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Week in Review: June 19, 2022

Written on Jun 17, 2022

Gov. Mike DeWine signed the $3.5 billion capital budget bill on Tuesday, telling reporters it's unlike any capital budget he's aware of in Ohio history. The language of HB687 (Oelslager) allows the DeWine administration to transfer up to $1.5 billion from the General Revenue Fund (GRF) to bond funds during the FY23-24 biennium to support capital appropriations. It also permits the director of the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) to transfer more cash unless disapproved by either the speaker of the House or president of the Senate. "We have the option of going back to the Legislature for permission to spend the rest in cash. It is very possible that we will do that ... and it's possible that this entire budget will be paid for in cash," DeWine said. "If we pay cash for all of this, I am told by our budget team that we will save the taxpayers of the state of Ohio up to $1.6 billion in interest in the coming years." 


The Ohio Attorney General's Office has announced a free webinar focused on empowering and protecting those 60 and older. "A Strong and Just Ohio: Reframing the Elder Abuse Discussion," to be presented Wednesday, June 22 by the attorney general's Elder Abuse Commission, will explore how to generate a sense of collective responsibility, elevate the issue of elder abuse on the public agenda, and develop systemic solutions, his office says. 

Attorney General Dave Yost wants to stop or slow the movement of illicit guns used in violent crime. As a result, he announced a new partnership Wednesday between the AG's Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCII) and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that will allow the state to analyze and match ballistics evidence faster for law enforcement agencies inside and outside Ohio. BCII has established a direct link to the National Correlation and Training Center, Ohio's first statewide ballistics collaboration. Beginning this week, says Yost, the bureau will provide local law enforcement quicker access to ATF's library of 4.5 million pieces of firearm evidence in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), the only automated interface for ballistics imaging covering the entire United States. 


The personal finance site WalletHub rated U.S. states and the District of Columbia by their economies in a recent report, with Ohio placing 39th overall and fourth among neighboring states. Michigan was 15th, followed by Indiana, 22nd; Pennsylvania, 33rd; Kentucky, 42nd; and West Virginia, 51st. The rankings involved 28 "key indicators of economic performance and strength" ranging from GDP growth to startup activity to share of jobs in high-tech industries. The top five states were Washington, Utah, California, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Wallethub also listed states under sub-rankings of economic activity, economic health and innovation potential. Ohio placed 30th nationally and fourth regionally in economic activity; 46th nationally and fifth regionally in economic health; and 32nd nationally and fourth regionally in innovation potential. 


For the first time since mid-April, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported more than 10,000 new initial unemployment claims to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). For the week ending June 11, ODJFS reported 11,295 jobless claims to DOL. "Approximately 3,444 of those have been flagged for more stringent identity verification, to ensure they are not fraudulent," ODJFS said. The previous week, ODJFS reported 9,484 jobless claims. For the week ending May 28, ODJFS reported 8,817, while it was 8,293 on May 21, 8,218 on May 14, 7,021 on May 7, 6,255 on April 30, 8,283 on April 23 and 10,884 on April 16. 


The re-election campaign of Gov. Mike DeWine raised twice as much money as Democratic challenger Nan Whaley during the most recent fundraising period. Friday, June 10 was the deadline for statewide candidates to submit post-primary campaign finance reports to the Ohio Secretary of State's Office. DeWine-Husted for Ohio reported raising nearly $2.1 million during the period, which captured contributions made over the last six weeks. The campaign reported nearly $7 million cash on-hand, almost 10 times as much as the campaign for Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton. The Whaley-Stephens campaign announced that it raised more than $1 million in the most recent filing period and has $708,000 in cash on-hand. 

In the down-ticket races, Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced raising $321,531 during the period. His campaign has more than $1.9 million in cash on-hand. The campaign of Democratic secretary of state candidate Chelsea Clark reported raising $26,139 over the period and has $34,806 in cash on-hand. 

Attorney General Dave Yost's campaign reported raising $152,094 and has more than $2.3 million in cash on-hand. The campaign of Democratic attorney general candidate Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) reported raising $54,258 and has $129,752 in cash on-hand. 

