March 8, 2018
We anticipated this week's report would be devoted to a host of new policy ideas and priorities from Governor John Kasich, who delivered his final State of the State speech at Otterbein University in his hometown of Westerville Tuesday night. However, the Governor abandoned the traditional laundry-list-of new-initiatives model, and instead took a decidedly philosophical tone. He talked about values and compassion, and reflected on his time as Governor, which he said has seen a decrease in opioid prescriptions and deaths, a decrease in the uninsured rate, progress in the battle against human trafficking, as well as the lowest entry into state prisons in 27 years due to criminal justice reforms. He said there is still much time remaining in his term and that he and his team will keep working on such initiatives until they 'turn the lights off.' On the new policy front, he did announce a new state park that will span Muskingum, Morgan, Guernsey and Nobel counties and be named after Ohio State University track star and 1936 Olympian Jesse Owens. The park will be the state's largest. If you didn't get a chance to tune in for the Governor's speech, you can catch it via the Ohio Channel.
State Sues Monsanto and Major League Soccer
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine had a busy week, filing suit in Hamilton County Monday against agribusiness giant Monsanto for its production of polycholorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which the suit claims it manufactured for decades while knowing the hazards the chemical compounds posed. PCBs are associated with cancer, skin and eye disorders, reduced birth weight, liver damage and other adverse health effects and humans can be exposed by eating contaminated fish, breathing contaminated air, or swimming in contaminated water, according to the Attorney General. The suit seeks compensation and damages, including funding for a statewide plan to investigate and remove PCBs from the state's natural resources.
Also on Monday, the Attorney General joined with the City of Columbus to go after the owner/operator of the Columbus Crew SC and Major League Soccer to #SavetheCrew and protect Ohio taxpayers' interests. The state wants to ensure the team follows a 1996 state law passed after the Cleveland Browns relocation to Baltimore, which prohibits owners who use tax-supported facilities and accept financial assistance from the state and local governments (as the Crew has) from moving their teams elsewhere unless they give at least six months notice and give the city, an individual or group of individuals an opportunity to purchase the team. The suit was filed in Franklin County.
Marsy's Law 'You Have Rights' Card
In an effort to help inform crime victims of their new rights under the Ohio voter-passed Marsy's Law, the Attorney General's office has developed a palm card. It's designed to be a resource which law enforcement agencies can provide to victims and a place where they can write down information like the date and an incident description. Any law enforcement agency across the state can request the cards by contacting the Attorney General's Office Crime Victims Section at (614) 466-5610.
As you may recall from previous reports, Marsy's Law is named for Californian Marsy Nicols who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Pushed by her surviving family, it was enacted by Ohio voters in November as an amendment to the Ohio Constitution. Ohio was the sixth state to adopt the proposal, also known as the Ohio Crime Victim's Bill of Rights.
More Movement on Child Support Reform
Last week, we reported that the Ohio Senate has passed Senate Bill 125, sponsored by Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) that would make numerous changes to the laws governing child support. This week the Ohio House passed its version of the bill - House Bill 366, sponsored by Representative Teresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) by a vote of 96-0. The bills are not identical and will at some point need to be harmonized. We'll keep you posted.
The Ohio Senate is scheduled to be in session on Wednesday, March 14, while the House has an only if-needed day scheduled for Thursday, March 15.
Tracking OSBA Legislation
Remember, you can always track bills we are watching and OSBA priority legislation via the Legislative section at www.OhioBar.org.