Ohio Municipal League Legislative Bulletin
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October 9 , 2015
HEARINGS BEGIN AND RESUME FOR BILLS RELATED TO LOCAL ISSUES
This week, the Ohio legislature ramped-up their committee hearing schedules, diving back into legislative proposals previously considered before adjourning for the summer recess with several of the bills on committee dockets dealing with issues affecting Ohio’s local governments.
The Ohio House Insurance committee held a first hearing, sponsor’s testimony only on HB 292, legislation recently introduced by Rep. Christine Hagan (R-Canton) which provides that a firefighter who is disabled as a result of specified types of cancer is presumed for purposes of the laws governing workers' compensation and the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund to have incurred the cancer while performing official duties as a firefighter. Rep. Hagan said the bill would ensure care for firefighters with certain types of cancer presumed to be caused by carcinogens during the performance of their duties. Committee members peppered the sponsor with questions concerning the cost to rate payers for the expanded coverage while other committee members were concerned with definitions in the bill including a request for greater clarification of what “exposure rates” consist of and what determines an exposure rate to be considered “significant”. The sponsor shared with committee members that Ohio BWC has determined the expansion of the proposed coverage to be estimated annually at $87 million, which is a conservative estimate, and Rep. Hagan shared with committee members that exposure varies wildly from person to person based on the environments the firefighter is working in, whether or not the firefighter properly manages equipment, and the firefighter's physical condition.
The Senate State and Local Government committee held a second hearing on HB 237, Reps. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Bob Hackett (R-London) bill which would among other things, usurp local regulatory authorities by establishing statewide governance of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Uber or Lyft-style ride sharing businesses, TNC drivers, and the services provided by TNCs. The hearing was held for proponents of the bill and included testimony from a representative of Uber explaining to committee members how the legislation will allow their operations to expand to every city and village in Ohio by streamlining among other things, background check and vehicle inspection processes of people who sign up to be commercial drivers and determine appropriate insurance requirements. One committee member asked the Uber official whether the requirements and provisions of this bill should apply to competitors as well, including taxi drivers. The league would strongly oppose any alteration to the legislation removing current Home Rule authorities provided Ohio municipalities in regulating and inspecting taxi cab, limousine or other commercial passenger ride businesses or services, and handing this consumer protection authority over to the state.
Also on Tuesday, the House Government Accountability & Oversight committee held a third hearing for Rep. Kirk Schuring’s HB 233, legislation the league previously testified in support of, authorizing municipal corporations to create downtown redevelopment districts and innovation districts for the purposes of promoting the rehabilitation of historic buildings, creating jobs, encouraging economic development in commercial and mixed-use areas, and supporting grants and loans to technology-oriented and other businesses. We appreciate the local officials who came to the committee hearing to show their support for the proposal and for those that shared with committee members that communities are seeking tools like those in the bill to help foster private sector redevelopment in central business districts. The league would encourage other municipal officials who may have an opinion on the legislation to contact their state Representatives and Senators and share with them your interests.
On Wednesday, the Senate Civil Justice committee held a second hearing, proponents only, on SB 201, a bill introduced by Sen. Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) to expand Ohio’s nuisance law to apply to any real property, including vacant land, on which an offense of violence has occurred or is occurring. Specifically, the legislation, would add acts of violence to the list of offenses that allow a property to be declared a nuisance. Much of the discussion in the hearing surrounded concerns that the measure may infringe on the rights of private property owners who may be exposed to circumstances that may be included in the expanded classification. Committee members heard from witnesses including municipal officials who assured committee members that laws and safeguards are currently firmly in place to protect innocent property owners, and SB201 would not alter these laws.
ATTORNEY GENERAL DEWINE ANNOUNCES ROCK SALT SETTLEMENT FUNDS SENT TO 850 OHIO ENTITIES
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that his office is sending checks to 850 Ohio public entities as part of the Attorney General’s $11.5 million settlement to resolve an antitrust lawsuit against Cargill Inc. and Morton Salt Inc. over past rock salt prices.
