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Week in Review: Feb. 6, 2022

Written on Feb 4, 2022

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The state of Ohio's incentive package for attracting Intel to the Buckeye State totals nearly $2 billion and is in addition to incentives provided by JobsOhio and the local communities, explained Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik in a news conference. Mihalik said the state's package falls into the following "three buckets":

- An "onshoring" incentive grant to Intel of $600 million.

- A $691 million investment for the local infrastructure. These funds were further broken down with $101.2 million for water and wastewater capacity upgrades; $290 million for road work; and $300 million for a "state of the art" water reclamation facility.

- A $650 million Job Creation Tax Credit over 30 years.

Gov. Mike DeWine's administration announced Monday the approval of assistance for nine projects expected to create 982 new jobs and retain 1,640 jobs statewide. The projects are expected to collectively result in more than $64.9 million in new payroll and spur more than $76 million in investments across Ohio.

CORONAVIRUS
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) announced Friday that 175,000 tests will be available through home delivery, as part of a partnership with Project Access COVID Tests (Project ACT) of the Rockefeller Foundation. This is the initial allocation. Eligible communities were identified based on CDC recommendations and state data, with information available at https://accesscovidtests.org/.

ELECTIONS 2022
Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB93 (Abrams-LaRe) Friday, following the Legislature's addition of language to give candidates more flexibility in signature-gathering efforts before passing the bill Wednesday. The bill took effect immediately, given its emergency clause. The bill did not delay the filing deadline but did allow signatures gathered on candidate petitions thus far to count toward requirements amid redistricting-related litigation before the Ohio Supreme Court. The filing deadline for all candidates except those running for the U.S. House remained Wednesday, Feb. 2. The filing deadline for those running for the U.S. House is Friday, March 4. The bill also gave the secretary of state's office flexibility regarding administration of certain deadlines before the May 3 primary -- which also remains unchanged.

The following endorsements were made over the week:

The re-election campaign of Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced the endorsements of the Franklin County Republican Party; Coshocton County Prosecutor Jason Given; Crawford County Commissioner Tim Ley; Bucyrus Mayor Jeff Reser; Delaware County Republican Party Chairman Steve Cuckler; Fairfield County commissioners Dave Levacy and Steve Davis; Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler; Fairfield County Auditor Carri Brown; Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville; Newark City Councilman Jeff Harris; Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp; Morrow County Commissioner Tom Whiston; Pickaway County Prosecutor Judy Wolford; Union County Treasurer Andy Smarra; Ohio State College Republicans President Cal Ruebensaal; Coshocton County commissioners Gary Fischer and Dane Shryock; Coshocton County Engineer Fred Wachtel; Franklin County Republican Party Chairman Josh Jaffe; Franklin County Central Committee Chairman Brad McCloud; former Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien; Union County Commissioner Chris Schmenk; Ohio Trump Chair Donald Roberts; former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery; Fairfield County Commissioner and Ohio Restaurant Association board member Jeff Fix; Grove City Council members Roby Schottke, Ted Berry, and Christine Houk; Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb; former Licking County Republican Party Chairman Billie Fiore; Franklin County Engineer Cornell Robertson; Trump Ohio Sportsmen Director Michael J. Budzik; Sharon Township Trustee John Oberle; Grove City Mayor Ike Stage; Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray; Pleasant Township Trustee Nancy Hunter; Westerville City Councilman Michael Heyeck; Washington Township Trustee Stu Harris; Truro Township Trustee Chris Long; Fairfield County Clerk of Courts Branden Meyer; Union County Commissioner Dave Burke; Cap City Young Republicans Chairman Kevin Shimp; Violet Township Trustee Darrin Monhollen; Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Columbus); Hilliard City Councilman Andy Teeter; Crawford County Commissioner Larry Schmidt; Reynoldsburg Auditor Steve Cicak; and former Rep. Jim Hughes.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE
There will be a few familiar faces on the ballot this year as a number of former lawmakers seek a return to the General Assembly. They include former Rep. Dale Mallory (D-Cincinnati), who filed to represent the district now represented by Rep. Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati), who is running for Sen. Cecil Thomas's (D-Cincinnati) 9th District Senate seat. Meanwhile, Thomas filed to run for the new 25th Ohio House District. In Trumbull County, former Rep. Randy Law filed to run for the House. Which district he is seeking was not listed. Democrat Bria Bennett, a plaintiff in one of three redistricting lawsuits, filed for term-limited Michael O'Brien's seat. Bob Hagan, a former state senator and state representative, is also seeking a return to his former Senate seat, filing to challenge Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem), who is running for re-election. Former Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), who lost her bid to retain her Portage County commissioner seat in 2020, has filed for her former House seat and will take on Rep. Gail Pavliga (R-Atwater). Former Rep. Al Landis (R-Dover) is looking to succeed term-limited Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) and is one of three Republicans in the primary.

