Ohio Municipal League Legislative Bulletin

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February 24, 2017

This was a busy week for the legislature with many hearings and testimony on issues that relate to municipalities. The biggest event of the week was the passage of HB 27, the Transportation budget, which is detailed below. Meanwhile, we have several announcements about our advocacy efforts. We want to also thank all the councils that have recently passed resolutions and sent opposing the centralized collection of municipal income tax, the throwback provision changes, and other tax changes in the budget. They are making a significant difference in persuading legislators and legislators are telling us that they are taking notice.
The Ohio Office of Budget and Management released simulated distributions to local governments based on the proposed "capacity-based" distribution formula. The League is currently opposed to the administration's proposal to based LGF distributions on tax-capacity- based measures. This would create arbitrary winner and losers in the formula. The tables can be found below:
- City simulation table
- Villages with income tax simulation table
- Villages without income tax simulation table
Hearings continued this week on Ohio's transportation budget (HB26-McColley). An omnibus amendment was accepted Thursday February 23 which made significant changes to the proposal. A list of changes can be viewed HERE. The House Finance Committee then voted on the bill, favorably reporting it. The Senate later announced that hearings on the Transportation budget will start Tuesday, Feb. 28 and a committee vote is anticipated Wednesday, March 22. The transportation budget is typically signed by the governor by April 1.
There was significant debate continuing over the proposal to increase taxes on compressed natural gas (CNG) to match the current $.28 motor fuel tax. The CNG tax would be phased in over a period of four years. The omnibus amendment stripped this provision out of the budget.
The substitute version of the measure required ODOT to ensure that limited access exit and entrance ramps exist on interstates every four miles in urban areas, which was defined as cities with more than 30,000 residents or counties with more than one million residents. The omnibus amendment revises the definition to read "adjacent municipalities in differing counties with populations over 30,000 with one of the municipalities being in a county with a population over one million."
The omnibus amendment also retained a provision that allows the counties the option to levy a $5 fee on license plates. The League has been working with other local government associations (including the County Commissioner's Association) to arrange for such a fee for transportation spending. We will continue to request that the General Assembly retain this license fee provision, but that all local governments be able to take advantage of it.
Other changes include provisions that:
The Committee also heard testimony about the administration's proposed transportation budget provisions that relate to public transit. Testimony was offered by Bob Doyle of All Aboard Ohio, Wendy Patton of Policy Matters Ohio. Both advocated for more money for public transit. Democrats on the panel offered an amendment to put $50 million into public transit, which the panel ultimately voted against.
Tory Richardson, who is Chief Strategy Officer for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, testified that in support of a hard shoulder pilot project that will allow the ODOT to experiment with using road shoulders under certain circumstances to alleviate traffic congestion. 
Jason Kershner, who is President of Government Affairs for the Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce, testified against funds for a study concerning and Eastern Bypass around Cincinnati, because it could be viewed as an alternative to addressing the area's greatest need, which is fixing the Brent Spence Bridge. Further, Kentucky is already conducting such a study, which is due in September of this year. However, on Thursday, the omnibus amendment included requiring ODOT to do a study of the eastern bypass.
General Assembly committees heard testimony and held hearings on several bills of municipal concern this week. First, is HB 38, introduced by Representative Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) which would provide that purposely causing the death of a first responder or military member is aggravated murder and would require an offender to serve the prison term imposed for felonious assault on a peace officer, investigator, first responder, or military member consecutively to the prison term imposed for any related offense. Current law only includes state law enforcement officers, but the bill would add other public safety forces including firefighters, EMTs and members of the military. The bill covers aggravated murder, which is a premeditated murder. Representative Greenspan said one of his main concerns is addressing retaliatory murders.
Second, the House State and Local Government Committee heard testimony from multiple organizations, just to allow them to introduce themselves to Committee members. The League testified last week for this purpose. This week, testimony was offered by: Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Ohio Library Council (OLC), Policy Matters Ohio and the Buckeye Institute.
Third, is HB 34, introduced by Representatives Stephen Hambley (R-Brunswick) and Scott Ryan (R-Newark) which would authorize certain state agencies, local governments, and other boards, commissions, and officers to deliver certain notices by ordinary mail and electronically instead of by certified mail.
Fourth, is SB 33, introduced by Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township) which would allow disclosure of information from the law enforcement automated data system (LEADS) to a defendant in a traffic or criminal case. The Committee heard testimony form Cleve Johnson Chair of the Traffic Law Committee for the Ohio State Bar Association. He testified in favor of the bill, saying that it plugs a hole in the law, protecting prosecutors when they release LEADS data as part of discovery.