The complete list of award recipients can be found HERE.
Attorney General DeWine’s settlement with Cargill and Morton Salt resolved a 2012 lawsuit accusing the companies of dividing up the Ohio rock salt market and agreeing not to compete with each other for public bids during a period ending in 2010. Although Morton and Cargill admitted no wrongdoing, they agreed to pay $11.5 million to resolve the state’s case.
Of the total settlement, about $6.8 million was available to local governments. Additional payments were allotted to the state’s largest single rock salt purchaser — the Ohio Department of Transportation ($1.7 million), the Ohio Turnpike Commission ($174,435), and, as required by law, the state’s antitrust fund.
The office received eligible claims from 848 Ohio public entities, each of which is receiving a check. Distribution amounts were calculated at a percentage of an entity’s total eligible rock salt purchase. To ensure that no entity received a check for just a few dollars, entities were guaranteed at least a minimum distribution of $500, except for one entity whose total purchase was just $319.
All public entities in Ohio can receive free help from the Ohio Attorney General’s Antitrust Section to detect possible anti-competitive activity. For more information, entities can contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.
NATIONAL CIVIC LEAGUE ANNOUNCES APPLICATIONS FOR 2016 ALL-AMERICAN CITIES AWARD
Since 1949, the National Civic League has designated 10 communities each year as All-America Cities for their outstanding civic accomplishments. All-America Cities are collaborative innovators who are willing to put in the hard work to tackle today’s most crucial local issues. To win, each community identifies three local efforts targeting pressing community challenges, together these projects should demonstrate innovation, impact, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross sector collaboration. I believe your community embodies the All-America City spirit and I encourage you to consider applying.
The 2016 award will spotlight programs that ensure all children are healthy and supported to succeed in school and life. Unlike any other event, the All-America City Experience, provides participants with lasting connections with community members and peers across the country, in-depth learning opportunities, and fun, energizing events!
Find more information on the award and how to apply at http://www.nationalcivicleague.org/the-all-america-city-award/
BILL INTRODUCTIONS AND UPCOMING COMMITTEE SCHEDULE
Below is a list of new bills that have been introduced in the Ohio House and Senate followed by next week’s hearing schedule for legislative committees.
Have a safe weekend~
New Bills in the Ohio House:
ROAD NAMING (Romanchuk, M.) To designate a portion of I-71 in Richland County as the "Lt. Col. Albert L. Allen, Jr. Memorial Highway." Am. 5534.29
FOREIGN LAW (Young, R.) To prohibit courts, administrative agencies, and arbitrators from applying foreign law to the detriment of constitutional rights under the United States and Ohio constitutions. Am. 2701.01
INNOVATION COUNCIL (Amstutz, R.) To extend the operation of the Local Government Innovation Council until December 31, 2019, and to declare an emergency. Am. 189.10
TRANSPORTATION LAWS (Young, R., Sweeney, M.) To require the Public Utilities Commission to raise the existing statutorily designated towing and storage fees annually by the percentage increase in the consumer price index, to establish a $35 fee for the retrieval of nonmedical personal items from a motor vehicle, to modify the civil penalties applicable to violations of the towing law, to modify the calculation of the value of an abandoned vehicle to which a towing service or storage facility seeks to take title, and to make other changes to the towing law. Am. 4505.101, 4513.60, 4513.601, 4513.61, 4513.611, 4513.68, and 4921.25 and to enact sections 4505.103 and 4511.044
