by Scott Miller, President
Report Card Overhaul Awaits Governor's Signature
The House on Friday finalized legislation establishing a revamped accountability system for the state's K-12 school buildings and districts.
The chamber voted 89-3 to concur in Senate amendments establishing a report card system with five graded categories and a five-star rating system.
The language had previously been added to legislation (HB 82) initially focused on allowing students to opt out of state-mandated college admissions tests. (LSC Analysis)
That measure cleared the Senate Thursday, teeing up a House concurrence vote Friday which prompted dissents from Rep. Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland), Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Twp.) and Rep. Jena Powell (R-Laura). (See Gongwer Ohio Report, June 23, 2021)
Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport) said the changes are the fruit of a stakeholder process going back years.
"Our goals for report cards were to make them simpler, transparent, equitable and more accurate to get a better understanding of what's happening in our schools and this legislation accomplishes that," he said.
The five graded categories on the proposed report card would be achievement, progress, gap closing, early literacy and graduation rate.
A sixth component – college, career, workforce and military readiness would remain ungraded for at least three years.
The report card provisions in HB82 have won support from education interests including the Alliance for High Quality Education, Columbus City Schools, Ohio Excels, the Ohio Association for Gifted Children and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
Rep. Jones called it a "comprehensive piece of legislation" and a "fair compromise" between the two chambers.
"I'm very proud of the work we've done," Rep. Jones said.
Rep. Phillip Robinson (D-Solon) agreed, thanking the stakeholders who spent hours-long meetings to ensure the legislation could get across the finish line before summer break.
"This is a fair compromise given the circumstances," Rep. Robinson said. "We think this moves us in the right direction."
"This is a down payment," Rep. Robinson added. "There's still more work to be done."
Among those applauding the bill's movement was Chad Aldis, vice president for Ohio policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
"State legislators should be commended for making these smart, commonsense course corrections," Mr. Aldis said in a statement. "The new report card will allow Ohio to successfully reboot its school accountability system after pandemic-related pauses, drive academic improvements in schools for the benefit of students, and ensure that Ohio parents have honest, accurate information that helps them choose greater schools that work for their kids."
Ohio Excels also welcomed passage, with President Lisa Gray saying: "Ohio's business community understands the importance of maintaining a report card system that clearly, honestly and fairly evaluates schools and school districts, and we believe the updated school report cards in House Bill 82 will help keep Ohio a national model for measuring the success of our schools."Back to top
End Draws Near For Budget Process
Lawmakers could put their final touches on the state operating budget this week, just as soon as they sort out hundreds of differences between the House and Senate's versions of the bill.
The conference committee on the two-year spending outline (HB 110) is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning, but when the final business of sifting through the many disagreements will happen depends on when negotiators reach a deal. The panel is expected to recess immediately after convening.
Conferees heard last week that they have about $3 billion more in anticipated tax revenue for the next biennium to work with as the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has gone better than initially expected.
That extra money will help because the House and Senate have some big disagreements, chief among them being school financing. The lower chamber included in its proposal a historic overhaul of the beleaguered formula, known as the Fair School Funding Plan.
The Senate-passed budget replace the House's K-12 funding formula with its own version with a lower average base cost per-pupil – a move that has irked public school advocates. The upper chamber's spending outline also eliminates millions in spending to help districts purchase school buses over two years. (See separate story).
Another major difference stems from the Senate's change to the Step Up to Quality program for publicly funded child care. The upper chamber proposed eliminating a mandate that providers participate in the quality incentive program and a mandate that they achieve higher ratings in 2025.
Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) has said the move is designed to ensure wider access to some form of child care and to avert a future fiscal problem as costs rise while funds the state has been drawing on to pay for the program are depleted. Child care advocates, meanwhile, have said it will lead to families receiving lower quality early education. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, June 3, 2021)
In Medicaid, the Senate addition of language to require the state to re-do the procurement process for new managed care plans has drawn criticism from groups who say it could jeopardize planned improvements. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, June 4, 2021)
Broadband expansion is also a subject of negotiations, as the Senate cut $190 million that had been planned for the recently created Ohio Residential Broadband Program. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, June 4, 2021)
Sen. Huffman said last week he anticipates a significant amount of money will be included in the budget for broadband. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, June 18, 2021)
Aside from the most-discussed issues, lawmakers face hundreds of decisions big and small as they hash out the final budget. Some examples from the nearly 500-page differences-only comparison document:
- The Senate version included a requirement that the Department of Aging expand the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly to Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Lorain and Toledo, in addition to the current program in Cleveland.
- The Senate's version prohibits public officials from settling civil actions in a way that nullifies, suspends or conflicts with the Revised Code. The attorney general would also be prohibited from agreeing to settlements that award more than $10,000 to the state without approval of the governor, Senate president and House speaker.
- Included in the Senate version was a provision modifying an exemption from the public records law for telephone numbers of victims and witnesses to crimes and parties to motor vehicle accidents.
- Added by the Senate was language allowing the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board to contract for an on-call architect engineer to advise and consult with the board.
- The Senate included language stating an employer doesn't violate the Ohio Civil Rights Law when taking an action against a person who uses medical marijuana in violation of a workplace policy.
- The House removed a provision in the executive budget that would hold harmless the holder of unclaimed funds as long as the holder acted in good faith and incompliance with the law, but the Senate restored it.
- The House added a provision re-establishing the Historical Boiler Licensing Board, which was then removed by the Senate.
- R liquor permit holders would be allowed to repackage alcohol under certain conditions under a proposal in the Senate's version.
- The House proposed increasing the number of days ahead of a meeting that the Controlling Board must publish its agenda, from seven to 14, but the Senate removed it.
- Language creating a Court of Claims procedure for hearing complaints about violations of the Open Meetings Law was included by the Senate.
- A provision in the Senate version would require the Department of Development to publish descriptions of and eligibility and application requirements for its loan and grant programs. (All three versions agree on changing the agency's name from the Development Services Agency.)
- The Senate proposed the creation of a grant program for meat processing plants in the Department of Development.
- Preneed funeral contracts and related information in mandatory reports submitted to the Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors would be exempted from public records law in the Senate version.
- The Senate's proposal eliminates a $100 fee for renewal of coverage for a permit for a household sewage treatment system.
- The House proposed changes to water bottle filling station requirements by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, but the Senate eliminated that language.
- The Senate increased the eligibility age for the Program for Medically Handicapped Children from 21 to 22 on July 1, 2021, and to 23 a year later.
- The maximum age for a child's family to be eligible for home visiting services through the Help Me Grow program was increased from three to five years old in the executive and House versions, but the provision was removed by the Senate.
- The House removed an executive provision to allow joint health districts to levy a property tax levy for operating expenses, but the Senate restored it.
- An executive provision allowing the Department of Health to issue orders, take corrective action and impose fines on nursing homes or related facilities was modified by the House, but the Senate removed it entirely.
- The Senate's budget would allow the Chancellor of Higher Education to approve nursing bachelor's degree programs at community colleges if they meet certain requirements.
- The House created a Commercial Truck Driver Student Aid Program, but it wasn't included in the Senate's version.
- Same-party members of House and Senate committees would be able to meet without violating the Open Meetings Law under a House provision that was not included in the Senate's version.
- The Senate proposal called for the Department of Medicaid to institute a supplemental dispensing fee for retail pharmacies, totaling more than $15 million plus corresponding federal shares.
- Language proposed by the Senate would require the Department of Natural Resources to reimburse school districts and other taxing units for part of the foregone property tax revenue resulting from the acquisition of land to create Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area and Appalachian Hills Wildlife Area.
- The Senate proposed an increase in the share of General Revenue Fund tax revenue going to the Public Library Fund, to the tune of about $11 million per year.
