Week in Review - 05/17/2019

Week in Review - 05/17/2019

FY20-21 BUDGET

The House-passed version of the biennial state budget does not do enough to support Ohio's public universities and colleges, Policy Matters Ohio (PMO) argued Friday in a new report. PMO said further investment is needed in both the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG)and the State Share of Instruction (SSI) to reach Ohio's post-secondary credential attainment goals.


The Senate Finance Committee outlined testimony plans for its next two weeks of hearings, starting with reports from subcommittees Tuesday, May 21.


EDUCATION

Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria Monday took a swing at two contentious issues that have recently appeared before the State Board of Education (SBOE): rule revisions concerning pre-school special education and dropout and recovery prevention schools. During the superintendent's report, members also received updates on graduation requirements and the upcoming plans for the superintendent's performance evaluation/goal setting for the 2019-2020 school year.


"The State Board of Education does not support HB70 of the 131stGeneral Assembly." That's the official position the board took Tuesday via resolution, following hours of testimony earlier in the day from local school officials in districts now under the state academic distress commissions established in HB70. The board toyed with different wording and more specificity when debating the resolution from member Nick Owens but came down on the side of simplicity in the interest of quickly adding their collective voice to the calls for legislative action. The House version of the budget bill, HB166 (Oelslager), now includes dissolution of distress commissions in favor of a new, building-specific school turnaround model. The Senate is also debating reforms.


The House already moved to dissolve state academic distress commissions with its budget revisions, and Superintendent Paolo DeMaria told the State Board of Education on Tuesday he's getting the sense other high-profile education policy questions will also be addressed in HB166. Giving a legislative update to the board, DeMaria said he's heard sentiments in at least one chamber of the  General Assembly in favor of using the budget bill to take action on graduation requirements, report cards, and testing.


The two proposals on the table that would overhaul Ohio's high school graduation requirements are not necessarily competing against each other, according to testimony delivered Thursday by Superintendent Paolo DeMaria and State Board of Education (SBOE) President Laura Kohler. The pair appeared before the final meeting of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary education to present the SBOE's recommended changes to high school graduation requirements that may be included, in some form, in the biennial budget bill HB166 (Oelslager).


GAMING/GAMBLING

Casinos and racinos offering sportsbetting 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 ofthe sportsbook's "handle" over the previous one-year period,whichever is less. During sponsor testimony before the House Finance Committeeon Thursday, Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) said the proposed fees are similar to those required in West Virginia.


 

GENERALASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

Senate PresidentLarry Obhof (R-Medina) met his first major opposition Tuesday to legislation that would strip the Ohio Revised Code of language permitting courts' use of "legislative intent" in statutory interpretation. SB108 cleared theSenate on a unanimous vote after similar treatment for its predecessor, 132-SB307 (Obhof), in lame duck session. That unanimity ended in a legal clinicof sorts and sustained push-back from Democrats on the House Civil JusticeCommittee leery of conservative jurisprudence. Obhof wants to rescind R.C. 1.49 in its entirety, including provisions that allow courts to divine statutory intent through legislative history, circumstances of enactment, and the like.


Hundreds of witnesses appeared this week before the various Senate committees and subcommittees charged with reviewing the proposed FY20-21 operating budget, HB166 (Oelslager). Those hearings concluded on Thursday,with their reports due to the full Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, May 21.


POVERTY

Rates of food insecurity have slowly improved as the decade-long economic recovery has continued. Unfortunately, according to Feeding America's newly released "Map the Meal Gap 2019," Ohio's food insecurity rate of 14.5 percent exceeds the national rate of 12.5 percent and the Midwestern average of 11.4 percent. (The2019 report is based on 2017 data.) The report finds that, "Food insecurity is higher among households with children. About one in five children in Ohio (19.6 percent) live in families that can't always afford enough food on their own. In several rural counties (Monroe, Meigs, Adams, Vinton, Scioto and Guernsey), that rate is one in four or higher."