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Week in Review: Aug. 21, 2022

Written on Aug 19, 2022

ELECTIONS 2022

Two races for the Ohio House saw new candidates added to the ballot on Monday, including a sitting State Board of Education member. Medina County Democrats selected Ohio State Board of Education District 5 member Christina Collins to run in the 66th Ohio House District, a seat currently held by Rep. Sharon Ray (R-Wadsworth), who is running for re-election. Collins replaces Mike Oliver, who withdrew after earning the nomination through a write-in campaign. Meanwhile, Geauga and Ashtabula County Democrats nominated Kathy Zappitello, the executive director of the Conneaut Public Library, as the replacement candidate in the 99th House District. She replaces Abby Kovacs, who announced last week she was dropping out of the race due to being drawn out of the district in redistricting. She takes on Rep. Sarah Fowler Arthur (R-Rock Creek), who is running for re-election.

The Ohio Secretary of State's office Wednesday announced it had received the findings of an audit authorized by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) that assessed the state's use of federal grants received under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The audit did not identify any findings or make any recommendations, meaning the secretary of state's office administered the $45 million in federal grants in full compliance with the EAC's requirements, the office said.

JUDICIAL

The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct warns against international money laundering in a new opinion on attorney handling of client cryptocurrency. The board says a lawyer with a practice in global transactions has asked whether cryptocurrency held in escrow may be considered part of his interest on lawyers' trust account (IOLTA) for client fund deposits. "Many of the lawyer's international clients prefer to use cryptocurrency for business transactions and desire for the lawyer to hold the cryptocurrency in escrow. Because financial institutions do not accept or exchange cryptocurrency, the lawyer is unable to place cryptocurrency in his lawyer's trust account," Advisory Opinion 2022-07 concludes.

REDISTRICTING/REAPPORTIONMENT

House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) indicated Wednesday that they will be appealing the Ohio Supreme Court's latest ruling striking down a congressional redistricting map to the U.S. Supreme Court, putting Ohio among the states seeking a test of the "independent state legislature" theory that the U.S. Constitution only allows state legislatures to address federal elections. The Ohio Supreme Court invalidated the second set of congressional district boundaries last month in a 4-3 decision and ordered state lawmakers to produce a new map. Under the constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2018, the Court has jurisdiction over congressional redistricting challenges. If the Court invalidates a map, the General Assembly has 30 days to draw a new map. If it fails, the task falls to the Ohio Redistricting Commission. With the 30 days nearly up since the Court's ruling, it seemed lawmakers might miss that deadline. But in a letter issued by Cupp Wednesday afternoon, the speaker said those who are pointing to a looming deadline have it all wrong.

Without issuing an opinion to go along with the decision, the Ohio Supreme Court Wednesday denied a motion filed by plaintiffs in three lawsuits challenging General Assembly redistricting maps that asked the Court to order the members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission to appear before the Court to explain why they did not meet the Court's deadline to draw a new map. On May 25, the Ohio Supreme Court for the fifth time struck down maps drawn by the commission and ordered commissioners to produce a new map by June 3. Three days later, however, a three-judge federal panel ordered the state to hold a primary for General Assembly and state party central committee candidates on Aug. 2 using the third map that was adopted by the commission and struck down by the Court.

TREASURER OF STATE

The Ohio Association Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences recently presented Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague with its "Friend of Family" Award. Through the award, the association recognizes an individual or organization for their involvement "in making decisions that affect the well-being of families and work that has made a significant contribution to policy areas affecting the family." The group recognized Sprague's work in financial literacy "as making a positive impact on young Ohioans and their families." Specifically, Sprague oversaw his office's collaboration with the Ohio State University Extension to expand the use of the university's Real Money. Real World. financial literacy curriculum in school districts across Ohio.

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