- The House included language creating an income tax deduction starting in 2026 for capital gains received by investors in certain Ohio-based venture capital operating companies, but the Senate took it out.
- The temporary authorization for public bodies to meet electronically would be extended from July 1 to Dec. 31 under a House provision, but the Senate removed that language.
Gongwer Enhances Tracking System With Special Coverage Alerts
Gongwer News Service today announced an additional enhancement to its tracking system by allowing subscribers to receive alerts based on special coverage categories.
For years, Gongwer subscribers have been able to view coverage that falls into a wide range of subject matter categories. Now, users can elect to receive alerts whenever a new article matches a category of interest.
To receive an alert based on a category, users can click the green plus sign next to the name of any category of interest on the Special Coverage page.
Alerts can be delivered via email and/or text message. (Update preferences).
All tracked categories are also displayed on the Gongwer Tracking page.
The new service continues Gongwer's recent service enhancements, including:
- Allowing the display of positions and posting of documents on bill status reports;
- Permitting the use of multiple logos and customized headers on status reports;
- Allowing tracked bills to be exported into Excel spreadsheets;
- Creation of a dedicated state budget resource;
- Development of a dedicated redistricting page, and;
- Integrating committee webcasts in schedules and the Gongwer Ohio Report.
Additional service enhancements are in development and will be announced in the near future.
Notice regarding text alerts: Gongwer subscribers who receive messages via text and who may have changed mobile carriers are encouraged to update carrier information at this location. Those users may need to restart their devices to receive text messages after changing carrier information.Back to top
Gongwer Offers Short-Term Budget Sprint Subscription
With the state budget bill and several key appropriations bills heading into an essential time, Gongwer News Service is offering a short-term subscription option that will bring you all the details you need to monitor key legislative decisions.
The Budget Sprint subscription includes access to all Gongwer services – unmatched Statehouse news, bill tracking and alerts, schedules and much more – through the time the state budget bill is signed.
Those subscribing for the budget sprint will also be able to make use of Gongwer's best-in-class bill status and tracking reports, and share those reports with clients, associates and others.
Users will also have access to a number of recent service enhancements, including enhanced committee tracking, integrated webcasts, legislative staff contact tools, enhanced bill status reports and more.
The budget sprint subscription includes access for up to five people on staff at the subscribing organization and is available for $500.
Subscribing is easy.
Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate that you want to start the Budget Sprint subscription. Send the names & email addresses of your organization's users, and your access will begin immediately.
Don't wait. Get Gongwer now, and you will have the news and information you need to stay on top of Statehouse developments as final budget details are determined.Back to top
Get Unmatched Budget Coverage, Details With Gongwer
Gongwer News Service subscribers have access to unmatched coverage and resources regarding Ohio's ongoing state budget process.
In February alone, Gongwer published 50 in-depth budget-related articles, in addition to providing coverage of numerous budget subcommittees.
In January, Gongwer subscribers had access to almost two dozen budget preview articles, plus agency budget requests.
All Gongwer budget coverage is archived on a dedicated budget page that offers a one-stop resource for the budget bills, committees reviewing the spending plans, lawmaker contact tools and more.
For information about Gongwer services, which also include leading bill tracking and alert services, enhanced tools to share legislative information with members and clients and much more, visit www.gongwer-oh.com or contact us at 614.221.1992.Back to top
Bob Drumheller, Longtime Gongwer Exec And Editor, Has Died
Robert J. "Bob" Drumheller, a former longtime executive and leader of Gongwer News Service's Ohio operations, has died. He was 71.
A newsman until the end, Mr. Drumheller passed while watching the U.S. Senate's impeachment hearings.
Mr. Drumheller started his Gongwer career in 1971, shortly after graduating from Ohio State University. He initially covered late-night legislative committees, often working side-by-side with former Gongwer owner William F. Baird.
Years later, he became a Gongwer partner and co-owner, helping lead coverage of Ohio state government and pioneering the company's first venture into what was then a new and emerging digital era.
