Posts Authored by Matthew R. Koppitch

2021 general election results

Election Day 2021 featured two special congressional elections, as well as mayoral races in several large cities, including Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo. City councils, judicial seats and ballot issues were also decided.

Nationally, Republicans enjoyed strong victories in Virginia, winning the Governor’s office and other statewide offices. Historical data shows the political party opposite the sitting President often enter mid-term elections with an electoral advantage and when combined with last night’s strong showing in New Jersey and Virginia, Ohio Republicans enter the critical 2022 election cycle with potentially strong tailwinds. Ohio Democrats, however, saw solid showings by young, up and coming candidates in mayoral and city council races across the state.

For more, read the full article

Election Law, General News

Holiday gifts for public officials: Check your list twice

If you’ve been out shopping, you’ve likely noticed stores are decking their halls and preparing for the holidays (holiday creep is a topic for another time). Many companies like to send small holiday gifts or tokens of appreciation to valued customers, clients and contacts. The question is, does your company’s list of recipients include any public officials or employees? Then you better watch out (and maybe consider checking that list twice).

Ohio law prohibits giving a gift of “substantial value” to a public official or employee if the giver is a “prohibited source.” A prohibited source is anyone that is regulated by, doing business with or seeking to do business with/interested in matters before the official/employee’s agency or political subdivision. While substantial value is not defined, the Ohio Ethics Commission has provided guidance that acceptable gifts should be of a nominal value. Think of promotional items or small food items and snacks. The Ohio Ethics Commission provides helpful guidance and you can always consult with your legal counsel for advice. That way you don’t end up on the naughty list.

Ethics, General News

Ferrara v. Trumbull County Board of Elections

On September 14, 2021, the Ohio Supreme Court found that the Trumbull County Board of Elections erred in rejecting a part-petition submitted by Mark Ferrara to appear on the ballot as a candidate for township trustee.

The Board of Elections reviewed Ferrara’s candidate part-petitions to appear on the ballot as a township trustee, and found the first part-petition contained 16 valid signatures. The Board of Elections then reviewed the second part-petition to determine if Ferrara collected enough signatures to appear on the ballot. 

For more, read the full article

Election Law, General News

Ohio’s capital budget process will soon be underway

The Ohio General Assembly will soon begin work on the state’s capital budget, which is typically passed in every even-numbered year. Expect the legislative process to begin on the capital bill during early winter and finish by spring in 2022.

The capital budget funds a variety of eligible infrastructure projects for state agencies, colleges and universities, school districts, and community projects. Community projects funded in the capital bill can vary from parks to museums and include many other types of infrastructure. More information on the state’s capital budget process can be found on the Office of Budget and Management’s website

General News

Federal and local COVID-19 updates

United States President Joe Biden announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement applicable to private sector employers who employ 100 or more employees on September 9, 2021. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule requiring employers of 100 or more employees to ensure all employees are either fully vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test result on a weekly basis. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) after the rule is finalized.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther signed an executive order requiring face masks in any indoor space accessible to the public on September 10, 2021. Buildings owned by the state or federal government or a religious entity are exempted. City Council followed by enacting an ordinance on September 13, 2021, codifying the executive order. The ordinance applies to all individuals over the age of three.

For more, read the full article.

General News

Ohio 11th and 15th congressional district special primary election results

Ohioans in the 11th and 15th congressional districts participated in special primary elections for two congressional vacancies on Tuesday, August 3, 2021.

In the 15th congressional district, which was vacated by Congressman Steve Stivers when he assumed the role of CEO for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Mike Carey, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, prevailed over a crowded ten-person field in the Republican primary that included several sitting state lawmakers. In the Democratic primary, State Rep. Allison Russo won easily. The 15th congressional district includes parts of Athens, Clinton, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Hocking, Madison, Morgan, Perry, Pickaway, Ross and Vinton counties. Congressman Stivers last won reelection in the district with 63.4 percent of the vote.

The 11th congressional district Democratic primary garnered national attention, portrayed as a battle between the Democratic Party establishment and the progressive wing of the party. The race featured endorsements from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and many prominent members of the U.S. House of Representatives. However, the battle lines were much more nuanced when viewed through the lens of local party politics. Cuyahoga County Councilmember and Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chair, Shontel Brown, defeated former State Senator Nina Turner. The district, which includes parts of Cuyahoga and Summit counties, is heavily democratic and previously held by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia Fudge. Councilmember Brown faces Republican Laverne Gorn in the November 2, 2021 special general election.

Election Law, General News

H.B. 110 FY 2022-2023 biennium budget overview and review of first half of 2021

The Ohio General Assembly recently completed an exhaustive and comprehensive first half of 2021. The legislature tackled the state’s two-year operating budget, COVID-19 relief funding, residential broadband expansion, reforms to the Ohio Power Siting Board for wind and solar projects, and much more. Below is an overview of the major policy and funding provisions of the state’s operating budget and a brief summary of impactful standalone legislation, as well as a brief preview of lawmakers’ expected agenda in the fall. For more, read the full article

General News

Ohio House Bill 2 signed into law

Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio House Bill (H.B.) 2 into law on Monday, May 17, 2021. H.B. 2 was drafted similarly to H.B. 13 from the last general assembly. H.B. 2 creates the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program. The grant program will be housed under the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA), which is likely to become the Ohio Department of Development again under H.B. 110, the budget bill. DSA will receive and review applications for program grants and send completed applications to the Broadband Expansion Program Authority. The Authority will consist of the Director of Development Services (DSA Director) and the Director of InnovateOhio or their designees, along with three appointed members, to serve four-year terms with reappointments permitted, with the Speaker of the House, the Senate President and the Governor making one appointment each. For more, read the full article.

Ethics, General News

Ohio’s COVID-19 health order to be removed June 2

On May 12, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine addressed Ohioans regarding Ohio’s COVID-19 health orders, stating that with the vaccine as a weapon to combat COVID-19, he is confident that it is time to rescind Ohio’s COVID-19 health orders. Therefore, the Department of Health will rescind all COVID-19 related health orders on June 2, 2021, except those relating to congregate living centers and nursing homes. The delay will allow individuals to get vaccinated before the health orders are removed. For more, read the full article.  

General News

Ohio Governor DeWine issues three-week statewide curfew

On November 17, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the administration is issuing a statewide curfew that takes effect on Thursday, November 19, 2020. Under the curfew, individuals are to be at home from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. The curfew lasts for 21 days. The Governor previously signaled he was considering closing in-person dining at bars and restaurants as daily case counts crept up over 8,000 per day. For a summary of the state-wide and county-specific orders, read the full article. 

General News
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