WINERY PERMITS (Young, R.) To create the Ohio Farm Winery Permit. Am. 4301.12, 4301.13, 4301.24, 4301.30, 4301.355, 4301.43, 4301.432, 4301.47, 4301.62, 4301.82, 4301.83, 4303.021, 4303.07, 4303.10, 4303.182, 4303.204, 4303.33, 4303.333, and 5709.55 and to enact section 4303.031
TAX EXEMPTION (Young, R., Romanchuk, M.) To exempt employment services and employment placement services from sales and use tax. Am. 5739.01, 5739.02, and 5741.01
ADOPTION FILES (Pelanda, D.) Regarding the maintenance of and access to adoption files and social and medical histories. Am. 3107.09, 3107.17, 3107.38, 3107.39, 3705.12, and 3705.126 and to enact section 3107.395
PRISON TERMS (Johnson, G.) To eliminate the requirement that a mandatory prison term be imposed for certain types of gross sexual imposition if evidence other than the testimony of the victim was admitted in the case, to specify that an offender who is serving a sentence imposed under that requirement may request a resentencing hearing, and to remove the requirement that a conviction for sexual imposition be supported by evidence other than the victim's testimony. Am. 2907.05 and 2907.06
SCHOOL FUNDING (Brenner, A.) To require that each city, local, and exempted village school district receive a per-pupil amount of state funding that is at least as much as the statewide per pupil amount paid for chartered nonpublic schools in Auxiliary Services funds and for administrative cost reimbursement, and to make an appropriation. Am. 3317.022
CIVIL FORFEITURES (McColley, R., Brinkman, T.) To eliminate civil asset forfeiture proceedings and to modify the law governing criminal asset forfeitures. Am. 2923.36, 2981.01, 2981.02, 2981.03, 2981.04, 2981.06, 2981.08, 2981.09, 2981.11, 2981.12, 2981.13, and 2981.14 and to repeal section 2981.05
ROAD NAMING (Buchy, J.) To designate a portion of State Route 571 within Darke County as the "196th Light Infantry Brigade SP4 Robert L Fowble Jr and PFC Jack E Beam Memorial Highway." En. 5534.24
EMISSIONS PLAN (Smith, R., Ginter, T.) To require the Environmental Protection Agency to submit a state plan governing carbon dioxide emissions to the General Assembly prior to submitting it to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and to declare an emergency. Am. 3704.10
AUTISM TREATMENT (Grossman, C., Terhar, L.) To mandate coverage of autism treatment. Am. 1739.05 and to enact sections 1751.84 and 3923.84
LIQUOR LAWS (Perales, R., DeVitis, T.) To increase the amount of spirituous liquor that an A-3a liquor permit holder may annually manufacture and to allow an A-3a permit holder to obtain an A-1-A liquor permit. Am. 4303.021 and 4303.041
MONTH DESIGNATION (Johnson, T.) To designate April as "Osteopathic Medicine Recognition Month." En. 5.256
SEX OFFENDERS (Ruhl, M.) To require a sheriff to mail a notice to every adult member of a household where a person who is required to register as a sex offender resides informing those household members that the person has committed a sexually oriented offense or a child-victim oriented offense. Am. 2950.04, 2950.041, and 2950.99
DAY DESIGNATION (Kuhns, C.) To designate the third day of October as Ezzard Charles Day. En. 5.256
EMPLOYEE DEFINITION (Retherford, W.) To create a generally uniform definition of employee for specified labor laws and to prohibit employee misclassification under those laws. Am. 1349.61, 4121.01, 4123.01, 4123.026, 4141.01, and 5747.01 and to enact sections 4175.01, 4175.02, 4175.03, 4175.04, 4175.05, 4175.06, 4175.061, 4175.07, and 4175.99
ABORTION (Celebrezze, N., Johnson, G.) To permit using state resources to provide abortion care. Am. 109.921, 3701.046, 3727.60, and 5101.55 and to repeal sections 9.04, 3701.511, 5101.56, and 5101.57
ABORTION WAITING PERIOD (Johnson, G., Smith, K.) To remove waiting-period restrictions on when a woman can obtain an abortion and to repeal requirements governing the provision of notice to a woman's relative, custodian, or guardian, if the woman is seeking an abortion and is pregnant, unmarried, a minor, and unemancipated. Am. 2317.56, 2919.12, and 2919.192 and to repeal section 2919.122
