Ohio Municipal League Legislative Bulletin

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March 27th, 2015

OHIO HOUSE PASSES REFRESHMENT AREA BILL WITH HIGHER POPULATION THRESHOLD

The Ohio House and Senate continued the hearing process for both chamber’s legislative proposals to allow certain cities and townships to create districts where individuals will be exempt from open container restrictions, allowing communities that meet a population threshold to create outdoor refreshment areas. Sub. HB 47, the House version of the “refreshment area” legislation introduced by Reps. Blessing (R-Cincinnati) and Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) received a fifth hearing on Tuesday, where the committee amended the bill by, among other things, increasing the arbitrary population threshold for a municipality or township to participate in the new opportunity from the original population level of 25,000 bumping it up to 35,000. This new level is the same requirement contained in SB 95, the Ohio Senate’s proposal to establish refreshment areas.

Despite requests made that the bill be amended to allow all Ohio municipalities, regardless of population, to have access to this new civic opportunity for businesses and individuals in their communities to come together, the bill was approved by the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee and sent to the House floor. On Thursday, sub.HB47 was presented to the members of the Ohio House where the bill was approved 81-11. The bill now moves on to the Ohio Senate where it will join the refreshment area debate in that Chamber.

On Tuesday, the Senate State & Local Government Committee held a third hearing on SB 95, for all interested parties. Senate committee members were presented with testimony both in person and written from municipal officials around the state who support the bill but believe the population restriction is not necessary and should be omitted from the proposal. OML Executive Director Sue Cave also provided testimony to committee members which can be found HERE. We want to thank those municipal officials who have expressed their opinions regarding this legislative proposal and for sharing their time to make the legislation better.

The Ohio General Assembly will be leaving Columbus to recess for Spring Break beginning March 30 th, returning to the Statehouse the week of April 13 th. When the legislature returns from their recess we anticipate hearings to resume in the Senate and that quick work will be made on getting the legislation through the process, in time for Major League baseball season. We continue to encourage officials from communities that are below the two projected cut off limit to contact their member of the Ohio Senate and share with them the benefits such a new opportunity would have for your municipality to further provide economic development and stimulate greater interest in local functions.

 

TRANSPORTATION BUDGET BILL CLEARS FINAL LEGISLATIVE HURDLE

Ohio’s $7.06 billion two-year, transportation budget bill cleared the final legislative hurdles this week with members of the Ohio House and Senate convening and then quickly concluding the Conference Committee called for HB53, to resolve remaining differences between the two legislative chambers as it relates to transportation and public safety policy matters.

The Conference Committee report approved by the Ohio Senate on Wednesday and then by the Ohio House members on Thursday removed some issues contested by the leaders of the House and Senate while preserving others. In addition to other changes made in HB 53, the final bill preserved language removing provisions that would have imposed a prohibition on local hiring quotas for public construction projects and deleted language that would have increased the speed limit of rural highways to 75 mph. Final analysis and comparison documents can be found at www.lsc.ohio.gov .

We appreciate the inclusion by the Ohio Senate a provision requiring the director of ODOT to identify at least $10 million to add to the $120 million Bridge Partnership Program that helps local governments upgrade these critical infrastructure resources. The bill has been sent to Governor Kasich for his review and signature.

HEARINGS CONTINUE FOR LEGISLATION INCLUDING PTSD TO BWC COVERAGE

The Ohio Senate Finance Committee held a third hearing on SB5, legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) making the mental affliction of post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) an eligible condition covered through workers' compensation benefits for peace officers and other first responders, regardless of the presence of a physical injury, provided the underlying event occurred while on duty. The committee heard from all parties including testimony from the Ohio BWC Administrator and CEO to clarify remarks made at previous hearings and to reiterate the concerns that the state insurance system has for components of the proposal.

 

LEGISLATION AIMS TO REMOVE MUNICIPAL TAX ADMINISTRATOR LIABILITY “REFORM” LANGUAGE

The Ohio House Ways and Means Committee received sponsor testimony on HB 84, legislation introduced by Rep. Sprague (R-Findlay) and Sweeney (D-Cleveland) that would only allow civil action to be taken against a municipal corporation, instead of individual tax administrators, when a taxpayer is disgruntled with the administration of the municipal income tax and pursues legal action to address perceived grievances. The bill is in response to language included in sub. HB5, the municipal income tax reform bill enacted by the previous General Assembly. We will be sure to keep our members updated on the status of this bill or any other municipal tax related issues that may be generated and how the legislature choices to address those issues.

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT GRANT SEMINAR EVENT ANNOUNCED

Congressman Steve Stivers (R-Westerville) announced he will be holding a grant writing seminar for Ohio Local Governments Friday, April 3 from 9:30a.m.-12:00 p.m. at the Fairfield County Agriculture Center, 831 College Ave., Lancaster, Ohio. Rep. Stivers will host representatives from the Ohio Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP), U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) to discuss financial assistance programs for public water and sewer services, community facilities, utility and energy programs, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the Local Government Innovation Fund and other financial resource opportunities for Ohio cities and villages.

Please RSVP your attendance to Adam.Rapien@Mail.House.Gov or by calling (614)771-4968.

 

LEGISLATURE RECESSES NEXT TWO WEEKS

As mentioned previously, members of the Ohio legislature will be returning to their districts for the next two weeks to take a two week Spring Break recess, so there will be no committee hearings or voting sessions. The House and Senate will be back at the Statehouse the week of April 13 to resume work. Because of the upcoming break in legislative action, the League will not put out a bulletin during the recess unless there is legislative activity to report.

Below is a list of legislation that has recently been introduced.

Have a great weekend.~

New Ohio House Bills:

HB 122 PUCO MEMBERSHIP (Leland, D.) To require that each major political party be represented on the Public Utilities Commission, to specify that not more than three commissioners may belong to or be affiliated with the same major political party, and to require that Public Utilities Commission Nominating Council lists of nominees include individuals who, if selected, ensure that each major political party is represented on the Commission. Am. 4901.02 and 4901.021.

HB 123 CRIMINAL CASES (Johnson, T., Cupp, R.) To change the time for notification of an alibi defense in a criminal case, to allow the court in a felony case to impose community control sanctions without a presentence investigation report upon agreement of the defendant and the prosecutor, and to request the Supreme Court to modify Criminal Rule 32.2 to allow the court in a felony case to impose community control sanctions without a presentence investigation report upon agreement of the defendant and the prosecutor. Am. 2945.58 and 2951.03.

HB 124 STD PRESCRIPTIONS (Johnson, T., Huffman, S.) Regarding the authority to prescribe without examination a drug for a sexual partner of a patient diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomoniasis. Am. 4723.489, 4729.282, 4730.432, and 4731.93.

HB 125 VETERANS FEE WAIVER (Brenner, A., Retherford, W.) To establish the Veterans Fee Waiver Program. Am. 111.16, 111.17, 1703.31, 1729.12, 1746.06, 1782.63, 2305.10, and 4743.04 and to enact sections 5903.21, 5903.22, 5903.23, 5903.24, and 5903.25.

HB 126 NUISANCE LAW (Kunze, S., Leland, D.) To expand nuisance law to include any real property on which an offense of violence has occurred or is occurring Am. 3767.01.

HB 127 PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS (Brown, T., Cera, J.) To regulate pharmacy benefit managers. En. 3901.43, 3901.431, and 3901.432.

HB 128 TAX CREDITS (Sears, B., Amstutz, R.) To authorize an income tax credit for donations to the permanent endowment fund of an eligible community foundation and to require the Director of Budget and Management to reimburse the Local Government Fund and the Public Library Fund for revenue lost because of the credit. Am. 131.51 and 5747.98 and to enact section 5747.78

HB 129 SMILE PROGRAM (Barnes, J.) To establish the Hope for a Smile Program. Am. 5747.01 and to enact section 3701.139

HB 130 DATA OHIO BOARD (Hagan, C., Duffey, M.) To create the DataOhio Board, to specify requirements for posting public records online, to require the Auditor of State to adopt rules regarding a uniform accounting system for public offices, to establish an online catalog of public data at data.Ohio.gov, to establish the Local Government Information Exchange Grant Program, and to make an appropriation. Am. 149.43 and to enact sections 117.432, 149.60, 149.62, and 149.65

HB 131 ANIMAL DISEASES (Pelanda, D.) To include diseases of concern within the scope of the Animal Diseases Law, and to make changes to the laws governing weights and measures, livestock dealers, and auctioneers, the membership of the Farmland Preservation Advisory Board, and the pesticide licensing renewal process. Am. 901.23, 921.12, 941.01, 941.03, 941.04, 941.06, 941.07, 941.09, 941.10, 941.11, 941.14, 943.02, 943.14, 1327.46, 1327.48, 1327.50, 1327.501, 1327.61, 1327.99, and 4707.02 and to enact section 1327.502

