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Redevelopment Director – Town of Clarksville, Indiana

Known as the “Oldest American Settlement in the Northwest Territory,” historic Clarksville, Indiana, is home to over 20,000 residents and 600 businesses. The Town covers almost 10 square miles and is located along the Ohio River between Jeffersonville and New Albany, on the “sunny side” of Louisville, Kentucky, in Clark County.

Clarksville seeks an outgoing, creative, and visionary leader with the experience and skills as its next Redevelopment Director to help it realize its vision for continued sustainable growth and development. The position will work on both redevelopment initiatives and greenfield projects, adapt easily to change, and must be comfortable with operating in an evolving development environment while balancing and advancing multiple projects at once.

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News

COVID 19 Federal Funding Can Address Broadband Gap

COVID 19 illustrated the economic challenges for communities without adequate broadband services. According to the FCC, the definition of broadband internet is a minimum of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds.[i] Broadband provides high speed internet access via multiple types of technologies including fiber optics, wireless, cable, DSL and satellite.[ii] The availability of broadband enables all the benefits of the digital information age to support business growth, and it eliminates the lack of density and the challenge of distance created for rural communities in particular. Regions without adequate broadband networks struggle to utilize telemedicine, telework and even basic wireless telecommunication service. According to the Federal Communications Commission and USDA, 80% of the 24 million American households that do not have reliable, affordable high-speed internet are located in rural areas. The lack of high-speed access carries real economic consequences. The World Bank estimates that a 10% increase in broadband penetration can lead to a 1.21% jump in GDP growth in developed economies and a 1.38% jump in developing economies.[iii] The FCC argues that the economic payoff from investing to improve broadband access is greater than from other types of infrastructure investments.[iv]

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Advocacy

Tracked House Bills – August 2020

Ohio House Leadership Changes

In early August, members of the House of Representatives ejected Rep. Larry Householder from his speakership role.  By a vote of 91-0, the House brought Rep. Householder’s (R-Glenford) second stint as the chamber’s leader to an end.  This move came shortly after a federal grand jury indicted Rep. Householder for his alleged role in orchestrating a $60 million racketeering scheme.  (Note Rep. Householder’s first stint as House Speaker ended under a cloud of suspicion as he was subject to a federal investigation at the time; that investigation ended without any charges filed.)   Following the vote, the House voted to install Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima), who said he will work to restore trust in the Ohio House; Speaker Cupp is an experienced public servant, having been an Ohio Supreme Court Justice and a longtime member of the Ohio General Assembly.  Speaker Cupp has signaled he’s going to take a less combative tone with Gov. DeWine’s COVID-19 efforts than his predecessor, and he quickly moved to replace the House leadership’s team with new aides and support staff.

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Tracked Senate Bills – August 2020

Industry Credentials for Students

The Ohio Department of Education, in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, has developed a new application process for submitting industry-recognized credentials to the approved list for graduation.  Community stakeholders, including businesses, may suggest industry credentials for consideration by completing an application due August 30.  Approved credentials from this quarter will be available to students for the 2021-2022 school year. For more information and to complete an application, click here.  Further, questions may be directed to  industrycredentials@education.ohio.gov.

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Tracked House Bills – July 2020

News from the Statehouse:

House Speaker Arrested, Charged with Federal Bribery and Related Offenses

On July 21, the FBI raided the home of Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder. Later during the day, law enforcement arrested Speaker Householder and four other individuals in connection with a $60 million bribery case related to H.B. 6, legislation that subsidized Ohio’s two nuclear power plants.  Speaker Householder had returned to the House in 2016 following a stint in the early 2000s when he also served as Speaker.  His earlier departure coincided with another FBI investigation stemming from e-mails and related to funneling of campaign contributions.  No charges were ever filed in that case.

The other four individuals arrested are Neil Clark, founder of Grant Street Consultants, a prominent lobbying firm in Columbus; former Ohio Republican Party chair and consultant Matthew Borges; Juan Cespedes, co-founder of The Oxley Group in Columbus; and Jeffrey Longstreth, adviser to Householder.  They were released from custody afterward, with travel restrictions and prohibitions on contact with others involved in the case.  All face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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Tracked Senate Bills – July 2020

COVID-19 Update:

Mask Requirements:

With COVID cases on the rise, on July 22 Governor DeWine announced that beginning on Thursday, July 23, at 6:00 p.m., a statewide mask mandate will go into effect for citizens living in all 88 Ohio counties.  All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:

At an indoor location that is not a residence
Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members
Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.

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Tracked House Bills – June 2020

Federal News:

Unemployment Numbers Improve: As reflected in numbers released Friday June 5, the U.S. economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May as some states reopened.  The   unemployment rate dropped to 13.3 percent from April’s number of 14.7 percent. The positive news was complicated by the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics said it had misclassified data in May, as it had in April and March. Without the error, the unemployment rate in April would have been higher at 19.7 percent, and May’s rate would have been 16.3 percent. 

HEROES Act: On May 15, the House approved a fifth aid bill dubbed the “HEROES Act” (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) that would authorize additional COVID assistance totaling $3 Trillion.  The bill is now under consideration by the Senate.  It includes another round of direct cash payments to individuals, extends unemployment benefits to the end of January, adds hazard pay for front-line workers and includes aid to state and local governments. It also expands virus-testing efforts and contact tracing and treatment.  The bill also includes some changes to programs that were approved in the CARES Act, including an expansion of the IRS payment program.  In addition, the plan sets aside $3.6 billion to protect federal elections, $25 billion to support the U.S. Postal Service, $100 billion for low-income rent support, $75 billion for a homeowner assistance fund and $100 million for the Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs.  It also would expand funding for small-business loans, enhance an employee-retention tax credit program and boost worker protections.

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Events

2020 OEDA Annual Summit

After much contemplation and consideration, the OEDA leadership has made the decision to proceed with the 2020 OEDA Annual Summit in a virtual format.  The Virtual Annual Summit will be presented over the original in-person dates – September 29-October 1.  We will all certainly miss seeing our Ohio colleagues in person, but the OEDA leadership feels that safety must be the first priority.