He was a former president of the Ohio Legislative Correspondents Association, elected by his peers to represent the interests of Statehouse journalists. A facts-driven reporter, he earned and retained the respect of governors, department directors, justices, legislative leaders and countless others who walked the Statehouse halls.
A fierce competitor for news, he also mentored dozens of Statehouse reporters as they entered the profession.
As a journalist and editor, he held a strong command of the written and spoken language and had a life-long fondness for literature.
Mr. Drumheller retired from Gongwer in 2005, leaving Ohio for retirement on a Tennessee farm. He later moved to south Florida, where he died.
Mr. Drumheller is survived by his wife of 37 years, Marg; sons Jacob (Caitlin) of Fairfax City, Virginia; and Jeremy (fiancée Katherine Lawler) of Falls Church, Virginia; three grandsons, Rhys, Ciaran and Lucas; and many other family members.
A private service is scheduled for Thursday, February 18.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mr. Drumheller's memory can be made to St. Charles Preparatory School, 2010 E. Broad St., Columbus OH 43209 or Power of the Pen, P.O. Box 442, Richfield OH 44286.Back to top
Gongwer Status Reports Gain New Features, Flexibility
Gongwer News Service today announced a series of new features that allow subscribers to further personalize bill tracking status reports.
Under the enhancements, subscribers can upload different logos and display customized headers for each tracking group, allowing more customization for clients and organization members.
The ability to export tracked bills to other formats also has been enhanced. Already available to export to a Word document, subscribers also now can easily export all bills being tracked, and bills being tracked within each tracking group, into an Excel spreadsheet. Excel exports can include positions taken and comments posted regarding legislation.
The new features can be used by selecting a status report or tracking group and clicking View or Edit Report on the Gongwer Bill Tracking page.
The enhancements follow other Gongwer announcements, including the activation of a dedicated state budget resource page, creation of a single source for redistricting information, integrated committee schedules and webcasts, more robust committee resources and the ability to post positions and documents related to tracked bills. (Recent enhancements)Back to top
Gongwer Introduces New Legislative Staff Directories, Contact Tools
Gongwer News Service today announced the availability of new legislative staff directories and a feature that allows subscribers to easily communicate with staff via email.
The staff email service is an expansion of Gongwer's contact tools that allow subscribers to directly email or mail state lawmakers. Those communications can be targeted by chamber, caucus, committee and committee caucus.
Gongwer subscribers also have access to a contact tools feature that allows one-click email delivery to all members of the Statehouse press corps.Back to top
Gongwer Activates Dedicated Budget Resource
The page will serve as a one-stop location for a variety of resources, including:
- key documents from the executive and legislative branches;
- text and information about the various budget bills;
- rosters, schedules and details on the committees hearing the budget;
- contact tools for budget committees, and;
- Gongwer's extensive and unmatched budget coverage.
The page will be updated regularly as new content and resources become available.
For additional information about Gongwer's comprehensive news, bill tracking and other services, visit www.gongwer-oh.com.Back to top
Gongwer Year-End & New Session Notice
With the 134th General Assembly set to convene on later today, Gongwer News Service offers the following notices and reminders about bill tracking, schedules, directories and other services.
Effective immediately, Gongwer's platform will recognize the 134th General Assembly as the current active session.
As a result, all bills tracked during the current session will continue to be available through the Bill Tracking page by selecting the 2019-2020 session on the right side of the screen.
Additionally, tracking groups created for the 133rd General Assembly will remain in each user's profile and bills from the previous session will continue to display in those groups.
Gongwer has prepared a series of resources for subscribers as the new session begins. This includes directories, photo guides and other resources. Gongwer's contact tools are active for the entire legislature, and committee-level contact tools will be activated when committee assignments are announced early in 2021.
A pocket directory for the new legislature will also be available when committee assignments are released.
Information on members of the outgoing 133rd General Assembly will remain in the Gongwer archives.
