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Week in Review: May 7, 2023

Written on May 7, 2023


Five former Ohio attorneys general -- Richard Cordray, Lee Fisher, Betty Montgomery, Jim Petro and Nancy Rogers -- sent a letter Monday to Ohio lawmakers announcing their opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment that would raise the threshold for passage of future amendments to 60 percent. They join former Govs. Richard Celeste, Ted Strickland, John Kasich and Bob Taft in opposing the amendment. The attorneys general said the proposal "seeks to discard a commitment to majority rule that has been part of our Ohio Constitution since 1912. Constitutions are designed to endure, and major changes in fundamental constitutional arrangements should not be made unless the changes are supported by a careful understanding of the policies being changed and the consequences of the proposed changes. Such changes should not be made without the opportunity for participation of those most intimately affected by the Constitution -- the people. Clearly, that has not happened in this rush to revise our Constitution.”

The Senate version of a proposed constitutional amendment raising the required threshold for passage for future amendments to 60 percent cleared a House committee Tuesday, but whether it appears on an August special election ballot will come down to the wire after the Wednesday, May 3 House session was cancelled. Secretary of State Frank LaRose has told lawmakers that legislation authorizing a Tuesday, Aug. 8 special election will need to pass by Wednesday, May 10, in order to give boards of elections 90 days to prepare for it. With Wednesday's cancellation, the House currently has only a session scheduled for May 10, the day of the deadline.

SJR2 (Gavarone-McColley), which would put the 60 percent amendment before voters, passed out of the House Constitutional Resolutions Committee Tuesday by a 7-6 vote, with Rep. Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) again joining Democrats in opposition as he did with the House version, HJR1 (Stewart).


With biennial budget HB33 (Edwards) passing the House and Senate hearings ongoing, Senate Democrats Monday held a press conference to highlight their priorities for the coming biennium, saying that while they like a number of provisions of both the governor's proposed budget and the House version, they see room for improvement. Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) said over the next couple of months, her caucus will address their priorities to ensure that the state budget will support fair tax policies that don't benefit the wealthy and puts the burden on wealthy Ohioans. They also will push for fair school funding, transparency and accountability in education, strengthening the workforce, supporting business growth, providing resources for safety measures for communities while upholding local control, increasing safe and affordable housing, and protecting the environment.


A recent panel at the Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC) explored the difficulty of getting more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers and the pay gaps they face in the field once they graduate from college, seeing the situation as an economic development issue for the state of Ohio. According to panel moderator, Sheri Chaney Jones, founder and CEO of SureImpact and founder and president of Measurement Resources Company, women make up nearly half the workforce, but are unrepresented in key fields. In STEM careers, only 18 percent of leadership roles are held by women. She cited statistics that show 11 percent of construction jobs are held by women; 15 percent of engineers and architects; and 6 percent of welders. Forty-six percent of high school girls do not think they are smart enough for their dream jobs, and 70 percent of girls believe some jobs are better for men than women. One-third stay away from leadership because they don't want men to think they are bossy, she said.

Google officials announced Wednesday they are adding two data centers on previously acquired land in Columbus and Lancaster, in addition to the current one in New Albany, which saw an expansion announced in 2021. Construction is already underway at both sites and the company's total investment in Ohio will exceed $2 billion as a result. Gov. Mike DeWine took part in the press conference, saying the announcement reflects his effort to invest in people through the FY24-25 budget and "sends a signal ... about where Ohio is going."


Ohio voters in 67 counties cast ballots in Tuesday's primary election; reports showed light turnout and few problems. The election was the first to require a photo identification as part of changes made in 134-HB458 (Hall). There were 420 local issues that were voted on, and some municipalities held primary elections for local offices.


The state of Ohio is showing significant improvement in its unemployment claims numbers when compared to other states, according to financial advisory website WalletHub. Ohio ranked 43 for new jobless claims, with "1" meaning jobless claims increased the most and "51" meaning they increased the least.


Adelphi Bank is the Buckeye State's first Minority Depository Institution (MDI), the Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) Division of Financial Institutions announced Monday. The division issued a Certificate of Authority to Commence the Business of Banking to Adelphi Bank on Jan. 18, 2023. Financial institutions started and owned by members of minority groups have been around for quite some time, but it wasn't until 1989 that Congress formalized the term Minority Depository Institution (MDI) as part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).


Because the General Assembly did not take action on the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol's (CRMLA) proposed initiated statute over the last four months, the group began collecting signatures on Friday, May 5 to place the measure on the November ballot, CRMLA spokesperson Tom Haren told Hannah News. "We are confident that we will gather the required number of signatures and submit them by July 5 to get on the ballot in November of this year," Haren said.


The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors unanimously approved its updated outpatient medication formulary rule on Friday. BWC Medical Services and Safety Committee Vice Chair Peggy Griffith said the formulary makes a number of changes, and that only one stakeholder comment was provided -- a positive one. She said the formulary was recommended by the BWC Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee.

BWC Administrator/CEO John Logue also announced that the open enrollment period for employers to select a managed care organization (MCO) to oversee medical management for injured workers runs from Monday, May 1 and through Friday, May 26. BWC offers open enrollment every two years for employers to select from a network of 10 MCOs that manage claim filings and medical care that injured workers need to recover and return to work, Logue said.

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

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