OHIO LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
As reported in earlier reports, the Ohio General Assembly completed its work on a $64 billion biennial state spending plan for 2018-19 and immediately recessed for the summer months. Lawmakers are expected to return this month for intermittent fall deliberations that will include legislation addressing charter schools, local transit funding and the ever growing opioid epidemic that continues to engulf families, local communities and Ohio's first responders. Interestingly, Ohio just reported approximately 4,500 opioid related deaths in 2016. A 35% increase over 2015 levels.
Most of the political attention surrounds the battle to replace incumbent Governor, John Kasich, who is term limited in 2018. The Republican primary seems to be shaping into a four person competition: Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor; Attorney General Mike Dewine; Secretary of State Jon Husted; and, US Congressman Jim Renacci. Most political analysts believe the republican primary will eventually become a two man race: Husted vs DeWine.
Governor Kasich has recently been making the rounds of many national talk and new shows. These appearances continue to fuel speculation that he will take on President Trump in the next republican primary. Republican Kasich and Democratic Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper have announced plans for an alternative national health care plan that reflects lower costs, and more importantly, a showcase for the benefits of bipartisan collaboration.
The Democratic nomination, on the other hand, is wide open with no announced front runners emerging. That could change. Two names continue to surface as possible entries into the Democratic fray: former Ohio AG and Treasurer, Richard Cordray; and, former Cincinnati Council member and talk show host, Jerry Springer. Cordray is currently an Obama appointee as the Director of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We all know what Springer has been doing for the last twenty years.
Should these two individuals announce their candidacies, they will join an already crowded field that includes: former State Representative Connie Pillich; current State Senator Joe Schiavoni; former US Congresswoman Betty Sutton; and, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
In other news, state and local economic development officials and JobsOhio continue their work to bring an ethylene "cracker" to Belmont County. PTT Global, the Thai based petrochemical conglomerate, continues its due diligence on potential costs and markets. Some natural gas producers believe that PTT might be considering the addition of a JV partner to the proposed Ohio investment. Hopefully, these questions will be answered soon.
Source: OVCEC Lobbyist Pat McCune