SAVINGS ACCOUNTS (Dever, J., Conditt, M.) To allow an income tax deduction for contributions to ABLE savings accounts. Am. 5747.01 and to enact section 5747.78
ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY (Duffey, M., Gonzales, A.) To create the address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence, menacing by stalking, human trafficking, trafficking in persons, rape, sexual battery and other crimes. Am. 149.43, 2929.18, 2929.28, 3503.13, 3503.16, 3503.21, 3503.23, 3503.24, 3503.26, 3504.02, 3504.04, 3505.181, 3505.182, 3505.183, 3509.03, 3509.04, 3509.05, 3509.06, 3509.07, 3509.09, 3511.02, 3511.05, 3511.11, and 3511.12 and to enact sections 111.41, 111.42, 111.43, 111.44, 111.45, 111.46, 111.47, 111.48, and 111.99
ABORTION (Celebrezze, N., Antonio, N.) To repeal the prohibitions against including abortion coverage in insurance plans purchased through the federal health insurance exchange and in health insurance policies, contracts, or plans offered to public officers and employees. Am. 3727.60 and 5101.57 and to repeal sections 9.04 and 3901.87.
COMMUNITY EVENT FUNDING (Brenner, A.) To authorize boards of township trustees and boards of park commissioners to expend funds for the public purpose of presenting community events in their parks and at other recreational facilities. Am. 505.261, 511.23, and 755.13.
New bills in the Ohio Senate:
TAX EXEMPTION (Burke, D., Gardner, R.) To exempt the first $500 of prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other optical aids sold by licensed dispensers from sales and use tax.
MILITARY SERVICE (Eklund, J.) To permit exemptions for local officials from continuing education requirements of the office for an illness or disability or for out-of-state military service.
WAGE LEVELS (Tavares, C.) To enact the "Fair and Acceptable Income Required (FAIR) Act" and to revise the enforcement of the prohibitions against discrimination in the payment of wages. En. 3314.03, 3326.11, 4111.04, 4111.05, 4111.06, 4111.07, 4111.09, 4111.11, 4111.12, 4111.13, 4111.17, 4111.99, and 4112.01
TAX REFUNDS (Hughes, J.) To allow taxpayers to contribute all or a portion of their income tax refunds to a Metropark. Am. 5747.113 and to enact section 1545.30
DEFERRED COMPENSATION (Hottinger, J.) To authorize the Ohio Public Employees Deferred Compensation Board and local governments to establish designated Roth account features and other tax-deferred or nontax-deferred features permitted for government deferred compensation plans. Am. 148.04 and 148.06
ROAD NAMING (Schiavoni, J.) To designate a portion of State Route 7 in Mahoning County as the "Army Chief Warrant Officer Donald V. Clark Memorial Highway." Am. 5534.25
ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY (Lehner, P., Williams, S.) To create an address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence, menacing by stalking, human trafficking, trafficking in persons, rape, sexual battery, and other crimes. Am. 149.43, 2929.18, 2929.28, 3503.13, 3503.16, 3503.21, 3503.23, 3503.24, 3503.26, 3504.02, 3504.04, 3505.181, 3505.182, 3505.183, 3509.03, 3509.04, 3509.05, 3509.06, 3509.07, 3509.09, 3511.02, 3511.05, 3511.11, and 3511.12 and to enact sections 111.41, 111.42, 111.43, 111.44, 111.45, 111.46, 111.47, 111.48, and 111.99.
HEALTH BENEFITS (Bacon, K.) To make changes to the health coverage benefit limits and coverage exclusions for life and health insurance guaranty associations. Am. 3956.01 and 3956.04.
AGRICULTURE LAWS (Brown, E.) To revise the application and enforcement of the law governing operation and management plans, and to require certain animal feeding facilities to annually report the amount of manure that is applied by or for the facilities. Am. 939.03 and 939.07 and to enact sections 901.80 and 901.81