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January 19, 2018


Here are the top three things you need to know this week:

  • Amazon has announced the 20 cities it is considering for the location of its second headquarters, with Columbus as the sole city representing Ohio on the list.

  • Governor Kasich's final State of the State will be held March 6th at the Fritsche Theatre in Westerville. Governor Kasich was the first Governor to deliver his annual address in various cities across the state, bringing the state legislature to the people for a day.

  • This year, the EPA is planning to offer $50 million in loans with 0% interest to communities with two goals: to address issues resulting from algal blooms and to promote wastewater infrastructure regionalization.  

Between the four-day week after celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the inclement weather, the legislative schedule this week was relatively light. We anticipate the legislature's agenda will pick up in the weeks to come. In the meantime, here are the bills impacting municipalities that received committee hearings this week:

  • HB 343 - PROPERTY VALUES. Sponsored by Rep. Merrin (R - Monclova Township), this bill requires local governments that contest property values to formally pass an authorizing resolution for each contest and to notify property owners. As we covered in last week's bulletin, this bill was amended to include several technical changes and to allow local legislative bodies to vote on groups of resolutions rather than each individual resolution. This week, during its seventh hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee, the bill was voted out of committee 11 to 4. The League remains opposed to this bill.
  • HB 371 - UNSOLD PROPERTY TAX. Also sponsored by Rep. Merrin (R - Monclova Township), this bill exempts from property taxation the increased value of land subdivided for residential development until construction commences or the land is sold. During its seventh hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Rogers (D - Mentor-on-the-Lake) offered an amendment that would have capped the exemption at five years. Instead, the committee adopted Rep. Merrin's amendment, which caps the exemption at 8 years, and then voted the bill out of committee 15 to 3. The League remains opposed to this bill, and will continue to fight for the bill to at least include a local option allowing local governments to choose for themselves whether or not to implement this exemption. 
  • HB 251 - BOND MATURATION. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), would increase from five to ten years the maturity period of other political subdivision's bonds and obligations eligible for investment of a subdivision's interim moneys, a county's inactive moneys, and money in the county public library fund. During its first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Rep. Greenspan explained in his sponsor testimony that while political subdivisions can purchase another local government's debt and use current investment funds to internally finance projects, the 5-year window means a loss of more investment income as well as a loss in increased savings for many political subdivisions; hence increasing the window to 10 years. The League is supportive of this bill.
  • HB 276 - THREATENING UTILITY WORKERS. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Rezabek (R - Clayton) and Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), expands the offense of aggravated menacing to prohibit threatening a utility worker with intent to obstruct the operation of a utility. In its fourth hearing before the House Criminal Justice Committee, while opponents argued existing law sufficiently protects utility workers, the bill was voted out of committee. The League is supportive of this bill.
  • HB 392 - BEEKEEPING IMMUNITY. Sponsored by Rep. Stein (R - Norwalk), this bill grants specified apiary owners immunity in personal injury or property damage cases. During its fourth hearing before the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee, the bill was amended twice; first to limit the liability only to bee stings or multiple bee stings, and second, to allow beekeeping best practices to be set by a statewide beekeeping association while making a beekeeper responsible for implementing and complying with best practices and record keeping. The League is neutral on this bill.
  • HB 422 - WATER/SEWER ACQUISITION. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Ginter (R - Salem) and Rep. Rogers (D - Mentor-on-the-Lake), governs the acquisitions of municipal water-works and sewage disposal system companies by certain larger nonmunicipal water-works or sewage disposal system companies. During its second hearing before the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Brian Barger of Capital Advocates represented the League during proponent testimony in support of the bill. Selling either all or part of a water or sewer system, he said, "unlocks a great deal of latent capital that may be put to better use, whether that is paying down debt, making other infrastructure improvements, or investing in economic development or other municipal initiatives and services." You can read his full testimony HERE.
  • HB 312 - LOCAL GOVERNMENT CREDIT CARDS. Sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton) and Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), this bill provides new guidelines and regulations regarding use of credit cards and debit cards by political subdivisions. During its first hearing before the Senate Government and Oversight Reform Committee, Rep. Greenspan explained that the 90% of political subdivisions currently utilizing existing credit and debit card policies would not experience any added administrative burden as a result of this bill. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • HB 382 - UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION LAW. This bill, Sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton), would modify terms describing payments made under the Unemployment Compensation Law, increase the amount of wages subject to unemployment compensation premiums, require qualifying employees to make payments to the Unemployment Compensation Insurance Fund, allow the Director of Job and Family Services to adjust maximum weekly benefit amounts, reduce the maximum number of benefit weeks, and make other changes to the Unemployment Compensation Law. During its eighth hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, no testimony was given on the bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.
  • HJR 4 - UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BONDS. This joint resolution, also sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton), proposes to enact Section 2t of Article VIII of the Constitution of the State of Ohio to allow the General Assembly to provide by law for the issuance of bonds to pay unemployment compensation benefits when the fund created for that purpose is or will be depleted or to repay outstanding advances made by the federal government to the unemployment compensation program. During its eighth hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, no testimony was offered. The League is neutral on this joint resolution.


Listed below is legislation introduced this week that impacts Ohio municipalities:

  • HB 470 - TAX LEVY-PUBLIC LIGHTING. Sponsored by Rep. Edwards (R - Nelsonville), this bill would authorize a property tax levy specifically to fund lighting for roads and public places.
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tue., Jan. 23, 2018, 10:00 AM, Hearing Room 121
Rep. Schaffer: 614-466-8100
NOAA AND PHS TAX EXEMPTION (PERALES R, BUTLER, JR. J) To require municipal corporations to exempt from taxation the military pay of members of the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Public Health Service. 
Third Hearing, All Testimony
Report(s):  My Tracked Bills, OML Legislative Report
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Wed., Jan. 24, 2018, 3:30 PM, Hearing Room 115
Rep. Roegner: 614-466-1177
OFF DUTY FIREARM CARRY (HOUSEHOLDER L, LANESE L) To permit law enforcement officers to carry firearms off duty in places otherwise prohibited for concealed handgun licensees. 
Third Hearing, Opponent Testimony
Report(s):  My Tracked Bills, OML Legislative Report


Up Coming Meetings & Events

Mayor's Court Initial Training Program
January FULL
February 14 & 15

Registration Information
Newly Elected Council Training Seminars
February 24, March 3 & 24
Webinar: Marsy's Law
January 25, 2018
Registration Information

Ohio Municipal League

Legislative Inquires:
Kent Scarrett, Executive Director
Edward Albright, Deputy Director
Ashley Brewster, Director of Communications
Rachel Massoud, Legislative Advocate

Website/Bulletin Issues:
Zoƫ Wade, Office Manager