February 8, 2021 Monday Message from the McDonald Hopkins Public Law Team

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Monday, February 8, 2021

To our friends, clients and colleagues in local and regional government, higher education and the nonprofit sector, welcome to our latest Monday Message from the Public Law Group at McDonald Hopkins. In today’s email, assembled by attorneys Teresa Metcalf Beasley, Dave Gunning, Kelsey Smith, Mike Wise and Kevin Butler, you’ll find insights into areas of law we’re watching on your behalf.

In today’s edition:

  • Governor’s budget released; how local and regional governments, education, and nonprofits benefit
  • President Biden’s American Rescue Plan aims to shore up struggling communities
  • MH launches new Social Corporate Governance & Impact Investing practice
  • CSU joins historic Cleveland Innovation District partnership
  • First qualifying projects of ResultsOHIO program announced
  • Save Our Stages among targets in latest relief measure from Washington
  • Mike Wise to host Ohio energy policy forum at popular conference

Governor’s budget released; how local and regional governments, education, and nonprofits benefit

Today Kelsey Smith, our Public Law teammate, recaps Gov. DeWine’s proposed 2022-2023 biennial budget and dives into how the February 1 proposal stands to benefit those in local and regional government, elementary, secondary and higher education, and the nonprofit world. For instance, Kelsey highlights the governor’s aim to keep intact the state’s Local Government Fund, an important annual pipeline for Ohio’s municipalities, as well as the Public Library Fund. The budget proposal also provides enhanced investments for access to high-speed broadband internet, law enforcement body-worn camera initiatives, K-12 education programs, and significant additional scholarship dollars for public colleges and universities. Read more from Kelsey on these highlights from the governor’s budget here.

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan aims to shore up struggling communities

In January President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced the American Rescue Plan, his “emergency legislative package to fund vaccinations, provide immediate, direct relief to families bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis, and support struggling communities.” The American Rescue Plan is a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, the first step of a bold and aggressive plan to rescue Americans from the crisis of the pandemic and to lead the nation to recovery.

The plan can be digested into the following four main categories:

  • Supporting a COVID response plan by mounting a national vaccine program containing the spread of COVID-19 and safely reopening schools
  • Delivering immediate relief to working families bearing the brunt of the crisis
  • Supporting communities that are struggling in the wake of COVID-19
  • Modernizing federal information technology (IT) to protect against future cyberattacks

Our Public Law partner Teresa Metcalf Beasley had the recent opportunity to participate in a discussion with Vice President Kamala Harris, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. to discuss what the American Rescue Plan means to the bottom line – in particular to small businesses and local government. Vice President Harris and Secretary Yellen discussed the importance of the American Rescue Plan’s federal vaccination centers and full employment measures to rebuild the economy. Key components to full employment include financial assistance to small businesses and local governments.  

The American Rescue Plan includes $15 billion in grants to the hardest hit small businesses and $35 billion to small business financing programs, with the goal of leveraging $75 million in lending and investment. Also included is $350 billion in funds for state, local, tribal, and $3 billion in economic development administration grants.

With so many small businesses having shuttered their doors – causing an impact not just on those employees and their families, but on those communities and neighborhoods as well – the vibrancy that was being created in downtowns and neighborhoods has not just stalled but in many cases reversed by the pandemic. The plan’s support to small businesses and state, local and tribal governments will help to rebuild the workforce, neighborhoods and local communities that have been hardest hit by providing small businesses with the funding they need to reopen and rebuild.

As the details become available on the distribution of funds become available, we will provide updates.

MH launches new Social Corporate Governance & Impact Investing practice

McDonald Hopkins announced last week the launch of its Social Corporate Governance & Impact Investing practice to provide business owners, boards, and executives with sophisticated, multidisciplinary legal counseling as they navigate legal and business ramifications and opportunities by implementing sustainability, ESG, and benefit corporation initiatives. This practice allows the firm’s attorneys to continue to work closely with clients on their day-to-day legal needs while facilitating the advancement of programs that address social issues of importance to business leaders, employees, investors, and other stakeholders. MH attorneys in this practice are able to draw upon their vast experience to advise clients on corporate governance, diversity and inclusion, ESG, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, benefit corporation formation or conversion, and compliance.

The new practice is led by co-chairs Amy Wojnarwsky, Teresa Metcalf Beasley and Mike Wise. Amy has worked with many companies as they embrace corporate social responsibility in their ongoing business operations, and brings this passion to her M&A practice by helping both buyers and sellers to ensure cultural alignment and integration planning in successful business transitions. She is an active member of Conscious Capitalism Northeast Ohio and a judge for the annual Case Western Reserve University Fowler Center Impact Investing Competition.

For more information on the firm’s Social Corporate Governance & Impact Investing practice, please visit our website by clicking here.

CSU joins historic Cleveland Innovation District partnership

On January 25, Gov. Mike DeWine and local leaders announced a partnership with Cleveland State University, University Hospitals, the MetroHealth System, and Case Western Reserve University to create the Cleveland Innovation District. The district will be fueled by $265 million in investments by the Ohio Development Services Agency and JobsOhio, and aims to create thousands of new educational opportunities and jobs in research, healthcare and infectious disease control. Dave Gunning, one of our Public Law partners and the chairman of Cleveland State University’s board of trustees, was proud to be part of the announcement. Click here to learn more

First qualifying projects of ResultsOHIO program announced

We last wrote on November 23 about Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague’s ResultsOHIO program, which rewards public and private funders of charitable and government programs tackling longstanding societal challenges such as infant mortality, criminal justice reform, addiction and water quality. The program, more fully explained here, will use state dollars to reimburse funders (with interest) when the success of qualifying programs is measurably demonstrated. The project costs will typically be between $3 and $10 million. On January 27 the Treasurer’s office unveiled the first five qualifying programs across the state, but charitable service providers, philanthropic organizations and local governments may still apply. See the first exemplars and learn how to apply here.

Save Our Stages among targets in latest relief measure from Washington

Our Business Department partner Adam Grais, himself a musician, wrote recently on how the latest stimulus package emerging from Washington, which passed in late December, includes $15 billion to support Save Our Stages. That program targets theaters, concert venues, movie houses, museums and other locations hit hard by shutdowns and attendance restrictions due to the pandemic, but it comes with restrictions you’ll want to study carefully. Read Adam’s post here and contact him with questions.

Mike Wise to host Ohio energy policy forum at popular conference

Cheers to our Public Law partner, Mike Wise, who will host a session at the 25th annual Ohio Energy Savings and Management Conference & Virtual Institute later this month. Mike will chair the February 18 session titled Energy Policy in Ohio: Business & Industry’s Priorities in the 134th Ohio General Assembly, which will feature energy policy leaders from the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives, where he previously served. The conference, traditionally the nation’s best-attended statewide energy conference, anticipates more than 650 attendees.

Feel free to contact any member of the McDonald Hopkins Public Law team if you have questions or need assistance on any of the matters we’ve covered above or with your legal needs in general.

Teresa Metcalf Beasley
Chair, Public Law

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This Publication is designed to provide current information for our clients, friends and their advisors regarding important legal developments. The foregoing discussion is general information rather than specific legal advice. Because it is necessary to apply legal principles to specific facts, always consult your legal advisor before using this discussion as a basis for a specific action.

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