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Ohio Supreme Court to decide if state could end $300 weekly checks program

The Ohio Supreme Court will decide whether Gov. Mike DeWine had the authority to end a federal program offering $300 weekly checks to unemployed Ohioans.

The Supreme Court split 4-2 over whether to take the appeal, with Republican Justice Pat DeWine recusing himself.

His father the governor ended the $300 weekly check program in late June, saying that the program was "discouraging" people from work and that it was always intended to be temporary.

Democratic former attorney general Marc Dann filed suit on behalf of 200,000 Ohioans in July, saying DeWine didn’t have that authority to end the federal program before its scheduled conclusion on Labor Day.

A Franklin County judge sided with the state, but an appeal court agreed with Dann.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce pushed for DeWine to end the program, saying it was keeping people from seeking or returning to work. President and CEO Steve Stivers said in a statement: “The Ohio Chamber is pleased with the court’s announcement to review the 10th District Court of Appeals decision finding Governor DeWine could not end the $300 per week supplemental unemployment benefit in Ohio before the federal program expired. The lower court’s holding is a clear example of two judges legislating from the bench to overturn a policy decision by Ohio’s governor that they did not support. The Ohio Chamber has been involved in amicus briefs throughout each stage of this litigation because these supplemental unemployment benefits distorted Ohio’s labor market, making it harder for businesses across our state to find workers.”

Dann said in a statement: "We are confident in our legal position. We are going to file a motion to expedite briefing. The money is still available from the feds so the state should mitigate their risk by drawing the funds and paying our clients."

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.