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April 19, 2019

This week, the legislature is on Spring Break before the Easter holiday. No voting sessions were held this week, and none of the committee hearings that were held impacted municipalities. The legislature will be back in session next week and will resume their typical committee schedule as the House wraps up constructing their budget proposal.House Speaker Larry Householder reports that members of the House of Representatives have submitted almost 2,000 proposed amendments to the budget bill. The Senate will also begin holding hearings on the budget. The League will continue to keep our members up-to-date on all budget proceedings.

Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
  • The 10th District Court of Appeals has denied reconsideration of a lawsuit file by Ohio municipalities challenging the centralized collection of the municipal net profit tax. The appellate court had ruled in January to uphold the law allowing centralized collection.
  • Ohio has been selected as one of four states to receive over $350 million in federal grant funding to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic. The goal of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is to create an opioid intervention "blueprint" from a coalition of state, community and academic partners across Ohio, New York, Massachusetts and Kentucky.
  • American Rivers, a Washington, D.C.-based conservation organization, has named Cuyahoga River the "River of the Year." The title celebrates 50 years of environmental resurgence for the Cuyahoga River.

The League is urging members to contact their state representative and senator in support of a forthcoming budget amendment that would restore the Local Government Fund (LGF) to pre-recession levels.
The current administration and leaders in the legislature have been signaling a desire to rebuild the partnership between the state and local governments. As the House finalizes amendments to HB 166, the State Operating Budget, now is the time for local leaders to make it clear to their legislative delegations that restoring the LGF is a priority for cities and villages across the state.
When talking to their legislators, local leaders should communicate their support for restoring the LGF to pre-recession levels. Additionally, the League asks that members support two other amendments that are a budget priority for municipalities. The first would remove all language regarding municipal income taxation from HB 166 so the language can be properly vetted in separate legislation. The second amendment funds the local fee offset for MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communication) that is particularly necessary for smaller cities and villages to participate in this crucial. inter-state communications system.
The budget process is an ideal time for local leaders to remind legislators of the importance of ensuring municipalities can adequately deliver basic services to Ohioans via restoration of the LGF. Municipalities must communicate this priority before HB 166 clears the House within the next few weeks.

This week, Gov. DeWine signed an executive order creating a statewide Census 2020 Complete Count Commission with the goal of ensuring a complete count for the upcoming census.
The commission will be made up of approximately 51 appointees, including members from state and local government, the Ohio legislature, academia, business, community and non-profit groups as well as ethnic and faith-based communities. According to the Governor, the members must come from all regions of the state. Recommendations from the commission will be due by December 1, 2019.     
An undercount of just 0.8% of the state's population could mean Ohio looses one or more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as jeopardizing transit grants, Medicaid, federal highway funding, low income housing, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and more.
The League greatly appreciates the Governor's signing of this executive order as the creation of this commission signals the census is a priority for the administration. The commission will be especially impactful to municipalities as it creates the opportunity for local leaders across Ohio to ensure their communities are accurately counted.