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Week in Review: July 18, 2021

Written on Jul 16, 2021

Provided by Hannah News Service

AGRICULTURE

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) is planning to use $120 million over the next two years to help farmers reduce the agricultural pollution that leads to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. The biennial budget, HB110 (Oelslager), is sending $49.3 million per fiscal year to fund ODAg's H2Ohio initiatives. "The department ... is investing an additional $20 million from their General Revenue Fund into the H2Ohio program," ODAg spokesperson Shelby Croft told Hannah News.

BUSINESS/CORPORATE

Following a letter from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on his concerns about the company's ability to follow through on its promises, Lordstown Motors Corp. Executive Chairwoman Angela Strand said LMC remains committed to lowering high unemployment in the Mahoning Valley by transforming it into an "electric vehicle epicenter," according to a Youngstown Business Journal report.

CORONAVIRUS

Ohio will soon have a new statewide vaccine incentive program, Gov. Mike DeWine told press Tuesday, with more information coming in "a week or so." The comment came during a gaggle after the opening of the I-70 Fulton Street ramp in response to a question on Columbus Public Health's (CPH) offering $100 gift cards to those who are receiving a first dose.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Ohio was ranked 10th in a CNBC "Top States for Business in 2021" report released Tuesday, retaining its position from 2019. The news site did not rank states in 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

Unemployment claimants with non-fraud overpayments that they received through no fault of their own can now request waivers that, if approved, would absolve the claimant from repaying those funds to the state. Money will be returned to claimants who qualify for a waiver but who previously repaid the overpayment. "Federal changes in unemployment rules, criteria and claims volume resulted in widespread overpayments of benefits across the nation," Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Matt Damschroder said. "We know that created a tremendous amount of stress for those already struggling, and these waivers will offer relief to individuals with valid unemployment claims whose overpayments were not their fault."

For the week ending July 10, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported 9,953 initial unemployment claims to the U.S. Department of Labor. That number is lower than last week when the department reported 10,900 jobless claims.

TAXATION

Lower income Black majority neighborhoods are regularly overvalued for property tax assessments while higher income White majority neighborhoods are regularly undervalued, according to a recently released report commissioned by Franklin County Auditor and former state Rep. Michael Stinziano. In spring of last year, Stinziano reached out to the Kirwin Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University to review the county's appraisal system and to make recommendations to address the county's appraisal system and to make recommendations to address the negative effects of historical policies, such as redlining, and any current policies that marginalize communities of color.

TECHNOLOGY/AEROSPACE

The "Ohio Personal Privacy Act" (OPPA) would give Ohioans a new set of rights in regard to information collected by certain businesses, sponsoring Reps. Rick Carfagna (R-Westerville) and Thomas Hall (R-Middletown) said during a Tuesday press conference. The bill was introduced Monday as HB376. The legislators were joined at the announcement by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, InnovateOhio Deputy Director Carrie Kuruc and CyberOhio Advisory Board Chair Kirk Herath. It follows around a year of work, including six months of interested party meetings, and has eight co-sponsors so far. Hall said he thought there could be widespread and bipartisan consensus on the bill during the legislative process as well.

WORKFORCE

Businesses can now provide feedback on the state's In-Demand Jobs List, as the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT), InnovateOhio and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) collaborated on a survey that is live at topjobs.ohio.gov/survey. The survey offers a "simple user experience," according to a release, so businesses of all sizes can offer input on the current and future in-demand jobs in a matter of minutes.