MARIJUANA/HEMP
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) has satisfied the signature requirement to move into the next phase of the initiated statute process, according to the Ohio Secretary of State's Office. The group submitted an additional 29,918 additional signatures in support of its proposed law legalizing the use of cannabis by individuals ages 21 and older on Jan. 13 after their first attempt at submitting 132,877 valid signatures fell short by a little more than 13,000. The Legislature now has four months to act on the proposal.

REDISTRICTING/REAPPORTIONMENT
Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said Wednesday a revised congressional map proposal could emerge Monday, Feb. 7 and pass his chamber later in the week. He also floated the possibility that, if the congressional process faces further delays, congressional primary elections could be held on a separate date from the contests for other offices. Huffman said mapmakers will be working through the weekend on a revised congressional map in response to the Ohio Supreme Court ruling that threw out the first attempt.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission filed responses in the three lawsuits by the Friday, Jan. 28 deadline, saying the General Assembly district plan adopted Saturday. Jan. 22 complies with constitutional requirements and asking the Ohio Supreme Court to either issue a decision by Friday, Feb. 11 or stay any decision until after the 2022 general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The commission response said election administration deadlines for the May 3 primary are "imminent" and that candidates "need certainty as to the district in which they will run so that they can file their petitions." It also said that May 3 is the day in which primary voting "ends," with Ohio law requiring ballots to be printed and ready for mailing by Friday, March 18 under federal law.

However, Democrats on the commission -- Sen. Vern Sykes (D-Akron) and Rep. Allison Russo (D-Columbus) -- filed their own pro se responses since they essentially agree with opponents of the second set of legislative district maps. That disagreement with Attorney General Dave Yost, who maintains the commission should respond as one, continued on Monday when Yost filed motions in the Ohio Supreme Court in all three redistricting lawsuits seeking to convert the Jan. 28 "Response of respondents Sen. Vernon Sykes [D-Akron] and House Minority Leader Allison Russo [D-Columbus] to the petitioners' objections" ("Response") into an amici curieae filing from their identification of it as pro se. The Democrats, in turn, filed an objection Wednesday with the Court, arguing that they are named respondents in the lawsuits, and that Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor had ordered that "respondents shall file a response, if any" to the objections.

With Republicans in the General Assembly expected to unveil a new congressional redistricting map next week, Fair Districts Ohio Thursday released their "model congressional map" that they said shows a fair map can be drawn and be constitutional. The previous map adopted by the General Assembly as a part of SB258 (McColley) was struck down last month by the Ohio Supreme Court, which gave lawmakers 30 days to redraw a new map. If they do not pass a new map by Sunday, Feb. 13, it will be up to the Ohio Redistricting Commission to draw a new map. Fair Districts Ohio said its new maps were drawn with public input and a close examination to look for possible constitutional issues. The map, which can be found at https://tinyurl.com/bdeevrs6, favors Republicans in eight districts, including strongly in six districts. Democrats are favored in five districts, including three where they are strongly favored covering Hamilton, Franklin and Cuyahoga counties. The other four are more competitive, especially a proposed district covering Toledo, Bowling Green and counties bordering Lake Erie, a district covering Akron and Kent, and one that includes Lorain County and portions of Cuyahoga County.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION
The number of Ohioans filing initial unemployment claims has fallen over the last three weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). For the week ending Jan. 29, ODJFS reported 10,313 new jobless claims. That's down from 15,158 the week ending Jan. 22; 15,398 the week ending Jan. 15; and 17,469 the week ending Jan. 8. The current eight-week average of traditional unemployment claims is 12,637.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Board of Directors discussed another 10 percent cut in private employer costs Friday while passing the first increase in state agencies' combined insurance rate in three years. The governor's latest proposed savings of $106 million for private employers would be his fourth rate cut since taking office. That's based on $140.2 billion in projected payroll for July 2022-June 2023 -- an annual figure that will grow considerably once Intel Corp. completes construction of two microprocessor plants in Central Ohio.

WORKFORCE
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Thursday that 14 training providers will be awarded $2.93 million in total to support 2,336 credentials through the Individual Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP). This is the second IMAP round. The program "helps Ohioans who are low income, partially unemployed, or totally unemployed participate in a training program and receive one or more technology-focused credential(s) for free," according to Husted's office. Training providers -- including four-year universities, career centers and private businesses -- are reimbursed up to $3,000 for each completed tech-focused credential issued.

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