Week in Review > Week In Review 9-25-23Posted by Paul Imhoff on September 25th, 2023
Ohio school athletics coaches can now obtain state training resources to help student-athletes struggling with mental health issues, Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week. The budget, HB33 (Edwards), includes a provision that requires all coaches to complete the training before they can apply for or renew their pupil activity program permits. “Coaches know how to motivate young people and lead them to success on the field but may not be aware of how to help student-athletes with the challenges they may be facing off the field,” DeWine said in a news release. “The goal is to give coaches the tools they need to help identify student-athletes who may be struggling and connect them with the help they need.”
The State Board of Education’s (SBOE) spent the majority of its meeting Monday preparing for the transfer of power over K-12 education governance to the renamed Ohio Department of Education and Workforce (DEW). With many of the provisions in the biennial budget set to take effect early in October, the board’s September meeting marks the last under its previous role.
Seven members of the State Board of Education filed a lawsuit Tuesday to challenge the new K-12 governance structure enacted in the state budget that transfers most of their power to a gubernatorial appointee, arguing it violates the Ohio Constitution. The lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, is assigned to Judge Karen Phipps. On Thursday, Phipps issued an order temporarily blocking the DeWine administration from moving forward with implementation of the law creating the new Ohio Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) or appointing an agency director.
Recent data on Ohio students’ post-pandemic learning trajectory highlights the need for more sustained focus on math achievement, panelists at a Fordham Institute event said Tuesday. Fordham hosted Ohio State University research Vlad Kogan to discuss his recent analysis of spring 2023 test data compared to recent years’ performance.
Ohio Department of Education (ODE) budget chief Aaron Rausch Monday reviewed upcoming changes in the biennial budget that will require the State Board of Education (SBOE) to “amend, rescind or establish new Administrative Code.” The majority of the changes are already “in process” he said. Interim Superintendent Chris Woolard said he plans to provide a six- to seven-month timeline for the implementation of budget provisions at the board’s next meeting in October.
A report released Tuesday on the clean energy industry found Ohio had a 4.6 percent increase in jobs during 2022, representing an addition of more than 5,000 that brought the total to 114,395 workers. E2, a national nonpartisan business group, and Evergreen Climate Innovations analyzed data for 12 states in the Midwest, and several speakers offered remarks in a virtual press conference on the report.
Two more misdemeanor charges have been filed against Rep. Bob Young (R-North Canton) in his ongoing domestic violence case. According to Barberton Municipal Court records, Young was charged Friday with violating a protection order and menace by stalking, both first-degree misdemeanors. Appearing in court on Monday, he was again given a recognizance bond and will continue to be subject to GPS monitoring. He announced his resignation from the House earlier this month, effective on Monday, Oct. 2, saying that while he will be “vigorously defending” himself against the charges, the allegations have become a distraction.
The House State and Local Government Committee started Tuesday on a four-hearing series to review occupational licensure requirements, per 132-SB255 (McColley), which requires review of a third of requirements every two years. Rep. Marilyn John (R-Shelby), chair of the committee, said she plans two hearings in October to take general public testimony on occupational licensure requirements in addition to the four hearings set for this week and next to hear from licensing agencies. Tuesday’s hearing featured testimony from the State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors and the Ohio Department of Commerce’s (DOC) Division of Financial Institutions, while Wednesday’s hearing included the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), Cosmetology and Barber Board and Motor Vehicle Repair Board.
Under legislation proposed by Reps. D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron) and Phil Plummer (R-Dayton), construction workers at certain facilities would be required to “demonstrate proficiency in spoken English.” “How would that be tested?” Sen. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) asked during HB205’s first hearing in the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee Wednesday.
Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) made a second round of changes to the fall schedule for House sessions Thursday, assuring the House won’t meet this month but adding more potential sessions later in the year. Canceled were an if-needed session set for Wednesday, Sept. 27 and a session set for Wednesday, Oct. 18. Added were a session for Wednesday, Oct. 11 and if-needed sessions for Wednesday, Oct. 3, Tuesday, Dec. 5 and Tuesday, Dec. 12.
According to the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB), the Ohio Village Muffins and Lady Diamonds will face off against the Capitol Cannon, made up of state senators and representatives, in an old-fashioned game of “base ball” Tuesday, Sept. 26. The match will run 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Statehouse’s West Lawn, and it is free and open to the public.
