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November 8, 2019  

OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
 
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
 
  • According to unofficial election results for the Nov. 5th General Election, 22 municipalities had income tax changes on their ballots. 12 of those passed and 10 failed. We will notify our members when the official election results are made available. 
  • Rep. Scott Ryan (R - Newark) has announced his resignation from the 71st House District seat effective Tuesday, Nov. 12. Rep. Ryan will become executive director of Ohio Third Frontier within the Ohio Development Services Agency. The 71st House District covers Licking County.
  • Legislators have begun contacting community groups and local governments for the initial stages of selecting the projects that will be funded in next year's state capital budget. The deadline to submit project requests to your legislator's office is Jan. 10, 2020. Legislators must submit requests to leadership by Jan. 24, 2020.
 
   
LEAGUE OFFERS SUPPORT TO THREE BILLS IN LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE HEARINGS
 
This week, OML Executive Director Kent Scarrett testified before the Ohio House Economic and Workforce Development Committee in support of SB 39, legislation sponsored by Sen. Schuring (R - Canton) that would provide for insurance tax credits to be used for the investment in transformational mixed-use development projects. (Link: https://bit.ly/32rGFMc ). Additionally, the League submitted written proponent testimony on two other pieces of legislation impacting municipalities.
 
On Wednesday, Dir. Scarrett testified in person on legislation that would allow for large scale capital investments to be directed to municipalities for the development of mega, transformational mixed-use building developments. The testimony primarily focused on reiterating the League's support of SB 39 to the committee. We believe this legislation would have a positive impact on future downtown development and grow economic development in areas currently stagnant in development opportunities. Dir. Scarrett explained that with other existing tax incentive programs developed by the state such as the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, SB 39 has the potential to provide significant opportunity for the revitalization of municipal downtowns and will help Ohio compete for future workforces and jobs. You can watch his testimony HERE.
 
Also this week, the League provided written support for SB 190, sponsored by Sen. Schaffer (R - Lancaster), which would allow an income tax credit of up to $500 to law enforcement officials who purchase additional or enhanced safety or protective gear. (Link: https://bit.ly/2PSly3j ). "Our first responders are the front lines in serving the residents and the businesses of our municipalities and play a vital role in the success of the state of Ohio," wrote Dir. Scarrett. "We support measures that support these vital members of our community." You can read the testimony in full HERE.
 
Lastly, proponent testimony was also submitted on behalf of HB 370, which is sponsored by Rep. Hillyer (R - Uhrichsville) and Rep. Baldridge (R - Winchester) and allows the Attorney General to defend political subdivisions when an action is brought against that subdivision regarding the removal of a historic symbol or monument on the grounds of an alleged First Amendment violation. (Link: https://bit.ly/2NppS8k ). "This bill is a permissive means of granting Ohio cities and villages the opportunity to protect and defend themselves against litigation when they may be otherwise financially unable to do so," Dir. Scarrett wrote. You can read the testimony in full HERE.
 
 
 
BAG TAX PREEMPTION BILL IN SENATE GETS FIRST HEARING
 
A companion bill to HB 242, which prohibits the imposition of a tax or fee on auxiliary containers, received its first hearing in the Senate. The bill, SB 222 is sponsored by Sen. Rulli (R - Salem). (Link: https://bit.ly/33DTCE4)
 
During its first hearing before the Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee, the bill's sponsor fielded questions and concerns from the committee. Sen. Thomas (D - Cincinnati) voiced his concern that this bill is an infringement on Home Rule rights. The League has repeatedly seconded this concern as well in opposition testimony in the House and in a Columbus Dispatch column written by Dir. Scarrett. You can read that column HERE.
 
SB 222, like its predecessor in the House, is a blatant preemption of the right to local authority granted to municipalities in the Ohio Constitution. We urge our members to contact their senators and voice their opposition to this bill. We will be closely tracking this legislation and we will alert out members if it comes up for opponent testimony in committee.
 
 
COMMITTEE RECAP: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST:
 
Here are the bills heard in committee this week that impact municipalities:
 
 
  • SB 221 - FIREARMS LAWS. Sponsored by Sen. Dolan (R - Chagrin Falls), would provide for the issuance in specified circumstances of a Safety Protection Order to apply regarding a person who a court determines is under a drug dependency, chronic alcoholic, or mental health-related firearms disability; specify LEADS and NCIC reporting and removal procedures for current types of protection orders; require the submission to the Attorney General for inclusion in LEADS of findings of IST or NGRI; modify some of the prohibitions under the offense of "unlawful transactions in weapons" and add new prohibitions and exemptions under the offense, including a new exemption if a state background check mechanism the bill enacts is used and does not indicate that the prospective transferee is barred from firearms possession; provide in specified circumstances for the issuance of a seller's protection certificate under the new state background check mechanism; increase the penalty for certain firearms-related offenses in specified circumstances; modify the law governing the entry of arrest warrants into LEADS as extradition warrants; expand the law regarding the provision of drug and alcohol test results to law enforcement personnel; and provide a new exception to the testimonial privilege for specified medical and dental personnel regarding certain probate court proceedings. During its first hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, the bill's sponsor said the bill was common-sense legislation that removes guns from people deemed dangerous. The League supports this legislation.
 
  • SB 212 - PROPERTY TAXATION. Sponsored by Sen. Schuring (R - Canton), would authorize townships and municipal corporations to designate areas within which new homes and improvements to existing homes are wholly or partially exempted from property taxation. During its first hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, the bill's sponsor explained that it would "provide a tool for municipalities and townships to improve existing neighborhoods and also in some instances build new neighborhoods." The League supports of this legislation.
 
  • 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 first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the bill's sponsors explained that the bill creates a pilot program similar to the Special Improvement District law for the Akron-Canton airport. An Airport Development District would allow surrounding property owners to combine resources and assist in infrastructure improvements. The League supports this legislation.
 
 
  • 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. During its third hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the Ohio Water Development Authority testified in supportive of the bill. The League is supportive of this legislation.


COMMITTEE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 10, 2019
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS
Tue., Nov. 12, 2019, 3:00 PM, Hearing Room 116
Rep. Merrin: 614-466-1731
 
SURVIVING SPOUSES-HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION (GINTER T) To allow an enhanced homestead exemption for surviving spouses of public safety personnel killed in the line of duty. 
 
Fourth Hearing, All Testimony, AMENDMENTS/POSSIBLE VOTE
 
Report(s):  My Tracked Bills, OML Legislative Report
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
SENATE GENERAL GOVERNMENT AND AGENCY REVIEW
Wed., Nov. 13, 2019, 3:15 PM, North Hearing Room
Sen. Schuring: 614-466-0626
 
BALLOT LANGUAGE UNIFORMITY (MERRIN D) To enact the "Ballot Uniformity and Transparency Act" to modify the form of election notices and ballot language for property tax levies. 
 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
 
Report(s):  Bill Track, My Tracked Bills, OML Legislative Report, Thomas Leg Tracker
Thursday, November 14, 2019
HOUSE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Thu., Nov. 14, 2019, 9:00 AM, Hearing Room 113
Rep. Jordan: 614-644-6711
 
INTRASTATE EQUITY CROWDFUNDING (POWELL J) To permit intrastate equity crowdfunding under certain circumstances. 
 
Third Hearing, All Testimony, POSSIBLE VOTE
 
Report(s):  My Tracked Bills, OML Legislative Report
CHECK OUR WEBSITE TUESDAY FOR ANY CHANGES TO THE COMMITTEE SCHEDULE
Ohio Municipal League Meetings & Trainings

Mayors Court Refresher Trainings
 November 15


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