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March 23, 2018

OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
  • The Legislature will be out on a break for the next two weeks, so there will be no committee hearings or sessions until April 10th. During this time, the League will continue to work on legislation and issues in preparation for the Legislature's return.

  • The Ohio EPA is seeking public input on proposed funding priorities, which you can read HERE. Those interested can submit comments to oeef@epa.ohio.gov. They must be received by 5 p.m. on March 30th.

  • The Secretary of State's office has announced the filing of 9,634 new entities intending to do business in Ohio last month. This is a decrease from last February, when 10,204 filed to do business in Ohio.
 
CORRECTION: 2018 SUMMER REGIONAL CONFERENCE DATES

Last week, we announced the dates of the League's new venture: our 2018 Summer Regional Conferences. However, one of the dates we announced was incorrect. Our Regional Conference in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame will take place on Friday, June 29th. Registration material will be mailed out to League members the first of next week.

As a reminder, below are the dates and location for the upcoming conferences.

  • Southeast: Friday, May 18th at the Ohio University Conference Center in Athens.
  • Southwest: Friday, June 8th at the Manor House Banquet Center in Mason.
  • Northeast: Friday, June 29th  at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
  • Northwest: Friday, August 17th at the Hancock Hotel in Findlay.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone there!
 
CALL TO ACTION:

OHIO HOUSE SENDS TO SENATE BILL PUNISHING MUNICIPALITIES FOR USING CONSTITUTIONALLY GRANTED TRAFFIC CAMERAS WITH LGF REDUCTIONS

This week, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill that punishes municipalities by withdrawing state support for issuing red light violation traffic tickets via electronic monitoring devices, while also significantly decreasing the number of cases heard in Mayor's Courts.

HB 410, which is sponsored by Rep. Seitz (R - Cincinnati) and Rep. Butler (R - Oakwood), would deduct Local Government Fund (LGF) distributions from municipalities in the exact amount of revenue which that municipality generates via traffic citations issued by traffic cameras. This is despite a ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court last year that stated municipalities had the Home Rule authority to use traffic cameras to issue traffic citations. This legislation seeks to penalize municipalities from exercising their Home Rule rights as upheld by the highest court in the state.

The second aspect of the bill would only allow civil actions regarding traffic law violations to be heard in municipal and county courts - not Mayor's Courts. This significantly decreases the caseload for any given Mayor's Court throughout the state.

The bill was passed out of the House of Representatives by a vote of 65-19. The scheme is awaiting assignment to a Senate committee for the next round of hearings.

The League strongly opposes this flagrant overreach by the State of Ohio and is asking our members to call their Senators to inform them that this bill continues the assault on municipal revenues and municipal taxpayers, and to urge that they stand with their cities and villages and oppose this bill.

For those interested in testifying when the bill gets scheduled for hearings in the senate committee, please contact the League's Director of Communications, Ashley Brewster, at abrewster@omlohio.org. The League will continue to track and report on this bill as it moves through the Senate.
 
SMALL CELL BILL RECEIVES OPPONENT TESITMONY IN COMMITTEE HEARING
 
Several groups seeking to incorporate various changes to the small cell wireless bill testified in opposition to the legislation this week. HB 478, sponsored by Rep. Smith (R - Bidwell) and Rep. LaTourette (R - Chesterland), would modify the law regarding wireless service and the placement of small cell wireless facilities in the public right of way. During its third hearing before the Senate Public Utilities Committee, representatives from Crown Castle, the Wireless Infrastructure Association and InSite Wireless Group LLC all testified, saying changes needed to be made.

The representatives from Crown Castle expressed concerns that the bill as written violates sections of the Communications Act and definitions included in the bill would be impactful to their operations.

The Wireless Infrastructure Association requested amendments changing the language from "public easements" to "public utility easements" and change the definition of "wireless support structure". Insite Wireless Group submitted written testimony echoed these requests.

The League looks forward to participating in interested party meetings to discuss the new issues that have been requested of the senate. We anticipate hearings will resume when the legislature returns from their Easter break.

CAPITAL BUDGET BILL CLEARS SECOND LEGISLATIVE CHAMBER

This week, the capital appropriations bill was approved by the full Senate and sent to the desk of Governor Kasich. HB 529, sponsored by Rep. Ryan (R - Newark), will make capital appropriations and changes to the law governing capital projects and makes re-appropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2020. In total, the bill will spend $2.63 billion over the biennium. No amendments or changes were made to the bill during its time in the Senate, which passed the bill with only one dissenting vote: 32-1.

