Current Legislative Bulletin
April 1, 2020
OML UDPATE AT-A-GLANCE
Here are the top three things you need to know from the past several days:
- Earlier this week, as part of the changes in HB 197 that was passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor last week, the Ohio EPA issued orders to regulated entities prohibiting public water systems from disconnecting customers due to the nonpayment of fees. You can find a copy of that order HERE . The order also directs public water systems to reconnect disconnected services for certain customers. The OEPA has issued guidance on reconnection requirements, which you can access HERE .
- The Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund has released a memo offering guidance for their active members that are nearing Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) maximum, or for the members who are retired and considering returning to work due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. You can read the memo HERE .
- The U.S. Department of Labor has released an updated FAQ on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) that you can access HERE.
WHITE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE: PRESIDENT APPROVES OHIO DISASTER DECLARATION
President Donald J. Trump has declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Ohio and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.
Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Ohio impacted by COVID-19.
Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named James K. Joseph as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.
Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further assessments.
For further information, contact the FEMA news desk at (202) 646-3272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH RECEIVES ANNOUNCES STATE'S PPE RESERVES WILL NOT MEET IMMEDIATE OR FUTURE NEEDS
A critical part of our state's effort to contain and stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is to ensure our healthcare providers, Emergency Medical Services, law enforcement, and long-term care workers have the equipment they need to protect themselves and those they serve.
The increase in people with respiratory symptoms visiting hospitals and needing care is straining Ohio healthcare system's supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Ohio requested early and has received our shipment of PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). PPE includes gowns, gloves, goggles, and masks. Ohio's allocation of materiel to the locals was informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on the allocation of critical resources during a pandemic.
All shipments have been received by ODH and will be sent to county locations to ensure local PPE needs are met. Here are the total numbers from the SNS:
SNS Ohio supplies
"The supplies we received and the state's reserve will not meet the immediate or future needs of Ohio's healthcare providers and first responders," said ODH Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH. "This shortage is why our message has been to conserve. Industries with PPE are encouraged to donate what they have to their local Emergency Management Agencies."
PPE supply inventory is never static as there is always stock coming in and stock going out from different vendors. As a result, these numbers can constantly change. We will continue to update our members on this critical issue as the pandemic continues.
JOBSOHIO ANNOUNCES WEBPAGE FOR EMPLOYER RESOURCES ALONG WITH $2 MILLION INVESTMENT IN APPALACHIAN SMALL BUSINESSES
JobsOhio has released a webpage with COVID-19-related resources for employers, including Ohio's municipalities, which you can find HERE. The webpage will be continuously updated with information such as economic impact reports and industry sector-specific guidance to help employers keep their workforce safe.
The webpage also hosts an Ohio Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) database for companies working to supply critical medical PPE, including manufacturers and distributors. The webpage also has a link to economic resources for Ohio businesses that lists state, federal and private sector resources to help businesses weather the economic challenges that have resulted from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Employers are encouraged to check back often for up-to-date information.
Additionally, JobsOhio announced that it has made a $2 million investment in Appalachian Growth Capital, LLC (AGC). This investment was made as a long-term, low interest loan to AGC that will allow AGC to help more small companies in Appalachian Ohio with financing during this economically difficult time.
"JobsOhio's assistance to Appalachian Growth Capital will boost its sustainability at a time when small businesses in the region need reliable capital and partnerships to move forward," said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and chief executive officer. "Southeastern Ohio companies supported by AGC can be confident they will have lending support to sustain their businesses during this pandemic and to help them grow after it has passed."
GUIDANCE ON EXTENDED DEADLINE FOR MUNICIPAL INCOME TAX FILING
On Friday, Governor DeWine signed HB 197, a bill that provides instruction and relief in many areas regarding the impacts of the coronavirus. This bill also authorized the State Tax Commissioner to change the due date for filing Ohio income tax returns. Since the individual municipal income tax due date was directly tied to this date, municipalities could not take official action until this was accomplished. Within hours of the Governor signing this bill, the State Tax Commissioner made an official declaration regarding due dates. You can find the press release HERE .
