Week in Review > Week in Review 10-15-2021

Posted by on October 15th, 2021


Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) ordered House Health Committee Chairman Scott Lipps (R-Franklin) to reverse course Thursday on plans to bring stringent restrictions on vaccination mandates up for a committee vote next week. Cupp had tried to push vaccination mandate debates to the side Wednesday, saying lack of consensus on his leadership team’s compromise measure, HB435 (Carfagna-Seitz), meant the House would be “moving on” to other topics. However, around mid-day Thursday, Lipps’ office put out notice of a committee meeting Tuesday, Oct. 19, including plans for amendments and a vote on HB248, a measure from Rep. Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester) that would institute broader restrictions on vaccination mandates, beyond just those for COVID-19. Several hours later, both Cupp and Lipps sent out a letter the speaker sent to the chairman. “You are hereby directed to immediately cancel the Health Committee currently scheduled for Oct. 19, 2021. Upon receipt of this letter, please notify the members of the committee of the cancellation,” Cupp wrote. Lipps complied.

The Thursday activity following a false start Wednesday on moving a vaccination mandate exemption measure forward via action in the House Rules and Reference Committee, following stymied action in the House Health Committee two weeks ago on HB435 (Carfagna-Seitz), the House leadership bill. It then had informal hearings in the House Commerce and Labor Committee last week. However, House Rules and Reference Committee recessed Wednesday before taking any action pending further caucus deliberations. Shortly before Wednesday’s House session was to start, Cupp released a statement saying there’d be no action and the House would be “moving on.”

While the spread of COVID-19 is declining in Ohio and across the country, it is “far too early to claim victory” over the coronavirus, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Thursday. “It appears the Delta surge has, in fact, plateaued. Nevertheless, we continue to see very high numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” Vanderhoff said during a virtual press conference, noting Ohio is still reporting thousands more daily cases and hundreds more hospitalizations than mid-October 2020. According to the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA), one in seven of the state’s hospitalized patients — a total of 3,226 individuals — are infected with COVID-19. One in four intensive care unit (ICU) patients — a total of 910 individuals – are positive for COVID-19.


State performance data for schools came out Thursday, Oct. 14 without the usual A-F grades, in light of the tumult experienced in the education world last year amid continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The release marked a quiet end for the A-F system, an initiative of the Kasich administration that will now give way to a five-star rating system that includes many revisions to measures underlying the report cards. Lawmakers late in 2020 opted against including grades with the annual report cards via 133-HB409 (Koehler), and earlier this year created the new five-star system in HB82 (Cross-Jones). Report cards this year do include information on graduation rates, Prepared for Success indicators and demographic and enrollment data.

At the end of a meeting that lasted more than 12 hours on Wednesday, the State Board of Education (SBOE) voted to repeal the anti-racism resolution it adopted in July 2020 amid protests sparked by the police murder of George Floyd. By a final vote of 10-7, the SBOE adopted a resolution that, among other provisions, repeals the “Resolution to Condemn Racism and to Advance Equity for Black Students, Indigenous Students and Students of Color.” Board member Brendan Shea had proposed the repeal resolution last month, but member Martha Manchester Wednesday introduced an alternative draft. Manchester’s proposal received a number of revisions during the meeting before ultimately being accepted as an amendment to Shea’s original “Resolution to Promote Academic Excellence in K-12 Education for Each Ohio Student without Prejudice or Respect to Race, Ethnicity or Creed.”

The House Wednesday voted unanimously to invalidate rule 3301-35-04 from ODE, which would remove requirements for schools to offer instruction in a variety of subjects, including foreign language. The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) had voted to recommend invalidating the rule Tuesday, prompting introduction and passage Wednesday of HCR35. The Senate will now have five session days to take up the resolution.

Posted by on October 15th, 2021

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