Latest News

Week in Review: Nov. 21, 2021

Written on Nov 19, 2021

HIGHER EDUCATION

The Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents and the Alpaugh Family Economics Center released new research showing career technical education and training in Ohio generates $1.4 billion in economic activity (FY19), supports more than 15,000 jobs, and provides an average return on investment for program graduates of 2,071 percent after 20 years. The center's research team studied the economic and fiscal benefits generated by the operations and capital expenditures of Ohio's 49 career centers, as well as the benefits that programs offered by Ohio's 51 Ohio Technical Centers afford students. OTCs, located throughout the state, serve adult students with career technical education. During the 2018-2019 academic year, a total of 10,773 adult students were enrolled.

CORONAVIRUS

House Republicans succeeded Thursday in approving a bill to create exemptions for workers and students to cite in the face of mandates to be vaccinated against COVID-19, after lack of agreement on the issue thwarted prior attempts at a floor vote on the matter. The floor vote on the bill, HB218 (Cutrona), was 58-32, with Reps. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) and Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) joining the Democrats present to vote no. Business and health care groups strongly condemned the measure.

ECONOMY

Statistics released recently by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts show that personal and business bankruptcy filings nationally fell 29.1% for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30. Filings have steadily declined since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

For the week ending Nov. 13, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported 7,913 initial traditional unemployment claims to the U.S. Department of Labor. That number is lower than last week, when the state reported 11,232 traditional jobless claims.

FEDERAL

Department stores across the country are expected to be ready for the holiday shopping season despite widespread supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, according to shipping industry experts. "Christmas is not cancelled," Georgia Ports Authority Director Susan Gardner said during a panel discussion recently hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures in Tampa, FL. "We are doing everything we can to get cargo moving." Gardner was joined on the panel by former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Florida Economic Advisors President Chris Jones and Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. LaHood, a Republican who served in the cabinet of former President Barack Obama, praised President Joe Biden for appointing John Porcari as port envoy to the Biden administration's Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, saying the former deputy transportation secretary is the best person to address the issue.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

Both the House and Senate Tuesday released their tentative legislative calendar for 2022, the second year of the 134th General Assembly. Both plan to resume voting sessions in January on Wednesday, Jan. 19. The final session day of the 134th General Assembly is projected to be Wednesday, Dec. 21. All Senate sessions are on Wednesdays and begin at 1:30 p.m. House sessions, for the most part, dovetail the Senate calendar, although it has the possibility of two additional session days. There are no sessions set for July, August and October.

The Ohio Senate Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that will allow businesses to stay open during a pandemic after state health orders during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to close. HB215 (Wilkin), dubbed the Business Fairness Act, would permit any business that would otherwise be ordered to close under a statewide health order to remain open as long as the business can demonstrate it is following the same safety protocols that are required of businesses allowed to stay open because they were deemed essential. The bill passed 31-0 and now heads to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature.

REDISTRICTING/REAPPORTIONMENT

Moving expeditiously, the GOP majority in the Ohio General Assembly approved a four-year congressional map over the course of the week, unveiling their agreed upon proposal Monday evening, just prior to a Tuesday committee and floor vote on substitute SB258 (McColley). Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon), the sponsor of SB28, said the map satisfies the General Assembly's obligation to draw new maps, and said the new version of SB258 takes from all of the various maps introduced by the caucuses, as well as the witnesses who testified during committee hearings. The House took it up on Wednesday in the House Government Oversight Committee and passed it Thursday by a vote of 55-36. It now moves on to the governor for his consideration.

The legal battle over the state legislative map drawn by the Ohio Redistricting Commission will go before the Supreme Court of Ohio on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The high court announced Friday that it was consolidating all three Supreme Court appeals "for oral argument purposes only." League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Ohio Redistricting Commission, et al. reached the Court on Sept. 23, followed by Bennett v. Ohio Redistricting Commission, et al. on Sept. 24 and Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Ohio Redistricting Commission, et al. on Sept. 27.

TAXATION

Representatives of businesses and schools offered contrasting testimony on HB126 (Merrin) to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, with school officials opposing the bill's changes in how local governments contest property values. The Summit County Land Bank also opposed the bill, while the nonprofit Downtown Cleveland Alliance supported it.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services issued a reminder Friday that individuals filing claims for unemployment benefits must use an "OH|ID" to access their online account starting Wednesday, Nov. 17. ODJFS began notifying claimants of the changeover in September. That type of account, offered at https://ohid.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/ohid/, is "a standard used by many state agencies and allows Ohioans to use a single username and password to access state programs and services."

The DeWine administration says as many as 5,000 Ohioans who are refusing employment due to COVID-19 noncompliance in the workplace or who worked for an education provider and are fully or partially unemployed may be eligible to reapply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Matt Damschroder announced Monday that the administration is contacting approximately 5,000 individuals previously denied PUA before February 2021 who may be due retroactive benefits based on expanded eligibility under the U.S. Department of Labor.

WORKFORCE

Ohio ranks first in the Midwest and third nationally for the number of individuals enrolled in state apprenticeship programs, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Monday marked the beginning of "National Apprenticeship Week." The ApprenticeOhio program has over 19,500 enrolled Ohioans and provides opportunities in 180 occupations, including the fields of health care, advanced manufacturing, energy and computer programming. There are at least 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom training, according to ODJFS, and apprentices are paid while working under mentor supervision. Program completion provides a nationally recognized credential.

This feature was provided by Hannah News Service and selected for you by OSCPA Government Relations staff.