Fifth, both chambers passed SJR2, which would set the site for the Governor's State of the State address to Sandusky, Ohio.  The speech will be held at the Erie County community at the State Theatre, at 7pm on April 4th, 2017. The speech will be available at www.ohiochannel.org . The Resolution passed 31-2 in the Senate and 58-38 in the House. Representative Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) led the opposition, saying that history and the structure of the speech dictated that it should be held in Columbus. Ramos argued that the legislature "invites" the Governor to offer the State of the State speech and that legislatures have been treated like "audience members" in recent out-of-Columbus speeches. He argued that the Sandusky does not have enough minorities to represent Ohio's diversity. Representative Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) argued that the legislature is too busy during budget season to take a trip to Sandusky.
Sixth, the House passed HB 9, introduced by Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield), that would specify that language passed in the 132nd General Assembly-allowing vehicles to travel through traffic lights that are malfunctioning-only applies to bicycles. Representative Koehler said the language that was passed inadvertently would allow any driver to treat a red light as a stop sign as long they felt that the light was malfunctioning. 
On Thursday, The House Finance Subcommittee on Agriculture, Development and Natural Resources heard testimony from the Director of the Department of Natural Resources James Zehringer. He testified about the Department's efforts regarding injection wells and dam safety. He testified that 363 Class I structures could, if they were to fail, cause loss of life and that ODNR owns 56 of those dams. He also testified about fracking and earthquakes, saying that Ohio is a nationally and internationally recognized leader with "regard to proactive efforts in monitoring induced seismic activity." He said the Department also has installed infrared cameras to detect escaping gases and worked to address redundant oil and gas wells in the state.
Next, the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee heard sponsor testimony only regarding SB 44, introduced by Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) which would allow certain campaign committees and other entities to file campaign finance statements electronically and would require the Secretary of State to make the information in those electronic statements available online. Senator LaRose testified that the bill is an important modernization provision.
The Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, which Governor Kasich created in 2015 to foster positive community/police relations, finalized a new standard on "bias-free policing" Friday during its meeting at the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS). This standard is the seventh standard issued by board. The new standard is as follows:
"Agencies shall establish a written policy governing biased-based profiling that includes the following provisions:
On February 22, the National League of Cities (NLC) in partnership with the state municipal leagues released a new report entitled, "City Rights in an Era of Preemption." The report examines the prevalence of state preemption across the country in seven key policy areas: minimum wage, paid leave, anti-discrimination, home sharing, ride sharing, municipal broadband, and tax and expenditure limitations (TELs).
"Preemption efforts - where state law nullifies a municipal ordinance or authority - lead to a loss of local control and can have far-reaching economic and social impacts in our communities," said NLC's CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. "Local leaders should be empowered to adapt policies to meet the needs of their residents, ensuring cities have the tools they need to build stronger economies, promote innovation and move the country forward."
In recent years, the report finds that state legislatures have gotten more aggressive with preemption efforts. Preemption bills often concern politically divisive issues and rely on single party dominance to pass through state legislatures. As of the 2016 election cycle, Republicans have 25 government trifectas, meaning they control both legislative chambers and the governor's office, while Democrats have trifectas in six states and control a larger portion of city halls.
States can preempt cities from legislating on issues either by statutory or constitutional law, and in some cases, court rulings.
The report finds:
*         24 states preempt local minimum wage ordinances
*         17 states preempt local paid leave ordinances
*         3 states explicitly preempt local anti-discrimination ordinances
*         37 states limit local authority to regulate ride sharing
*         3 states limit local authority to regulate home sharing
*         17 states preempt localities from establishing municipal broadband service
*         42 states limit local fiscal authority through tax and expenditure limitations (TELs)
"Our research points to the complex, and sometimes tenuous, relationship between cities and state legislatures," said NLC's Senior Executive and Director of the Center for City Solutions and report co-author Brooks Rainwater. "People who live in cities want control over their own destinies and when states seek blanket policies that run counter to the values of its municipalities, local leaders do not stand down. We see many instances where state-level politicians work to usurp the will of people in cities both through preemption and Dillon's Rule provisions. As a result, the work of city leaders and the mandate of the people is undermined."
NLC recommends that cities facing preemption challenges should engage in active communication with their state legislatures, choose preemption battles wisely, and address the preemption narrative directly.
Find the full report at: nlc.org/preemption
The League would like to announce that Brian Barger and Brad Barger of Capitol Square Advisors have been retained to supplement our representation before the Ohio General Assembly, the Office of the Governor, and executive level agencies. Brian Barger is an attorney with municipal legal experience who has represented multiple trade associations and businesses before the Ohio General Assembly for two decades. Brad Barger, formerly the Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs for Governor John Kasich, represents multiple trade associations utilizing his experience working in both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate.
