DeWine Signs Partial Repeal of Ohio’s Controversial Nuclear Power Bailout

Nuclear power plant

A little more than eight months after the billion-dollar government bailout of the state’s nuclear energy industry led the arrest of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, Gov. Mike DeWine officially put it to rest.

DeWine signed House Bill 128 into law late Wednesday. It repeals the nuclear provisions of the infamous House Bill 6.

Gone is the bailout for the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power plants in northern Ohio. Also eliminated was the ability for FirstEnergy to have its revenue levels relatively the same even during years when energy consumption decreases. HB 128 directed refunds of money already collected under the guarantee.

Read More

Surveys: 46 Million People Can’t Afford Health Care, Majority of Hospitals Not Providing Pricing Transparency

Assorted color syringes.

An estimated 46 million people — or 18% of the country — would be unable to pay for health care if they needed it today, a recent poll conducted by Gallup and West Health found.

In another survey by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the majority of hospitals in the U.S. have yet to comply with a transparency ruling implemented this year that would help patients shop around for the most affordable prices.

Gallup’s findings are based on a poll conducted between February 15 and 21 among 3,753 adults with a margin of error of 2%.

Read More

Georgia Legislature Approves $27B Budget for New Fiscal Year

Blake Tillery

The Georgia General Assembly has approved a $27.2 billion spending plan for the 2022 fiscal year, which starts July 1.

The Senate and House agreed to spend more money on health care, education, transportation, state positions, internet access and economic initiatives.

The House approved the measure, 148-21, late Wednesday night after it cleared the Senate unanimously, 52-0. Lawmakers now must send the proposal for state spending through June 30, 2022, to Gov. Brian Kemp for consideration.

Read More

Virginia Businesses Will Benefit from Paycheck Protection Program Extension, Groups Say

Virginia businesses will benefit from the federal government extending the deadline to apply for Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans, according to associations representing industries.

With bipartisan support, federal lawmakers passed legislation to extend the loan application from March 31 to May 31 and give the Small Business Administration an additional 30 days to process the applications. The legislation is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden.

The loans allow businesses economically harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic restrictions to borrow money from the federal government. If businesses use the money in accordance with federal guidelines, the loans will be forgiven, meaning that the businesses will not have to pay the money back.

Read More

Georgia Senate Passes Measure Blocking Local Efforts to Reduce Police Funding

A bill that bans counties and municipalities in Georgia from reducing their police department budgets by more than 5% has passed the Georgia Senate and will be sent back to the House.

Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, a law enforcement veteran, said the legislation, House Bill 286, is a response to local efforts to “defund the police.”

“I think everyone sees the things that are going on around our country right now related to law enforcement, and what this does is just guarantee the citizens of any community that they’re not caught up in the politics that revolves around policing and offers protection,” said Robertson, who sponsored the bill.

Read More

Ohio Legislature Passes Transportation Budget with Additional Allocations

The Ohio Senate approved more than $8 billion it hopes will spur both economic development and job growth while tackling the state’s transportation needs over the next two years.

The state’s proposed transportation budget passed the Senate unanimously Thursday with some adjustments made by the Senate, including additional money for public transportation, local road projects and emergency road repair. It also requires the Ohio Department of Transportation to reopen currently decommissioned weigh stations to serve as overnight parking areas for commercial truckers.

“This transportation budget makes critical investments in Ohio’s communities and local infrastructure,” said Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima. “I am confident House Bill 74 will improve roads and infrastructure that Ohioans use every day and will enhance Ohio’s economy and promote job growth.”

Read More

Virginia Budget Agreement Includes Five Percent Teacher Pay Raise, Tax Relief for Businesses

A Virginia budget compromise will include a 5% pay raise for teachers and tax relief for businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic after several weeks of debate among lawmakers.

The budget legislation still needs to pass both chambers of the General Assembly, which is expected. Then, the bills will head to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk at which time he can choose to sign the legislation or propose changes to it and send it back to the legislature.

Read More

Georgia to Provide More Than $550M in Rental, Utility Assistance

Georgia will provide $552 million in rent and utility assistance to landlords and tenants, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Friday.

The federal government provided the COVID-19-related aid through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and it will be paid directly to landlords and utility companies.

Read More

Law Firm That Employs Bart Gordon Opens Nashville Office

K&L Gates LLP, the global law firm that employs former U.S. Representative Bart Gordon (D-TN-06), has opened a Nashville office.

K&L Gates announced it has set up a Nashville law office with more than 25 lawyers handling health care, litigation, corporate, intellectual property, finance, and construction, and other specialties.

Read More

Tech Drives Indexes Higher on Wall Street after Choppy Start

Big technology companies powered stocks higher on Wall Street Monday, adding to the market’s gains after a three-week winning streak.

The S&P 500 rose 0.84% after being down 0.3% in the early going. Gains by technology and communication stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending outweighed losses elsewhere in the market. The rally, which gained strength in the final hour of trading, nudged the benchmark S&P 500 index to a slight gain for the year and drove the Nasdaq composite to an all-time high.

Read More

Governor Bill Lee Proposes Zero Growth Budget to Weather Coronavirus Pandemic

Governor Bill Lee’s proposed amendment to the budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year resorts to zero growth, in order to weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More

Dave Ramsey Endorses ‘True Conservative’ Marsha Blackburn for Senate

Financial advice guru Dave Ramsey of Brentwood formally announced his endorsement of his “good friend” U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) for the U.S. Senate on Friday. Watch his endorsement: Ramsey says, “I’ve known Marsha since way back in 2001 when she and I and a bunch of others fought against…

Read More

Nashville Firm Files Class Action Lawsuit Against United Community Bank For Alleged Improper Overdraft Fee Practices

United Community Bank for Alleged Improper Overdraft Fee

Nashville, Tennessee-based law firm Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings has filed a class action lawsuit against Georgia-headquartered regional bank United Community Bank, which has locations in three additional states, including Tennessee. BS&J filed the lawsuit with Cohen & Malad, LLP of Indianapolis, Indiana. The suit was filed in the United States…

Read More