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Week in Review: Oct. 2, 2022

Written on Sep 30, 2022

AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY

General Motors (GM) announced Friday that it would make a $760 million investment at its Toledo facility, transforming the transmission plant for production of drive units that will be used in future Ultium-based battery electric trucks. Renovation work is slated to begin this month, according to GM. The announcement was attended by Ohio leaders including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), U.S. Rep. Marcy Katpur (D-Toledo) and Gov. Mike DeWine. Brown's office said the investment will be bolstered by the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, which he helped write and pass. Brown said, "Ohio union workers are the future of the auto industry, and that future starts today, right here, in Toledo." GM expects to retain the more than 1,500 employees currently at the facility, and it will be the company's first electric vehicle plant of its kind in the U.S., according to Brown.

BALLOT ISSUES

Proponents of Issue 1, the constitutional amendment that would require judges to consider public safety as a factor when setting cash bail, say it is simply about putting the system of setting bail back to the way it was before the Ohio Supreme Court changed it with its decision in DuBose v. McGuffey. The Court in January found that decisions on cash bail should be limited to a defendant's appearance in court and not on whether an individual could commit future crimes while out on bond. In response, legislative Republicans, with the backing of Attorney General Dave Yost, passed HJR2 (LaRe-Swearingen) to put the issue on the ballot to supersede the decision. Rep. Jeffrey LaRe (R-Canal Winchester) told Hannah News that the issue is about returning to the process and procedure that's been around for decades when it comes to setting cash bail amounts that was overturned by the decision. Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus), who helped to co-author the official arguments against Issue 1 with Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati), said the problem with the amendment is that it will make Ohioans less safe. Particularly, Leland argued that Issue 1 will keep nonviolent offenders and poor people in jail because they can't afford the bail issued against them. Wealthy offenders, he said, will post bail regardless of the amount and go out and commit crimes. He called bail a guessing game.

ETHICS

The Ohio Ethics Commission Thursday issued a reminder to public officials that state ethics laws apply to those who direct the expenditure of federal and state government stimulus funds, citing stimulus funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and a state investment in Appalachian communities passed as a part of HB377 (Hall-Swearingen). It cautioned state and local officials that those funds are public funds. In that context, the commission said long-standing conflict of interest laws must be observed. "The Ohio Ethics Law protects the public by prohibiting those in public service from directing or influencing government processes to benefit their private interests," Ethics Commission Executive Director Paul Nick said.

NATURAL DISASTERS

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) announced Thursday that Ohio Task Force 1 (OH-TF1) had received additional activation orders in regard to Hurricane Ian, and is expanding its role into a "Type 1 capability" for urban search and rescue efforts. The release said the team is skilled in those operations as well as hazardous materials response, medical care, logistics, communications and planning. Their accompanying equipment will include around 50 tons of specialized emergency gear, team support items and canines.

AEP Ohio announced Wednesday that it was sending nearly 590 employees and contractors -- including line personnel, tree crews, damage assessors and crew supervisors -- to both Florida and Georgia to help with anticipated power restoration needs due to Hurricane Ian. They have been dispatched in waves over recent days, with damage assessment teams already in Florida and line crews heading to Georgia. They are expected to remain for at least two weeks.

SECRETARY OF STATE

Secretary of State Frank LaRose recently announced 15,815 new business filings in August 2022, a slight uptick from the 6-month low last month. While this serves as a slight 2.7 percent increase from August 2021, new business creation is still down nearly 13 percent from the same point last year, the secretary of state said. The secretary of state's office said 123,674 new businesses have been created in 2022 so far, averaging 15,459 per month. A total of 142,057 had been created at the same point last year.

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