Auditor of State Keith Faber's campaign reported raising $105,652 and has nearly $1.4 million in cash on-hand. The campaign of Democratic auditor of state candidate Taylor Sappington reported raising $24,593 and has $20,085 in cash on-hand. 

Treasurer of State Robert Sprague's campaign reported raising $118,905 and has $856,695 in cash on-hand. The campaign of Democratic treasurer of state candidate Scott Schertzer reported raising $49,434 and has $121,288 in cash on-hand. 

In the race for chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Justice Sharon Kennedy (R) raised $186,610 and has $812,281 in cash on-hand. Justice Jennifer Brunner (D) raised $147,038 and has $400,288 in cash on-hand. In the other Ohio Supreme Court races, Justice Pat DeWine raised $174,474 and has $600,432 in cash on-hand, while Democratic opponent Judge Marilyn Zayas raised $102,296 and has $264,957 in cash on-hand. Justice Pat Fischer raised $106,023 and has $353,406 in cash on-hand, while Democratic opponent Judge Terri Jamison raised $105,883 and has $208,805 in cash on-hand. 

The Franklin County Board of Elections' move to certify Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) as a 6th District candidate obviates the need for his litigation against Secretary of State Frank LaRose, parties said in a dismissal request that was granted Friday, June 10 by the Ohio Supreme Court. Meanwhile, in another lawsuit by candidates seeking to make the ballot after redistricting-fueled chaos, two Republicans are seeking to intervene and gain the right to switch districts. 

Mary Trump, the niece of former President Donald Trump, is asking Ohioans to send money to Tim Ryan's U.S. Senate campaign. "When my uncle and his enablers tried to overturn the will of the American people and steal the 2020 presidential election, the guardrails of democracy were bent to their absolute limits. In fact, if Republicans had been in control of both the House and Senate, they could have been successful," Mary Trump said in a campaign fundraising email on behalf of the Democratic candidate. 

Tim Ryan's U.S. Senate campaign announced two new TV advertisements on Wednesday, saying they will draw a contrast between Ryan and his Republican opponent, author J.D. Vance. 

The following endorsements were made over the week: 

- The gubernatorial campaign of Gov. Mike DeWine announced the endorsement of the Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) of Ohio. 

- The gubernatorial campaign of Nan Whaley announced the endorsement of the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT). 

- The state treasurer campaign of Scott Schertzer announced the endorsement of OEA. 


Chairwoman Jenifer French of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) pinned successive power outages in Central Ohio and other parts of the state Wednesday on several "stressed" transmission lines and a decision out of Pennsylvania to shut off electricity to scores of neighborhoods and businesses. 

Speaking in advance of PUCO's scheduled docket, French said the 13-state regional transmission organization (RTO) headquartered in Norristown, PA, PJM Interconnection, had ordered American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio to impose mandatory blackouts in central Columbus starting Tuesday and recurring Wednesday after a brief reprieve. Power for around 100,000 customers in other parts of AEP territory was restored on Wednesday. A number of suburbs and other communities within the I-270 outer belt did not lose power. 

A bipartisan group of legislators and members of the House Public Utilities Committee and House Energy and Natural Resources Committee say the Office of Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) should be able to bypass the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Nominating Council and submit candidates to the governor for one of four commission seats. HB690 is joint-sponsored by Rep. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) of the House Public Utilities Committee and legislative veteran Rep. Gayle Manning (R-Ridgeville). Co-sponsors are House Energy and Natural Resources Committee Vice Chair Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and Ranking Minority Member Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) and House Public Utilities Committee Vice Chair Sharon Ray (R-Wadsworth) and Ranking Minority Member Kent Smith (D-Euclid). 


