The Legislative Update is brought to us by Liz Powell, Esq., MPH, Founder of G2G. Liz is an attorney with 20 years government experience, including as Legislative Director on Capitol Hill. She leads a team of bipartisan professionals that has raised over $50M, run advocacy campaigns and shaped CMS reimbursement for clients.

OVERVIEW

The legislature was off to a running start in mid-January with many headline grabbing bills at the helm. They are expected to run through the first week of March and then break for a few weeks while Members focus on their primary races. The Ohio primary, usually held in May, will be on March 17th this year. The legislature is focusing on the State Capital Budget, which is expected to be introduced in late February or early March with most funding decisions made ahead of the bill’s introduction. At this point, legislators have submitted their projects and the decisions for the bill are being made by leadership. More information on happenings in Ohio’s General Assembly in early 2020 are below.

HEALTH

Child Health and Wellness

The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) announced that it will be releasing the first payment for its new Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) for Kids Program, which was launched to measurably improve child health and wellness across the state. Pediatric primary care providers who want to participate in the program must adhere to a set of comprehensive access and care standards, work toward clinical and quality goals designed specifically for children and serve a minimum of 150 children enrolled in Ohio Medicaid. CPC for Kids leverages an $8 million investment to incentivize preventative pediatric care and 75% of the funding, approximately $6 million, will be distributed in 2020 to assist pediatric practices to perform primary-care activities that support infant, toddler, and children’s health and well-being. The remaining dollars will serve as a performance bonus for pediatric practices that have the greatest effect on improving rates of well-child visits, ensuring children receive lead screenings, and providing counseling for nutrition and physical activity to children and adolescents. More information about the CPC for Kids program is on the Ohio Department of Medicaid website, but please let us know if you would like more information.

Infant Mortality Research

Research Incentive funding was awarded from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to conduct research on infant mortality issues in Ohio. The funding was allocated as part of a provision in last year’s biennial budget bill. ODHE may award up to $1 million in FY20 and FY21 to support research of infant mortality issues. Funding awarded and project details are as follows:

  • Cleveland State University was awarded $982,322 for implementation of “Survive and Thrive – A New Future for African American Babies.” CSU and its partners, the Cleveland Clinic and Birthing Beautiful Communities of Cleveland, will analyze data sets that include macro- and micro-economic factors, and neighborhood and household conditions, with the goal of identifying causal links to infant mortality
  • The Ohio State University was awarded $441,146 to build upon previous infant mortality research. Previous funding allowed the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center, housed at Ohio State, to create 12 infant mortality predictive models, an infant mortality risk calculate, and geospatial analytics tools used to plan targeted interventions.
  • Bowling Green State University was awarded $266,642 to create stronger pathways to infant vitality through participant research. The funding will be used to conduct a participant-based implementation and impact assessment of the Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB in Lucas County.
  • Mount St. Joseph University was awarded $309,308 to create a new integrated technological solution that will deliver personalized messages to mothers whose infants are most at risk of suffering from negative birth outcomes.

Addiction Research

ODHE awarded funding for research on substance use disorders in Ohio. Funding awarded and project details are as follows:

  • Cleveland State University was awarded $252,819 to research patient-specific risk patterns for substance use disorder and withdrawal in real time. CSU will work to develop a cellphone application and automated statistical algorithms to identify person-specific risk factors and patterns for sobriety lapses for individuals completing an outpatient treatment program. Additional CSU research will inform treatment care providers of their patients’ status on treatment outcomes.
  • Wright State University was awarded $442,741 to train primary care providers in a prescription-tapering protocol known as PRESTO (PRomoting Engagement for Safe Tapering of Opioids). Wright State will recruit 150 primary care providers for training, which includes CSC opioid-prescribing guidelines, the Ohio prescription drug monitoring program and motivational interview techniques.
  • Bowling Green State University was awarded $475,535 to develop predictive models for identifying risk factors leading to substance abuse. BGSU will work to identify individual factors associated with dependence and subsequently develop a model to predict the target group more likely to face addiction risk.
  • Case Western Reserve University was awarded $96,837 to identify the geographic context of opiate use for targeting interventions. The project is based on the work of CWRU’s GIS Health and Hazards Lab, which has developed a method that informs substance abuse intervention strategies.
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital was awarded $499,998 to better understand the risk of relapse among adults in Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) remission. The project will examine an application of passive home monitoring technology that tracks daily schedules and routines of adults living with OUD.

Hemp Production Plan

Ohio is one of the first entities to see their hemp production program approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The 2018 Farm Bill ended prohibition on hemp production in the U.S. and required the USDA to create a regulatory oversight plan for states. Governor DeWine signed hemp legalization (SB57 authored by Huffman-Hill) in July 2019. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) has recently made a number of changes to its rules following the public comment period and the USDA’s issuance of hemp regulatory guidance. ODAg has yet to address concerns regarding some potential hemp cultivators’ claim that the required 500-foot setback from a school or public park would unjustly stop them from participating in the program. In many of these cases, their parcels would be barred from growing as they were adjacent to a public park.

New SNAP Requirements 

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) sent a request to the federal government that it thinks will comply with President Trump’s stricter food aid work requirements that go into effect April 1. Currently, many childless adults in 42 of Ohio’s 88 counties have been exempted from work requirements, based on a 24-month average unemployment rate, including urban areas such as Cuyahoga County. But under Trump’s new criteria, just 13 counties, all Appalachian except for Ottawa, will get the exemption for SNAP.

EVENTS

InnovateOhio 

G2G attended a small-group discussion with InnovateOhio Deputy Director, Mike Duffey. He shared the progress InnovateOhio has made in implementing its vision to make Ohio the most innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial state in the Midwest through state government utilization of technology to improve customer service. Duffey shared how the agency is tapping into resources in the business and non-profit communities to collaborate in the creation and implementation of new government systems and services. Currently, they are focusing on streamlining state agency information sharing, the TechCred program, and broadband access for the state. He explained the department is open to input from Ohio businesses and welcomes anyone with input to contact them.

