History Thursday, energy efficiency, illicit drug trends, and water bill tax liens

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    Catching Our Eye:

    History Thursday. Today the OCJ’s Tyler Buchanan took a look back at 100 years of League of Women Voters history, including the role of some prominent Ohio women. It’s a great read. Please check it out.

    Energy efficiency. Cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer is reporting, “Ohio’s energy-efficiency programs will end this year: Here’s what that means for your pocketbook.”

    “You may want to move now to get that rebate on a smart thermostat or switch to an energy-saving washing machine. The future of Ohio’s electric utility energy-efficiency programs is up in the air after this December.

    “Last week, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ruled that the state’s energy-efficiency mandates for utilities will begin wrapping up on Sept. 30 and end completely on Dec. 31, as required under House Bill 6. That includes programs such as reduced-price LED bulbs, rebates on smart thermostats and energy-saving appliances, financial incentives to build energy-efficient homes and businesses, and free energy-efficiency and repair services for low-income households.

    “Ohio utilities have the option of asking the PUCO to voluntarily continue some or all of their energy-efficiency programs beyond 2020, but spokespeople for Ohio’s major utilities say their companies haven’t yet decided whether to seek such permission — with the exception of FirstEnergy Corp (which will end two programs by the end of the year).”

    Grim trends. Cincinnati Enquirer’s Terry DeMio is reporting, “Ohio, Kentucky rank high on 3 ‘grim’ illicit drug trends, new patient tests show.

    “Ohio and Kentucky lead the nation in three dismal drug-use trends that make it clear that the region remains in an addiction epidemic.

    “A newly released analysis of Millennium Health patient drug-testing results show:

    “Ohio is the top state for co-occurring fentanyl and meth use, with Kentucky second.

    “Kentucky is first for co-occurring fentanyl and cocaine use, with Ohio just a fraction behind it.

    “And Kentucky is the state with the most drug-use tests that are positive for fentanyl alone, with Ohio ranking second.”

    Water bill tax liens. WEWS in Cleveland’s Jonathan Walsh is reporting, “New bill would ban water tax liens in Ohio.

    “The Cleveland Water Department can place a water bill tax lien on your property for unpaid water bills. That can and has led to homes going into foreclosure in Northeast Ohio. Today, state senators introduced a bill that could change all of that not only for Cleveland but all over Ohio.

    “‘As a member of the legislature, we the responsibility to protect our residents,’ said Ohio Senator Sandra Williams from District 21. She stood before the Ohio Senate Ways and Means Committee. That group reviews legislation affecting tax policy at the state and local levels.

    “Senator Williams pitched her bill that calls for a ban of water bill tax liens in Ohio.”

    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.