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Week in Review: July 31, 2022

Written on Jul 29, 2022
Ohio will lead an international class action lawsuit over lost Facebook stock value after Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California consolidated investor actions against the social media giant and named the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) and PFA Pension of Denmark as top plaintiffs, Attorney General Dave Yost announced Thursday. OPERS has a $3 million stake in more than $100 billion in lost share price following last year's whistleblower complaint and media coverage charging Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with falsifying company efforts to protect children from harmful social media content.
Public health officials for Franklin County and Columbus issued advisories Friday recommending that people wear masks indoors in public places regardless of vaccination status, as Franklin County was designated as having high levels of COVID by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Advisories are not mandatory orders. However, the Ohio Supreme Court announced on social media Friday that it would mandate the wearing of masks for visitors to the Thomas Moyer Judicial Center in Columbus effectively immediately, citing the CDC designation.
Over half or 45 of Ohio's counties are now at a high COVID-19 transmission level on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) map, up from just five counties two weeks ago. The CDC also lists 31 at a medium rate and 12 at a low level. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) seven-day update showed 29,876 new cases, up from 26,610 in the seven days ending July 21. New hospitalizations rose slightly from 690 to 705, while ICU admissions dipped from 40 to 39. The number of deaths increased from 22 to 54. Since the pandemic began, ODH has reported totals of 2,948,242 cases, 121,595 hospitalizations, 13,901 ICU admissions and 39,035 deaths.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday that 14 agencies will receive grants totaling $3.5 million as part of the fifth round of his Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program. The governor has so far awarded $23 million to 83 Ohio law enforcement agencies to aid in their work to hold accountable the small number of criminals responsible for most violent crime in the state. A total of $58 million will be awarded as part of the grant program overall. The program is funded through both HB110 (Oelslager) -- the state operating budget -- and with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly have dedicated to first responders to counter various pressing issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including violent crime. The grants announced Friday are all funded through ARPA.
The Ohio Third Frontier Commission approved $82.32 million in funds to six regional partners to support entrepreneurs' efforts to "develop innovative products and grow technology startup companies." The funds are part of the Entrepreneurial Services Provider (ESP) Program, which provides resources such as mentorship, access to investors and capital, support with business services, talent recruitment and incubator and accelerator programs. The partners will use the money to provide those resources from Jan. 1, 2023 through June 30, 2025.
Gov. Mike DeWine's administration announced Monday the approval of assistance for seven projects expected to create 660 new jobs and retain 3,333 jobs statewide. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought by JobsOhio and its regional partners. The projects are expected to collectively result in more than $39 million in new payroll and spur more than $51.8 million in investments across Ohio.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced there were 14,589 new business filings in June 2022, a 16 percent decrease from June 2021. Specifically, he noted 95,069 new businesses have been created in 2022 so far, averaging 15,844 per month. This is the third consecutive month in which the number of new businesses was fewer than the previous year, he added.
The Ohio Supreme Court addressed persistent poll worker shortages in the state's largest and smallest counties Tuesday by making permanent a temporary rule awarding continuing legal education (CLE) credit to lawyers serving as precinct officials. Rule X becomes effective Monday, Aug. 1, one day before the primary election. Since COVID-19's onset in 2020, the Court has issued ad hoc orders granting four hours of CLE to attorneys who complete poll worker training at their county boards of elections and serve an entire voting day. Ohio is reportedly the first state to recruit lawyers as precinct officials, drawing national media coverage and earning the Ohio Secretary of State's Office an award for collaborating with the Supreme Court.
A week after telling county boards of elections to move ahead with State Board of Education districts as designated by Gov. Mike DeWine amid disputes to their legality, Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a formal directive Friday, July 22 to counties on implementation of the districts. The filing deadline for candidates is 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, or 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29 for write-in candidates. The following five districts, listed with their current occupants and filing counties, are on the ballot:
- District 2, Kirsten Hill, Lucas County
- District 3, Charlotte McGuire, Montgomery County
- District 4, Jenny Kilgore, Hamilton County
- District 9, John Hagan, Stark County
- District 10, Tim Miller, Summit County.
According to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Ohio added approximately 1,000 poll workers in the past week, and as of Monday, July 25, 28,356 Ohioans have signed up to serve as a poll worker in the Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022 Primary/Special Election. According to his office, the minimum number of poll workers needed to conduct the election statewide is 24,522. Also as of Monday, 72 counties have met the minimum number of poll workers needed.
LaRose also shared that 92,888 absentee ballots have been requested by mail or in-person for the state legislative and executive committee races on the Tuesday, Aug. 2 primary ballot and that 67,218 votes have been cast statewide in those races. Information for this analysis was collected by the Ohio Secretary of State's Office from Ohio's 88 county boards of elections, detailing early voting activity from Monday, July 18 through the end of early voting hours on Friday, July 22. Of the ballots requested, 57,829 were Democratic and 35,059 were Republican. Ballots cast early in person include 14,514 Democratic and 12,065 Republican ballots. Total ballots submitted for counting include 39,413 Democratic and 27,805 Republican.