"Brad and Brian bring a lot to the table for the League. The hiring of  this well-respected private advocacy firm will allow us to broaden our approach and more effectively communicate and  educate members of the General Assembly," said OML Executive Director Kent Scarrett. "We believe Brian and Brad bring a wealth of relationships and experience that we will be able to leverage to advance our mission of fostering and strengthening the partnership between the state and its cities and villages."
Last Friday, two members of the Ohio General Assembly met with the League's Board of Directors: Senator Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) and Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills). The members both discussed at length issues related to municipalities, especially municipal tax central collection, the Local Government Fund, and grants programs. Both members bring valuable perspective. Representative Anielski is a former Mayor of Walton Hills and Senator Peterson is a former President of the Ohio Farm Bureau. Both were able to pull from their experiences to offer insight to the Board. Board members engaged with the two members at length, expressing their point of view on multiple issues. We want to thank these two members for their time and effort and we look forward to working with them in the future.
Here are a few good links to share about the Governor's proposed budget provisions:
Director Kent Scarrett Interview on State of Ohio:
Discussion of Budget in Columbus Dispatch:
Breakdown of Governor's Budget Winners and Loser in Cleveland Plain Dealer: http://www.cleveland.com/datacentral/index.ssf/2017/02/heres_which_ohio_cities_villag.html
HB79 MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL FIREARMS TRAINING - To provide for firearms training for tactical medical professionals; to permit such a professional who has received that training and has been authorized by the law enforcement agency to carry firearms while on duty; and to grant such a professional the same right to carry a concealed handgun in this state as a concealed handgun licensee.
Introduced  Retherford, W Hagan, C
SB67 VIOLENT OFFENDER REGISTRY - To require the Attorney General to establish a violent offender registry and to name this act "Sierah's Law."
Referred to Judiciary Committee Gardner, R Hite, C
SJR2 JOINT SESSION-GOVERNOR'S SPEECH - Authorizing a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly to meet at the Sandusky State Theatre in Sandusky, Ohio, for the purpose of receiving a message from the Governor as to the State of the State and calling for a committee to wait upon the Governor in anticipation of his address.
Introduced  Gardner, R
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Tue., Feb. 28, 2017, 9:00 AM, Hearing Room 121
Rep. Schaffer: 614-466-8100
Testimony from Department of Taxation on tax provisions of HB49.
HB49** OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) Creates FY 2018-2019 main operating budget. 
  First Hearing, Invited Testimony
Tue., Feb. 28, 2017, 9:00 AM, South Hearing Room
Sen. LaRose: 614-466-4823
Governor's appointment:
-Frederick Truehaft to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation
HB26** TRANSPORTATION-PUBLIC SAFETY BUDGET (MCCOLLEY R) To make appropriations for programs related to transportation and public safety for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of those programs. 
  First Hearing, Invited Testimony
  Report(s): My Tracked Bills 
Tue., Feb. 28, 2017, 9:30 AM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
Sen. Hottinger: 614-466-5838
SB29 BANKING LAW (COLEY W, OELSLAGER S) To enact a new banking law for the State of Ohio. 
  Third Hearing, Opponent/Interested Party Testimony, POSSIBLE VOTE
SB24 CONSUMER INSTALLMENT LOANS (TERHAR L) To create the Ohio Consumer Installment Loan Act. 
  Third Hearing, Opponent/Interested Party Testimony, POSSIBLE VOTE  
Tue., Feb. 28, 2017, 10:15 AM, North Hearing Room
Sen. Bacon: 614-466-8064
Governor's appointments:
- Emily Passias to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission
- Julie Rutter to the Ethics Commission
Tue., Feb. 28, 2017, 11:00 AM, House Chambers
Tue., Feb. 28, 2017, 1:00 PM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
Sen. Uecker: 614-466-8082
Governor's appointments:
- Deanna Harris, Thomas Tallman and Dudley Wright II to the State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire and Transportation Services
- Matthew Noble to the State Fire Council
SB7 PROTECTION ORDER VIOLATIONS (BACON K, MANNING G) To provide that service of a protection order or consent agreement upon a person is not necessary for the person to be convicted of the offense of violating a protection order if the person had actual notice of the order or agreement and the person recklessly violated its terms. 
  Second Hearing, Proponent Testimony
SB37** POLICE CHIEFS TRAINING (HITE C) To require the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission to develop and conduct a chief of police training course for newly appointed village, city, and township chiefs of police. 
