Week in Review - 12/22/2017

Week in Review - 12/22/2017


Ohio high school students can now earn recognition by showing they are prepared to contribute to the workplace and their communities. The OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal is a formal designation students can earn on their high school diplomas and transcripts indicating they have the personal strengths, strong work ethic and professional experience that businesses need.

Career-technical education officials told a state advisory group Wednesday that the Ohio Department of Education's (ODE) data system is error-prone, not user friendly, and does not provide timely access to information. Department officials said a pending overhaul of the system should resolve many issues flagged Wednesday.

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will start the application process next month for schools interested in subgrants from the $35 million Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant the state recently received from U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).

In its series of interviews with new members of the State Board of Education, Hannah News talked with Linda Haycock, who, after watching state and federal decision-making crowd out home-grown policy development, saw an opportunity last year to bring her local school board experience to the state level. Congress had recently enacted new laws with a promise of greater flexibility, and term limits were creating an opening on the State Board of Education. "I thought I could be an advocate for public education at the state level," she told Hannah. "I take it so personally. I'm a mother of four kids ... in my mind, I extend that to all of the kids of Ohio, and I want to do what's best for them."


The Senate will likely seek to provide more funding for voting machines in the 2018 capital budget, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) told Hannah News on Monday. "We're planning on addressing it, at least in part, during the capital budget process," Obhof said after presiding over the non-voting session, responding to a question on Secretary of State Jon Husted's request for the General Assembly to provide approximately $118 million to upgrade the state's systems.


As the open enrollment period for insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange came to an end, Ohioans were on track to see higher overall enrollment numbers than in 2016. As of Dec. 9, 109,475 Ohioans had enrolled in a plan on the exchange. The corresponding week six enrollment count in 2016 was 97,462, indicating a 12.3 percent increase. A surge in sign-ups was expected ahead of the Friday, Dec. 15 deadline.


The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) has moved nine programs at six community colleges closer to approval for applied bachelor's degrees under a provision passed in HB49 (R. Smith), the biennial budget. Language approved in the budget allows the ODHE chancellor to establish a program under which a community or technical college may apply to offer applied bachelor's degree programs if it meets certain criteria.


Congressional Republicans passed the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Wednesday, sending the legislation to President Donald Trump for his signature. HR1 cuts taxes on individuals and businesses to varying degrees, eliminates the Affordable Care Act's penalty for failing to acquire health insurance, and allows oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The proof will be "in the paycheck", Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said on passage of the federal tax legislation, despite polling showing the legislation is significantly unpopular among the public. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) continued to criticize the federal tax cut package during a call-in with reporters, saying it shows that the government has been overtaken by special interest groups. "I've not seen anything as immoral as what Congress did last night," Brown told reporters.