Posts Authored by Brock A. Miskimen

JLEC gives guidance that "all invited" does not mean "will not kick you out"

The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee (JLEC) recently gave guidance that lobbyists and employers must “affirmatively invite” all members of the General Assembly or all members of the House or Senate to qualify as an “all invited” event for reporting purposes. Read the full story.  

Ethics

Legislative review and 2020 legislative and electoral preview

With the start of a new decade, our team wants to share an overview of the past year and a look ahead to the coming months. Please click the link below for a review of relevant legislation that the General Assembly passed in 2019, a summary of predictions for 2020 legislative priorities and a political preview of the 2020 statewide election. Read more >>

General News

Federal judge rules Ohio law restricting prisoners’ right to vote is unconstitutional

Prisoners awaiting trial “must be given same voting rights as other citizens,” U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Watson recently found, ruling on a case filed by two men incarcerated in Montgomery County last year, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Lawyers for the men argued that Ohio law “violates the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by treating prisoners differently than other voters,” according to the article. State law grants voters “confined in hospitals by unforeseen medical emergencies until 3 p.m. on Election Day to submit an absentee ballot application,” while voters held in jail “face a noon deadline on the Saturday before an election.” Watson wrote in his opinion, “[t]he legislature cannot simply grant one class of voters more favorable terms . . . (that) is exactly what the Equal Protection clause forbids.” For more, read the full article.

General News

Amendment introduced to prohibit foreign ownership in critical infrastructure in Ohio

Introduced on October 26, 2019, House Joint Resolution 2 (HJR 2), titled the “Ohio Critical Infrastructure Protection Amendment,” seeks to place a constitutional amendment before Ohio voters prohibiting foreign businesses and individuals from having a majority ownership interest in critical infrastructure located in Ohio. Read more >>

General News

Alleged campaign account fraud illustrates need for election law overhaul

An investigation into $120,000 missing from the campaign account of U.S. Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) highlights a loophole in the federal campaign finance system, according to a recent editorial in The Toledo Blade. The main focus of the investigation is James Schwartz, Jr., the son of Chabot’s longtime campaign treasurer of record, James Schwartz, Sr. According to the article, “the elder Mr. Schwartz was not aware he continued to be identified as Mr. Chabot’s campaign treasurer,” although he has been listed on Chabot’s campaign finance reports since 2011. This implies that no member of Chabot’s campaign staff “has conducted a serious conversation” about his campaign account with its treasurer for eight years.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose “noted that this occurred through a loophole in the federal campaign finance system” and said that Ohio is “vulnerable to the same possible fraud.” LaRose has proposed a change to ensure campaign treasurers have reviewed and approved campaign finance reports. State Representative George Lang is expected to introduce legislation that would require a notary to verify a campaign treasurer’s signature.

Election Law

One vote claims victory for Athens County school district

The state-mandated recount of the Alexander Local School District's May levy vote confirms that the issue has passed by one vote, with 1,184 votes for and 1,183 votes against, reports the Athens News. This is the district's sixth vote on the 1 percent earned income tax levy. Administrators say that the new levy will keep the district from a $1.5 million budget deficit and fund operating expenses. Read the full story.

General News

Ohio Ethics Commission's education and training opportunities

The Ohio Ethics Commission’s educational outreach initiatives, including live seminars, webinars and online courses, are designed to help public officials and employees comply with the law. The offerings are popular and well-received. In 2018 nearly 55,000 people took advantage of training across all three platforms, and participants praised the clear instruction and engaging presenters.

The Ohio Ethics Commission is offering several options for ethics law training throughout 2019, including available onsite training, an e-course entitled “The Ohio Ethics Law: Good Government in Action,” a webinar offered monthly entitled “Overview of Ohio Ethics Law,” and six at-large regional live training sessions. The e-course is approved for 1.0 general CLE hour and the regional sessions are approved for 1.5 general CLE hours.

In addition, the Ohio Ethics Commission joins with the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct each year to offer a 2.5-hour professional conduct CLE course. Three sessions are available, two in Columbus and one in Richfield, Ohio. As of this post, seats are still available for the June 5 and October 10 sessions.

All courses and training sessions are free. Onsite trainings may have a minimum attendee requirement. Please contact Susan Willeke at susan.willeke@ethics.ohio.gov with any questions or to schedule a training.

 

Ethics, General News

Governor DeWine delivers his first State of the State address

On March 5, 2019, Governor Mike DeWine (R) delivered his first State of the State address during a joint House and Senate session. Governor DeWine returned to past tradition and spoke from the Ohio House chamber in the Statehouse. For more, read the full story

General News