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October 11, 2019  
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OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
 
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
 
  • Lawrence County Auditor Jason Stephens was sworn in this week as the successor to former Rep. Ryan Smith (R - Bidwell) for the 93rd House District seat. The House also announced that Harrison City Councilwoman Cindy Abrams has been selected to replace Rep. Louis Blessing (R - Cincinnati) for the 29th House District seat.
 
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will allocate4d $112.2 million in funding over the next ten years to help expand broadband to approximately 48,000 rural homes and businesses in nine states, including Ohio.
 
  • Ohio's September revenues exceeded September projections by 2%, bringing in $37.3 million more in tax revenue than anticipated. This brings the state to a total of $71.4 million over initial estimates for the first quarter of the fiscal year. 
 
 
GOV. DEWINE ANNOUNCES "STRONG OHIO" PLAN TO CURB GUN VIOLENCE
 
This week, Gov. DeWine unveiled more specifics he intends to present to the Ohio General Assembly in an effort to curb violence in the state, in reaction to the mass shootings in Dayton this summer. The legislative plan, yet to be formally introduced, will be called "STRONG Ohio", which stands for "Safety protection orders, Thorough background checks, Rigorous due process, Ongoing help to those in crisis and Greater penalties for gun crimes".
 
The actual legislation will be sponsored by Sen. Matt Dolan (R - Chagrin Falls) who joined DeWine, Lt. Gov. Husted, Dayton Mayor Whaley, Youngstown Mayor Brown, and others at a press conference Monday. The Governor emphasized that in crafting the legislation he has three ultimate goals: that the language be constitutional, that it saves lives and that is able to pass the General Assembly. Some legislative leaders have already expressed concern with some of the concepts presented by the governor, but have vowed to work with him when the legislation is introduced.
 
At the press event, the governor explained that his new plan will no longer include "red flag" language, which are laws allowing for the seizure of a person's guns if the individual is found to be a danger to themselves or others. Instead, the legislation being proposed would expand current "pink slip" laws allowing mental health interventions to drug addicts, alcoholics and those with other mental health concerns. The governor explained that those persons could be held in a mental treatment institution for 72 hours and have their firearms seized during that time.
 
The proposed plan also will not include the universal background checks for gun purchases that were initially considered. Instead, the plan will allow those who purchase firearms from private dealers to go to a sheriff's office and obtain a "seller's protection certificate" that provides proof to the seller that the purchaser is not restricted from purchasing a firearm. The certificate would be valid for 90 days.  
 
The bill also includes the following provisions:
 
  • Increased penalties for possessing a gun while legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.
  • Increased penalties for selling a gun to a minor.
  • Increased penalties for "straw" purchases (purchasing a gun for someone who cannot purchase a gun) and knowingly possessing a straw-purchased gun.
  • A legal safe harbor for firearms sellers requiring private-sale background checks.
  • Require courts and law enforcement agencies to enter protection orders and arrest warrants for specific serious crimes into state and federal law enforcement databases to increase accuracy in background checks.
  • Increased options for sentencing in felony cases where a gun was used, brandished or possessed.
  • Allow family members of drug-dependent individuals or chronic alcoholics who may be a danger to themselves or others to more easily petition for court-ordered treatment.
 
The League will report once the official bill language is introduced and will keep our members apprised of the legislation as it moves through the legislative process.
 
 
 
HOUSE, SENATE ANNOUNCE NEW COMMITTEE CHAIRS
 
This week, the House of Representatives announced new committee chair appointments. Rep. Merrin (R - Monclova Township) will replace now Sen. Schaffer (R - Lancaster) as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee; Rep. Lipps (R - Franklin) will replace Rep. Merrin as chair of the House Health Committee; and Rep. Ginter (R - Salem) will replace former Rep. Arndt (R - Port Clinton) as chair of the House Aging and Long Term Care Committee.
 
The Senate also announced a new committee chair appointment. Sen. Roegner (R - Hudson) will chair the Senate Ways and Means Committee, succeeding former Sen. Terhar (R - Cincinnati). The League wants to congratulate these legislators on their new appointments, and we look forward to working with them on passing legislation that invests in and strengthen Ohio's economic engines: our cities and villages.
 
 
OML'S ANNUAL CONFERENCE IS ALMOST HERE
 
The League's 2019 Annual Conference is almost here! We hope you've registered to join us from Wednesday, Oct. 23rd to Friday, Oct. 25th at the downtown Renaissance Hotel.

Our Annual Conference will offer the exclusive opportunity to hear from Ohio leaders Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel, who will be discussing the timely and relevant topic on community crisis management. Ohio's cities and villages are learning how to navigate the shifting landscape for keeping our communities safe, and this is a session you won't want to miss. Local leaders and their staff will also hear firsthand how Governor DeWine's administration is working alongside Ohio's municipalities from Director of the Development Services Agency and former Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik.
 
We are very excited to give our attendees the opportunity to hear from Leon Andrews, Director for the National League of Cities' Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) initiative to discuss strategies for creating a more inclusive and equitable community. REAL offers communities the tools and resources they need to build safe communities where all races and cultures thrive in every area of life.
 
