Week in Review - 07/27/2018

Week in Review - 07/27/2018

CHILDREN/FAMILIES

Early childhood advocacy group Groundwork Ohio issued a report Wednesday characterized as a "clarion call" for policymakers to realize and address the scope and degree of inequity among groups of children in Ohio, particularly children in minority communities and in Appalachia. Release of the report, From the Ground Up: Unearthing Fairness for Ohio Kids, drew all four leaders of the General Assembly's majority and minority caucuses to a press conference where they spoke positively about the promise of early childhood investments to improve lives and address societal problems.


ECONOMY

 Using data recently published in a national report from the Economic Policy Institute, Policy Matters Ohio produced a statewide analysis detailing income inequality in Ohio, finding it to be the 29th most unequal state in the country.


EDUCATION

A Franklin County judge approved payments for a technology consultant to conduct a full back up of data from computer servers holding the data of Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT). Common Pleas Judge Michael Holbrook also ordered the school, the attorney he appointed to oversee the school, the state auditor, and the Ohio Department of Education to reach agreement within 60 days on procedures for accessing that data.


The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is soliciting public feedback through mid-August on a draft of new academic content standards for computer science instruction. Lawmakers enacted a requirement to develop computer science standards at the end of last year in HB170. Per that law, ODE is to finalize the standards by December of this year. The standards are available for review at https://tinyurl.com/y84eevdv.


Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Michael Holbrook is giving Attorney General Mike DeWine's office the go-ahead to seek recovery of funds from Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) and affiliated companies. Holbrook approved an order Wednesday granting a motion from attorney Myron Terlecky, whom the judge named to oversee affairs for the defunct online charter school, to assign claims for collection to DeWine's office. DeWine's office "has full authority and discretion to commence proceedings in any court or other forum, to prosecute, settle, compromise, or take any other action he deems appropriate regarding the assigning claims."


Ohio will observe its fourth annual back-to-school sales tax holiday soon, with exemptions for qualifying clothing and school supplies in effect for all of Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 5. Lawmakers enacted another one-time tax holiday in the state budget, HB49 (R. Smith), and later followed up with enactment of SB226 (Bacon), which will give the tax holiday a permanent place on the calendar for 2019 and beyond. The tax holiday exempts clothing items up to $75 each and school supply items and instructional materials up to $20 each. There is no limit on the total of exempt purchases, so long as individual items qualify.


EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

Ohio's unemployment rate rose slightly in June 2018 despite the fact that Ohio employers added 7,900 jobs, according to figures released Friday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). The jobless rate rose to 4.5 percent in June from 4.3 percent in May 2018, a 17-year low. The number of unemployed workers was up to 259,000 in June, compared to 250,000 in May. The unemployment rate has decreased from 5.1 percent in June 2017.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

A total of 21 bills were sent to Gov. John Kasich this week for his signature. Among them were HB87 (Roegner) which makes revisions to charter schools and HB318 (Patterson-LaTourette) which provides for school resource officers,