Gongwer's news and legislation archives date to 2003, and access to that information is available to all subscribers.
2020 marks the end of a year when Gongwer implemented countless new subscriber services and improvements, including:
- integrating committee webcasts into the Ohio Report and schedules;
- allowing the upload of documents and positions for display on bill status reports;
- establishing more robust committee pages to include Gongwer coverage from each meeting, webcasts and witness & testimony information;
- enhancing users' ability to assign tracked bills and tracking groups to colleagues and co-workers;
- launching a new dedicated resource on the upcoming redistricting process;
- increasing flexibility in terms of receiving messages via email or text;
- expanding the number of pages where bills and committees can be tracked;
- boosting website response and server speeds;
Additional service enhancements are in development and will be announced in early 2021. Subscriber suggestions for upgrades, changes and adjustments are welcome and can be sent to email@example.com.
The Gongwer staff wishes all subscribers, their families and friends the best for the new year.Back to top
Gongwer Debuts New Redistricting Resource
Gongwer News Service today announced the availability of a new dedicated resource that offers details regarding Ohio's upcoming redistricting process.
The new service, available to all subscribers, includes information about the new Ohio Redistricting Commission and details of the 2015 and 2018 constitutional amendments that established the state's new district-drawing process.
The page, which will be updated with all Gongwer coverage on redistricting, includes current district maps and will also serve as a one-stop gateway for proposed maps and additional resources as they are generated through the process.
This new service follows Gongwer's other recently-announced improvements, including integrated committee schedules and webcasts, enhanced committee resources and the ability to post positions and documents related to tracked bills.
Additional information about Gongwer's comprehensive services is available online.Back to top
Gongwer Enhances Bill Tracking System With Document Uploads, Positions
Gongwer News Service today announced a significant expansion of its bill tracking services by allowing subscribers to designate positions and upload documents related to legislation.
Subscribers who use the new features can also choose to display documents and positions with members, clients, colleagues and associates through the shared legislative status report service.
Positions and documents can be posted by selecting Tracked Legislation on Gongwer's Bill Tracking page, a bill Status Report or a Tracking Group. They can also be uploaded on the bill history page of any tracked bill.
Gongwer subscribers are already able to customize legislative status reports to display logos, bill introduction reports and headlines, among many other things.
Gongwer status reports are updated in real time, so there is no need to wait until a certain day to share them with associates.
Additional service enhancements are under development.
For questions regarding the new services, please feel free to contact Gongwer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614.221.1992.
More information is available on Gongwer's Bill Tracking Guide.Back to top
20-21 Government Directories, Rosters, Contact Tools Available
Gongwer News Service subscribers now have access to a variety of rosters and information regarding the expected members of the 134th Ohio General Assembly.
The resources are based on unofficial results and information could change as additional votes are counted and recounts proceed.
Ohio House of Representatives Resources
Ohio Senate Resources
Results and winners are subject to change as additional votes are counted.Back to top
Gongwer Service Refresher: Track Legislative Activities, Committee Meetings
Gongwer subscribers are able to track and receive alerts tied specific legislative activities and committee meeting schedules.
When tracking legislative activities, subscribers will receive alerts when any bill is subject to an action that is tracked. Among the most popular tracked activities are Introduced, Passed, Signed by the Governor and Calendar for Coming Session.
For questions, please feel free to contact Gongwer at email@example.com or 614.221.1992.Back to top
2020 Ohio Elections App Price Reduced
Gongwer News Service, Ohio's leading source of news and information on state government and politics, has reduced the price of its 2020 Ohio Elections app with less than two weeks to go until Election Day.
Now just $2.99, those with iOS and Android devices can download the app to keep on top of the races for the Ohio House, Ohio Senate, Ohio's 18 electoral votes for president, key U.S. House races and more.
The app contains biographical information, along with photos, contact information, previous election performance on most candidates as well as a push notification system to alert you to newly posted information and breaking news.
