History Thursday, changing the poverty line, voucher negotiations, and opioid settlements

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    Catching Our Eye:

    History Thursday. If you talk to cops around Ohio, you probably already know: meth use is on a big upswing. This article from The Conversation says, “Law enforcement seizures of meth are surging in the U.S., up 142% between 2017 and 2018. Overdose deaths in 2017 were seven times higher than in 2007.”

    The article also details the history of meth, including that Nazis, Hitler and a lot of German civilians were systematically cranked up during World War II.

    Same goes for Ohio. DC correspondent Allison Winter is reporting for our sister publication the Maine Beacon on a Trump Administration rule change that would impact seniors in Ohio as much as it would Maine: “Maine seniors could be especially devastated by Trump’s push to change poverty line.”

    “The White House Office of Management and Budget is pushing changes to how the government calculates the official definition of poverty in the United States. The technical recalculation could have major effects: the poverty line is used to determine eligibility for more than 40 different federal assistance programs.

    “In 2018, there were 38.1 million people living in poverty in the United States, almost 12 percent of the population, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau…

    “Trump’s plan could leave many of those people in Maine (and Ohio) without access to federal programs that help pay for food, heat and healthcare, according to Maine Equal Justice, a civil legal services organization.”

    House and home. Ohio Public Radio’s Andy Chow is reporting, “School Officials Back Ohio House Voucher Plan.”

    “Ohio’s major school associations representing superintendents, school treasurers, and school board members are backing the House plan to phase-out the voucher program known as EdChoice.

    “The Ohio House passed legislation that would grant vouchers based on a family’s income instead of basing vouchers off of a school building’s academic performance…

    “Tom Perkins, Northern Local Schools superintendent, says if this doesn’t change, more voucher money will suddenly be pulled from districts for students who were already going to private schools.

    “‘The fear isn’t the students leaving, it’s the ones that are currently there that have never attended and the funding going to them, that’s the real concern,’ says Perkins.”

    Splitting the pot. Cleveland.com’s Eric Heisig is reporting, “Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, AG Dave Yost on board with plan on how to split up opioid settlement money with locals.

    “Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Attorney General Dave Yost are on board with a proposed plan on how to divvy up settlement money the state may receive from drug companies from lawsuits filed over the opioid crisis, a person who represents cities and villages told cleveland.com.

    “However, the plan does not yet have the required widespread support among local government leaders, so negotiations and changes to the plan are expected to continue…

    “The plan is detailed in a proposed memorandum of understanding and details how money would be split throughout the state. In its current form, local governments would get 30 percent of the money, which could be used for past and future expenses associated with the opioid crisis, said Kent Scarrett, who represents cities and villages as executive director of the Ohio Municipal League. The state would get 15 percent, said Scarrett, who was briefed on the plan.

    “The remaining 55 percent would be for a foundation that would pay for addiction treatment programs. The foundation’s money would also benefit local governments, Scarrett said.”

    David C. DeWitt
    David C. DeWitt is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience covering Ohio politics and policy. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS and Plunderbund.com covering topics such as education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, government, business, labor, energy, environment and social issues. His work has also appeared in Government Executive, the Columbus Dispatch, Girlfriends magazine, Bleacher Report and the Ashtabula Star Beacon, among others.