Our keynote speaker this year is nationally-renowned communications expert Jan Hargrave, who has been featured on national television programs and worked with some of the most recognizable companies as well as many world leaders on developing successful communication techniques. You can learn more about all of our featured speakers HERE.

Educational workshops on current issues, as well as roundtables with other municipal leaders, will give attendees the chance to network, build valuable relationships and exchange best practices. The conference will host a large variety of vendors with programs and products that may benefit your municipality. And it wouldn't be a League conference without some entertainment: Thursday night will feature both a Casino Night as well as a raffle prize drawing.

You can find the updated conference agenda HERE and register HERE. We look forward to seeing you there!
 
 
 
OHIO'S RESEARCH INITIATIVE FOR LOCALS ACCEPTING RESEARCH IDEAS
 
Ohio's Research Initiative for Locals (ORIL) is now accepting research ideas for their upcoming Fiscal Year 2021 program and is extending the invitation beyond local governments. The ORIL Board has expanded the criteria for submitting ideas.  In addition to Ohio's local public agencies (e.g.: villages, townships, cities, counties, MPOs and RTPOs), ideas may now also be submitted by university researchers, students, consultants, associations, and ODOT staff.  All ideas must be applicable to the local transportation system and must be research.
 
The ORIL Board will review all ideas submitted and select those that propose the greatest benefit for Ohio.  Selected ideas will be developed into Requests for Proposals, which will be posted for response from the transportation research community in March 2020.  Research projects may begin any time after July 2020.

If you are not sure that you want to formally submit an idea or need help refining it, you can post the idea to the ORIL Idea Discussion site to get feedback from colleagues.  This site provides those interested in local-focused transportation research an opportunity to share ideas, discuss issues and provide input on topics that could potentially become research projects.  For more information on the ORIL Idea Discussion Site, click HERE.  

Research ideas may be submitted online.  To access the Idea Submission Form and get additional information, click HERE. Idea submissions must be received by November 1, 2019 in order to be considered.

If you have any questions, please contact the ORIL program at ORIL@dot.ohio.gov or via phone at 614-644-8135 or 614-466-3029. 
 
 
COMMITTEE RECAP: BILLS IMPACTING MUNICIPALITIES
 
Here are the bills affecting municipalities that received committee hearings this week:
 
  • HB 264 - INFRASTRUCTURE LOANS. Sponsored by Rep. Wilkin (R - Hillsboro0 and Rep. O'Brian (D - Warren), would allow the Ohio Water Development Authority to provide for the refinancing of loans for certain public water and waste water infrastructure projects. During its second hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, proponents, including the League, testified in support of the bill. You can read the testimony in full HERE.(Link: https://bit.ly/2EIKUKl)
  • HB 308 - PTSD COVERAGE. Sponsored by Rep. Patton (R - Strongsville), is concerning workers' compensation and disability retirement for peace officers, firefighters, and emergency medical workers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder arising from employment without an accompanying physical injury. During its first hearing before the House Insurance Committee, the bill's sponsor explained It would make worker's compensation benefits available to first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) without an accompanying physical injury. The League is still looking into this legislation.(Link: https://bit.ly/2IFEbTL)
 
  • HB 330 - WORKERS' COMPENSATION. Sponsored by Rep. Patton (R - Strongsville), is regarding charging workers' compensation experience in firefighter cancer claims. During its first hearing before the House Insurance Committee, the bill's sponsor said the bill would move the cost of providing worker's compensation benefits to firefighters with cancer contracted presumably while performing official duties from municipalities to the Bureau of Worker's Compensation. The League is supportive of this legislation.(Link: https://bit.ly/2oxNZIj)
 
  • HB 295 - ELECTRIC SCOOTERS. Sponsored by Rep. Hoop (R - Napoleon), would establish requirements governing low-speed electric scooters. During its third hearing before the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee, no opponents testified against the bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.(Link: https://bit.ly/30I0H4t)
 
  • SB 33 - CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE. Sponsored by Sen. Hoagland (R - Adena), would modify certain criminal offenses with respect to critical infrastructure facilities and to impose fines and civil liability for damage to a critical infrastructure facility. During its fourth hearing before the House Public Utilities Committee, both proponents and opponents testified on the bill. Amendments are expected in the near future. The League is supportive of this legislation.(Link: https://bit.ly/2GSjRN8)
 
  • HB 10 - DRUG POLICY OFFICE. Sponsored by Rep. Browm (D - Canal Winchester) and Rep. Stoltzfus (R - Minerva), would establish the Governor's Office of Drug Policy and make an appropriation. During its third hearing before the Senate General Government and Agency Review Committee, the assistant chief of the Whitehall Division of Fire said the bill correctly focuses on overall addition issues rather than individual substances. The League is supportive of this legislation.(Link: https://bit.ly/2YzTtP7)

 
BILLS IMPACTING MUNICIPALITIES PASSED BY SENATE
 
Here are the bills affecting municipalities that were passed by the Senate this week:
 
  • SB 52 - CYBER SECURITY. Sponsored by Sen. Gavarone (R - Bowling Green), would create the civilian cyber security reserve forces, make the Secretary of State a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, require the Secretary of State to appoint a chief information security officer, require the boards of elections to audit election results, and make an appropriation. The Senate concurred upon the House amendments unanimously. The League is supportive of this legislation.