OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
 
Here are the top five things you need to know from this past week:
 
·        We expect the U.S. Dept. of Treasury to announce at any time what we anticipate is the final guidance regarding how state and local governments can use the relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). We will alert our members through a special bulletin when we receive notice that the guidelines have been released, which may be later today.
 
·        Last week, the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and the Ohio Grants Partnership held the first in a series of webinars providing more information on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and local reporting of CARES Act dollars. The League greatly appreciates Director Murnieks and her team for providing this important information for our members. A recording of the webinar and the slides from the presentation are available on our website HERE. Members can also find the guidance released by the U.S. Department of Treasury detailing the steps local governments must take to receive ARPA funds on the Treasury website HERE.
 
·        Yesterday, the House passed a bill prohibiting local governments from limiting natural gas use. This legislation, HB 201, is a clear violation of municipal Home Rule authority as established in the Ohio Constitution. The House also concurred on Senate changes to HB 2, sending the broadband expansion bill to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Read more about these bills in the article below.

·  Budget Watch: As Ohio Senate committees continue to unpack and examine changes members of the Ohio House of Representatives made to Sub. HB 110, the current version of the 2022-‘23 State Operating Budget bill, we have compiled a list of issues currently in the legislation most impactful to municipalities. The League encourages our members to share with us and their members of the Ohio legislature any concerns or issues with items included in the current version of the proposed state budget bill. You can find the list HERE.
 
·        The National League of Cities (NLC) has a variety of resources that we want to make available to our members. Local leaders can find up-to-date information on COVID-19 economic relief through a new U.S. Treasury website as well as an updated Frequently Asked Questions from the NLC regarding the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) local government relief funds. Members can also access a vaccine guide for cities as employers. Read more about these resources in the article below.
 
  
HOUSE PASSES BILL PREEMPTING MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY OVER NATURAL GAS USE, CONCURS ON SENATE CHANGES TO BROADBAND BILL
 
On Thursday, the House passed HB 201, by a vote of 64-32. HB 201, which is sponsored by Rep. Stephens (R – Kitts Hill), would prevent local governments from limiting use of natural gas by any consumer within its local jurisdiction. You can find the bill analysis HERE. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
 
During an earlier committee, hearing, the League offered opponent testimony outlining how HB 201 would unconstitutionally preempt municipal Home Rule authority. You can read that testimony in full HERE. The League will continue to oppose this bill. Our members should also be aware of SB 127, sponsored by Sen Rulli (R – Salem) and Sen. Lang (R – West Chester), which is the Senate companion bill to HB 201.
 
The House also concurred on Senate changes to a major broadband expansion bill. HB 2, which is sponsored by Rep. Carfagna (R – Genoa Twp.) and Rep. Stewart (R – Ashville), creates the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program Fund. You can find the bill analysis HERE.
 
While the bill was in the Senate Financial Institutions and Technology Committee, the bill was amended to remove the funding for the grant program created by the bill for fiscal years 2022-2023. The bill still allocates $20 million for FY 21. The additional funding, which is $170 million in FY22 and $20 million for FY23, has now been incorporated into the budget bill, Sub. HB 110. The House voted 91-3 to concur with the Senate’s changes to the bill. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
  
 
FEDERAL LOCAL RELIEF FUNDS AND VACCINATION RESOURCES FROM THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES
 
We want to draw League members’ attention to the following important resources on American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and workforce vaccinations from the National League of Cities (NLC):
 
Treasury Website
The U.S. Treasury now has a site, www.treasury.gov/coronavirus, where people can learn more about COVID-19 economic relief. On that landing page, there are many options to click to learn more about particular programs like assistance for state, local and tribal governments. Members can also click on the link on the right-hand side to sign up to receive notifications as information is posted.
 
Vaccine Guide for Cities as Employers
NLC worked with the Health Action Alliance, which offers resources on COVID-19 for the business community, to put together a vaccine guide for cities as employers on how to approach the vaccine with their city workforces: https://hlthact.org/QSG_NLC. Additional promotional materials are on the way.
 
ARPA Local Relief Frequently Asked Questions
NLC continues to update answers to the Frequently Asked Questions they received regarding the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. You can find the updated document HERE.
 
 
LEAGUE TO HOST WEBINAR ON LATEST VERIZON TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNITIES
 
On May 19 at 11 a.m., the League will be hosting a free webinar with Verizon’s Public Sector Team to detail how Verizon has leveraged technology to enhance and improve communication, local transparency and safety for Ohio’s local communities.
 
The webinar will cover how technology and communication can continue to enhance the safety of communities, how Ohio communities have leveraged technology to improve citizen communication and local transparency, and how Verizon can help improve quality of life for Ohio residents and increase city efficiency. To learn more and to register, click HERE.
 
  
OHIO CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE UPDATE
 
·        As of Thursday afternoon, Ohio is reporting 1,080,121 cases of coronavirus, 19,344 resident deaths, 57,118 hospitalizations and 7,889 ICU admissions.
 
Long-Term Care/Nursing Facility Testing Order:
·        Governor DeWine announced that a new Ohio Department of Health order will exempt fully vaccinated staff in nursing homes and assisted living facilities from routine testing.
o  Staff members who are not fully vaccinated will be required to be tested twice a week. 
·        An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
 
Homebound Vaccination Plan:
·        The Ohio Department of Aging and Ohio Department of Health have developed a homebound vaccination playbook for organizations working to ensure homebound individuals have access to the vaccine. 
o  By utilizing existing Rapid Response Teams, Ohio can deliver the vaccine where it is needed. 
·        That playbook is available on the coronavirus website at coronavirus.ohio.gov
o  If you are a homebound individual or know a homebound individual who would like a vaccine, please contact your Area Agency on Aging at 1-866-243-5678.
 