According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), Ohio's unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in June, unchanged from May, as the state's nonagricultural wage and salary employment decreased 11,300 over the month. ODJFS said nonagricultural wage and salary employment went from a revised 5,476,700 in May to 5,465,400 in June. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in June was 224,000, down from 226,000 in May. The number of unemployed decreased by 81,000 in the past 12 months from 305,000. The June unemployment rate for Ohio decreased from 5.3 percent in June 2021.
Ohio's Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman Tuesday released a report on the Chinese government's efforts to "target, influence, and undermine" the U.S. Federal Reserve. Portman, who is the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the report shows that China has targeted the Federal Reserve System since at least 2013. "As our investigation reveals, the Chinese government is using every tool at its disposal to infiltrate and steal valuable information ... I am concerned by the threat to the Fed and hope our investigation, which is based on the Fed's own documents and corresponds with assessments and recommendations made by the FBI, wakes the Fed up to the broad threat from China to our monetary policy. The risk is clear, I urge the Fed to do more, working with the FBI, to counter this threat from one of our foremost foreign adversaries," Portman said.
Ohio and 21 other states sued the Biden administration Tuesday over the "nationwide confusion and upheaval" they say it has caused schools facing a Monday, Aug. 15 deadline to comply with new mandates around gender identity or lose federal nutrition assistance. In a 17-count complaint, Attorney General Dave Yost and others allege federal overreach in the redefinition of "sex" discrimination by way of a never-enacted rule from the Obama administration that did not reference gender identity. Filed in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Tennessee, the 56-page lawsuit follows a previous multi-state action including Ohio that challenged a more general LGBTQ+ mandate on schools. The Biden administration responded in May with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) memorandum and in June with a final rule limiting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to primary and secondary schools and universities that comply with non-discrimination guidance on "gender identity and sexual orientation."
The state is awarding $10 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to ease case court backlogs from COVID-19. The Ohio Court Backlog Reduction Program administered by the Ohio Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) seeks to reduce time spent on cases, remove systemic and operational barriers preventing case resolution, and devise new ways to improve case flow slowed by the coronavirus. Qualified uses include staffing and programming, hardware and software updates for case management, online dispute resolution and self-help, virtual mental health assessments, text reminders for hearings and payments, and partnerships with the justice system and other stakeholders to share the responsibility for caseloads.
U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) should act to ensure Ohio cannabis businesses have access to traditional banking services, according to the Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association (OMCIA). The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act recently passed out of the U.S. House as an amendment to the FFY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The U.S. Senate is now considering the legislation. "The longer we operate without banking services for cannabis-related businesses and employees, the greater the inequity grows in this industry. It is time for a commonsense approach to banking that allows equal access to financial resources, so that we can equitably grow this industry and the thousands of living-wage Ohio jobs that come with it," OMCIA President Andy Rayburn said.
With U.S. House passage of the bill to restore lost pension benefits to salaried retirees from auto parts supplier Delphi, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said he's hoping to win broad enough support for a legislative shortcut that would get the measure to President Joe Biden's desk rapidly. As Brown explained, salaried and hourly retirees of the defunct General Motors supplier were treated differently in the bankruptcy of Delphi and the U.S. government's intervention to prevent automotive industry collapse during the financial crisis. As a result, salaried retirees lost much of their pensions. Brown said it was an example of how Washington bailing out corporations and Wall Street but leaving workers on their own. The legislation, now dubbed the Susan Muffley Act, after a retiree who skipped medical care because of costs and later died, would assist more than 5,000 Ohioans and more than 20,000 retirees across the U.S., according to the senator's office.
The U.S. House passed the legislative package including the CHIPS Act Thursday, a day after the U.S. Senate's vote and President Joe Biden's statement urging swift action so he could sign it. U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) both voted for the bill, which passed 64-33 in the Senate. The U.S. House voted 243-187-1, with support from Ohio's delegation divided up 12-4. U.S. Reps. Troy Balderson (R-Worthington), Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus), Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Hts.), Mike Carey (R-Hilliard), Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati), Bob Gibbs (R-Ashland), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Canton), Bill Johnson (R-Marietta), Dave Joyce (R-Twinsburg), Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), Tim Ryan (D-Youngstown) and Mike Turner (R-Dayton) all voted for the bill. U.S. Reps. Warren Davidson (R-Troy), Jim Jordan (R-Lima), Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) and Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati) voted no.
Intel is hiring experienced professionals for management and engineering positions at its New Albany factory, mostly in terms of facilities and site services. Some positions involve temporarily relocating to Arizona or another site for training assignments lasting from six months to one year. Management roles include site operations and commissioning, as well as project manager roles. There are also openings for chemical, mechanical, electrical and manufacturing network engineers. The full list, which is subject to change, is available at

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

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