It is a new year and a new legislative session for lawmakers at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
Several key pieces of legislation were left on the cutting room floor as the session expired last month.
Will lawmakers be able to move legislation forward in 2021?
The pandemic seems certain to remain a policy-making issue through the first part of 2021, even as doses of vaccine arrive in Ohio.
Yesterday the Ohio Department of Health reported 7,580 new cases and 104 deaths. Governor Mike DeWine says more than half of Ohio's nursing home workers have refused the COVID vaccine. Those workers have been prioritized for vaccines due to the tremendous toll taken by the virus in congregate settings and among elderly populations. But the governor says the vaccine will not be mandated.
Statehouse News Bureau Chief Karen Kasler sat down with the governor to look back and look forward to the year ahead. She will discuss some of the issues covered on the Sound of Ideas. You will be able to hear the entire interview on the State of Ohio.
The coronavirus pandemic is not just a public health emergency, it is also an economic one.
As businesses were shut down last year during the first wave of the cornonavirus, state and federal leaders were quick to step up to offer help for those who lost jobs or were in danger of losing their living spaces or utilities as a result of the pandemic.
Now, nearly a year after the start of the pandemic, case numbers continue to soar, but much of that help is running out.
Each week the U.S. Census Bureau looks at how people are faring as a result of the pandemic. This "Household Pulse" has been stark for many.
In early December the report indicated that half a million Ohioans had "no" or "slight" confidence that they would meet their rent in January.
Utilities have also begun to switch off necessities such as electricity after moratoriums on shutoffs expired in late 2020.
The pandemic has also increased food insecurity for adults and children in Ohio putting a demand on foodbanks and their partners to prevent people from going hungry.
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank says it saw record-breaking need for help during the 2020 holiday season. It is a trend for assistance that is expected to last well into 2021.
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV
Joree Novotny, director, External Affairs, Ohio Association of Foodbanks
Radha Bodapati, executive director, the Greater Akron Hindu Sewa Samittee
Menuka Nepal, student