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May 24, 2019

OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
 
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
 
  • Sandusky has been named the best coastal town in America by online voters in a USA Today poll.
 
  • The U.S. Census Bureau reports Columbus is the fastest growing city in Ohio. It is also the 14th most populous city in America and has exceeded the population of San Francisco. Additionally, Dayton, Cincinnati and Youngstown report growing populations. Akron's population remains stable, while Cleveland, Toledo and Canton are experiencing declines in population.
 
  • Jeff LeRe has been appointed as the Representative for the 77th District in the Ohio House of Representatives. He replaces Sen. Schaffer, who was recently appointed to the Senate.
 
 
 
LEAGUE MEMBERS URGED TO PASS RESOLUTIONS SUPPORTING LGF RESTORATION
 
The League is urging members to pass resolutions supporting the restoration of the Local Government Fund to pre-recession levels in Sub. HB 166, the State Operating Budget.
 
As the Senate finalizes amendments to Sub. HB 166, now is the time for local leaders to make it clear to their legislative delegations that restoring the LGF is a priority for cities and villages across the state.
 
You can access a sample resolution HERE. Once passed, please send copies to your state senator and representative, as well as the League for record-keeping purposes.
 
These resolutions must be passed as soon as possible. The Senate will accept an omnibus amendment to the bill as early as next week before sending it to Conference Committee for final deliberations. Municipalities must communicate this priority before Sub. HB 166 clears the Senate.
 
The budget process is an ideal time for local leaders to remind legislators of the importance of ensuring municipalities can adequately deliver basic services to Ohioans via restoration of the LGF. By passing a resolution, a city or village makes their stance public record, generating conversations in the local press as well as at the Ohio Statehouse. The voices of municipal leaders are influential, and legislators need to hear directly from their municipalities on this critical issue.
 
 
 
OML TESTIFIES BEFORE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE ON BUDGET BILL
 
This week, the League gave testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on Sub. HB 166, the State Operating Budget bill.
 
Executive Director Kent Scarrett spoke on the issues in the budget affecting municipalities, most notably the lack of an increase in Local Government Funds (LGF). "Through a reinvestment in the Local Government Fund and a return to municipal specific LGF funding," said Dir. Scarrett, "we believe municipalities across the state will have less need to ask their citizens for an increase in their local income tax, less need to adjust credits, less need to put off or cancel needed investments in infrastructure both above and below ground, and fewer challenges in delivering services provided by our first responders." You can read Dir. Scarrett's testimony in full HERE.  
 
The League's Board President and Mayor of Sidney Mike Barhorst also testified, addressing the need to reinvest in the LGF, keeping Ohio's motion picture tax credit and the need for funding for MARCS. "MARCS funding is crucial to maintaining an effective emergency communications system that is essential if we are to keep Ohioans safe not only during times of disaster, but on a daily basis," said Mayor Barhorst. "On behalf of the OML, I am requesting that the Senate restore the necessary funding so that the system's mission critical work can proceed as intended." You can read all of Mayor Barhorst's testimony HERE .
 
Finally, the President of the League's Municipal Income Tax Committee and Dublin Tax Commissioner Kevin Robison testified about the language in the budget bill regarding negative distributions resulting from the state's centralized collection of municipal net profit business filings. While the League is offering amendments that provide a compromised solution to the problem, Robison also argued the need for the language to be removed so it could be properly vetted in separate legislation. "I have personally been involved with a municipal working group with Tax Commissioner McClain to continue to evaluate and solve problems with the State administration of municipal net profit returns," said Robison. "Many of the issues were caused by the policies in the centralized collection of municipal net profit returns being rushed into the previous Budget Bill. I feel that we have had good conversations on how to resolve these issues with the negative distributions of tax revenues." You can read Robison's testimony in full HERE .
 
The League is grateful to Chairman Dolan (R - Chagrin Falls) and the members of the entire Senate Finance Committee for the opportunity to testify on the issues important to municipalities that are currently in the budget bill. The League will continue to meet with legislators on these issues as the bill remains in the Senate and we will continue to inform our members of changes made to Sub. HB 166 that impact Ohio's cities and villages.
 
