Ohio cities settle civil claims related to power plant bailout

In a consolidated case, the Ohio attorney general’s office wants to move ahead on its civil racketeering case against FirstEnergy, Energy Harbor and others. This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. The cities of Cincinnati and Columbus have dismissed their state court claims against FirstEnergy and Energy Harbor for the companies’ actions relating to House Bill 6, the nuclear and coal bailout law at the heart of a $60 million corruption case in Ohio. “The dismissal was the result of negotiations with the defendants, the court’s ruling in our favor, and the partial repeal of HB 6,” said Andrew Garth, interim city solicitor for Cincinnati.  

The Dec.

FirstEnergy says Ohio law at center of corruption probe protects it from ratepayer lawsuits

Class action case casts doubt on the integrity of the PUCO’s own actions in light of alleged corruption. This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Despite admitting to alleged bribes and unlawful activity that led to the passage of House Bill 6, FirstEnergy just argued that the law and orders under it shield the company from lawsuits from ratepayers. The argument came in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of ratepayers who are or will be subject to higher rates as a result of House Bill 6.

FirstEnergy and AEP still spending big on lobbying

Although FirstEnergy dialed back reported campaign spending in the wake of House Bill 6, the company spent $500,000 on congressional lobbying from July through September. AEP spent even more. This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohioor the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Ohio utilities are still backing candidates or lobbying for legislative actions that could subsidize fossil fuels or slow the growth of renewable energy, according to their latest filings.

FirstEnergy, DeWine’s office and others still far from full disclosure on HB 6

Roadblocks at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, in Gov. Mike DeWine’s office and elsewhere could make it harder to prevent future corruption. This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Advocates, lawmakers, regulators and the public still can’t get all documents relevant to the state’s $60 million House Bill 6 scandal involving ousted Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, FirstEnergy and others. Barriers include protective orders, privilege and confidentiality claims, delays and other roadblocks.

How Ohio became the No. 1 state for nursing home assistant shortages

 

This story is from the Investigative Reporting Workshop in collaboration with Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list or follow IRW on Facebook as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Ohio nursing homes reported more shortages of nursing assistants than any other state during the pandemic, highlighting a problem that has been festering for decades. 

An Eye on Ohio and Investigative Reporting Workshop analysis of weekly reported data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that Ohio reported the the highest number of shortages in the country for State Tested Nursing Assistants (STNA) in 2020 and through the first half of 2021, leaving critical care positions open and shifting work to other positions suffering shortages of their own.     

Ohio has the third highest number of nursing homes behind Texas and California, and tallied STNA shortages in 26% of reports to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS). That makes Ohio the 14th worst nationwide for the percentage of nursing homes reporting too few STNAs that same year. “We just have probably the worst shortage that we've had at least in my 35 years of doing this,” said Robert Applebaum, director of the Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project at Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center.

SIDE BAR: The long road for nursing home legislation in the Statehouse

This story is from the Investigative Reporting Workshop in collaboration with Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio’s  free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. As Ohio grapples with the highest number of State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNAs) shortages in the country and decades-long issues of pay and work conditions, legislation over nursing homes has become a lucrative battleground both nationally and in the state. 

The industry’s primary trade group representing two-thirds of nursing homes has spent more than $30 million on lobbying to Congress since 2010. The state affiliate, Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA), and its related entities have contributed millions of dollars in recent years to political groups that have supported various campaigns, including Gov. Mike DeWine’s. 

Unlike other states, Ohio legislators — not the state’s department of Medicaid — determine the funding formula for nursing homes. Federal legislation from 1987 mandated only that nursing homes provide “sufficient staffing” of nursing assistants.