In a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Administrator Michael Regan Friday, June 10, Gov. Mike DeWine called for complete elimination of temporarily suspended limits on the sale of 15 percent ethanol fuel (E15). "E15 offers Ohio consumers cleaner emissions, more fuel from renewable sources, and, perhaps most critically, a less expensive fuel option," DeWine said in a statement. "By permanently removing unneeded summertime E15 regulations, we can encourage more Ohio gas stations to offer E15 and give Ohioans an option that provides real gas price relief." The Biden administration this spring issued an emergency waiver of federal rules that typically restrict the sale of E15 gas from June 1 to Sept. 15. 


On the same day the Senate voted 30-2 to pass legislation authorizing the Ohio Lottery to offer Internet-based games, a coalition of bars, bowling alleys, convenience stores, grocery stores and other entities announced the creation of the Ohio Lottery Retailers Association (OLRA). "Our group is frustrated by the continued efforts by the Ohio Lottery to take customers out of their brick-and-mortar locations," OLRA Director Greg Beswick said. The OLRA's formation is a "direct response" to iLottery bill SB269 (Manning), the group said, adding that the bill "gives a mobile app monopoly to a Canadian vendor to offer games with greater payouts than Ohio Lottery games operated today by hundreds of Ohio-based Lottery retailers." 

Ohio's casinos, racinos and traditional lottery games brought in less revenue in May 2022 than the same month last year, according to reports from the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) and Ohio Lottery Commission (OLC). Earnings at the state's four casinos were down slightly, with the facilities pulling in $86.7 million in May 2022, compared to $86.8 million in May 2021. Revenues at the state's seven racinos totaled $114.9 million in May 2022, down from $122.4 million in May 2021. Total traditional lottery ticket sales were $350.9 million in May 2022, down from $385.9 million in May 2021. 

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) is now accepting sports gaming license applications from sports betting proprietors, management services providers and suppliers. "Today, the window officially opens for Type A, Type B and Type C gaming proprietor license applications, as well as the first-designated mobile management and management services provider applications and supplier applications to be submitted to the commission," OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler said during the commission's meeting on Wednesday. 


The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) welcomed two new members at its Monday meeting, Sens. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) and Dale Martin (D-Cleveland). Brenner replaced Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) and Martin took the place of his predecessor in the 21st Senate District seat, former Sen. Sandra Williams. Rep. Latyna Humphrey (D-Columbus) temporarily filled in for Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) as well. All regular and no change agenda items cleared JCARR, with one re-filed rule from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) receiving testimony. The rule regarded background checks as part of the licensing procedure for high-volume dog breeders. 


The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) launched an "extensive outreach effort" of free individualized employment services to veterans and the spouses of active and former military members, according to the administration. This will involve contact with 45,000 Ohioans over the next six weeks, asking them whether they want the free assistance. Those who do can schedule a virtual or in-person appointment at OhioMeansJobs (OMJ) centers throughout the state.  


U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) told reporters Wednesday he expects a bill that would expand access to care for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits and other substances to pass this week. In addition, Brown discussed his bipartisan "All-American Flag Act," which would require the U.S. to purchase American flags made totally in the U.S. The burn pit legislation, introduced by U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT), is named for Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson of Columbus, who deployed to Kosovo and Iraq with the Ohio National Guard and passed away in 2020 from cancer as a result of toxic exposure during his military service, Brown said. The bill's official title is "The "Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022." Unlike the situation for veterans of the Vietnam War who were exposed to Agent Orange, Brown said this legislation has "presumed eligibility." This means that if a veteran was in Iraq, Afghanistan, or served in another area where they could have been exposed to toxic materials, and they have one of over 20 designated illnesses, they are automatically eligible for care. [Editor's note: The PACT Act of 2022 did pass the Senate.] 


The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced Monday that it will host a statewide virtual Skilled Trades Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22. Pre-registration is open at "We often hear from employers that they need skilled workers, and this job fair will be an excellent way for them to find great candidates," ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder said. More than 50 employers with open positions have registered to participate; they are seeking welders, mechanics, carpenters, electricians, tool and die makers, plumbers, insulators, programmers and more. 

This feature was provided by Hannah New Service and selected for you by OSCPA Government Relations Staff.

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