OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
Here are the top three things you need to need to know from this past week:
- During the signing of two bills this week, Governor DeWine again expressed his opposition to HB 242, legislation that would preempt municipal Home Rule authorities related to the taxation of single-use plastic bags and other auxiliary containers. The League appreciates the Governor's continued defense of local control and his leadership on this matter.
- Legislative sessions for both the House and Senate were cancelled next week as well as legislative committees, so the Statehouse will be quiet next week. Because of this recess, we will not be sending a bulletin next week unless there is unexpected legislative activity.
- The Ohio EPA has announced the first infrastructure project for the H2Ohio Initiative. The Village of Pomeroy has been awarded $500,000 for the extension of sewer lines to approximately 80 homes currently experiencing failing home sewage treatment. More projects are set to be announced in the near future.
GOVERNOR DEWINE ADDRESSES LEAGUE BOARD
The League greatly appreciates that Governor DeWine was able to attend the League's Board of Trustees Meeting last week and share insights into many of his legislative priorities. During the Governor's remarks, he addressed issues related to SB 221 or his STRONG Ohio gun violence prevention proposal, progress on the opioid settlement discussions and future testing proposals for PFAS or "forever chemicals" in public drinking water sources. These issues are very impactful to Ohio municipalities and we are grateful for Gov. DeWine's time and discussion on these priority matters.
LEAUGE ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS
The Ohio Municipal League is pleased to announce the appointment of Cambridge Clerk of
Council Sharon Cassler as the League's Board President for the year 2020. Cassler served as
second vice president of the board in 2018, then as first vice president in 2019. She has served on
the board since 2013.
The League wants to thank City of Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst for his service as Board President this past year. We greatly appreciate the role he played in meeting with legislators, testifying before committees and working with municipal leaders across Ohio. Mayor Barhorst will stay on as past board president.
Cassler has served as the City of Cambridge's Clerk of Council since 1984. She is a member of
the Ohio Municipal Clerks Association and has served as the president of the International
Institute of Municipal Clerks. In addition to her duties as clerk, she is also an active member of
her local church.
Since Cassler's ascension to the position of the Board President, City of Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman will serve as the first vice president and City of Newton Falls City Councilman Lyle Waddell will serve as the second vice president.
Additionally, the Ohio Municipal League is pleased to announce that City of Chillicothe Mayor
Luke Feeney, Cleveland City Councilman Blaine Griffin, City of Niles Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz and City of Montgomery Law Director Terrey Donnellon will all serve as new members of the League's Board of Trustees.
Mayor Feeney became Chillicothe's city auditor in 2013 and began his first term as the city's
mayor on January 1, 2016. During his first term, he oversaw the reopening of two fire stations,
combined police and fire dispatching, increased police and fire department staffing, instituted
curbside recycling throughout the city and initiated approximately a million dollars in street
Councilman Griffin has served as the executive director of Cleveland's Community Relations Board, overseeing the improvement of cross-culture relations as well as police and community relations and youth initiatives. He has also worked with the Cuyahoga Department of Justice Affairs as a program officer, helping serious violent offenders transition from correctional facilities back into their communities
Mayor Mientkiewicz was formerly a teacher at the Rich Center of Autism in Youngstown and served the community on the Niles Precinct Committee and as a city councilman.
Montgomery Law Director Terry Donnellon is a partner with Donnellon, Donnellon and Miller LLC and has served as the Solicitor and lead council for the Village of Golf Manor. He is a member of the Cincinnati Bar Association, a fellow in the Ohio State Bar Association and was appointed by Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor to the Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution.
The League is confident our new board president and board members will provide valuable insight from their years of experience as municipal leaders, as well as their commitment to building a better future for Ohio's cities and villages.
HOUSE PASSES PREEMPTION "BAG TAX" BILL
This week, the House passed a HB 242, legislation preempting municipalities right to Home Rule authority as it relates to levying a tax or fee on single-use plastic bags and other auxiliary containers.
The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Lang (R - West Chester Township) and Rep. Jones (R - Freeport). It is a companion bill to SB 222, which is sponsored by
Sen. Rulli (R - Salem) and is currently going through the committee process in the Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee. You can read the bill language for HB 242 HERE.
The bill passed out of the House by a vote of 57 to 37, with supporters of the bill arguing it would create uniformity for businesses across Ohio. Several legislators came to the defense of Home Rule authority, echoing Governor DeWine's comments last week that this matter should be left to be decided on the local level.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. Our members are encouraged to call their Senators and voice their opposition to this bill and their support of local control. We will alert our members of any future legislative activity on either piece of legislation.
