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FitzGerald taps second running mate

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald today announced his decision to tap Sharen Neuhardt, a Dayton-area attorney, as his new running mate for the 2014 gubernatorial election. Senator Eric Kearney of Cincinnati was FitzGerald’s first choice, but due to nearly $1 million in unpaid taxes, Kearney decided not to pursue the campaign.

In a message to his supporters, FitzGerald said his decision to choose Neuhardt as his running mate was made in part because of her support for women’s health and his outrage at current legislative efforts to dictate to women what should be private medical decisions.

Neuhardt resides in Yellow Springs and is an attorney with the Thompson Hine law firm. She is no stranger to campaigns. She ran two unsuccessful Congressional campaigns against Steve Austria in 2008 and Congressman Mike Turner in 2012. 

PUCO Chairman will not seek reappointment

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Todd A. Snitchler announced on Jan. 14, 2014 that he will not seek reappointment to his term ending April 10, 2014. The announcement makes Snitchler the second high ranking state public official to depart from public office this year. Former Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Nally announced his resignation on Jan. 7, 2014.

“The work of the Commission affects every Ohioan and I am proud of the work to which I was able to contribute to,” said Snitchler. “I have invested more than five years in public service, three of which were at the helm of the Commission, but I believe now is the time to move ahead into my next role,” he added.

Since being appointed chairman by Governor Kasich in 2011, Snitchler’s work has largely focused on encouraging the development of competitive utility markets, advancements in gas pipeline safety, and encouraging greater gas and electric industry coordination.

Snitchler’s decision not to reapply for the position clears the field for those interested in the appointment. Applications to fill the vacancy were due to the PUCO Nominating Council on Jan. 16, 2014.

Legislation to watch

The following bills were among those to receive consideration this week:

State of the state: Sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Larry Obhof (R – Medina), Senate Joint Resolution 7 authorizes the Ohio General Assembly to meet at the Medina Performing Arts Center in Medina, Ohio, for the Governor’s State of the State Address. The resolution was approved by the House on Jan. 15.

School credit: Sponsored by Representatives Jeff McClain (R – Upper Sandusky) and Bill Patmon (D – Cleveland), House Bill 171 would permit public school students to attend and receive credit for released time courses in religious instruction conducted off school property during regular school hours. The bill passed the House on Jan. 15.

Entrepreneur program: Sponsored by Representatives Cliff Rosenberger (R – Clarksville) and Mike Dovilla (R – Berea), House Bill 218 would require the Small Business Advisory Council to establish an entrepreneur in residence pilot program. The bill was approved by the House on Jan. 15.

Minor prescriptions: Sponsored by Representatives Nan Baker (R – Westlake) and Stephanie Kunze (R – Hilliard), House Bill 314 requires a prescriber to obtain written informed consent from a minor's parent or guardian before issuing a controlled substance prescription to the minor. The bill passed the House on Jan. 15.

Educational service centers: Sponsored by Representatives Andy Brenner (R – Powell) and Denise Driehaus (D – Cincinnati), House Bill 342 would permit an educational service center to be a partner or the lead applicant of an education consortia seeking a grant under the Straight A Program. The bill passed the House on Jan. 15.

Tax refunds: Sponsored by Senators Bob Peterson (R – Sabina) and Bill Beagle (R – Tipp City), Senate Bill 263 would require the Tax Commissioner to notify taxpayers of tax or fee overpayments. Additionally, the bill authorizes the Commissioner to either apply an overpayment to future tax liabilities or issue a refund. The bill was introduced on Jan. 14.

For more information, please contact:

Michael Caputo
(non-attorney professional)
216.348.5770
mcaputo@mcdonaldhopkins.com

Rebecca M. Kuhns
(non-attorney professional)
614.458.0043
rkuhns@mcdonaldhopkins.com

Government affairs work is so much more than networking with government officials. It requires a strategic plan drafted by specialists who understand economic development and legislative issues. We help identify ways the government can contribute a solution to a business challenge, such as complying with regulatory and legislative mandates, securing funding for an important project, or obtaining government contracts. Our Government Affairs team has an impressive background. They work together to listen to clients, assess opportunities and recommend how government might contribute to achieving the goal.

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