 
 
 
MAYORS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES LT. GOVERNOR JOHN HUSTED AS GUEST SPEAKER
 
From Wednesday, June 12 through Friday, June 14, the Mayors Association of Ohio Annual Conference will be held at the downtown Columbus Renaissance Hotel. Mayors will have the opportunity to network and share best practices, mingle with exhibitors, attend session and workshops on the most pressing issues facing Ohio's local leaders. The League is grateful that Lt. Governor John Husted will be joining our mayors as our guest speaker Thursday. To ensure you don't miss out on this unique opportunity, click HERE to register and find more information.
 
 
 
NEW BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
 
Here are the bills introduced this week that impact municipalities:
 
HB 253 - FIREWORKS. Sponsored by Rep. Manning (R - New Middletown) and Rep. O'Brien (D - Warren), would revise the Fireworks Law.
 
 
 
COMMITTEE RECAP: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
 
Here are the bills impacting municipalities that received committee hearings this week:
 
  • HB 80 - BWC BUDGET. Sponsored by Rep. Oelslager (R - Canton), would make appropriations for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation for the biennium beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2021, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of the Bureau's programs. The bill was voted out of the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday and sent to the House Finance Committee, where it had its first hearing. BWC Administrator and CEO Stephanie McCloud testified on potential amendments to the bill, which could included coverage for first responders with PTSD.
  • SB 95 - BUSINESS INVESTMENTS. Sponsored by Sen. Peterson (R - Sabina) and Sen. Kunze (R - Hilliard), would enhance state and local tax inducements for businesses making substantial fixed asset and employment investments and their suppliers. During its third hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, proponents such as theDayton Development Coalition, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and American Electric Power, while Policy Matters Ohio submitted written opposition testimony. The bill was then voted unanimously out of committee. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • SB 122 - SUCCESS PROGRAM. Sponsored by Sen. Wilson (R - Maineville), would the Treasurer of State to administer the Pay for Success Contracting Program and expand the purposes of the Program. During its first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the bill's sponsor explained that the bill creates a program to fund successful approaches that are intended to address significant problems in Ohio, such as infant mortality and addiction. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
  • SB 39 - INSURANCE TAX. Sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton, would authorize an insurance premiums tax credit for capital contributions to transformational mixed-use development projects. During its fourth hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the bill was amended to include changes that include ensuring a project wouldn't be able to move forward without the tax credit, allowing existing vacant buildings to be factored into the proposal and creating other pathways to receive the credit. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • SB 31 - PUBLIC RECORDS. Sponsored by Sen. Roegner (R - Hudson), would include emergency service telecommunicators as individuals whose residential and familial information is exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Law. During its third hearing before the House Civil Justice Committee, the bill was amended to clarify that the personal information of state and federal judges is also exempted from public disclosure, as well as first responders. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • SB 7 - OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING. Sponsored by Sen. Lehner (R - Kettering) and Sen. Hackett (R - London), is regarding temporary state occupational licenses for members of the military and their spouses. During its first hearing before the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committee, the bill's sponsor explained that the bill would establish a clear process that the spouses of active duty military members who live in Ohio can use to receive free and temporary professional licenses. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HB 178 - CONCEALED WEAPONS. Sponsored by Rep. Hood (R - Ashville) and Rep. Brinkman (R - Cincinnati), would modify the Weapons Law by renaming a concealed handgun license as a concealed weapons license, allowing a concealed weapons licensee to carry concealed all deadly weapons not otherwise prohibited by law, repealing a notice requirement applicable to licensees stopped for a law enforcement purpose, authorizing expungement of convictions of a violation of that requirement, and allowing a person age 21 or older and not prohibited by federal law from firearm possession to carry a concealed deadly weapon without needing a license subject to the same carrying laws as a licensee. During its fourth hearing before the House Federalism Committee, opponents from such organizations as Moms Demand Action, the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. The Toledo City Council and the Orange Village Police Department. The League is still looking into this legislation.
 