Rev1 Event with OneColumbus

G2G attended a discussion hosted by Tom Walker, the CEO of Rev1 Ventures featuring Kenny McDonald, the CEO of OneColumbus. It highlighted the accomplishments Rev1, OneColumbus, and other local organizations have made in helping the region grow throughout the past decade. The CEOs shared their optimism for the decade ahead in Columbus and noted their thoughts on the region’s biggest challenges ahead, which included access to capital for start-ups and the continued need for a talented workforce. These are common themes G2G has been working to change with several organizations over the years. We will continue be engaged in these efforts and keep you posted on ways the new administration under Governor DeWine is addressing them.

JobsOhio

G2G attended a City Club of Cleveland forum where JP Nauseef, CEO of JobsOhio explained the nationally unique JobsOhio (JO) and its funding model and “Go Forward Strategy.”  Nauseef discussed JO’s intention to focus on 1) talent – increasing the production of in-demand degrees to address workforce needs for companies that want to expand or locate in Ohio;  2) sites – increasing the portfolio and diversity of sites available in Ohio, and; 3) innovation – spurring the creation of innovation districts with specific anchor entities, and how JO is exploring the need for early-stage investment dollars in Ohio and how JO will play a role. G2G continues to engage and track JO activities to position and help companies access funding and growth opportunities and is co-leading a session with one of their directors in Cleveland on March 12 so please keep posted and join us if you can.

Senate Finance Chairman Matt Dolan

G2G has a close relationship with State Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. As the Capital Budget is being negotiated, G2G remains in close contact with him. Later this week, Liz will be in town to attend an event for the Senator in Columbus. Also, this week, our Cleveland team attended an event where he reviewed a number of policy priorities being addressed by the General Assembly.  He discussed the EdChoice Voucher Program, Justice Reform, and Sports Gaming, in addition to:

  • State Capital Budget – Dolan expects a $2.4 billion budget for state facility upgrades and repairs, of which $150 million will be earmarked for local community projects. The legislature has received over $1 billion in requests for the $150 million available for community projects. Senator Dolan expects the Capital Budget bill to be rolled out at the end of March.
  • SB 21 Benefit Corporations – a bill to allow for-profit corporations to be classified as a benefit corporation, which would not receive any special government incentives but would signify it aims to also benefit the community through a range of means;
  • Third Frontier – a renewal of Third Frontier would likely occur at the same time as the H2Ohio water quality program is on the ballot, so the question of whether voters can support two bond issues on a ballot is relevant.

BUSINESS

Industry Sector Partnership Grant Program 

The Industry Sector Partnership grant program, codified under HB2 (Cross-Lepore-Hagan), has formally launched and will accept applications through Friday, March 13. The program received $5 million in funding over the biennium through the operating budget and aims to ensure Ohioans can participate in the workforce pipeline while meeting the needs of job creators and the local economy. A key aspect of the partnerships is to develop strategies specific to individual Ohio regions, increasing collaboration between businesses, education and training providers and the community. Grants will support partnership operations such as program coordinators, new tools and other associated expenses. Applications will be scored based on which partnerships deliver the highest return on investment for local job creators rather than a first come, first serve basis. Applicants can learn more and apply online at Workforce.Ohio.Gov/ISP. Please let us know if you are making an application as we would like to inform legislators and help ensure success.

More JobsOhio Funding

JobsOhio plans to double the loans and grants it awards to companies from $150 million to roughly $300 million annually. JobsOhio is assigning a senior official to oversee a new initiative focusing on bringing development to underserved areas. JobsOhio has not yet addressed the plans to begin investing in early-stage companies, an approach that could include taking ownership shares.

VentureOhio CEO Steps Down

VentureOhio CEO, Falon Donohue stepped down at the end of 2019 to become a partner at Narya Capital. The Ohio-based Narya, an early-stage venture capital firm, was recently announced as having been co-founded by J.D. Vance and Colin Greenspon. Donohue had led the statewide trade organization, which works to increase venture capital investment in Ohio, as executive director and then CEO since May 2015. Donohue confirmed that she will remain chair of the InnovateOhio Advisory Board.

EDUCATION

EdChoice

Both chambers of the Ohio Legislature have recently taken on the issue of Ohio’s EdChoice program, which provides students from certain designated public schools the opportunity to attend private schools through state-funded scholarships. A looming February 1st deadline for the program led to late nights in the legislature while the chambers attempted to hash out their differences. Ultimately, they could not agree, and they voted to push the deadline 60 days while they continue to work on the issue.

The Senate passed a bipartisan bill that would have kept the EdChoice scholarship program but cut the list of eligible schools from 1,227 (the original number under current law) to 425. This measure also would increase the income-based voucher limit to 300% of the poverty level and allocate $30 million for school districts hit hard by last year’s voucher expansion. The House however, subsequently passed a bipartisan bill 88-7, which would replace the existing program with “Buckeye Opportunity Scholarships”, an income-based program funded entirely by the state which prioritizes the program’s lowest income students. Legislative leaders from both chambers are now scheduled to meet in early February to work through differences in these two plans, while the overall future of the program remains unclear.

Stay connected for more updates here on our blog, at G2G’s website and on twitter – @G2GConsulting and @BioOhio

G2G (Government to Growth Consulting), LLC is a consulting firm specializing in assisting businesses and non-profit organizations. G2G provides comprehensive consultation in the fields of government affairs, economic development, grant writing, public relations, and event planning. G2G also has extensive experience in the areas of lobbying, advocacy, fundraising and grassroots organizing.