|August 30, 2019
OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
- Of the 2,000 nationwide political subdivisions who have sued 22 opioid manufacturers for the destruction caused in their communities and have had their cases consolidated into a single lawsuit, 137 of those plaintiffs are political subdivisions in Ohio. 87 of those plaintiffs are municipalities while the other 50 are counties. The lawsuit is being heard in the federal U.S. District Court in Cleveland by Judge Dan Aaron Polster.
- Deaths as a result of drivers running a red light reached a 10-year high in 2017 with 939 deaths, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Among several recommendations provided to communities to address this increase, AAA recommends more red light cameras be installed at intersections where data shows a high number of drivers running red lights. The study can be accessed HERE.
- The Bureau of Worker's Compensation (BWC) Board of Trustees approved cuts to premiums for public employees, who will see premiums drop by an average of 10% in 2020. Cities, counties and school districts are projected to save an estimated $17.8 million.
DEWINE OPPOSES ATTORNEY GENERAL YOST'S PROPOSAL FOR STATE TAKEOVER OF LOCAL OPIOID LAWSUIT SETTLEMENTS
This week, the Ohio Municipal League, along with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association and the Ohio State Coroners Association, released a joint statement praising Gov. DeWine for voicing opposition to drafted legislation that would redirect opioid lawsuit settlement money to the state rather than to the local governments directly affected by the opioid crisis. You can read that joint statement HERE.
The legislation, which has been drafted but not introduced, was initiated by Attorney General Dave Yost, which would allow the state of Ohio to take over the current litigation initiated by 137 political subdivisions in Ohio against opioid manufacturers and would create a state remediation fund for any judgements or settlements. Of that fund, 5% of the money would go to the Attorney General's office, 5% to outside counsel, and the rest would go to the General Assembly. The language as written mandates that the General Assembly distribute as much as 20% of those funds to local governments that have initiated a lawsuit.
Rep. Cupp (R- Lima), along with (Sen. Eklund (R - Chardon) and Sen. Coley (R - Liberty Twp.), are working on the drafted language, which states that the litigation brought by local governments against opioid manufacturers is a matter of "statewide concern". "Statewide concern" is defined in the current proposed language as any conduct or harm that is more than likely to adversely affect the interests of citizens living in at least five counties.
There is an unsettling history of the General Assembly not correctly allocating funds from large judicial settlements. In the case of the multi-state litigation against "Big Tobacco", the settlement dollars collected by the state from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), were misdirected from the intended use but rather was spent by the state to fill funding gaps in the state budget, rather than going to intended programs to combat nicotine addiction and smoking cession efforts. This is in addition to the past practices by the state of redirecting LGF funds earmarked for cities and villages away from those recipients and other legislative maneuvers that deprived local governments of critical funding sources.
Gov. DeWine stated this week during a press conference on proposed background checks for firearm purchases that the measure is "unfair to our local government partners who have borne such a very, very heavy part of this burden" and stated he would veto any such bill that made it to his desk. He highlighted that services to citizens in Ohio are delivered by local governments. As a result, in fighting the ongoing opioid epidemic, "local government has borne a great deal of that cost," he said. He further stated that he believes the money needs to go to treatment, prevention and local law enforcement.
The League is grateful that Gov. DeWine recognizes the crucial role local governments play on the front lines of the fight against the opioid epidemic. We appreciate his statements supporting the rights of local governments to receive monies from judgments or settlements and thereby help them further bear the cost of battling opioid addiction in their communities. The League will continue to keep our members aware of any legislation introduced regarding this issue.
DEWINE PROPOSES IMPROVED BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR FIREARM PURCAHSES VIA LOCAL REPORTING SYSTEMS
This week, Gov. DeWine announced a new measure to his plan for curbing gun violence in Ohio by improving background checks for firearm purchases by changing local law enforcement reporting requirements.
This measure is in addition to DeWine's "STRONG Ohio" legislation, which is the Governor's 17-point plan to address gun violence as discussed in our previous bulletin. The new proposal would require law enforcement agencies and courts to enter all final domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking protection orders into the Law Enforcement Automated Data system and the National Crime Information Center within 48 hours, as well as warrants for Tier I offenses like rape, murder and robbery.
This proposal follows a report released in May by the Governor's Warrant Task Force which showed most of this kind of information is not being entered into these reporting systems.
The Governor stated during a press releases that "the central function of government is to protect people" and that they would do so regardless of the cost.
Gov. DeWine also stated the General Assembly should appropriate funds to help streamline the reporting system. This streamlining effort would be led by Innovate Ohio, which is headed by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. The Governor called for a statewide system that local governments would use that would be simple, free, easy and mandatory, arguing it would ultimately save money, time and lives. The League will continue to keep our members aware of the Governor's "STRONG Ohio" plan as it moves through the legislative process.