Several allocations made by the bill are directly related to municipalities, such as $514 million to be allocated to local infrastructure projects through the Public Works Commission, as well as $150 million that will be spent on community projects. Other allocations include $222 million for health and human services, mental health, addiction treatment, women's health initiative facilities and developmental disabilities; and $482 million to public colleges and universities.

The League has been supportive of this legislation, and we are pleased to see that a bill containing funds for many local improvement projects throughout the state has made it to the desk of the governor. Although the League appreciates the limited investments being made in Ohio communities, funds directed towards infrastructure projects included in the bill does little to address the crucial challenges our cities and villages face on a widespread basis when it comes to the deteriorating infrastructure communities all across our state are challenged with. The League will continue to impress upon current members of the Ohio General Assembly and the next Governor and his/her leadership that new revenue streams must be developed to address all aspects of infrastructure and to rebuild our state together in a meaningful way.

FLOOR ACTION FOR BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST

  • HB 54 - REVENUE OBLIGATIONS. Sponsored by Rep. Blessing (R - Cincinnati) and Rep. Gavarone (R - Bowling Green), this bill would authorize the Treasurer of State to issue revenue obligations of the state for the purpose of making loans to qualifying public entities for their acquisition of permanent improvements through the Treasurer of State's purchase of public obligations of those qualifying entities. During last week's full House session, this bill was voted out of the House 93-0.
 
  • HB 343 - PROPERTY VALUE CONTEST RESOLUTIONS. Sponsored by Rep. Merrin (R - Monclova Township), this bill would require local governments that contest property values to formally pass an authorizing resolution for each contest and to notify property owners. This week, during a full House session, the bill was passed 59-38. The League is opposed to this legislation.
 
  • HB 351 - MILITARY TAX EXEMPTION. Sponsored by Rep. Perales (R - Beavercreek) and Rep. Butler (R - Oakwood), this bill would 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. During this week's full House session, the bill was passed by a unanimous vote, 85-0. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HB 392 - BEE KEEPING IMMUNITY. Sponsored by Rep. Stein (R - Norwalk), this bill would grant specified apiary owners immunity in personal injury or property damage cases involving bee stings. During this week's full House session, the bill was passed 80-7. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HB 24 - VETERANS ORGANIZATIONS TAX EXEMPTIONS. Sponsored by Rep. Ginter (R - Salem), this bill would modify the existing tax exemption for veterans organizations' property to include property of certain veterans organizations exempt from federal taxation under section 501C(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and to exclude property that is not used primarily for meetings, administration, and the provision of programs and services to past and present members of the United States armed forces. First, the bill was amended during its seventh hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee with updates to the Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) payment system. The bill was then passed by the full Senate later the same day and shortly thereafter concurred upon by the House. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
COMMITTEE RECAP: HEARINGS FOR BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST

Here are the bills that impact municipalities that received committee hearings this week:

  • HB 378 - BROADBAND GRANTS. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Smith (R - Bidwell) and Rep. Cera (D - Bellaire), would create the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program and make an appropriation. This week, during its eighth hearing before the House Finance Committee, a substitute bill was adopted that changed provisions ranging from the definition of internet service and broadband entity to provider eligibility. The Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association said in written testimony that while they are happy with the changes adopted, they believe more are necessary to improve the bill. The Ohio Library Council also submitted testimony highlighting the need libraries have to provide internet access to serve those who do not have it at home. The bill was then voted out of committee. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • HB 488 - BALLOT LANGUAGE. Sponsored by Rep. Hood (R - Ashville) and Rep. Becker (R - Union Township), this bill would modify the information conveyed in election notices and ballot language for property tax levies. During its second hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing, proponents from local communities, Americans for Prosperity and the Ohio School Board Leadership Council testified in support of the bill, saying it provided more transparency in the local levy system. The League is currently neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HB 276 - UTILITY WORKERS. Sponsored by Rep. Rezabek (R - Clayton) and Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), this bill would expand the offense of aggravated menacing to prohibit threatening a utility worker with intent to obstruct the operation of a utility. During its first hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the sponsors of the bill explained the legislation's intention to end threats or attacks upon utility workers as they did their jobs. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • HB 382 - UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION LAWS. Sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton), this bill 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, to 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 nineteenth and twentieth hearings before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, no testimony was heard on this bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HJR 4 - UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BONDS. Sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton), this joint resolution would 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 nineteenth and twentieth hearings before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, no testimony was given. The League is neutral on this joint resolution.
 
