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Week in Review: Aug. 13, 2023

Written on Aug 11, 2023


Legislation introduced earlier this year creating a new Office of Data Analytics and Archives was put into the budget by the Ohio Senate, a move hailed by Secretary of State Frank LaRose as a first-ever substantive effort by any state to adopt a clear and consistent method for retaining election data. LaRose and Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) introduced the provision as SB71 (Gavarone) in February. Dubbed the Data Analysis Transparency Archive (DATA) Act, they said the bill would improve the election data collection and retention to boost election transparency in Ohio. LaRose said at the time that there have been inconsistent standards on voter data, including how it is defined, and how long it should be stored. SB71 passed the Senate in May, with Gavarone saying on the floor that it would require election data to be "maintained, disclosed, analyzed, and archived in a modern way." Democrats voted against the legislation, saying the majority had declined to consider technical changes sought by election officials to ease the process and that the bill was unnecessary as the secretary of state could implement the provisions via directives. The Senate Finance Committee included it in its substitute version of budget bill HB33 (Edwards), and the provision was kept by the conference committee in the final version.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said Friday that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 187,000 in July while the unemployment rate ticked slightly down to 3.5% from June's 3.6% rate. While still an increase, the number of jobs added is less than the average monthly gain of 312,000 over the prior 12 months. BLS said the number of unemployed persons was little changed in July at 5.8 percent. The unemployment rate for Asians declined to 2.3% in July. The jobless rates for adult men (3.3%), adult women (3.1%), teenagers (11.3%), Whites (3.1%), Blacks (5.8%), and Hispanics (4.4%) showed little or no change over the month. The labor force participation rate was 62.6% for the fifth consecutive month. The employment population ratio, at 60.4%, remained little changed in July.


Though the ballots have not been fully counted for Ohio's special election held Tuesday, the attention on all sides of Issue 1 has now turned towards November, when a reproductive and abortion rights amendment will appear before voters barring a successful court challenge. With all precincts reporting, Issue 1, which would have made it harder to amend the Ohio Constitution in the future, is failing 57 percent to 43 percent, with 58,073 outstanding absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted. Meanwhile, Wednesday marked 90 days until the Nov. 7 General Election.


U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said the chamber will vote on the bipartisan Railway Safety Act of 2023 this fall, U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) told reporters on Friday at the Ohio State Fair. "I'm not naive about this. I think that we have to continue to make the argument, especially to some of our colleagues in the House, that you can't let these rail companies set off chemical bombs in our communities with no consequences," he continued. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who is co-sponsoring the bill with Vance, issued a statement marking the six-month anniversary of Norfolk Southern's train derailment in East Palestine.


The one-year anniversary of President Joe Biden's signing the CHIPS and Science Act into law on Aug. 8, 2022 drew reactions from a range of officials Wednesday, including Biden, Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). All four were in attendance at the Intel groundbreaking one month later following the signing. President Joe Biden said, "One year ago today, I signed into law the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act to revitalize American leadership in semiconductors, strengthen our supply chains, protect our national security, and advance American competitiveness. America invented semiconductors -- and today, they power everything from cell phones to cars to refrigerators. But over time, the United States went from producing nearly 40 percent of the world's chips to just over 10 percent, making our economy vulnerable to global supply chain disruptions. The CHIPS and Science Act aims to change that.”


Gov. Mike DeWine this week announced the latest round of funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Improvement Program that will see $61 million go to 27 new traffic safety projects around the state. The program includes the installation of Restricted Crossing U-Turns (RCUT), roundabouts, sidewalks, and other safety measures.

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

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