CITIES CONTEST GUN PREEMPTION LAW
Cleveland, Akron, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Norton and Tallmadge have filed a lawsuit contesting a provision from HB 228 from the last General Assembly, which preempts local ordinances on gun regulations. Then-Gov. Kasich initially vetoed the bill, but the veto was overridden by the General Assembly.
The cities are seeking an injunction against the provision, which goes into effect on December 28, in the Summit County Common Pleas Court. They are arguing that the bill shouldn't take effect until the case is heard. The case argues that the provisions preempt the Home Rule authority of cities and villages to pass municipal ordinances regulating the manufacturing, sale and possession of firearms and ammunition.
More specifically, because of the way the language was drafted there is significant concern the bill is a preemption of the ability of cities to prohibit the discharge of firearms in their jurisdiction for either recreational or hunting activities. The League has been talking with some members of the General Assembly about language that would clarify and retain the right of municipalities to prohibit the discharge of firearms, which is currently ambiguous in HB 228.
The League will to update our members on the introduction of any legislation as well as any progress on the lawsuit.
BILL IMPACTING FISCAL OFFICERS RECEIVING GETS FIRST HEARING
SB 244, a bill requiring municipal fiscal officers, county treasurers and auditors, school treasurers and all other fiscal officers to provide certificates of transition to their successors when leaving office, received a first hearing for sponsor testimony this week in the Senate Local Government, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs Committee. You can read the legislation in full
The bill's sponsor,
Sen. Rulli (R - Salem), explained the bill is intended to "facilitate a smooth and efficient transition of power, which will benefit both incoming and outgoing officeholders as well as the taxpayers."
The League is seeking the input of our municipal fiscal officers to gauge the impact to municipalities and any potential benefit in the administration of their duties. Please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org with any perspective you can share.
LEGISLATION PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK
Here is another bill passed by the House this week.
- HB 264 - INFRASTRUCTURE LOANS. Sponsored by Rep. Wilkin (R - Hillsboro) and Rep. O'Brien (D - Warren), would allow the Ohio Water Development Authority to provide for the refinancing of loans for certain public water and waste water infrastructure projects. It was passed unanimously by the House. The League is supportive of this legislation.
COMMITTEE RECAP: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
- SB 204 - AIRPORT DISTRICTS. Sponsored by Sen. Schuring (R - Canton) and Sen. Sykes (D - Akron), would authorize the creation of an airport development district for the purpose of funding public infrastructure improvements and attracting airlines and additional flights to a qualifying airport. During its second hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, proponents including the League testified in support of the bill. You can read that testimony in full HERE
- HB 78 - PREVAILING WAGE. Sponsored by Rep. Riedel (R - Defiance) and Rep. Manchester (R - Waynesfield), would allow political subdivisions, special districts, and state institutions of higher education to elect to apply the Prevailing Wage Law to public improvement projects. During its first hearing before the House Commerce and Labor Committee, the bill's sponsors explained the bill would allow local governments as well as state colleges and universities to elect whether or not they comply with the prevailing wage law. The League is still looking into this legislation.
- HB 370 - FIRST AMENDMENT. Sponsored by Rep. Hillyer (R - Urichsville) and Rep.
Baldridge (R - Winchester), would allow the Attorney General to defend political subdivisions in certain actions brought under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or analogous provisions of the Ohio Constitution. During its third hearing before the House Civil Justice Committee, a representative from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association requested that the bill be amended t grant the prosecutor of a political subdivision authority to request representation from the attorney general's office. The League is supportive of the legislation.
- SB 39 - INSURANCE TAX. Sponsored by Sen. Schuring (R - Canton), would authorize an insurance premiums tax credit for capital contributions to transformational mixed use development projects. During its fifth hearing before the House Economic development and Workforce Committee, a substitute bill was adopted that among other changes, limits qualifying projects to four per fiscal year, to be ranked by transformational impact and economic value. The League is supportive of this legislation.
- HB 295 - ELECTRIC SCOOTERS. Sponsored by Rep. Hoops (R - Napoleon), would establish requirements governing low-speed electric scooters. During its first hearing before Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee, bill's sponsor explained that the bill establishes regulations for the safe operation go low-speed electric scooters. The League is neutral on this legislation.
- HB 374 - MASSAGE THERAPY. Sponsored by Rep. Plummer (R - Dayton) and Rep. Manchester (R - Waynesfield) make changes to the massage therapy licensing law. During its first hearing before the House Commerce and Labor Committee, the bill's sponsors explained the bill is intended to close a loophole allowing unlicensed individuals to offer massages in Ohio. The League is supportive of that legislation.