  Second Hearing, Proponent Testimony
  Report(s): My Tracked Bills 
SCR3 PETE ROSE INDUCTION (THOMAS C) To urge the Commissioner of Major League Baseball to remove Peter Edward "Pete" Rose from Major League Baseball's permanently ineligible list as soon as possible, and to urge the Baseball Writers' Association of America and the National Baseball Hall of Fame to include Rose on the Hall of Fame ballot. 
  First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
Tue., Feb. 28, 2017, 1:30 PM, Hearing Room 113
Rep. Young: 614-644-6074
HB2 CIVIL RIGHTS EMPLOYMENT LAW (SEITZ B) To modify Ohio civil rights laws related to employment. 
  Third Hearing, All Testimony, AMENDMENTS
HB42 VEHICLE TIRE SAFETY (SPRAGUE R, DEVITIS A) To prohibit the installation of unsafe used tires on certain motor vehicles. 
  Second Hearing, Proponent Testimony
Tue., Feb. 28, 2017, 2:00 PM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
Sen. Oelslager: 614-466-0626
Governor's appointments:
- Gregory Battle and Nancy Kohnen Cahall to the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Board of Trustees.
- Sandra Drabik Collins to the Miami University Board of Trustees
- James Doyle, Sharon Evans and Bradley Phillips to the Clark State Community College Board of Trustees
- Lynn Stevens and Kristy Wilkin to the Southern State Community College Board of Trustees
- Lewis Adkins Jr. to the University of Akron Board of Trustees
- Alan Stockmeister, to the Ohio State University Board of Trustees
- Uwe Eickert and John Hoty to the Terra State Community College Board of Trustees
- Linda McNew Nelson to the North Central State Community College Board of Trustees
- Darryl Mehaffie and Thomas Milligan to the Edison State Community College Board of Trustees
- Edwin Nagle III and H. Richard Rowe Jr. to Owens State Community College Board of Trustees
- Bradley Schwartz, Ronald Vanderhaar and Thomas Shepherd to the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission for the City of Norwood
- Susan Tate to the Higher Educational Facility Commission
SB45 UNCLAIMED FUNDS-FINDERS (WILLIAMS S) Regarding payment to a registered finder of unclaimed funds. 
  First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
Tue., Feb. 28, 2017, 2:30 PM, North Hearing Room
Sen. Bill Coley: 614-466-8072
Testimony from Ohio Lottery Director Dennis Berg.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Wed., Mar. 1, 2017, 9:00 AM, Hearing Room 122
Rep. McColley: 614-466-3760
Testimony from the following:
- Ohio Supreme Court/judiciary
- Judicial Conference
- Adjutant General
HB49** OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) Creates FY 2018-2019 main operating budget. 
  Third Hearing, Invited Testimony
  Report(s): My Tracked Bills 
Wed., Mar. 1, 2017, 9:00 AM, South Hearing Room
Sen. Eklund: 614-644-7718
SB65 ENERGY STAR TAX HOLIDAY (BROWN E) To provide a three-day sales tax "holiday" each April during which sales of qualifying Energy Star products are exempt from sales and use taxes. 
  First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
HB11 INCORPORATING FEDERAL REVENUE CHANGES (SCHERER G) To expressly incorporate changes in the Internal Revenue Code since February 14, 2016, into Ohio law. 
  First Hearing, Sponsor/All Testimony, AMENDMENTS/POSSIBLE VOTE
SB36 AGRICULTURAL COMPUTATION (HITE C) To require that the computation of the capitalization rate for the purposes of determining CAUV of agricultural land be computed using a method that excludes appreciation and equity buildup and to stipulate that CAUV land used for a conservation practice or enrolled in a federal land retirement or conservation program for at least three years must be valued at the lowest of the values assigned on the basis of soil type. 
  Third Hearing, All Testimony
Wed., Mar. 1, 2017, 10:00 AM, Hearing Room 115
Rep. Duffey: 614-644-6030
HB58 CURSIVE HANDWRITING INSTRUCTION (BRENNER A, SLABY M) To require instruction in cursive handwriting. 
  First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
HB66 TENURED TEACHING REQUIREMENTS (YOUNG R) To require permanently tenured state university or college faculty members to teach at least three credit hours of undergraduate courses per semester. 
  First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
Wed., Mar. 1, 2017, 1:30 PM, House Chambers
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Thu., Mar. 2, 2017, 9:00 AM, Hearing Room 121
Rep. Schaffer: 614-466-8100
Committee will take testimony only on sales tax provisions of HB49.
HB49** OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) Creates FY 2018-2019 main operating budget. 
  Second Hearing, All Testimony
  Report(s): My Tracked Bills 
Thu., Mar. 2, 2017, 1:00 PM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
On the agenda: consideration of committee amendments; outstanding business.
Committee Schedule

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