Wolstein Walk-Ins:
·        Ohio's mass vaccination center at the Wolstein Center in downtown Cleveland continues to accept walk-ins to the clinic.
o  Last week, 2,000 walk-ins were vaccinated. 
·        Of the total vaccinated at the Wolstein Center last week, approximately 44 percent of those vaccinated were minorities and approximately 68 percent live in targeted high social-vulnerability zip codes. 
 
·        The clinic is open 7 days a week, and walk-ins are accepted from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
o  Appointments are also available in advance by visiting GetTheShot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling 833-4-ASK-ODH.
 
·        The Cleveland Indians are offering discounts on tickets for anyone who has been vaccinated at the Wolstein Center or any other vaccination location.
o  Fans can get $5 off regular priced Upper Box and Upper Reserved tickets if they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 
o  This offer is only available online for series against the Cincinnati Reds May 7 – 9, Chicago Cubs May 11 – 12, and Minnesota Twins May 21 – 23.
 
·        The Reds are also offering discounted View Level tickets for $10 for fans who show their COVID-19 vaccination card with at least one shot complete. 
o  The offer is valid at Great American Ball Park ticket windows for Monday-Thursday games through June. 
 
Case Data and Vaccine Information:
·        In-depth COVID-19 data for Ohio: coronavirus.ohio.gov.
·        Ohio's central scheduling system: gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov
·        Ohio mass vaccination information: coronavirus.ohio.gov/massvaccinationclinics
·        All vaccine providers: vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov
·        More vaccine information: coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine
 
 
 
BILLS PASSED BY THE OHIO LEGISLATURE
 
·        HB 172 – Fireworks. Sponsored by Rep. Baldridge (R – Winchester), would revise the Fireworks Law. The House passed this bill by a vote of 73-23. It now heads to the Senate for consideration. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
·        HB 177 – Ledger Technology. Sponsored by Rep. Carfagna (R – Genoa Twp.) and Rep. Fraizer (R – Newark), would allow a governmental entity to utilize distributed ledger technology, including blockchain technology. The House passed this bill by a vote of 94-1. It now heads to the Senate for consideration. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
NEW BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
 
·        SB 172 – Municipal Corporation. Sponsored by Sen. Schaffer (R – Lancaster), would require municipal corporations with more than $100 million in annual income tax collections to provide a tax credit to nonresident taxpayers.
 
·        SB 175 – Fair and Open Competition. Sponsored by Sen. Lang (R – West Chester Twp.), would enact the Fair and Open Competition Act regarding project labor agreements in public improvement contracts.
 
·        SB 176 – Sports Gaming. Sponsored by Sen. Antani (R – Miamisburg) and Sen. Manning (R –  N. Ridgeville), would  legalize and regulate sports gaming in this state, levy a tax on businesses that provide sports gaming, and make other changes to the Gambling Law.
 
 
 
COMMITTEE RECAP: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
 
·            HB 228 – Municipal Corporation Tax. Sponsored by Rep. Roemer (R – Richfield), would make changes related to state-administered municipal net profits taxes. During its third hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, two amendments were adopted into the bill. The first amendment mandates that in the instance where the Tax Commissioner withholdings a municipality’s payment for failing to comply with reporting requirements, the payment must be remitted to the municipality once it comes into compliance with those requirements. The second amendment allows a pass-through entity to deduct any pension or retirement benefits paid to a retired partner, retired shareholder, or retired member. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
·        HB 16 – Village Assistance with State Highways. Sponsored by Rep. Stephens (R – Kitts Hill) and Rep. Baldridge (R – Winchester), would clarify and amend the laws related to the Director of Transportation's responsibilities for state highways located in villages and cities. During its third hearing before the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee, no testimony was offered on this legislation. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
·        HB 192 – Energy Generation. Sponsored by Rep. Cutrona (R – Canfield), would prohibit counties, townships, and municipal corporations from prohibiting energy generation from fossil fuels and gas pipelines. During its third hearing before the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the League testified against this legislation. You can read the League’s testimony in full HERE.
 
·        SB 115 – Pooled Collateral. Sponsored by Sen. Schuring (R – Canton), would make changes to the Ohio Pooled Collateral Program. During its second hearing before the Senate Financial Institutions and Technology Committee, proponents including the League testified in support of this legislation. You can read the League’s testimony in full HERE.
 
·        HB 175 – Water Pollution. Sponsored by Rep. Hillyer (R – Urichsville), would deregulate certain ephemeral water features under various water pollution control laws. During its second hearing before the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee, proponents including the League testified in support of the bill. You can read the League’s testimony in full HERE.
 
·        SB 56 – Design Contracts. Sponsored by Rep. Blessing (R – Colerain Twp.), would regulate the use of indemnity provisions in professional design contracts related to public improvements. During its third hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, no testimony was offered on the bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
·        SB 105 – Minority Businesses. Sponsored by Sen. Sykes (D – Akron) and Sen. Schuring (R – Canton), would require political subdivisions to recognize state certifications of minority business enterprises. During its third hearing before the Senate Small Business and Economic Opportunity Committee, no testimony was given on this bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
·        SB 142 – Occupational Regulation. Sponsored by Sen. Schaffer (R – Lancaster), would license residential only construction contractors and to make changes to the law regulating specialty construction contractors. During its first hearing before the Senate Small Business and Economic Opportunity Committee, the bill’s sponsored explained that the legislation would require that businesses offering residential home services like HVAC and plumbing must have licenses. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
·        HB 68 – Contractor Payments. Sponsored by Rep. Cross (R – Kenton) and Rep. Sweeney (D – Cleveland), would require owners of private construction projects to timely pay a contractor. During its fourth hearing before the House Commerce and Labor Committee, no testimony was given on the bill. The League is neural on this legislation.