Latest News

Week in Review: June 30, 2024

Written on Jun 28, 2024


Gov. Mike DeWine's administration announced June 24 the approval of assistance for nine projects expected to create 707 new jobs and retain 1,614 jobs statewide. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought by JobsOhio and its regional partners. The projects are expected to collectively result in more than $44 million in new payroll and spur more than $217 million in investments across Ohio.


Ohio's unemployment rate increased again in May to 4.2%, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), up from 4% in April. The state added 21,200 nonagricultural wage and salary jobs over the month. ODJFS said the number of workers unemployed in Ohio in May was 243,000, up from 230,000 in April. The number of unemployed has increased by 49,000 in the past 12 months from 194,000. The May unemployment rate for Ohio has increased 0.9 percentage points from 3.3% in May 2023. The U.S. unemployment rate for May 2024 was 4.0%, up from 3.9% in April 2024 and up from 3.7% in May 2023.


Licensure fee increases for teachers are "a non-starter" for Gov. Mike DeWine, but the administration isn't necessarily on board with a funding transfer for the State Board of Education and believes the board can do more to trim spending. Lawmakers left town June 26 night without acting on the board's request for additional funding to stave off staff cuts or licensure fee increases. The House tacked $4.6 million for the board onto SB117 (Cirino-McColley) and passed it, but the Senate did not call a concurrence vote on the changes before adjourning. Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said Wednesday a Controlling Board request could take care of the board's immediate funding needs but also raised questions about the board's expenses. DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney emphasized that latter point Thursday.


Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Friday he had issued two new directives to the 88 county boards of elections in Ohio to implement "aggressive cybersecurity, physical security and readiness standards" ahead of the November 2024 election. They are part of a broader "Ready for November" initiative that also includes training, poll worker recruitment and "enhanced voter list maintenance." Directives 2024-09 and 2024-10 build on the success of previous infrastructure and cybersecurity efforts, and over $2.2 million in additional funding will be provided to help boards implement them. That includes $1 million for election administration readiness, $1 million for poll worker training and $200,000 to deploy Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) emergency communications equipment.


The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and Office of Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) say the Biden administration's long-term electric transmission plan is "arbitrary and capricious" and will shift costs from corporations and blue states supporting renewable energy policies to states and ratepayers who do not support them, will not benefit from them, and/or will have no voice in the allocation of costs to all consumers within PJM Interconnection and other regional transmission organizations (RTO) in the U.S. PUCO, OCC and a host of other RTOs, state consumers' counsels and energy interests are pushing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a rehearing of Order No. 1920, which commission Chairman Willie Phillips says ameliorates "extreme weather" while advancing "new and changing technologies." It was issued last month with the stated intent of ensuring the long-term reliability of the nation's electric transmission grid while promoting the administration's proposed build-out of wind and solar energy to eliminate fossil-fuel-powered generating plants by 2035. "The order's reforms may result in the expansion of a transmission grid not built primarily for reliability but to meet political and corporate goals, and they would transfer interconnection costs from new generation developers to consumers," PUCO's Office of Federal Energy Advocate (FEA) states in a 30-page critique of FERC's 1,363-page transmission order.


A group of more than 200 businesses and nonprofits raised concerns Monday about SB94 (Brenner-Landis), arguing the bill as it currently stands would erode the Ohio Housing Trust Fund as a record number of Ohioans face housing insecurity and communities lack sufficient affordable homes. The groups, together known as the Home Matters to Ohio Coalition, sent a letter to House Finance Committee Chair Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) about SB94, arguing that the bill would divert funding from the Ohio Housing Trust Fund (OHTF), which is a primary source of funding for local housing and homelessness programs. They said the bill "unnecessarily excludes the historical fee revenue share" in the proposed county recorder technology fee.

Ohio residents now need to earn at least $20.81 an hour -- or $43,293 a year -- to afford a "modest two-bedroom apartment" without spending more than 30% of their income on housing, according to a report released Thursday by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). That is an increase of 9% from the 2023 report; amounts for the three largest cities were above the state average as well. Those included $25.04 in Columbus, $22.98 in Cincinnati and $21.31 in Cleveland. Union County, at $24.04, and the Akron area, at $19.98, were the other entries in the five "most expensive" cities and counties, according to the report. The report also found that in 2023 there were nearly 108,000 eviction cases -- the most since 2015 -- and homelessness increased by 7%.


The first provisional licenses for dual-use marijuana dispensaries have been issued, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Cannabis Control (DCC). The division has notified 20 dispensaries that they have qualified for a provisional license to sell both medical marijuana and adult-use marijuana, DCC spokesperson Jamie Crawford told Hannah News. DCC has also notified 12 cultivators, 10 processors and four testing labs that they have qualified for provisional dual-use licenses. The division recently announced its first set of dual-use provisional licenses, which only went to cultivators, processors and testing labs. No certificates of operation have been granted at this point.


The State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) Board Friday voted not to approve performance-based incentives (PBI), aka bonuses, for eligible investment staff, though the board could return to the issue later. After a heated debate in which some members argued PBIs are needed to retain top talent, a motion to approve a recommendation from the Investment Committee, which met Thursday, that the board approve the FY25 PBI program for eligible investment associates ultimately failed. Last August, the STRS Board significantly trimmed the program, making fewer employees eligible for bonuses, reducing the maximum amount for bonuses, and making payouts smaller in years when there's no budget for benefit increases.


The Ohio Department of Commerce's Division of Financial Institutions is raising awareness among consumers about trigger leads. According to the division, trigger leads are a type of marketing list offered by the three credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, TransUnion, and Experion -- that can lead consumers to receiving a flood of calls from a lender after the consumer takes an action such as beginning the home buying process. Trigger leads are very prevalent in the mortgage loan market, the division said, and the lists are generated automatically based on specific events that indicate a consumer may be in the market for a particular product or service.

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

Related Upcoming Events