Legislative Updates: News from the State House – October 2018

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

Wayne Lawrence, Weiss Movers

CENSUS
U.S. Census Bureau data released recently show an increase in the state’s rate of uninsured individuals, a decrease in poverty and a noticeable increase in the state’s median household income. Ohio’s percentage of uninsured individuals increased from 5.4 percent in 2016 to 6.0 percent in 2017; its rate of poverty decreased from 14.6 percent in 2016 to 14.0 percent in 2017; and its household median income increased from $52,334 in 2016 to $54,021 in 2017.

 MARIJUANA 
America’s uncertain legal landscape and other complicating factors are leading many Ohio business owners — even those open to allowing cannabis use — to prohibit employee use of medical marijuana, according to an executive at a leading drug-free workplace consulting firm. In a phone interview with Hannah News, Working Partners Managing Director Karen Pierce said the main impediments are marijuana’s federal illegality, the lack of an impairment test and the significant difference between a medical “recommendation” and a “prescription.”  

 MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM 
The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) Monday allowed a proposed Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) rule addressing eligibility for Medicaid providers with criminal records to move forward, as lawmakers on the panel and the agency itself promised to work with stakeholders on an improved solution. The rule addresses screening requirements for Medicaid providers that would classify employees with past criminal offenses into tiers. Some employees with very low-level offenses would be able to work as a provider right away, while others convicted of violent offenses or those involving children would be permanently barred. It also allows those with criminal records to be certified as providers if they obtain a certification of qualification for employment (CQE) from a sentencing court.  

 MIDWESTERN GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE 
The future of automotive technology and infrastructure was the principal theme for the opening of the Midwestern Governors Association’s (MGA) 2018 conference, with Gov. John Kasich and Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett delivering the opening remarks and Wednesday keynote, respectively. MGA Executive Director Jesse Heier noted displays on robotics and drones in the lobby of COSI, where the conference was held, and Kasich offered a summary of his initiatives to make Ohio a leader in the future, including his energy policy and solving workforce issues through partnerships among business and education institutions. The Governor’s Executive Workforce Board held its second-to-last meeting of Kasich’s administration at COSI as well Tuesday, in advance of the MGA conference.  

 The state of Ohio is on its way to ensuring it will receive a healthy slice of the burgeoning $10 trillion personal transportation industry, KPMG in the United Kingdom (U.K.) Global Head of Infrastructure Richard Threlfall said Wednesday. Threlfall participated in a panel discussion on the intersection of physical and digital infrastructure at the 2018 MGA Summit at COSI. He was joined by AT&T Internet of Things Solutions Assistant Vice President Ken DiPrima, Ford Smart Mobility Vice President John Quant and Smart Columbus Vice President Mark Patton.  

 PENSIONS 
The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) reported double-digit 2017 returns to state lawmakers Thursday but said a dropoffin the capital market outlook led actuaries to recommend it consider lowering its long-term assumptions for investment earnings. Karen Carraher, CEO of OPERS, presented the 2017 valuation report to the Ohio Retirement Study Council, reporting “very favorable returns” of 16.7 percent, representing $6.8 billion in excess earnings over expectations.  

 TRANSPORTATION/INFRASTRUCTURE 
The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC) on Monday approved a five-year, $1.87 million deal with Agile Network Builders LLC to provide redundant fiber optic connections to the commission’s network and service plaza-wide WiFiaccess.  

 WORKFORCE 
In its penultimate meeting of the Kasich administration, the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board Tuesday discussed efforts to connect education curriculums and employer needs and made plans to review its work when the board convenes for the final time. Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) Director Ryan Burgess said that work would continue “to the finish line” as Gov. John Kasich’s final term winds down, saying that at a high level they have completed 60 percent of board recommendations and will finish another 28 percent by the end of the year, with 12 percent remaining.  

 

 

About Wayne Lawrence

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