Following the election, the app also will show vote totals for candidates.
Don't miss out on the only native app available on Ohio elections this year.
Users of the iPhone and iPad can download the iOS version from the App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/2020-ohio-elections/id1489074436
Users of Android devices can download the app from Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gongwer.oh2020
Quality. Speed. Portability. The vital information you need on the 2020 elections in Ohio.Back to top
Gongwer Announces Enhanced Committee, Calendar Services
Gongwer News Service today announced a series of significant enhancements to its services, boosting subscribers' ability to track, monitor and view committee activities, among other upgrades.
Under the changes, subscribers now have access to:
- A real-time committee webcast monitoring feature. When meetings are underway, the Gongwer calendar will let you know what committees are live and provide a link to the panel's webcast, if available.
- Easy-access committee tracking services. To receive an alert when a committee meeting is scheduled, just click the green Track button that appears next to committee names on directory and schedule pages, and in the Gongwer Ohio Report. (Senate, House, Joint)
- Enhanced schedule services that identify bills being heard based on your tracking groups. Designed for subscribers who track many bills in different tracking groups, your custom committee schedule will now display the name of your tracking groups next to the bills that are in those groups.
- More robust committee pages that include links to Gongwer coverage of each committee, as well as committee webcasts. Committees referenced in Gongwer articles will also be linked in the Ohio Report.
- Calendar syncs with Google calendars. To sync a meeting on the Gongwer calendar, just click the calendar icon after each meeting and save it to your Outlook or Google calendar.
The upgrades are available to all subscribers at no additional cost.
Additional information about Gongwer's all-inclusive services, including the ability to receive messages and alerts via text, are available on the Gongwer Bill Tracking Guide and the Gongwer Quick Start Guide.
For questions about the enhancements or Gongwer services, or to offer suggestions for future developments, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614.221.1992.
Additional system enhancements will be announced in the near future.Back to top
Gongwer Tools While Working Remotely: Password Reset, Text Service
Gongwer subscribers who find themselves working regularly from different locations where their device may not have saved sign-in credentials can easily reset their passwords to preserve access to important news and information.
To request a password reset, subscribers can enter the email address where their Gongwer services are delivered in the "Forgot Password" box at the Gongwer login page.
An email will then be sent directly to the registered email address, allowing users to update their password.
All Gongwer services, including detailed news, bill tracking and alerts, schedules, directories and election information, continue to be available at www.gongwer-oh.com.
Subscribers are reminded that Gongwer also offers a comprehensive text message delivery service, which allows users to receive virtually all Gongwer products via text message to a mobile device - breaking news, the Ohio Report, legislative activities, schedule updates and more.
Text message delivery can be started by entering carrier information and mobile numbers at the Update Profile page. On that page, subscribers can also choose the Gongwer messages they receive by text and email.Back to top
Gongwer Unveils 2020 Ohio Elections App
Gongwer News Service today announced the availability of new app that provides easy-to-use information and analysis of this year's state and federal elections.
The app gives users on-the-go access to detailed candidate biographical information, with options to review primary races and then general election campaigns once those races take shape.
Users can also see which U.S. House, Ohio Senate and Ohio House races are expected to be the most competitive and the seats where one party has a slight or strong edge based on historical election results.
On each candidate's page, users can access biographical information, social media accounts, district maps, campaign websites and more. If that candidate has run for state or federal office from 2004 onward, the app also displays their performance in those elections.
Users also can use the "Key Races" function to focus only on the primaries and general election matchups that are expected to be the most competitive.
As the campaign season progresses, and as dynamics change, content will be updated.
Users of the iPhone and iPad can download the iOS version from the App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/2020-ohio-elections/id1489074436
Users of Android devices can download the app from Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gongwer.oh2020
Downloads are $4.99.
Quality. Speed. Portability. The vital information you need on the 2020 elections in Ohio.
Download the Gongwer 2020 Ohio Elections app today.Back to top