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OML AT A GLANCE:
 
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
 
  • The Senate has selected Rep. Tim Schaffer (R - Lancaster) to fill the 20th Senate District vacated by former Sen. Brian Hill (R - Zanesville). Additionally, Rep. Glenn Holmes (D - McDonald) has announced his resignation from the Ohio House of Representatives. He has been appointed to the Ohio Parole Board.
  • The Bureau of Worker's Compensation has announced it is dedicating a total of $3.5 million to fund body armor for Ohio Law Enforcement officers. Approximately 335 law enforcement agencies have been approved for funding so far. Each agency can receive up to $40,000 for body armor.
  • The Ohio Tax Credit Authority has approved state tax credits to projects expected to create 455 new jobs and retain 380 current jobs while spurring over $91 million in investments. The revenue impact to the state is estimated to total around $3.25 million.
 
HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE ACCEPTS SUBSTITUTE BILL FOR HB 166
 
This Thursday afternoon, the House Finance Committee officially accepted a substitute bill to HB 166, the State Operating Budget Bill. The House Finance Committee will convene next week (Monday and Tuesday with times to be announced by the chair) to receive testimony before making final changes through an omnibus amendment. The legislation is expected to be voted out of committee and on the floor of the Ohio House next week where it will surely pass and will be sent to the Senate, where hearings and changes will continue.
 
Here are the issues in the budget impacting municipalities that were either left alone or were changed (so far) by the House Finance Committee:
 
  • Local Government Fund (LGF) Increase: The League is disappointed that there was not a greater investment made in our communities by restoring funding levels to this critical source of funding for cities and villages. The as introduced LGF funding levels were preserved at a 9.1% increase to the LGF in FY 20 and a 1.8% increase in FY 21. Although there has been a lot of talk in the legislature about support returning to the state's local "partners", the current substitute bill provides no additional relief to our financially strapped hometowns whom the state depends upon for the efficient delivery of critical services, every day.
 
  • Municipal Net Profit Estimated Payments. The substitute bill did not change the existing language which mandates that if a municipality receives a negative distribution from the state for business net profit filings (through the new state centralized collection of municipal net profit revenues) the municipality must pay the amount of the deficiency to the state from unrelated sources of municipal income, to balance the state's books. The League continues to meet with tax department officials and legislators to remove the language from the budget bill and introduced as separate legislation so that a deliberative resolution can be reached that would consider the concerns of municipalities, while achieving a better state distribution system of municipal tax revenue.
 
  • Multi-Agency Radio Communication (MARCS). The substitute bill allocates $2 million over the biennium for the local government fee offset. The League appreciates this partial reinstatement of the local fee offset for MARCs, but the need is for at least $4 million in funding over the biennium. The continued state funding of this critical resource will allow many of Ohio's local first responders to remain in the MARCs program and that the benefits of having Ohio's safety forces able to communicate among one another will continue. The League seeks full funding for this mission critical capability.
 
  • H2Ohio Fund. The substitute bill creates an advisory group of governor and legislative appointees to develop a spending plan for that program, in addition to the existing allocation of $900 million to address water quality issues.
 
  • Tax Increment Financing (TIFS). The substitute bill does not change the existing language, which allows local governments to extend TIFS to an additional 30 years for large high-impact developments.
 
  • Local Crisis Services. It does not initially appear that the substitute bill changed the existing language, which funds local crisis services related to substance use disorder with General Revenue Funds (GRF) rather than diverting funds from the LGF.
 
  • Opportunity Zones. The substitute bill did not change the existing language, which conforms Ohio law to include the Opportunity Zones established in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 for economically-distressed communities to attract businesses that will invest in revitalizing local communities.
 
  • Ohio Business Gateway (OBG). The substitute bill did not change the existing language, which increases funding for the OBG by 295.34% in FY 20.
 
  • Local Government Audit Support. The substitute bill creates a new General Revenue Fund (GRF) line item to support the Auditor of State's costs when they are not recovered from local governments or state entities that have been audited. The substitute bill also increases the allocates for local government audit support to $13 million each fiscal year.
 
  • Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Lab Testing. The substitute bill does not change the existing language, which allocates a total of $21 million over the biennium for BCI lab tests, defraying the cost that would otherwise be passed to local governments.
 
  • Property Tax Replacement Phase-Out. The substitute bill did not change the existing language, which phases out the Property Tax Replacement for local governments.
 
The League appreciates the changes the House Finance Committee made to budget provisions that positively impact municipalities but we remain frustrated by the lack of support returning to our communities via a real restoration of the LGF.
 
We encourage our members to continue to reach-out to their state representatives and senators to impress upon them the need for more LGF funding and to remind them that our communities are the front lines to a successful state and there needs to be more recognition and support shown to those that protect and serve every day.
 
As mentioned previously, language continues to be crafted for the next state operating budget and an omnibus amendment will be offered next week as the final changes to the bill before heading to the senate. League members should call and write their members of the General Assembly to remind them of the real needs at home and to restore real support to our beleaguered communities.
 
