Friday, July 22, 2016
The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation will award college scholarships of $1,500 each to 16 young Ohioans, according to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). The foundation annually recognizes Ohio students for their academic effort, community engagement and career interests that link agriculture to community service, education or scientific research.
The Ohio Farmers Union (OFU) on Monday announced its support for a new U.S. Senate bill to reform the nation’s commodity check-off programs. The legislation, co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), would restrict using mandatory check-off dollars to lobby Congress, reduce conflict of interest within programs, prevent check-off money from being used to disparage other commodities or products, increase public transparency, and require full program audits every five years.
A proposed update of federal sheep importation regulations could provide genetic and economic benefits to Ohio farmers, according to Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) Executive Director Roger High. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) recently announced it is seeking a rule change on import restrictions related to bovine encephalopathy (BSE) and other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) in light of new scientific evidence. Currently, USDA rules prohibit the importation of most live sheep and goats and their products from countries considered a risk for BSE.
The Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame announced the inductees Thursday for its 40th annual ceremony, including F. Joe Darst of Gahanna , Mark Ferrell of Jamestown, John C. “Jack” Fisher of Columbus, Elizabeth Ann Mumaw of New Philadelphia, Nevin Smith of Marysville, and John Spreng Jr. of Bucyrus — all chosen by Gov. John Kasich.
Jack Irvin has been named senior director of state and national policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), the organization announced Thursday. He will be responsible for managing the organization’s legislative and regulatory team and will represent the interests of farm bureau members with Congress, the General Assembly and with federal and state regulatory agencies, OFBF said.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office awarded more than $1.4 million in grants on Friday to 29 rape crisis centers around the state. The AG’s Ohio’s Rape Crisis Program Trust Fund is providing the $1,424,999.96 to the programs.
The Office of Budget and Management (OBM) issued the budget guidance for state agencies to follow in developing their proposed budgets for Fiscal Years (FY) 2018 and 2019 — Gov. John Kasich’s final budget in office. The guidance directs agencies to base their FY18 and FY19 budget requests on 90 percent of their adjusted FY17 appropriations “with the ability to request up to 10 percent in extended funding.”
The state Working Group on Law Enforcement Vehicular Pursuits acknowledged the difficulty Wednesday in determining when it is appropriate to chase a fleeing vehicle, and when it isn’t. Members said the problem arises both in the heat of the moment and in the larger process of developing policy that doesn’t hamstring investigating officers.
Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) discussed the importance of states’ acting as “laboratories of democracy” to address criminal justice reform during a panel discussion this week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Faber moderated the U.S. Justice Action Network’s (USJAN) discussion at the Great Lakes Science Center, joined by Republican Govs. Nathan Deal of Georgia, Matt Bevin of Kentucky and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma.
Starting next month, the Ohio Department of Education will travel to 10 sites around the state to convene stakeholder meetings on preparations for sweeping changes in federal education laws. In the nearer term, the department also plans a series of webinars on how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), successor to the No Child Left Behind Act, addresses various topics in the education system.
Coventry Local Schools, a Northeast Ohio school district in fiscal emergency, could find substantial savings by cutting staff and capping how many students it accepts through open enrollment, according to a report released Tuesday by State Auditor Dave Yost. “Optimization” of open enrollment levels with a cap of 116 students could save the district nearly $1.6 million, the audit report states. “The additional funds could be used to reduce debt payments, offset the reduction in state revenue to pay back State Solvency Assistance funds, and/or educate students,” the audit states. The district also should consider setting limits by grade band, building and educational program, the report says.
A study committee on how to measure dropout recovery and prevention (DOPR) schools laid out broad principles Wednesday for what could constitute quality but wants a successor workgroup to meet over the next several months to get deeper into the issues.
Nonprofit organization Shoup Mill LLC is not entitled to a tax exemption on property it leased to a Dayton charter school in 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) said Wednesday that Randy Smith, a member of the Forest Hills Local Schools Board of Education, has been nominated as president-elect of the association. If elected to the position at the OSBA conference in November, he will become OSBA president in 2018 following a term as president-elect.
Leaders of Springfield City Schools were wrong to deny a request for student contact information from School Choice Ohio, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) is making available $30 million in grants for up to five organizations that can provide coordinated, comprehensive services and school supports to improve outcomes for students and families.
Months after Ohio voters rejected a constitutional amendment to make marijuana legal for recreational and medical use, Secretary of State Jon Husted has dropped a lawsuit seeking records of the group behind the amendment. Attorneys for Husted asked for a lawsuit against ResponsibleOhio to be dropped in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas last week. Husted went to court last fall, seeking to compel the group to comply with a subpoena into their records after he accused ResponsibleOhio of voter fraud in its effort to get Issue 3 on the November ballot.