In other legislative action, the House Ways and Means Committee reported out HB187 (Hall-Bird), regarding property taxes; and Senate General Government Committee reported out SB62 (Reineke-Brenner), to designate Oct. 4 as “Rutherford B. Hayes Day.”
Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive for COVID-19 late Tuesday afternoon after developing cold symptoms and a fever. “At approximately 5:30pm today, Gov. DeWine tested positive for COVID-19. He started experiencing mild cold symptoms yesterday. Believing he had a mild head cold, he proceeded with his workday today. As the day progressed, his symptoms worsened, and his doctor advised that he take a COVID-19 test, which was positive. He reported having a 101-degree fever at the time of taking the test in the late afternoon. He is now resting at home. The current strain of COVID-19 can present itself with symptoms much like a head cold. Gov. DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) advise testing yourself for COVID-19, even if you think you have only a minor cold,” his office said in a statement.
The Ohio Supreme Court is accepting school applications for transportation grants supporting student tours of the Ohio Judicial Center and its Visitor Education Center. The program allows more students to learn about the state judicial branch, appeals process and generally how Supreme Court decisions impact Ohio law. The center allows visitors to participate in a mock trial — “a highlight for many students,” the Court says. The application form and more information on tours can be found at tinyurl.com/3rxvajjf.
Legislation proposed by Sen. Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland) would prohibit participatory budgeting in cities. “The bill … simply protects the budgeting powers of municipalities across Ohio by reinforcing their statutory authority to make appropriation decisions,” Cirino told the Senate General Government Committee during sponsor testimony on SB158 Wednesday. According to People’s Budget Cleveland, the participatory budget model proposed in Issue 38 has been used in 1,500 cities worldwide. If voters approve the charter amendment, Cleveland residents would directly decide how to spend 2 percent of the city budget, which is approximately $14 million. Cleveland residents ages 13 and older could submit ideas, develop proposals and vote in-person and online on how to use funds. A resident-led steering committee would guide the process. Cirino said the proposal is “ludicrous,” citing bipartisan opposition to the measure.
Richard “Rick” Savors, longtime spokesperson for the Ohio School Facilities Commission and its successor agency the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, died last week at age 67 in Virginia. Savors retired from the facilities commission at the end of 2019. He previously worked in broadcasting and for the Ohio School Boards Association. A memorial service is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 45 W. Winter St., Delaware, with a reception to follow.
The Greater Stark County Urban League announced that Thomas West, former Democratic lawmaker from Canton and former president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC), is its new president and CEO.
A week after it first convened, the Ohio Redistricting Commission finally found its co-chairs in Auditor Keith Faber and Senate Minority Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and adopted its first working Ohio House and Senate plan introduced by legislative Republicans. The commission could do little during last week’s meeting as House and Senate Republicans could not agree on a co-chair. On Wednesday, House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) and Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) agreed on Faber as their appointment. Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) introduced Republican maps during the hearing, telling the commission that the overarching concept on the maps was to avoid splitting communities, with only one city and five township split in the overall plans. He also said the plan avoids “double-bunking” current legislators so that two are paired in the same new district. In response to a question from House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington), McColley said the plan would favor Republicans in 23 districts in the Senate and 62 districts in the House. The plan was accepted 4-2 along party lines as the working document, while a plan introduced by Antono and Russo failed 4-2, despite their urging the commission to consider both plans. Ahead of the meeting, Russo and Antonio had discussed their proposal on Tuesday, saying their maps more closely match Ohio’s statewide voter map than current maps; respects current county and municipal boundaries while keeping communities of interest together; and avoids partisan packing of voters. Attorney General Dave Yost also had written a letter to commission members advising them that they could proceed with business without co-chair appointments being finalized.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee held its first hearing Wednesday on legislation to address the rise in property valuations and taxation, a day after the House Ways and Means Committee reported out a similar bill — HB187 (Hall-Bird) — for that chamber. Sen. George Lang (R-West Chester) testified on his and Sen. Terry Johnson’s (R-McDermott) SB153, which “seeks to address the precipitous rise in property valuations, and therefore property taxes, across Ohio due to the 2023 triennial update.” Lang explained how the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) conducts the triennial update and said there is discretion to weigh data points for each of the previous three years’ valuations differently. Currently, ODT puts the most weight on the third year as that is considered by them to be most reflective of the coming year. However, Lang said, that has meant “some valuations are more than doubling.”
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