Week in Review > Week in Review 12-23-2020Posted by Kevin Miller on December 23rd, 2020
Vaccines remained the primary topic of Gov. Mike DeWine’s press conference Monday. Asked about a recent CDC advisory panel’s recommendation regarding who should be vaccinated during the next two phases, DeWine said that was being considered by state officials but noted the groups involved represent a sizable population. The Phase 1B group includes those age 75 or older and frontline essential workers, while Phase 1C includes those aged 65 to 74, persons 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions and other essential workers. DeWine also said a vaccination order within both those phases would be needed as well, and the focus would be on saving lives.
A coalition of school districts announced that it is working with a Cleveland-based law firm to challenge a new law that the districts say is an “unlawful and harmful expansion of vouchers in Ohio.” The coalition, which is calling itself Vouchers Hurt Ohio, said it is working with Walter | Haverfield on a potential challenge.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released a new report Tuesday showing a $675 million investment made by Gov. Mike DeWine and the General Assembly nearly two years ago has resulted in the planning or implementation of more than 3,000 student support initiatives that are serving more than one million Ohio students. The 2019-2020 Student Wellness and Success Funds Report details how the funds are being used to help eligible schools and districts, as well as community partners, address the needs of “the whole child,” ODE said.
Both houses appear to have wrapped up their work for the 133rd General Assembly effectively if not officially since neither has adjourned sine die as yet. The House adjourned its Tuesday session without addressing any of the bills on its calendar save for concurrences. Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) said they would return to override SB311 (Roegner-McColley), legislation limiting health orders issued by the director of the Ohio Department of Health, if the Senate acted first. However, the Senate did not and Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) indicated late Tuesday night they would not. Instead, the upper chamber amended HB609 (West) to protect small businesses from being shut down when “big box” stores are permitted to keep open.
Both houses did accept the conference committee report on SB310 (Dolan) which turned into the capital appropriations bill for FY21-22 as well as a “Christmas tree” bill for the session, with a number of disparate provisions included.
Education-Related Bills Passed by the Senate
HB75 (Merrin) To require local governments that contest property values to formally pass an authorizing resolution for each contest and to notify property owners.
Education-Related Bills Heading to Governor
HB210 (Carruthers) Regarding the screening of child care and preschool employees for tuberculosis, the disclosure of information about certain public assistance recipients to public health authorities, the regulation of radiation technology professionals, and the exemption of certain entities from the notice requirements that apply to mobile dental facilities.
HB409 (Koehler) Regarding student attendance at Internet- or computer-based community schools that are not dropout prevention and recovery schools, to provide public and chartered nonpublic schools discretion regarding educational requirements of substitute teachers for the 2020-2021 school year, to exempt schools from retaining students under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee for the 2020-2021 school year, to permit the Superintendent of Public Instruction to adjust various deadlines, to prohibit the Department of Education from issuing state report card ratings for the 2020-2021 school year, to establish a safe harbor from penalties and sanctions based on the absence of state report card ratings and community school sponsor ratings for the 2020-2021 school year, and to declare an emergency.
HB436 (Baldridge) With regard to screening and intervention for children with dyslexia and to modify achievement assessment requirements for students receiving state scholarships.
HB442 (Roemer-West) To revise the state’s occupational regulations.
SB310 (Dolan) To provide for the distribution of some federal coronavirus relief funding to local subdivisions and businesses, to revise the formula used to determine Medicaid rates for nursing facility services, to exclude loan amounts forgiven under the federal CARES Act from the commercial activity tax, to apply the Prevailing Wage Law to transportation improvement district projects under certain circumstances, to allow certain state employees’ salaries and pay supplements to be frozen during the pay period that includes July 1, 2020, through the pay period that includes June 30, 2021, to temporarily expand the use of certain tax increment financing payments, to exempt certain political subdivision purchases from competitive bidding requirements during the COVID-19 emergency, to suspend certain county hospital bidding requirements during the COVID-19 emergency, to allow a county, township, or municipal corporation appointing authority to establish a mandatory cost savings program in response to COVID-19, to make capital reappropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2022, to make other appropriations, and to declare an emergency.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed a number of bills in recent days including the following education-related bills:
– HB123 (A. Holmes-Manning) To enact the “Safety and Violence Education Students (SAVE Students) Act” regarding school security and youth suicide awareness education and training, to specify which public schools are eligible for school safety training grants, to establish, for fiscal year 2021, a pilot program to provide additional funding for students enrolled in grades eight through twelve in certain Internet- or computer-based community schools in which a majority of the students were enrolled in a dropout prevention and recovery program for the 2019-2020 school year, to earmark an appropriation, and to declare an emergency.
– SB40 (Brenner-McColley) enacts the “Forming Open and Robust University Minds (FORUM) Act.” The act protects individuals’ First Amendment rights, as well as prohibits “free speech zones” on public university campuses.
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