Given the original euphoria and excitement regarding the recently announced partnership with the Chinese government, state lawmakers and regulators are trying to determine what the announced Chinese MOUs mean for existing state development efforts being planned and, possibly, permitted. State Commerce officials indicated that the two proposed gas fired power plants (Brooke and Harrison Counties) might be the first projects funded. Subsequently, the Justice administration indicated that these two projects are part of the general discussion with the Chinese, but no priorities had been agreed upon. It is expected that most elected officials will take a “wait and see” attitude concerning the $87 billion investment pledge.
The state unemployment rate remained at 5.1% for the month of October. This rate seems to be holding steady during the recent summer and fall months.
Governor Justice has named Mitch Woodrum as the new Labor Commissioner. Woodrum had been appointed Acting Commissioner by Justice in August when former Commissioner, David Mullins, resigned following the Governor’s party switch. Woodrum is a career Labor Department employee who has served in a number of capacities.
The WV School Building Authority has accepted requests for nearly $106 million worth of school projects spread around the mountain state. Unfortunately, the Authority is budgeted at $50.5 million for the fiscal year. Some projects will not make the cut. There are two local projects that the Authority will consider: first, Marshall County BoE submitted a request for $693,780 to be used for safe entrances at elementary schools in Cameron, McMechen and Moundsville; secondly, Hancock County BoE submitted a request for $1 million to be used for a new roof at Weir Middle School.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Supreme Court Justice, Bill O’Neill, created quite stir this week with some eyebrow raising comments concerning his past sexual experiences over his 50 year adult life. The very public tweet was a humorously lame attempt to address his consternation over the Roy Moore and Al Franken indiscretions from decades ago. He has since publicly apologized for his poor and flip attempt at urging a reasonable approach to intolerable events that occurred many years earlier.
Former Ohio Attorney General and Treasurer, Richard Cordray, has announced that he will step down next month from his post as the Director of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray was appointed to the position as one of the nations top banking regulators by former President Obama. Most Ohio pundits believe that his pending resignation will pave the way for his entry into the state democratic gubernatorial primary next spring.
In some interesting statehouse news, first term republican State Representative, Wes Goodman (87 District, Morrow County) resigned abruptly last week amid reports that he used his office for an inappropriate sexual encounter. Goodman was the second lawmaker to resign for inappropriate sexual harassment issues. Earlier this month, Republican State Senator Cliff Hite (1st District, 11 counties in NW Ohio), was forced to resign after a female legislative aide reported a number of sexual harassment experiences with Hite over a two year year period. Both Goodman and Hite acknowledged culpability and accepted responsibility for their despicable actions. They resigned willingly.
OVCEC Lobbyist Pat McCune