HB 132 CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE (Lepore-Hagan, M., Bishoff, H.) Regarding coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, the provision of certain hospital and pregnancy prevention services for victims of sexual assault, and comprehensive sexual health and sexually transmitted infection education in schools. Am. 121.22, 2907.29, 3313.60, 3313.6011, 3314.03, 3326.11, 3328.24, 4729.16, 4729.18, and 4729.35 and to enact sections 1751.68, 3701.049, 3727.61, 3727.611, 3727.612, 3923.84, 4729.44, and 4729.45

HB 133 TAX CREDITS (Schaffer, T., Ashford, M.) To authorize an income tax credit for individuals that earn a nonprofit management degree or certain professional designations and to allow a sales tax exemption for out-of-state nonprofit corporations that relocate jobs to Ohio. Am. 5739.02 and 5747.98 and to enact sections 5739.40 and 5747.78

HB 134 BLIGHTED PROPERTY FORECLOSURES (Grossman, C., Curtin, M.) To establish summary actions to foreclose mortgages on vacant and abandoned residential properties, to expedite the foreclosure and transfer of unoccupied, blighted parcels, to make other changes relative to residential foreclosure actions, and to terminate certain provisions of this act on December 31, 2019, by repealing sections 3767.51, 3767.52, 3767.53, 3767.54, 3767.55, and 3767.56 of the Revised Code on that date. Am. 323.47, 1901.18, 1901.185, 2303.26, 2329.01, 2329.02, 2329.20, 2329.21, 2329.23, 2329.26, 2329.30, 2329.31, 2329.33, 2329.52, and 2909.07 and to enact sections 2308.01 to 2308.04, 2329.211, 2329.311, and 3767.51 to 3767.56.

HB 135 ABORTION (Hall, D., LaTourette, S.) To prohibit a person from performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman who is seeking the abortion because of a test result indicating Down Syndrome in an unborn child or a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome in an unborn child. En. 2919.20 and 2919.201.

HB 136 STEM PILOT (Young, R., Rogers, J.) To fund the Lake County Educational Service Center pilot project to support STEM initiatives for middle school students and to make an appropriation.

New Ohio Senate Bills:

SB 127 ABORTION (Lehner, P., Hottinger, J.) To prohibit the performance of an abortion on a pregnant woman when the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child is twenty weeks or greater. Am. 2305.11 and 4731.22 and to enact sections 2307.54, 2919.20, 2919.201, 2919.202, 2919.203, 2919.204, and 2919.205.

SB 128 DAY DESIGNATION (Cafaro, C., Schiavoni, J.) To designate the thirtieth day of May as "Bartter Syndrome Awareness Day." En. 5.255.

SB 129 PRIOR AUTHORIZATIONS (Gardner, R., Cafaro, C.) To amend the law related to the prior authorization requirements of insurers. Am. 1739.05 and to enact sections 1751.72, 3901.90, 3923.041, 5160.33, and 5160.34.

SB 130 MONTH DESIGNATION (Gentile, L.) To designate October as "Disability History and Awareness Month." En. 5.2298.

SB 131 ROAD NAMING (Jones, S.) To designate a portion of State Route 123 within Warren County as the "Neil Armstrong Memorial Way." En. 5534.70.

SB 132 HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE (Skindell, M., Tavares, C.) To establish the Ohio Health Benefit Exchange Program consisting of an exchange for individual coverage and a Small Business Health Options Program. Am. 124.14, 3905.01, 3905.473, and 3924.01, to enact sections 3965.01 to 3965.14, and to repeal sections 3905.471, 905.472, and 3905.474.

SB 133 AWARENESS MONTH (Beagle, B.) To designate June as "Scleroderma Awareness Month." En. .2298

SB 134 ATTORNEY FEES (Seitz, B.) To make permissive actual damages and attorney’s fees, to limit certain civil penalties, to allow respondents to recover attorney’s fees in certain instances, and to exempt certain landlords from the housing provisions of the Ohio Civil Rights law. Am. 4112.02, 4112.05, 4112.08, and 4112.14 and to enact section 4112.024

SB 135 PRESCRIPTION DRUGS (Cafaro, C., Jones, S.) To limit the out-of-pocket cost to an individual covered by a health plan for drugs used to treat rare diseases. Am. 1739.05 and to enact sections 1751.691 and 3923.851

SB 136 SCHOOL SECLUSION (Tavares, C.) To prohibit the use of seclusion on students in public schools. Am. 3319.46

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