Citing increasing costs and concerns about security, Wright State University announced Tuesday that it would not be hosting the first presidential debate scheduled for Sept. 26. The Commission on Presidential Debates said that the debate will now be held at Hofstra University in New York. The university said that it had expected to pay anywhere from $3 million to $8 million to host the debate.
As Donald Trump and the Republican delegates prepared to close out their party convention in Cleveland, a new Suffolk University poll of Ohio voters showed the race a dead heat in the Buckeye State, with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump tied at 44 percent and 11 percent undecided.
Endorsements made over the week include the following:
- The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA) endorsed Maureen O’Connor for Ohio Supreme Court chief justice and Pat DeWine and Patrick Fischer for Ohio Supreme Court justice.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) will be the starting point for a collegiate solar car race, the park announced Monday. The 2016 American Solar Challenge starts at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 30 at Station Road Bridge Trailhead, CVNP said. Cars leave individually in one-minute intervals.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has announced $500,000 in supplemental funding to help the Cuyahoga County Department of Development begin removing lead- and PCB-contaminated soil from vacant properties on East 69th Street slated for redevelopment as a hotel.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced this week that it is awarding $3.4 million to Ohio metropolitan housing authorities to assist low-income Ohio residents with job training and employment opportunities. The award is among $75 million awarded nationally as part of a program to connect residents with services to further their education, find good jobs and set them on the path to self-sufficiency.
Eric D. Green, independent monitor of Bank of America’s August 20, 2014, mortgage settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and six states, announced recently the distribution of $12,904,445 to the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation (OLAF) Inc., as mandated under the settlement, to provide legal assistance in foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment.
The governor made the following appointments during the week:
- Dale R. Arnold of Newark (Licking County) and Shawn E. Nelson of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Public Benefits Advisory Board for terms beginning July 18, 2016, and ending June 30, 2019.
- Jill R. Pugh of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors for a term beginning July 19, 2016 and ending June 30, 2018.
- Thomas E. Price of Delaware (Delaware County) reappointed to the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission for a term beginning July 19, 2016 and ending June 30, 2020.
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
As part of the state’s comprehensive suicide prevention initiative, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) has scheduled two upcoming Zero Suicide Academies and a series of technical assistance sessions for organizations wishing to apply.
Earlier this month, the Ohio departments of Medicaid (ODM) and mental health and addiction services (OhioMHAS) announced another revision to the implementation schedule for the Behavioral Health Redesign. According to the departments, “The coding changes, previously slated to begin Jan. 1, 2017, will now begin July 1, 2017 without a voluntary transition period. The deadline for final transition remains unchanged; all Medicaid behavioral health providers must submit claims using the new behavioral health code set effective July 1, 2017.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has released its latest analysis of the most costly outpatient drugs paid for by the Medicaid program, explaining that as new drugs come on the market and as the needs of the Medicaid population — particularly because of ACA expansion — change, it is helpful for policymakers to understand which drugs used by the Medicaid program are the most expensive and why.
Ohio State University (OSU) had record-setting fundraising numbers during FY16, the university announced Monday. OSU achieved $454 million in fundraising activity from 245,653 donors, including a cash total of $388 million — all records — during the fiscal year that ended June 30, the university said.
Antioch College announced that the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has granted it accreditation. The effective date of accreditation aligns retroactively with the Class of 2016′s graduation date.
The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will conduct a study of how natural gas pipeline installations affect Ohio cropland productivity, the college has announced. The study, made possible by a $200,000 gift from Kinder Morgan, will focus on soil disturbances caused by statewide pipeline installations.
Wilberforce University, the country’s oldest private historically black college and university (HBCU), Tuesday announced the appointment of Herman J. Felton Jr as its 21st president. This follows the announcement earlier this month of the retirement of Algeania Warren Freeman.
Ohio State University (OSU) is among four sites around the country chosen for new research centers by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Center for Performance and Design of Nuclear Waste Forms and Containers (WastePD) will receive $10 million over the next four years, and will be the first of DOE’s 36 Energy Frontier Research Centers nationwide to be headquartered in the state of Ohio.
Though foreclosure activity is sliding nationwide, Ohio saw a different trend in the first half of 2016 with a 10 percent increase in the number of properties starting the foreclosure process. It joined 13 states and Washington, D.C. in seeing see such a trend.
June home sales reached their highest levels since the Ohio Association of Realtors started tracking data in 1998, with quarterly sales up several points compared to last year. June saw 150,880 transactions, 5.4 percent above the 143,196 sales seen the same month of 2015. The average price of $178,592 is 3.9 percent higher than last year’s figures. June sales were 0.7 percent higher than May’s.