 
BILL PREEMPTING MUNICIPAL CONTROL OF WATER SYSTEMS RECEIVES SECOND HEARING
 
This Wednesday, the House Public Utilities Committee held a second hearing on legislation that would penalize a municipality for charging what the municipality calculates is a fair rate for extending and managing water and sewer services to neighboring political subdivisions.
 
The bill is similar to a provision that was vetoed by former Gov. John Kasich in the previous State Operating Budget. The issue reemerged in HB 602, sponsored by former Rep. Duffey (R - Worthington) during the last General Assembly, where it too failed to garner enough support for passage.
 
The new version of the bill for this legislative session  (HB 163) is sponsored by Rep. Brinkman (R - Cincinnati) and allows political subdivisions to sue a municipality that they deem to be a "noncompliant municipal corporation" for charging what they would allege to be inflated water rates to extraterritorial areas. Municipalities found to be "noncompliant" by a court would have their Local Government Funds withheld, in addition to water and sewer funds withheld from the Ohio EPA, the Ohio Public Works Commission, the Ohio Water Development Authority and the Ohio Development Services Agency until the municipality can prove they are no longer "noncompliant". This legislation would be a litigator's dream come true.    
 
It is a well-established fact that municipalities do not arbitrarily set rates for extending water and sewer services to townships. When a municipality and a political subdivision who requests the infrastructure support agrees to the municipality extending those services to the entity or renewing the existing legal contract, the municipality alone bears the cost for designing the infrastructure, building it out to the recipients and then maintaining and updating that infrastructure into the future. These projects can run into the millions of dollars which would also include current and future Ohio and US EPA mandates for system upgrades.
 
In the event HB 163 receives a third hearing, the League will urge municipal leaders from across the state to come to Columbus and testify in opposition to this preemption and interreference in negotiated contracts between political entities. In the meantime, the League urges local leaders to contact their state representative and senator and express their opposition to this bill.
 
 
 
BILLS IMPACTING MUNICIPALITIES PASSED BY LEGISLATIVE CHAMBER
 
Here is a bill with municipal impact that was passed by the Senate this week;
 
  • SB 33 - CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITIES OFFENSES. Sponsored by Sen. Hoagland (R - Adena), would modify certain criminal offenses with respect to critical infrastructure facilities and to impose fines and civil liability for damage to a critical infrastructure facility. The bill was passed by a vote of 24-3. The League is supportive of this legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2GSjRN8 
 
 
NEW BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST INTRODUCED
 
Here is a bill impacting municipalities that was introduced this week:
 
  • HB 228 - TAX CREDIT. Sponsored Rep. Schaffer (R - Lancaster), would allow an income tax credit for law enforcement officials who purchase safety or protective items to be used in the course of law enforcement activities. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2IY4oP6
   
 
COMMITTEE RECAP: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
 
Here are the bills impacting municipalities that received committee hearings this week:
 
  • SB 52 - CYBER SECURITY. Sponsored by Sen. Gavarone (R - Bowling Green), would create the civilian cyber security reserve forces, make the Secretary of State a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, require the Secretary of State to appoint a chief information security officer, require the boards of elections to audit election results, and make an appropriation. During its first hearing before the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee, the bill's sponsor explained the legislation's intent to protect critical infrastructure, including state elections. The League is supportive of this legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2GS59FJ
 
  • HB 47 - PROPERTY TAX COMPLAINTS. Sponsored by Rep. Greenspan (R -Westlake), would increase the time within which property tax complaints must be decided and to change the name of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. During its fourth hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, the bill was voted unanimously out of committee. The League is supportive of this legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2PKHyL6
 
  • HB 143 - TAX CREDIT. Sponsored by Rep. Keller (R - Middletown) and Rep. Cera (D - Bellaire), would grant income tax credits to persons who serve as volunteer peace officers, firefighters, or emergency medical technicians. During its second hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, the bill was amended to remove the portion of the bill renaming the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation so the bill complied with the Ohio's Constitutional single-subject rule. The bill was then reported unanimously out of committee. The League is supportive of this legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2LkuTAc
 
  • HB 159 - PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS. Sponsored by Rep. Blessing (R - Cincinnati), would regulate the use of indemnity provisions in professional design contracts related to public improvements. The League opposes this legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2PJkpJ7
 
  • HB 168 - AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE. Sponsored by Rep. Arndt (R - Port Clinton), would establish an affirmative defense to a release or threatened release of hazardous substances from a facility for certain bona fide prospective purchasers. During its second hearing before the House Civil Justice Committee, proponents of the bill testified in support saying it would make it easier to develop Brownfields in Ohio and would encourage investment and job creation, boosting the state's economy. The League is supportive of this legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2UUiySV
 
  • 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. The League continues to study legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2DNudwX
 
