Federal News: To address the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 6, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law an $8 billion emergency funding measure for government entities such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Health, the Indian Health Service, and the Food and Drug Administration. This measure is intended to develop and purchase vaccines, medical supplies and products, as well as provide state and local governments with preparedness grants, training and other forms of assistance. On March 13, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced an agreement on a second bill entitled the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (HR 6021). This legislation would provide free testing, paid emergency leave to qualified employees, increased Medicaid funding and expanded unemployment insurance, nutritional assistance and small business loans.
State News: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine continues to lead the nation in proactive steps taken by state governors to fight the community spread of COVID-19. As of March 18, he announced that in addition to previous orders banning mass gatherings, postponing the state’s primary election, closing private businesses including gyms, fitness facilities, movie theaters, bowling alleys and restaurants (excepting takeout and delivery services), the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices, barbershops, spas and hair/nail salons will now be closed.
There are also now 88 confirmed cases in 19 counties in the state of Ohio. Ages of those affected range from 2 years to 91 years with a median age of 45.5. There are 33 females and 55 males, with 26 hospitalizations, 0 deaths and 10 cases in Central Ohio. The state’s medical experts are currently estimating the COVID peak may be around May 1, 2020.
Industry Sector Partnership Grants: On January 23, Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the launch of the Industry Sector Partnership Grant program which was established by HB 2 and funded in the state operating budget (HB 166). The program is designed to drive collaboration among employers, training providers and community stakeholders to assist with workforce development. Applications can be submitted through March 13 to: https://workforce.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/workforce/initiatives/initiatives/isp/
Industry Sector Partnership Grants: On January 23, Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the launch of the Industry Sector Partnership Grant program which was established by HB 2 and funded in the state operating budget (HB 166). The program is designed to drive collaboration among employers, training providers and community stakeholders to assist with workforce development. Applications can be submitted through March 13 to: https://workforce.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/workforce/initiatives/initiatives/isp
Legislature Resumes End of January: The House and Senate have resumed Committee activity and will resume full Statehouse activity at the end of January. Priorities are likely to include:
• Sports Gambling: Several bills have been introduced to legalize sports gambling activities in Ohio. House Bill 194 would also create a Sports Gaming Advisory Board to oversee regulation, and it would fall under the purview of the Ohio Lottery Commission. Alternatively, Senate Bill 111 would permit the Ohio Casino Control Commission to regulate sports wagering. Stakeholders from the collegiate level continue to request that college athletics in the state be excluded from both measures. However, no amendments have been accepted on either bill to remove college athletics. Sports gambling will continue to be discussed and debated in 2020. While there is considerable interest in moving forward on the issue, the chambers need to agree on the regulatory body best suited to oversee sports gambling in the state.