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Legislative Report 1-4-13

ORWA
Legislative Report Update

Prepared by: Steve Dimon

Report created on January 4, 2013

 

 

 

No bills assigned to this report.

 

No Bills Introduced Since 1/4/2013

 

Week in Review
Friday, January 4, 2013

 

AGRICULTURE

 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has released the official dates for the 2013 fair season, which includes Ohio's 94 county and independent fairs and the Ohio State Fair. The Paulding County Fair kicks off the 2013 fair season on Monday, June 10, and the season wraps up on Saturday, Oct. 12 with the Fairfield County Fair.

 

Congress included an extension to the 2008 Farm Bill in its last-minute fiscal cliff deal. Agriculture advocates, including the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, criticized the extension for lacking reforms that would give farmer more stability.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL

 

Attorney General Mike DeWine said more than 1,000 cold cases have been uploaded to the new unsolved homicides database his office maintains.

 

FY13-14 BUDGET

 

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Metro Chambers of Commerce are adding to the work they have done since releasing a report they say is geared to reforming government with 21st century ideas. The chambers' 2012 update to the 2010 report, "Redesigning Ohio: Transforming Government into a 21st Century Institution," included recommendations for state leaders in continuing efforts for a more effective and efficient government. They sent the report to Gov. John Kasich and the General Assembly to be considered in the budget writing process.

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

The ninth round of tax credits through Ohio's Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program has awarded $35.9 million to 23 owners and applicants across the state who plan to rehabilitate 45 historic buildings in nine communities. Ohio's FY12-13 biennial budget renewed the program. The Development Services Agency (DSA) said this round of projects is expected to leverage more than $252 million in private investments.

 

ECONOMY

 

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said the state's index of leading indicators rose 0.1 percent in November to 92.3, suggesting weak employment growth through the winter months.

 

EDUCATION

Teachers unions, school board officials and charter school proponents often differ over policies affecting public schools, but on this point Ohio's leading education advocacy groups agree: Teachers and administrators should not be inserted in armed response to "active" shooters, as Attorney General Mike DeWine described them Wednesday, Dec. 19 in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings.

 

The Ohio chancellor and state superintendent are uniting behind common "remediation-free" standards for high school graduates as the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and Board of Regents move forward as the state's unofficial P-20 office at 25 S. Front St. in Columbus.

 

 

ELECTIONS 2012

 

Democrats went to the Ohio Supreme Court to challenge Rep. Al Landis' (R-Dover) eight-vote victory over former Rep. Joshua O'Farrell (D-New Philadelphia) in the 98th House District race, arguing some rejected provisional and absentee ballots should have been counted by the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections.

 

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

 

Ohio's unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in November, down from 6.9 percent in October, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported.

 

ENERGY

 

The last-minute Congressional deal to avert the fiscal cliff also includes a one-year extension of wind energy production tax credits, which the industry said will save thousands of jobs and hundreds of projects.

 

FEDERAL

 

President Barack Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force on fighting gun violence in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings, and the Pew Research Center for People and the Press said a survey of public attitudes show 49 percent say it's more important to control gun ownership, while 42 percent say it's more important to protect the right to own a gun.

 

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester) was re-elected by his colleagues with 220 votes. Most of the U.S. House Democrats voted for former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

 

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) announced Thursday that he was selected to sit on the Senate Finance Committee for the 113th Congress. That means both Portman and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will represent the Buckeye State on the powerful committee.

 

Thirteen members of Ohio's congressional delegation voted in favor of the fiscal cliff deal. They include Republican U.S. Reps. John Boehner (West Chester), Bill Johnson (Marietta), Steve LaTourette (Bainbridge), Bob Latta (Bowling Green), Steve Stivers (Columbus) and Pat Tiberi (Columbus); U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown; and Democratic U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge (Cleveland), Marcy Kaptur (Toledo), Dennis Kucinich (Cleveland), Tim Ryan (Youngstown) and Betty Sutton (Copley).

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GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

House Speaker William Batchelder (R-Medina) appointed Brad Young, a House employee from 1995 to 2009, as the new House clerk, replacing Jennifer Woodring, who is stepping down to spend more time with her family.

 

Both houses of the 130th General Assembly will convene their first sessions on Monday, Jan. 4: the Senate at 1:30 p.m. and the House at 2 p.m.

 

GOVERNOR

 

Gov. John Kasich's spokesman told Hannah News that the "State of the State" address will be delivered sometime in mid-February although he does plan to deliver his budget to the Legislature on the day it is due: Monday, Feb. 4.

 

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

The Kasich administration announced it will mandate autism services for children as part of the essential benefits package insurers will be required to offer under the federal Affordable Care Act, and also will negotiate with unions to add the coverage for children of state employees.

 

Gov. John R. Kasich and Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Michael B. Colbert authorized the release of $1 million in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, for distribution to Ohio's foodbanks before the holidays.

 

The 10th District Court of Appeals upheld a common pleas judge's decision to block Amerigroup from intervening in a lawsuit over Ohio Medicaid's new managed-care contracts.

 

Robert and Holly Young of Clermont County sued the Ohio Department of Health and the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities in U.S. District Court, alleging the state is not providing services for their 2-year-old autistic son as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

 

JUDICIAL

Onetime Cincinnati attorney Robert Schwartz has been permanently disbarred by the Ohio Supreme Court for defrauding the estate of philanthropist Beverly Hersh of more than $9 million in assets that had been assigned to Hadassah, the country's largest Jewish women's charity, and other causes.

 

Gov. John Kasich appointed Bratenahl attorney Janet Colaluca to Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court and Alliance attorney Kristen Farmer to the Stark County Common Pleas Court.

