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Week in Review: Aug. 28, 2022

Written on Aug 26, 2022

BALLOT ISSUES

The Ohio Ballot Board in a lengthy meeting Monday approved ballot language for the two constitutional amendments that will go before voters on Tuesday, Nov. 8, as well as the explanation of both issues. At the beginning of Monday's meeting, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the chairman of the Ballot Board, said Issue 1 on the ballot will be the proposed constitutional amendment that was passed by the General Assembly as HJR2 (LaRe-Swearingen), which will make public safety a required consideration when setting bail amounts. Issue 2, passed as HJR4 (Seitz-Edwards), bars noncitizens from voting in local elections.

The Ballot Board unanimously approved both the explanation and ballot language for Issue 1 with some of the changes suggested by John Martin, an assistant public defender for Cuyahoga County, and Democrats.

CORONAVIRUS/MONKEYPOX

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Thursday, Aug. 25 reported 23,436 new COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, down from the 24,067 reported on Aug. 18. This continues a declining trend that began in the Aug. 4 data, when cases fell from 29,876 to 27,785. Reported hospitalizations fell from 665 to 604, while ICU admissions remained at 36. In Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) data, there are currently 1,242 hospital patients who tested positive and 205 ICU patients. That compares to 1,198 hospital patients and 174 ICU patients on Aug. 18. The number of deaths reported by ODH Thursday ticked up slightly from 90 to 96. Since the pandemic began, ODH has reported 3,049,546 cases, 124,151 hospitalizations, 14,055 ICU admissions and 39,406 deaths.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) launched a dashboard on monkeypox cases statewide and by county Thursday, along with an FAQ page. Both are available at https://tinyurl.com/28utcruk. The dashboard is modeled after others used for past infectious disease outbreaks. There have been 147 confirmed cases in 19 counties, with Cuyahoga County leading at 69 and Franklin County second at 33. The others have less than 10 cases each. The dashboard lists nine hospitalizations and no reported deaths. The age range for cases is 19 to 64 years, and 96.6 percent of those who tested positive are men.

INTEL

U.S. President Joe Biden will deliver remarks at the Intel facility's groundbreaking in Licking County on Friday, Sept. 9, according to a White House announcement Thursday. Biden also signed an executive order on implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act Thursday, reflecting the administration's commitment "to quickly increase production of semiconductors, strengthen research and design leadership, and grow a diverse semiconductor workforce to give the country a competitive edge on the world stage," according to the White House. The order creates a CHIPS Implementation Steering Council of administration leaders co-chaired by National Economic Director Brian Deese, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and acting Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Alondra Nelson. Members include the secretaries of state, defense, treasury, commerce, labor and energy, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Small Business Administration administrator and the director of national intelligence.

REDISTRICTING/REAPPORTIONMENT

While House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said that the state will not need to draw new congressional maps until after an appeal of the latest Ohio Supreme Court decision is filed with the U.S. Supreme Court later this year, the two Democratic members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission said any such federal appeal does not have any bearing on Ohio's constitutional provisions. In a memo sent to colleagues Friday, Aug. 19, House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and Sen. Vern Sykes (D-Akron) said Ohio is still under court order to draw fair and constitutional maps for the congressional and state legislative elections in 2024. The Ohio Supreme Court struck down the second congressional map last month and ordered a new map to be drawn. Under the Ohio Constitution, once a map is struck down by the Court, the General Assembly has 30 days to draw a new map. If it does not, the Ohio Redistricting Commission has 30 days to draw a new map. However, Huffman and Cupp said they planned to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, with Cupp explaining in a memo that the deadline to file such an appeal is 90 days after the Ohio Supreme Court decision was issued, putting the deadline of that appeal at Monday, Oct. 17. Cupp said there is no state constitutional requirement to draw new congressional maps for the 2024 election cycle before then. Russo and Sykes disagree with that interpretation. They pointed to language in the Ohio Constitution, and argued that an order from the Ohio Supreme Court is not appealable. While there is a process for the U.S. Supreme Court to review an Ohio Supreme Court opinion, that is a "petition for writ of certiorari," not an appeal, they said.

SECRETARY OF STATE

Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that there were 12,790 new business filings in July 2022, the lowest point of growth in the last six months. This is a 16% decrease from July 2021 and a 12% decrease from June 2022. "Each month that goes by with economic instability, entrepreneurs lose more faith," said LaRose. According to the secretary of state's office, 107,859 new businesses have been created in 2022 so far, averaging 15,408 per month.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' (ODJFS) latest unemployment report, Ohio's unemployment rate was 3.9% in July, unchanged from a month before, as the state's nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 7,000 over the month, from a revised 5,477,000 in June to 5,484,000 in July. ODJFS said the number of workers unemployed in Ohio in July was 224,000, unchanged from June. The number of unemployed has decreased by 71,000 in the past 12 months from 295,000. The July unemployment rate for Ohio decreased from 5.1% in July 2021. The U.S. unemployment rate for July 2022 was 3.5%, down from 3.6% in June 2022, and down from 5.4% in July 2021.