Ohio joined seven states, the commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia Thursday in antitrust claims against the proposed merger of Aetna and Humana Health Plan of Ohio, one of two lawsuits targeting “Big 5″ health insurers that are being led by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). A second suit, to which Ohio is not a party, opposes the proposed merger of Anthem and Cigna.
U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) applauded the confirmation of Carole Rendon to serve as the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. Rendon, the former first assistant U.S. attorney, has been serving as acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio since February. Brown and Portman recommended her nomination to the Obama administration, which nominated her in May. Her nomination unanimously cleared the U.S. Senate on July 12.
Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi will serve as president-elect of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) for 2016-17 after his election by its board of directors. He is in line to become president next July.
The Court of Claims says former Ohio State University (OSU) band director Jonathan Waters’ defamation claims against the school are little more than a disagreement with its findings about a “sexualized” band culture that, according to the university, Waters did too little to change.
The state capital is the site of this year’s World Library and Information Congress, which returns to the U.S. for the first time since 2001. The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) will host the conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Aug. 13-19, originally announced at the federation’s 2014 congress in Lyons, France.
Nominations are now being accepted for the Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced Friday. Selection criteria and a nomination form are available at www.ohiodnr.gov/HallOfFame. The online form may also be printed and mailed to ODNR Communications, 2045 Morse Road, Building D-3, Columbus 43229. The deadline to submit both online and printed nominations is Friday, Aug. 12.
The National Association for Court Management’s (NACM) 2016 Perkins Award goes to Program Manager Kristopher Steele of the Ohio Supreme Court Judicial College. Nominations cited the professionalism, collegiality and attention to detail demonstrated by Steele, who has served the college for 13 years.
Penny Tipps, president of Public Policy Strategies, was inducted into the Association of Ohio Commodores during its 2016 annual summer meeting at Hilton Easton in Columbus. Tipps was among 22 business and political figures from around Ohio to be recognized by the governor of Ohio with the “Executive Order of the Ohio Commodore.”
The first day of the Republican National Convention included a war of words between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s top advisor and supporters of Gov. John Kasich. Paul Manafort, who is managing Trump’s campaign, told media that Kasich was embarrassing the party by not endorsing Trump. He also claimed that negotiations with Kasich’s camp broke down because the governor believes he will have a better shot at running for president in the future by not supporting Trump.
While not mentioning the man who will be given the Republican nomination for president this week, Gov. John Kasich said Tuesday that the party must be “unifying, uplifting and hopeful” in order to attract new members. In remarks to the Michigan delegation on day two of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Kasich said the Republican Party must be driving the effort to bring in young Americans, noting the enthusiasm he saw in college for Ronald Reagan.
Just as University of Wisconsin football fans root for other Big 10 teams like Ohio State when they make it to championship games, those who supported other Republican candidates should rally around GOP nominee Donald Trump, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told Ohio delegates Wednesday.
Gov. John Kasich immediately acknowledged the elephant in the room while speaking to Ohio delegates at the Republican National Convention (RNC) Thursday morning. After Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Matt Borges introduced the governor, who was not scheduled to speak during the delegation breakfast, Kasich praised the party leader for his work lately. “I personally made his job more difficult. Let’s be clear about that,” Kasich said, referring to the fact that Borges has been stuck in the middle in the ongoing feud between Kasich and GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump during the week.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is expanding advanced training for law enforcement in ambush attacks following the shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas, TX and three in Baton Rouge, LA. The attorney general’s Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) has provided instruction for surprise violent attacks since 2014 and broadened training to include firearm attacks in 2015.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Secretary of State Jon Husted said Friday that 8,480 new entities filed to do business in Ohio during June 2016. This is an increase over June 2015, when 8,151 entities were formed.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Marietta), Beth Wagner, president of the Akron chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association; David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA); and Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) held a Tuesday morning conference call to spread the message that Congress should make reworking the federal tax code a part of its routine business. TPA organized the call as its first “virtual stop” on a tour it launched with an event in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.
The state’s largest employee union has filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) over the closing of prison farm operations. Attorneys for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) presented the move as underlining their argument that a separate lawsuit from the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA) on the farms should be dumped on jurisdictional grounds.
The head of one of Ohio’s top business associations probed the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) Governing Board Tuesday on the possibility of expanding the agency’s mission to encompass small commercial enterprises. Executive Director Roger Geiger of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) of Ohio said small business for too long has been left holding the bag for rising utility costs.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is now on Instagram at “PUCOhio.” PUCO says it will provide Ohioans with helpful fact sheets, informative graphics and videos, safety and efficiency tips, and other resources at the website.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently concluded a comprehensive analysis of veteran suicide rates in the U.S., examining over 55 million veteran records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the nation. This latest analysis indicates that in 2014 an average of 20 veterans a day died from suicide.
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