The Senate Finance Committee is in for some long and dense hearings next week as it begins informal deliberations on the biennial budget, HB33 (Edwards), while the legislation is still pending in the House. Starting Tuesday, the committee is scheduled to hear from Office of Budget and Management Director Kim Murnieks and Legislative Service Commission Director Wendy Zhan. Following them will be a four-agency panel discussion on the H2Ohio initiative; Ohio Department of Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran; Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Matt Damschroder; the office of Secretary of State Frank LaRose; the office of Gov. Mike DeWine; and the House and Senate. On Wednesday, the committee is scheduled to hear from Interim Superintendent Stephanie Siddens of the Ohio Department of Education; the office of Treasurer Robert Sprague; the office of Attorney General Dave Yost; the office of Auditor Keith Faber; the Ohio Supreme Court; and Chancellor Randy Gardner of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
The Ohio Department of Development (DOD) announced Monday that registration has opened for this year's Ohio Business Matchmaker event, which enables small businesses to meet government agencies and prime contractors that award billions of dollars. It is the largest such event in the state. The government agencies will include local, state and federal agencies, according to DOD. It will be held Thursday, May 4 at the Wright State University Nutter Center, 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton. There will also be training opportunities for small businesses on Wednesday, May 3. The event cost runs $130, while on-site registration is $175 for small businesses; government buyers and prime contractors can register for free. More information is available at https://www.ohiobusinessmatchmaker.com/.
The Ohio Mayors Alliance (OMA) Thursday announced it is launching a new data initiative to help cities with policy decisions and deliver better services. OMA, a coalition of the leaders of Ohio's 30 largest cities, said the initiative will help cities pursue certification through the What Works Cities (WWC) program. Launched in 2017 by Bloomberg Philanthropies and led by Results for America, the WWC certification program recognizes and celebrates city governments for their exceptional use of data and evidence to inform policy decisions, allocate funding, improve services, evaluate the effectiveness of programs and engage their residents, OMA said. The initial members of the Ohio Mayors Alliance Data Innovation Initiative include Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims, Lima Mayor Sharetta Smith and Reynoldsburg Mayor Joe Begeny.
The national unemployment rate reached 3.6% in March, up slightly from the 3.5% seen in February, while total employment rose by 236,000, according to a report Friday from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The number of unemployed people in March was 5.8 million, little changed from February. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics decreased to 4.6 percent in March, essentially offsetting an increase in the prior month. The unemployment rates for adult men (3.4%), adult women (3.1%), teenagers (9.8%), Whites (3.2%), Blacks (5.0%), and Asians (2.8%) showed little or no change over the month.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) made three announcements on federal funds coming to Ohio Thursday, including a total of $42.73 million from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund through 15 grants. Brown said regarding the CDFI funding, "These new investments will help expand housing and economic opportunities for families, businesses, and communities across Ohio." The grants were awarded through CDFI's Equitable Recovery Program to expand lending, grant making and investment activities in communities that have significant unmet financial service needs and have experienced disproportionate economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The second announcement was of two National Science Foundation grants totaling $919,586. Marion Technical College will receive $648,370 for engineering education programs to support manufacturing jobs through hands-on and virtual reality trainings. Otterbein College will receive $271,216 for research on chemical synthesis with potential use in optical devices and sensing. Last, Brown said the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs had awarded two grants totaling $434,099 to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to help meet expected caseloads and enhance overall lab capacity.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) have issued a joint warning on the growing trend of cryptocurrency scams targeting older adults. DPS's Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center (ONIC) worked with ODA on a public bulletin released Friday to encourage older Ohioans, family members and caregivers to be on alert. Fraudsters ask individuals to pay for transactions in cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin and Ethereum as two of the most common, or through cryptocurrency automated teller machines (ATM). Some of the more common ones targeting older adults include romance scams, in which the offender encounters the victim online or by telephone, develops a relationship, and then requests a loan or financial assistance; government impersonation scams, in which the fraudster pretends to be from a public jurisdiction, calls the victim and threatens arrest without immediate payment; and grandparent scams, in which offenders pretend to be a grandchild, state that they are in trouble, and say they need money immediately.
This feature was provided by Hannah New Service and selected for you by OSCPA Government Relations Staff.