DON'T FORGET TO REGISTER FOR OML'S 2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Registration is open for our 2019 Annual Conference, which will take place from Wednesday, Oct. 23rd to Friday, Oct. 25th at the downtown Renaissance Hotel. You can register HERE.
The League's Annual Conference offers the exclusive opportunity to hear from Ohio leaders such as Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel, who will be discussing the timely and relevant topic on community crisis management. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from Director of the Development Services Agency and former Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik about her experiences as a member of the Governors cabinet and reflections as a past local government official. This year, we are very excited to hear from Leon Andrews, Director for the National League of Cities' Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) initiative to discuss strategies for creating a more inclusive and equitable community. We are also pleased to announce that our keynote speaker is nationally-renowned communications expert Jan Hargrave, who has been featured on national television programs and worked with world leaders on developing successful communication techniques. You can learn more about our featured speakers HERE.
Attendees will also have the chance to attend educational workshops on relevant issues impacting their communities as well as roundtables with their municipal peers in order to network, build valuable relationships and exchange best practices. The conference will host a large variety of vendors with programs and products that may benefit your municipality. And it wouldn't be a League conference without some entertainment: Thursday night will feature both a Casino Night as well as a raffle prize drawing.
Please be advised that the initial agenda has been changed. You can find the updated conference agenda HERE. We look forward to seeing you there!
DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES TO OFFER 25% FOR SURPLUS VEHICLE PURCHASES
State agencies and local government entities will see a 25% reduction in the cost of surplus vehicles they purchase from the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS).
Effective July 1, state agencies, higher education facilities, tax-supported agencies, municipal corporations and other political subdivisions, including public schools, now pay 45% of the National Automobile Dealers Association retail value, down from 60%.
Under the Surplus Property Program, state and local government entities may purchase surplus property and vehicles that are no longer of use to state agencies, or were seized by law enforcement, before they go to public auction.
DAS Director Matthew Damschroder said while the purpose of the program is to promote cost savings within government by offering property priced well below original cost, the agency found vehicles were often sold at a lower price at public auctions. The reduction brings government prices more in line with public auction prices, and results in a 25% savings in the vehicle cost.
"The sale of surplus property connects state and local Ohio government entities with low-cost supplies and equipment to maximize every dollar the public entrusts to them," said Damschroder. "We're pleased to offer additional savings to our public agency partners as they carry out their missions to serve communities across the state."
DIVISION OF INDUSTRIAL COMPLIANCE WELCOMES COMMENTS ON PROPOSED RULES
The Division of Industrial Compliance's office of Operations and Maintenance is required to draft rules in collaboration with stakeholders, assess and justify any adverse impact on the business community, and provide opportunity for the affected public to provide input on the rules. Here are three upcoming rules for which the Division is requesting stakeholder input.
The historical boiler rules establish the procedures for the operation of historical boilers in Ohio. These rules set forth the licensing requirements for historical boiler operators, the means by which historical boilers may be certified for operation, the operational and inspection requirements for the historic boilers, the required fees, and the means by which licenses or certificates may be revoked.
Ski Tramway Stakeholders:
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code section 4169.02(B), the rules set forth in Chapter 4101:14 of the Ohio Administrative Code establish the public safety standards for the construction, maintenance, mechanical operation, and inspection of passenger tramways used in ski area operations in the state.
Wage and Hour Stakeholders:
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code section 4109.05, the rules set forth in Chapter 4101:9-2 of the Ohio Administrative Code protect minors from being employed in occupations that are hazardous or detrimental to their health and well-being. Aside from grammatical or other stylistic changes, the only substantive changes being proposed by this rules package involve changes that mirror similar federal regulations.
Comments regarding these proposed rules should be submitted by September 3, 2019. You may submit your comments via email or U.S. Mail to the Division of Industrial Compliance, 6606 Tussing Road, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068, ATTN: Dawn Evarson.
NEW LEGISLATION OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST INTRODUCED
- HB 319 - LOCAL CONTROL OF FIREARMS. Sponsored by Rep. West (D - Canton) and Rep. Miller (D - Columbus), would restore local authority to generally regulate firearms-related conduct.(Link: https://bit.ly/2TyQSE1)
- HB 326 - DISABILITY BENEFITS. Sponsored by Rep. Miller (D - Columbus), would allow a Public Employees Retirement System or School Employees Retirement System disability benefit recipient elected to certain offices to continue receiving a disability benefit during the term of office.(Link: https://bit.ly/2L2HEgx)
COMMITTEE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 1, 2019
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
HOUSE CIVIL JUSTICE
Tue., Sep. 3, 2019, 3:30 PM, Hearing Room 018
Rep. Hambley: 614-466-8140
OR AFTER SESSION
EMINENT DOMAIN (MANNING D) To amend the law regarding eminent domain and to declare an emergency.
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony