October 18, 2019  
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
  • Area Development Magazine named Ohio as ninth on a list of "Top States for Doing Business" for the year 2019. In a subcategory, Ohio ranked first in "most improved economic development policies." As Ohio's economic engines, municipalities play a critical role in providing a business-friendly environment that supports jobs and economic development throughout the state.
  • The League regrets to report that Delaware Country Treasurer and former state representative Jon Peterson passed away earlier this week. Peterson represented Delaware County in the House of Representatives for five terms, from 1998 to 2008. We also regret to report the passing of former state senator Cooper Snyder, who represented Highland county just over four terms from 1979 through 1996. Our thoughts are with their families. 
  • Ohio's September tax revenue estimates were exceeded by 2%, or $37.3 million. Total tax revenues totaled at $1.93 billion for the month. This marks the third month in a row of exceeded revenue estimates. The first three months of the fiscal year have seen their estimates surpassed by $71.4 million in total.
The Senate has introduced a companion bill to HB 242, which is the municipal preemption on taxing auxiliary containers. The Senate's version of the bill, SB 222, was introduced this week by Sen. Rulli (R - Salem). (Link: https://bit.ly/2MmvbVN).
Like the bill in the House, SB 222 prohibits a municipality from taxing containers such as plastic bags and takeout boxes, as well as applying existing anti-littering laws to those containers. This bill is yet another in a long line of legislative preemptions from the General Assembly that continue to erode the Home Rule authority granted to Ohio's cities and villages in Article XVIII of the state's constitution.
The League's Executive Director, Kent Scarrett, published an op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch last month discussing the "bag tax" municipal preemption, as well as the history of preemptions passed by the legislature over the past several years. You can read his column in full HERE.
As with HB 242, the League opposes SB 222 and will follow closely any progress the misguided proposal may receive. If the bill receives committee action, we will notify our members with a Call-to-Action to let them know when there is an opportunity for municipal leaders to come to Columbus and testify against this bill and its violation of the principles of Home Rule authority.
In the meantime, we strongly encourage our members to contact their state senators and alert them of this dangerous piece of legislation and the challenges it will present for the tenets of local control and respect for Home Rule authorities.
This week, Sen. Dolan (R - Chagrin Falls) introduced SB 221, which is the official legislation implementing Gov. DeWine's "STRONG Ohio" plan dedicated to curbing gun violence in Ohio. (Link: https://bit.ly/2Mk4Pn4). The bill as written would do the following:
  • issue a Safety Protection Order in specific circumstances regarding a person who a court determines is under a drug dependency, chronic alcoholic, or mental health-related firearms disability.
  • specify Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) and National Crime Information Center (NCIC) reporting and removal procedures for certain types of protection orders.
  • require submissions to the Attorney General to include findings of incompetent to stand trial (IST) or not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) in LEADS.
  • modify some of the prohibitions under the offense of "unlawful transactions in weapons", such as increased penalties for "straw purchases" (purchasing a firearm for someone legally unable to purchase a firearm).
  • add new prohibitions and exemptions under the "unlawful transactions in weapons" offense, including a new exemption if a state background check mechanism enacted by this bill is used to determine that the individual receiving the firearm is not barred from possessing a firearm.
  • provide a seller's protection certificate in certain circumstances under the bill's new state background check mechanism.
  • increase the penalty for certain firearms-related offenses in specified circumstances, such as committing a felony while possessing a firearm.
  • 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.
  • provide a new exception to testimonial privilege for specified medical and dental personnel regarding certain probate court proceedings.
The League will be tracking this legislation closely as it begins committee hearings and we will inform our members of any changes that are made as it moves through the legislative process.

The League's 2019 Annual Conference is almost here! We hope you've registered to join us from Wednesday, Oct. 23rd to Friday, Oct. 25th at the downtown Renaissance Hotel.
Our Annual Conference will offer the exclusive opportunity to hear from Ohio leaders Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel, who will be discussing the timely and relevant topic on community crisis management. Ohio's cities and villages are learning how to navigate the shifting landscape for keeping our communities safe, and this is a session you won't want to miss. Local leaders and their staff will also hear firsthand how Governor DeWine's administration is working alongside Ohio's municipalities from Director of the Development Services Agency and former Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik.

We are very excited to give our attendees the opportunity to hear from Leon Andrews, Director for the National League of Cities' Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) initiative to discuss strategies for creating a more inclusive and equitable community. REAL offers communities the tools and resources they need to build safe communities where all races and cultures thrive in every area of life.

Our keynote speaker this year is nationally-renowned communications expert Jan Hargrave, who has been featured on national television programs and worked with some of the most recognizable companies as well as many world leaders on developing successful communication techniques. You can learn more about all of our featured speakers HERE.

Educational workshops on current issues, as well as roundtables with other municipal leaders, will give attendees the chance to network, build valuable relationships and exchange best practices. The conference will host a large variety of vendors with programs and products that may benefit your municipality. And it wouldn't be a League conference without some entertainment: Thursday night will feature both a Casino Night as well as a raffle prize drawing.

You can find the updated conference agenda HERE and register HERE. We look forward to seeing you there!

Here are the bills impacting municipalities that received committee hearings this week:
  • HB 295 - ELECTRIC SCOOTERS. Sponsored by Rep. Hoops (R - Napoleon), would establish requirements governing low-speed electric scooters. During its fourth hearing before the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee, the bill was voted unanimously out of committee. It now heads to the Senate for further hearings. The League is neutral on this legislation.(Link: https://bit.ly/30I0H4t)
  • 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 first hearing before the House Economic and Workforce Development Committee, the bill's sponsor said the bill is targeted towards "mega-development projects designed to revitalize downtown areas and boost local economies. The League is supportive of this legislation.(Link: https://bit.ly/2Juc8Zm)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Tue., Oct. 22, 2019, 10:00 AM, Hearing Room 122
Rep. Brinkman: 614-644-6886
PTSD COVERAGE - FIRST RESPONDERS (PATTON T) Concerning workers' compensation and disability retirement for peace officers, firefighters, and emergency medical workers diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder arising from employment without an accompanying physical injury. 
Second Hearing, Proponent Testimony
FIREFIGHTER CANCER CLAIMS (PATTON T) Regarding charging workers' compensation experience in firefighter cancer claims. 
Second Hearing, Proponent Testimony
Tue., Oct. 22, 2019, 3:00 PM, Hearing Room 116
Rep. Merrin: 614-466-1731
STATE AND LOCAL TAX INDUCEMENTS (KUNZE S, PETERSON B) To enhance state and local tax inducements for businesses making substantial fixed asset and employment investments and their suppliers. 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
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. 
Third Hearing, All Testimony
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Wed., Oct. 23, 2019, 3:15 PM, North Hearing Room
Sen. Schuring: 614-466-0626
LOCAL FIREARMS RESTRICTIONS (THOMAS C, CRAIG H) To restore local authority to generally regulate firearms-related conduct. 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
OFFICE OF DRUG POLICY (BROWN R, STOLTZFUS R) To establish the Governor's Office of Drug Policy and to make an appropriation. 
Fourth Hearing, All Testimony

Ohio Municipal League Meetings & Trainings

OML Annual Conference
October 23 ~ 25, 2019
Renissance Hotel, Downtown Columbus

MFOAO Annual Fall Conference
October 23 & 24, 2019
Renissance Hotel, Downtown Columbus

Mayors Court Refresher Trainings
October 25 & November 15

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