 

The Ohio Supreme Court Thursday reinstated the law license of Joshua Engel, formerly the top lawyer for the Department of Public Safety (DPS). He had lost his law license for six months for wrongly disclosing law enforcement investigatory records.

 

For the fifth time, Ohio attorneys will be asked to voluntarily report their pro bono activities to better identify gaps in the delivery of civil legal services to low-income Ohioans. The joint project of the Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation directs attorneys to a reporting website to answer eight questions about their 2012 pro bono work that should take about five minutes to complete.

 

William O'Neill was officially sworn in Wednesday as the newest Ohio Supreme Court justice, a day after new Justice Judith French took office. Former Justice Alice Robie Resnick delivered the oath of office to O'Neill.

 

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton is starting a new career following her last official day on the Court Monday. Leaving the Court two years before the end of her elected term, Stratton said the change will allow her to work full-time on the judicial reforms she hopes will be her legacy: mental health and veterans courts.

 

Judge Thomas Grady, a 24-year veteran of the Second District Court of Appeals, retired at year's end, but will continue to serve as a visiting judge.

 

It was announced Thursday that former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown will join the global law firm Jones Day. McGee Brown, who was also former Gov. Ted Strickland's running mate in his re-election bid, will join the firm's business and tort litigation practice.

 

The Ohio Supreme Court will handle the first elected official tried in the Cuyahoga County corruption probe this month when it hears the disciplinary case against defrocked common pleas judge Bridget McCafferty, the onetime Ohio House minority counsel who conspired with former county officials Frank Russo and Jimmy Dimora while sitting on the bench.

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) said Thursday that she continues to have discussions on a bill that was introduced in the 129th General Assembly, 129-HB601, which would reform the municipal income tax structure in the state to make it more uniform among cities. She said she hopes to reintroduce the proposal early in the 130th General Assembly.

 

NATURAL RESOURCES

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife named former Wildlife Management Supervisor Scott Butterworth as district manager for Wildlife District Two in northwest Ohio, and former Fish Hatchery Program Administrator Tim Parrett has been named the district manager for Wildlife District Four in southeast Ohio.

 

PEOPLE

 

The Ohio Grocers Association hired Joe Ewig, former legislative aide to Sen. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville), as its new communications and government affairs director.

 

Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board Deputy Director of Communications, Marketing and Events Gregg Dodd will be leaving his role at the Statehouse to become the marketing director for the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Dodd's departure will be effective Friday, Jan. 18 and his new role at the CML will begin Wednesday, Jan. 23. His replacement at CSRAB will be named in the coming weeks.

 

James Pancoast, president and CEO of Premier Health Partners in Dayton, will head the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) Board of Trustees for 2013. Phillip Ennen, president and CEO of Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers-Bryan Hospital, was elected chair-elect for the upcoming year. Olas "Chip" Hubbs III, president and CEO of Memorial Hospital of Union County, who was elected secretary/treasurer. The five other selected trustees-at-large include Steven Gabbe, M.D., CEO and senior vice president for health sciences, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus; LeeAnn Lucas-Helber, president, Hocking Valley Community Hospital, Logan; Tim Colburn, president and CEO, Berger Health System, Circleville; Mel Fahs, president and CEO, Community Memorial Hospital, Hicksville; Cynthia Moore-Hardy, president and CEO, Lake Health, Concord.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

 

The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported six people were killed on Ohio roads New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

 

The new Ohio driver's licenses meant to comply with the federal REAL ID Act will not be released this month as planned. The Ohio Department of Public Safety was unable to secure legislative authority for the $3.25 license fee increase during the lame-duck legislative session. The agency must also re-file its guidelines for the licenses with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

 

STATE GOVERNMENT

Inspector General Randy Meyer released his investigatory report on an Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) employee Friday after she was indicted in Franklin County on charges of theft in office, records tampering and forgery. Kathleen S. Hyre, a tax commissioner agent, tampered with and diverted credits and overpayments of taxes by businesses so she could deposit them into her personal account, Meyer's office said in its report.

 

TAXATION

 

Policy Matters Ohio said in a report Wednesday that HB601 (Grossman-Henne), a recent municipal income tax uniformity proposal, would allow tax avoidance activities to continue and might even open up new avenues of avoidance.

 

TREASURER OF STATE

 

Treasurer Josh Mandel's office agreed to pay $5,250 in legal fees and damages and hand over documents to settle a public records lawsuit filed in the Ohio Supreme Court by the liberal blog Plunderbund.

 

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

 

Emergency unemployment compensation benefits for jobless Ohioans will last for a shorter amount of time even though Congress reauthorized the benefits through Dec. 28, 2013. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the maximum time will drop Jan. 12 from 63 weeks to 54 weeks because Ohio's unemployment rate averaged less than 7 percent in September, October and November.

 

UTILITIES

Twenty-six people applied for the open Public Utilities Commission of Ohio seat of Cheryl Roberto, who resigned. The seat must go to someone who is not a Republican, and three Democratic lawmakers were among applicants. The commission Nominating Council will pare the list to four finalists for Gov. John Kasich to consider appointing.

 

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

 

A Cuyahoga County common pleas judge ruled the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation illegally overcharged non-group rated businesses from 2001 to 2008, a decision the bureau vowed to appeal.

 

WORKFORCE

Gov. John Kasich Friday announced a new program aimed at helping Ohio's incumbent workforce improve their skills while enhancing the state's economic competitiveness. The governor's office said the new Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program, administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency, provides $20 million for training opportunities designed to enhance workers skills.

 

 

actionTRACK - Hannah News Service, Inc.

 

 

 
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