  • SB 8 - OPPORTUNITY ZONES. Sponsored by Sen. Schuring (R - Canton), would authorize tax credits for investments in an Ohio Opportunity Zone. During its first hearing before the House Economic and Workforce Development Committee, the bill's sponsor explained the legislations intent is to give the state a special tax incentive for investment in Opportunity Zones, directing money towards areas of Ohio that need economic development. The League is supportive of this legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2GNI6fa
 
  • 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 second hearing before the House Commerce and Labor Committee, proponents argued the bill would allow workers to track their pay more easily and help them spot errors in their paystubs more quickly. The League is still looking into this legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2LuvqPU
 
  • HB 119 - LOCAL CONTROL-TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS. Sponsored by Rep. Stoltzfus (R - Minerva), would grant municipal and county courts original and exclusive jurisdiction over any civil action concerning a traffic law violation, modify certain requirements governing the use of traffic law photo-monitoring devices by a local authority, and make corrective changes to the distracted driving and texting-while-driving law. During its first hearing before the House Criminal Justice Committee, the bill was amended to remove all portions of the bill dealing with traffic cameras and municipal and county courts. The bill now only contains the portions pertaining to distracted driving. The League is now neutral on this legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2vD7Shk
 
  • SB 10 - THEFT IN OFFICE PENALTIES. Sponsored by Sen. Wilson (R - Maineville), would expand the penalties for theft in office based on the amount stolen and to include as restitution audit costs of the entity that suffered the loss. The League is supportive of this legislation. You can find the bill and accompanying documents here: https://bit.ly/2V194W5
 
 
 
ODNR TO HOST MEETINGS FOR LOCAL INPUT OF POLLUTION CONTROL PROGRAMS
 
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program (ODNR CNPCP) is seeking input from local stakeholders on the construction, operation, and maintenance of roads, highways, and bridges outside of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's (OEPA) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) regulated areas in regard to nonpoint source pollution reduction and mitigation.
 
The Ohio Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program Plan contains 56 management measures in six categories for implementation within Ohio's management area (Lake Erie Watershed). Ohio has received approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for all but one of these management measures.
 
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Office of Coastal Management has partnered with Chagrin River Watershed Partners to receive federal approval of the state's strategy to address nonpoint source pollution on Local Roads, Highways, and Bridges (RHB) in areas outside of MS4s.
 
ODNR is hoping to get the input of municipal stakeholders on a list of questions, which you can access HERE, to aid in the development of Ohio's strategy and assist in acquiring full federal approval of the state's CNPCP Plan.
 
The meeting in Hancock County will be on Monday May 13th from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM in the Hancock County Engineer's Assembly Room, 1900 Lima Avenue Findlay, OH 45840.
 
The meeting in Ashtabula County will occur on Wednesday May 15th from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM at 39 Wall Street, Jefferson, OH 44047.
 
If you are unable to attend but would like to provide feedback, please send your responses to Josh Myers at jmyers@crwp.org . RSVPs can be sent to Kristen Hebebrand at khebebrand@crwp.org .

COMMITTEE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 5, 2019
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
SENATE GENERAL GOVERNMENT AND AGENCY REVIEW
Tue., May. 7, 2019, 3:00 PM, Hearing Room 110
Sen. Schuring: 614-466-0626

Agencies testifying: 
- Department of Commerce

 
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. 
 
Third Hearing, Invited Testimony
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
 
HOUSE ECONOMIC AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Wed., May. 8, 2019, 10:00 AM, Hearing Room 114
Rep. Zeltwanger: 614-644-6027
 
TAX CREDITS-OHIO OPPORTUNITY ZONE (SCHURING K) To authorize tax credits for investments in an Ohio Opportunity Zone. 
 
Second Hearing, Proponent Testimony
 
Report(s):  My Tracked Bills, OML Legislative Report
 
SENATE HIGHER EDUCATION
Wed., May. 8, 2019, 10:00 AM, Hearing Room 110
Sen. Kunze: 614-466-5981
 
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. 
 
Fourth Hearing, Invited Testimony
 
 
SENATE GENERAL GOVERNMENT AND AGENCY REVIEW
Wed., May. 8, 2019, 3:00 PM, North Hearing Room
Sen. Schuring: 614-466-0626
Agencies testifying: 
- Development Services Agency
- Department of Natural Resources
- Environmental Protection Agency
 
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. 
 
Fourth Hearing, Invited Testimony
 
 
SENATE TRANSPORTATION, COMMERCE AND WORKFORCE
Wed., May. 8, 2019, 3:30 PM, South Hearing Room
Sen. McColley: 614-466-8150
 
FIREWORKS LAW (BURKE D) To revise the Fireworks Law. 
 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
 
PLEASE CHECK OUR WEBSITE MONDAY FOR ANY CHANGES TO THE COMMITTEE SCHEDULE
Ohio Municipal League Meetings & Trainings

Addiction & Family Empowerment Conference
Mayors Roundtable 
Saturday May 4, 2019,  Independence, Ohio  

OML/OMAA Webinar:
Downtown Redevelopment 
May 15, 2019

MAO Annual Conference 
June 12th ~ 14th, 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