Legislative Updates: News from the State House – December 2018

Legislative Updates: News from the State House – December 2018
Wayne Lawrence

Wayne Lawrence, Weiss Movers

BUSINESS/CORPORATE
Opportunity zones created by the 2017 federal tax bill represent great potential for Ohio, but the state must take steps to elevate itself over other states to fully benefit from venture capital investments, business leaders said in a Tuesday forum organized by Montrose Development Advisors (MDA). A lead speaker at the discussion, held at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, was Ohio Business Roundtable President Pat Tiberi, who played a key role in creating the opportunity zones when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

MARIJUANA
About 9 percent of marijuana users become dependent on the drug, and that statistic will hold whether it is consumed legally or illegally, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) Director Mark Hurst said. Speaking to attendees of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities Medical Marijuana Symposium in Columbus, Hurst said dependence rates increase to around 17 percent when the user begins using cannabis in their teen years.

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved anti-seizure medication that contains cannabidiol (CBD) is legal outside the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy clarified Friday.

MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM
Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC) Chairman Sen. Dave Burke (R-Marysville) told Hannah News Thursday that he believes the “band” between the lower and upper estimates for Medicaid growth in the 2020-21 biennium to be “reasonable.” Those ranges, which include a legislatively passed increase in nursing home reimbursement that will come in at 2.8 percent for the next biennium, are a 2.9 percent increase at the lower end to a 4.5 percent increase at the upper end in the projected growth in the “per member per month” (PMPM) cost for Medicaid recipients over the next two fiscal years. This is based on the projected PMPM cost of $657 to $675 in FY20 and $677 to $707 in FY21.

UTILITIES
The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) said Wednesday that Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Asim Haque’s commitment to return every “dime” of federal corporate tax relief to utility customers could be muted by nearly $600 million in new FirstEnergy charges under a proposed settlement of its tax refund with PUCO staff.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is expanding on workplace safety programs to offer $4 million in grants over the next two years toward school safety and security, the bureau announced Thursday. The funds come from BWC’s $1.5 billion rebate, and will provide 3-to-1 matching grants up to $40,000 to licensed public and private pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educational facilities.

 

 

About Matt Barker

Matt Barker is New Image Media, Inc.'s senior editor. Learn more about New Image Media at http://newimagemedia.com