It was clearly the intention of the Governor and the Tax Commissioner to provide relief for any calendar year taxpayer by extending the due date of the annual return from 4/15/20 to 7/15/20, consistent with the change in date by the IRS. Because of an official State of Emergency declaration by the Governor, it is not possible for taxpayers (individual and net profit) to comply with a 4/15 due date.
While the press release from Commissioner McClain provides relief for individual taxpayers, extending their filing and payment date to 7/15/20, and also provides relief to municipal net profit tax filers who have opted to have the State Tax Commissioner administer their municipal net profit tax, it could not provide equitable relief for those municipal net profit filers who continue to file directly with each municipality. To remedy this matter, the municipal income tax administrator has the authority under the Ohio Revised Code to waive penalty (including late filing and late payment penalty) and interest when deemed appropriate. Under this authority, municipal tax administrators should hereby waive penalties and interest for calendar year municipal net profit tax filers through 7/15/20, thus creating equitable and fair treatment for these taxpayers. During this State of Emergency, we must provide this extension to 7/15/20 to comply with the intent of the Emergency Declaration and the Governor's orders - to keep all Ohioans safe and healthy.
In addition to the filing due dates, the State Tax Commissioner's press release provided new dates for the payment of first and second quarter tax year 2020 estimated tax payments, which we should also implement. This will provide uniformity and continuity for those taxpayers who are liable for tax year 2020 estimated tax payments.
- Individual taxpayers will have until 7/15/20 to file and pay their 2019 municipal income tax return.
- Net profit taxpayers (calendar year) who have opted to file with the State Tax Commissioner will have until 7/15/20 to file and pay their 2019 municipal income tax return with the State.
- Net profit taxpayers (calendar year) who file directly with the tax administrator of the municipal corporation will have until 7/15/20 to file and pay their 2019 municipal income tax return.
- First and second quarter estimated tax payments (individuals and calendar year net profit tax filers) will both be due by 7/15/20.
- Many municipal corporations have already made these changes, and have posted this information on their websites. Thank you so much for your swift action in providing information to your residents and businesses. In this time of uncertainty, providing quick information, and consistent and fair treatment is critical to all Ohio residents and businesses.
Many municipal corporations have already made these changes, and have posted this information on their websites. Thank you so much for your swift action in providing information to your residents and businesses. In this time of uncertainty, providing quick information, and consistent and fair treatment is critical to all Ohio residents and businesses.
BUREAU OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION ANNOUNCES UNPAID INSURANCE PREMIUM INSTALLMENTS
In order to help businesses facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio BWC is announcing that unpaid insurance premium installment amounts due for March, April, and May for the current policy year can be deferred until June 1, 2020. BWC will consider the issue further as we approach June 1, 2020.
BWC will not refund amounts to employers who have already paid some or all of their premiums that were scheduled to be paid during those months. Employers that wish to submit payments for March, April, and May are free to do so, but BWC will not lapse (cancel) coverage or assess penalties for amounts not paid because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
BWC Leadership is reviewing all program deadlines and other issues impacting Ohio businesses. A "COVID-19 FAQ" page has been added to their website.
OHIO811 ANNOUNCES TEMPORARY EMERGENCY MEDICAL WORKSITE NOTICE
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, medical facilities and essential businesses may find the need to erect tents or like temporary structures to maintain or support their operations. OHIO811 and their utility partners are issuing a reminder that the driving of stakes or pins for the installation of tents meets the definition of an excavation under ORC. 3781.25 (I).
This requires that the person or entity performing the excavation notify OHIO811 at least 48 hours but not more than 10 working days prior to starting. OHIO811 will then notify the utility operators in the planned area so they can indicate the location of their underground utility facilities prior to excavation taking place.
However, during this extraordinary time, conditions may prevent the essential businesses erecting these types of temporary structures, from providing a full 48-hour advance notice. In such cases, still notify OHIO811 and indicate that this notice is for a Temporary Emergency Medical Worksite. OHIO811 will provide the member utility operators with an "Emergency" locate notification.
To place a utility locate request, call 811 or use their online service at www.OHIO811.org
OHIO811 encourages all utility and excavation partners, and the general public, to exercise the utmost in caution, cooperation and patience as you plan and perform excavation work in Ohio. Please visit www.OHIO811.org for additional information.