Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Week in Review For the Week Ending of July 1, 2022

Government and Politics

July 5, 2022

From: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz broke ground on Ohio’s 76th state park on Monday

Great Council State Park, just north of Xenia, will be a connection to Ohio’s Native American and pioneer past.  The area was once home to Oldtown, one of the largest-known Shawnee settlements in Ohio. More than 1,000 people called Oldtown home from approximately 1777 to 1780. Their stories directly intersect with that of historic settlers like Daniel Boone, who was held captive in Oldtown for a period of time.

“This is an exciting step toward preserving an important piece of Ohio’s history,” said Governor DeWine.  “This project gives us the unique opportunity to connect future generations with the past, while protecting the legacy of the Shawnee and inviting them to share their story.”

Great Council State Park will feature a 12,000-square-foot interpretive center with an architectural design based on the traditional council house form that was historically used by the Shawnee tribes. Inside, visitors will find three floors of exhibits, a theater area, a living stream, and a gallery.  All these displays will honor the Shawnee tribes of the past and allow present-day members to share their stories and legacy.

Also on Monday, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the approval of assistance for two projects set to create 375 new jobs. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought to the board by JobsOhio and its regional partners. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $22.9 million in new payroll and spur more than $213 million in investments across Ohio.

Additionally, on Monday, Lt. Governor Husted issued the following statement regarding the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District decision:

"As Americans, we are all guaranteed First Amendment rights in our Constitution. I am pleased to see that the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the First Amendment rights of teachers, coaches and school employees with respect to prayer. As a result, I encourage all Ohio school boards to immediately update their policies consistent with the court ruling."

Governor DeWine delivered remarks at the Stronger Together: Children’s Mental Health and Resiliency Virtual Conference on Tuesday. The conference provided opportunities for teachers, administrators, and community partners to learn about best practices and resources for the implementation of mental health and resiliency supports for children, directly from those implementing programming in Ohio’s schools.

Also on Tuesday, Governor DeWine announced enhanced support for the wellness needs of first responders in Ohio. 

As part of the new Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program, Governor DeWine is awarding approximately $1.3 million to three statewide programs that focus specifically on the unique wellness concerns of law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, dispatchers, and others who routinely respond to traumatic incidents.

“It's the job of our first responders to care for others, but they must also care for themselves, and having easy access to confidential support is important," said Governor DeWine. "From crime scenes to house fires to medical emergencies, our first responders face tragic circumstances on a regular basis, and the programs we're funding on July 1st, will help these brave men and women with the trauma they experience as a result."

In a ceremony in the Appalachian Garden of the Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden Tuesday afternoon, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 377 which makes an historic investment of $500 million to transform Appalachian communities in 32 Ohio counties. 

"As I stated during my State of the State address, this is Appalachia’s time," said Governor DeWine. "With this investment, we will be securing a better future for this region."

The funding contained in the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township) and Rep. D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron), will go toward Governor DeWine's “OhioBuilds – Small Communities, Big Impact – A Plan for Appalachia.” Governor DeWine proposed the plan in April to help unite Appalachian communities on transformational local projects with three priorities:

Lt. Governor Husted traveled to Ohio Northern University in Ada on Tuesday to accept Ohio's Broadband and Cable Association's (OCTA) inaugural Champion of Broadband Award for his work through BroadbandOhio to expand access to reliable, affordable internet throughout the state. 

On Wednesday, Governor DeWine announced the launch of a new program aimed at helping local courts more efficiently process increasing numbers of court cases. 

The Office of Criminal Justice Services, which is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, began accepting applications for the new Ohio Court Backlog Reduction Program on July 1st. A total of $10 million in funding is available to help courts reduce the time-to-disposition of pending cases, remove barriers to the timely resolution of cases, and apply creative solutions to improve case flow. 

"This new grant program is part of Ohio's comprehensive approach toward supporting every aspect of our criminal justice system," said Governor DeWine. "Court caseloads are increasing as local law enforcement works aggressively to hold criminals accountable, and we want to help our courts handle current backlogs and prevent future case accumulations."

On Wednesday, Governor DeWine met with Consuls General and Honorary Consuls General to talk about promoting trade and tourism as well as fostering cultural bonds between their countries and Ohio.

Also on Thursday, Lt. Governor Husted, in his capacity as Director of InnovateOhio, convened a meeting of the InnovateOhio Executive Committee at the Riffe Center in Columbus. 

The Lt. Governor provided an update on projects underway through InnovateOhio and announced that Michael Triplett has been appointed as a member pursuant to Executive Order 2019-14D.

The Lt. Governor also traveled to Marietta to participate in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA). During the roundtable, members of the natural gas and oil industry provided an update on operations and discussed the importance of the industry to the state’s economy.

Additionally on Thursday, First Lady Fran DeWine spoke about the Ohio Governor's Imagination Library at the Ohio United Way's ReUnited Conference in Lewis Center. 

The United Way serves as the Imagination Library’s affiliate partner in nearly one-half of Ohio’s 88 counties to promote early childhood literacy. Statewide, 45% of Ohio’s eligible children are enrolled, which means 324,887 children received a book in June.

The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library mails one high-quality, age-appropriate book each month to children until their 5th birthday. All kids in Ohio are eligible to be enrolled in the program at no cost to their family, thanks to state funding and local county matching funds.

On Friday, Governor DeWine announced the official launch of Ohio Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence (OhioRISE), a new Ohio Medicaid specialized managed care behavioral health program for young people with the most complex needs. Nearly 5,500 children and youth can access services immediately.

“OhioRISE offers hope for thousands of Ohio families who have long struggled to find help for their children; it enables us to coordinate the care and services for at-risk kids, to better meet their emotional, behavioral, and physical needs, ” said Governor DeWine. “This program will help participating children build lasting skills to ensure their long-term success.”

OhioRISE builds on work the administration began in 2019 that has helped more than 800 families obtain care and avoid the heartbreaking possibility of giving up their child to a children’s services agency. Launching OhioRISE is another huge step forward in achieving the governor’s vision of ensuring every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Also on Friday, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted awarded over $42.1 million in grant funding to help communities in nearly every Ohio county turn blighted properties into new opportunities that attract investment, business, and jobs. 

Eighty-seven counties will receive up to $500,000 in grants as part of the first phase of the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program, which funds the demolition of dilapidated commercial and residential buildings and the revitalization of surrounding properties.

“There are vacant, decaying buildings all over the state that are nothing but eyesores, and it's time for these structures to go," said Governor DeWine. "By investing to tear down these dangerous properties, we're not only helping to transform the landscape of our communities, but we're also clearing the way for redevelopment, more jobs, and new opportunities for Ohio residents." 

 The Ohio Department of Development announced on Friday the opportunity for communities to apply for funds to assess and clean up hazardous substances on properties throughout Ohio.

The third application period opened on July 1st, for the Brownfield Remediation Program, which is part of Governor DeWine’s strategy to invest in Ohio’s future. In total, the program will provide nearly $350 million in grants to clean up industrial, commercial, and institutional brownfield sites that are abandoned, idled, or underutilized due to a known or potential release of hazardous substances or petroleum.

“Through our previous rounds of applications and awards, we’ve seen the need for this program clearly demonstrated,” said Governor DeWine. “We’re cleaning up sites, one project at a time to build a better, brighter future for our communities.”