  • HB 137 - EMPLOYEE EARNINGS. Sponsored by Rep. Kelly (D - Cincinnati) and Rep. Vitale (R - Urbana), would require an employer to provide earnings and deductions statements to each of the employer's employees. During its fourth hearing before the House Commerce and Labor Committee, the bill was reported unanimously out of committee. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HB 220 - LEDGER TECHNOLOGY. Sponsored by Rep. Carfagna (R - Genoa Township), would allow a governmental entity to utilize distributed ledger technology, including blockchain technology. During its first hearing before the House Commerce and Labor Committee, the bill's sponsor explained that blockchain technology allows records and data to be transmitted and stored securely and that this bill allows government entities in Ohio o use this technology. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • HB 7 - WATER FUND. Sponsored by Rep. Ghanbari (R - Perrysburg) and Rep. Patterson (D - Jefferson), would create the H2Ohio Trust Fund for the protection and preservation of Ohio's water quality, to create the H2Ohio Advisory Council to disburse money from the Fund for water quality programs, and create the H2Ohio Endowment Board to make recommendations to the Treasurer of State regarding the issuance of securities to pay for costs related to the purposes of the Fund. During its second hearing before the House Finance Committee, proponents such as the Nature Conservancy in Ohio, the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio Environmental Council testified in support of the bill. The League also submitted written proponent testimony, which you can read HERE.
 
  • HB 13 - BROADBAND EXPANSION. Sponsored by Rep. Carfagna (R - Genoa Township) and Rep. O'Brien (D - Warren), would establish the residential broadband expansion program and make an appropriation. During its first hearing before the House Finance Committee, the bill's sponsors explained that it would create a $2 million fund each biennium to expand broadband access and would make local governments eligible for one-third of the cost. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • HB 138 - SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS. Sponsored by Rep. Rogers (D - Mentor-on-the-Lake), would increase from $250 to $500 the estimated cost of certain special assessments for which a municipal corporation must provide notice to affected property owners. During its first hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the bill's sponsored explained that this legislation has been requested by the City of Mentor, though the issue affects every local government across the state. The bill would help save local governments revenues by raising the threshold for assessment notification of property values. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • HB 218 - PUBLIC-PRIVATE AGREEMENTS. Sponsored by Rep. Patton (R - Strongsville), would authorize certain public entities to enter into public-private initiatives with a private party through a public-private agreement regarding public facilities. During its first hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the bill's sponsor explained that this legislation mirrors legislation passed by 15 other states. The sponsor quoted a study that discovered each dollar invested in public-private partnership generates $2.80 in economic activity. The League is supportive of this legislation.


COMMITTEE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 26, 2019
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
SENATE FINANCE
Tue., May. 28, 2019, 10:00 AM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
Sen. Dolan: 614-466-8056
Testimony will be heard on health, human services and Medicaid.
 
OPERATING BUDGET (OELSLAGER S) To make operating appropriations for the biennium beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2021, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of state programs. 
 
Sixth Hearing, All Testimony
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
SENATE FINANCE
Wed., May. 29, 2019, 9:00 AM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
Sen. Dolan: 614-466-8056
Testimony on primary and secondary education will be heard.
 
OPERATING BUDGET (OELSLAGER S) To make operating appropriations for the biennium beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2021, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of state programs. 
 
Seventh Hearing, All Testimony
 
SENATE TRANSPORTATION, COMMERCE AND WORKFORCE
Wed., May. 29, 2019, 10:00 AM, South Hearing Room
Sen. McColley: 614-466-8150
 
FIREWORKS LAW (BURKE D) To revise the Fireworks Law. 
 
Third Hearing, Opponent Testimony
 
HOUSE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Wed., May. 29, 2019, 3:00 PM, Hearing Room 122
Rep. Wiggam: 614-466-1474
OR AFTER SESSION
 
CONTAINER USE RESTRICTIONS (LANG G, JONES D) To authorize the use of an auxiliary container for any purpose, to prohibit the imposition of a tax or fee on those containers, and to apply existing anti-littering law to those containers. 
 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
PLEASE CHECK OUR WEBSITE TUESDAY FOR ANY CHANGES TO THE COMMITTEE SCHEDULE

Ohio Municipal League Meetings & Trainings

OML/OMAA Webinars:
Public Records/Sunshine Law
June 20, 2019 

MAO Annual Conference 
June 12th ~ 14th, 2019
OML Income Tax Seminar
July 10 ~ 12, 2019
Mayors Court Refresher Trainings
August 16 ~ Attorneys & Magistrates Only
October 25 & November 15


Ohio Municipal League

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

Website/Bulletin Issues:
Zoƫ Wade, Office Manager