Legislative Updates: News from the State House -June 2019

Legislative Updates: News from the State House -June 2019
Wayne Lawrence

Wayne Lawrence, Weiss Movers

GAMING/GAMBLING
Casinos and racinos offering sports betting under HB194 (Greenspan-Kelly) would be required to pay an application fee of $100,000, as well as an annual renewal fee of $100,000 or 1 percent of the sportsbook’s “handle” over the previous one-year period, whichever is less. During sponsor testimony before the House Finance Committee on Thursday, Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) said the proposed fees are similar to those required in West Virginia.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission Wednesday approved licenses to key employees at casinos and a gaming vendor, as well licenses for skill-based amusement machine operations. The commission also received an update from Executive Director Matt Schuler on the upcoming takeover of JACK Cincinnati casino. Schuler told commissioners that VICI and Hard Rock International have submitted their license applications to take control of the property.

GREAT LAKE
Sens. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and Sean O’Brien (D-Cortland) on Friday announced they will introduce legislation to fund clean water improvements in Lake Erie and across Ohio. The resolution would grant authority to the state to issue bonds to finance the costs of clean water efforts like water treatment, the reduction of open lake disposal of dredged material and support for nutrient management best practices.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Ohio joined 44 other states in an anti-trust lawsuit Monday charging executives from 20 of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers with a broad conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition and unreasonably restrain trade for more than 100 different pharmaceuticals ranging from contraceptives to antibiotics. Representing billions of dollars in U.S. sales, the alleged scheme hiked prices affecting the health insurance market, taxpayer-funded health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and individuals who paid inflated prices for their prescription drugs.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio will represent the city of South Euclid as it faces a legal challenge from the Lyceum, a Catholic school asserting that the city’s LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance infringes on its religious liberty. The Lyceum, represented by the conservative Christian nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filed its complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division in April. On May 7, it filed a preliminary injunction asking the court to stop the city from enforcing its non-discrimination law during the litigation.

MARIJUANA/HEMP
Fewer than half of the patients registered in the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) have legally purchased cannabis at a dispensary, according to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP). Of the 31,075 patients who have received a doctor recommendation to use medical marijuana, only 15,399 patients have bought the drug at a licensed dispensary as of April 30, OBP said in its monthly patient and caregiver report.
Patients living in Southwest Ohio will now have a shorter commute to obtain medical marijuana as the Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) issued its first dispensary certificate of operation in the region on Tuesday. About Wellness Ohio, located at 1525 Genntown Dr. in Lebanon (Warren County), is the 16th dispensary to be certified to operate in the state.

 

PEOPLE
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce announced the recent installation of Jeff Walters, a managing director in the Northeast Ohio offices of CBIZ MHM, LLC, as the new chair of its 66-member board of directors. Walters will serve a two-year term.

REDISTRICTING/REAPPORTIONMENT
Arguing that it is premature for Ohio to have to redraw its congressional maps before the U.S. Supreme Court issues its opinion in two cases challenging congressional maps in other states, Attorney General Dave Yost Friday officially asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a decision ordering Ohio to create new maps by June 14. A three-judge panel ruled earlier that the current congressional maps created in 129-HB369 (M. Huffman) are an “unconstitutional partisan gerrymander,” and ordered the maps to be redrawn by the June date. The district court subsequently refused to stay its decision, saying it was unswayed by the state’s argument that it should wait until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the two cases challenging maps drawn in Maryland and North Carolina that lower courts had also declared were partisan gerrymanders.
State Solicitor Ben Flowers Thursday presented an update to the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee on the status of litigation that recently saw a three-judge U.S. District Court panel rule Ohio’s congressional districts are “an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.” Flowers described for the committee the arguments the state made as it asked the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) for a stay in the ruling, with his expecting a decision by the end of the month — before the June 14 deadline the district court gave the state for redrawing the maps for the 2020 election.

WORKFORCE
Following quickly after a Monday, May 13 announcement, Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) gave sponsor testimony Wednesday on his bill to create a technical credential funding program, one of several bipartisan priority bills in the House. Cross said the state economy is changing quickly and businesses and employees must be able to “swiftly retool” their skills to keep up. The state should assist in that, and the bill’s “TechCred” program would support employers providing current or prospective employees with training toward industry-recognized credentials or certificates, he said.
Completing needed workforce development efforts will require collaboration between business leaders and the full range of education institutions, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted told around 500 attendees of the “Aim Hire” conference in Columbus Thursday. The event was sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT), which Husted leads, and business coalition Ohio Excels. The nonpartisan coalition, formed in March, includes Ohio Business Roundtable President Pat Tiberi, who Husted also said had agreed to serve as chair of OWT’s Executive Workforce Board pending confirmation.

 

 

 

About Wayne Lawrence

Wayne Lawrence is Vice-President of Weiss Movers and Storage. Wayne is WHACC's Board Chair and on the Advocacy committee