  • HB 469 - MIXED-USE TAX CREDITS. Sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton) and Rep Patton (R - Strongsville), this bill would authorize a nonrefundable insurance company tax credit for contributions of capital to transformational mixed-use development projects. During its fifth hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of the bill in light of its intention to invest in "well-planned development" and encourage economic development. For the same reason, the League is in strong support of this legislation.
 
  • HB 164 - ROOFING CONTRACTORS. Sponsored by Rep. Patton (R - Stronsgville), this bill would require commercial roofing contractors to have a license. During its fourth hearing before the House Economic Development Committee, both opponents and proponents of the legislation gave their sides of the arguments. Representatives from Able Roof and the Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill due to its addition of a bureaucratic layer to the licensing process and the concern that it could result in increased costs on the consumer end. The Ohio Roofing Contractors Association, however, are proponents of the bill and are supportive of what they say would result in a more streamlined licensing process. The League is currently neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HB 484 - HEALTH DISTRICT CREDIT CARDS. Sponsored by Rep. Brenner (R - Powell), this bill would authorize city and general health districts to use credit cards in accordance with prescribed requirements. During its third hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, no testimony was heard on this bill. The League is currently neutral of this legislation.
 
  • HB 530 - INCOMPATIBLE OFFICES. Sponsored by Rep. Hambley (R - Brunswick) and Rep. Arndt (R - Port Clinton), this bill would authorize local elected officers that have levied a hotel lodging excise tax, or a designee of such officers to simultaneously hold the position of officer or member of the board of trustees of a convention and visitors' bureau without constituting incompatible offices. During its second hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the bill received vocal support from the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO), several county commissioners and the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau. The League is currently neutral on this legislation.
 
  • SB 252 - INCOMPATIBLE OFFICES. Sponsored by Sen. Peterson (R - Sabina), this bill would authorize local elected officers that have levied a hotel lodging excise tax, or a designee of such officers to simultaneously hold the position of officer or member of the board of trustees of a convention and visitors' bureau without constituting incompatible offices. During its second hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, proponent testimony was given by the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO), the Fayette County Commissioner, and the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, which likened the legislation to allowing legislators to sit on the Controlling Board. The League is currently neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HB 543 - COUNTY PROSECUTORS. Sponsored by Rep. Perales (R - Beavercreek) and Rep. Hambley (R - Brunswick), this bill would allow a county prosecuting attorney to enter into a contract with a regional airport authority, port authority, or regional planning commission to be its legal adviser. During its first hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the bill's sponsors explained that the organizations listed within the bill would be able to contract with prosecutors at decreased cost. The League is currently looking into this bill.
 
  • SB 239 - REGIONAL COUNCILS OF GOVERNMENT. Sponsored by Sen. Dolan (R - Chagrin Falls), this bill would modify the law concerning regional councils of governments. During its fifth hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, no testimony was given on the bill. The League is supportive of this legislation, as long as changes are not made via amendment to curtail the advocacy abilities of certain councils of governments.
 
  • HB 312 - CREDIT CARDS. Sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton) and Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), this bill would modify the law regarding use of credit cards and debit cards by political subdivisions. During its third hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, no testimony was given on the bill. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
 
NEW BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST INTRODUCED THIS WEEK

  • HB 562 - PARK DRILLING. Sponsored by Rep. Leland (D - Columbus), this bill would prohibit the drilling of a horizontal well in various state and local parks.
 

 
THERE WILL BE NO COMMITTEES SCHEDULED THE WEEK OF MARCH 25, DUE TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEING ON BREAK. 
Up Coming Meetings & Events

OML/OMAA Webinar
Top 10 TIF Misconceptions
April 18, 2018
10:00 am ~ 11:00 am

Registration Information
OAPSD Annual Conference 
Hilliard Police Dept.
May 4, 2018 

Information Coming Soon
Regional Summer Conference Series
May 18, June 8, June 29, August 17

OML/OMAA Webinar
Updates on ADA,FMLA, Title VII Accommodation...
May 17, 2018
10:00 am ~ 11:00 am

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