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 June 5, 2020

OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
 
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
 
  • SB 310, legislation providing a distribution system for CARES Act funds to local governments below 500,000 in population, is almost through the legislative process. In order for municipalities to receive their distribution, they will need to pass a resolution stating they will follow the federal guidelines on eligible expenditures and will be required to register their contact info and DUNS number at grants.ohio.gov. You can find a sample resolution HERE. Once passed, copies of the resolution should be sent to the county auditor and the Office of Budget and Management (OBM). 
  • The Governor announced this week that playgrounds and public recreation centers will be permitted to reopen June 10th. The list of additional reopenings are included in this bulletin. The League has been communicating frequently with the administration regarding the negative impact of the executive order preventing municipalities from enforcing the collection of utility bills is having on local revenues. We have been told that an announcement on this policy will be provided very soon.  
  • The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) has released an updated list of the various grants currently available to local governments. You can access that list HERE.
 
 
OHIO HOUSE PASSES LEGISLATION TO DISTRIBUTE CARES ACT FUNDS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
 
Yesterday evening, the full Ohio House voted 87-8 to pass a heavily-amended SB 310, which will distribute federal aid to Ohio's local governments.
 
SB 310, sponsored by Sen. Dolan (R - Chagrin Falls), initially allocates $350 million of federal aid from the CARES Act to local governments through a slightly modified version of the Local Government Fund (LGF) formula. The bill also reserves $850 million for another distribution to local governments pending the release of federal guidelines that allows more flexibility for using the funds.
 
While in the House Finance Committee, capital reappropriations language was adopted that renews funding for every current capital project. You can view the amendment language, which contains a list of all the capital projects, HERE. Additionally, you can find the full list of Public Works Commission (PWC) projects awaiting reappropriations, along with the political subdivision in which they are located, HERE.
 
A number of additional amendments were adopted by the House Finance Committee. Those amendments do the following:
  • As requested by Gov. DeWine, allows for a pay freeze for non-union state workers and grants authority for the auditor, treasurer, attorney general and secretary of state to seek the same freezes. This does not affect hazard pay related to COVID-19 (language HERE);
  • Modifies Medicaid rates for nursing facilities. The amendment will result in costing $3.2 million in state funding and $27 million from federal funding (language HERE); 
  • Gives local governments the ability to provide small business loans with their shares of CARES Act funds. The language reiterates the guidelines provided by the federal government (language HERE);  
  • Exempts the federal Paycheck Protection Program for businesses from the Commercial Activity Tax (language HERE);
  • Closes a loophole allowing transportation improvement district projects to avoid prevailing wage requirements (language HERE).
 
Before being voted out by the full House, four floor amendments were adopted into the bill. Those amendments do the following:
 
  • Exempts subdivisions that received a direct distribution of CARES Act funds from the minimum prescribed in the bill for local small business grant programs. That means the City of Columbus as well as Franklin, Cuyahoga, Montgomery, Hamilton and Summit counties can use that funding to award grants to small businesses to the full extent permitted under the CARES Act. Local governments receiving funding through the state share of CARES Act funds still have to comply with the minimum standards under the bill (language HERE);
  • Allows local governments to furlough employees for 480 hours, or 60 days. This language would only apply to FY21 (language HERE); 
  • Allows municipalities and townships to temporarily divert payments in lieu of taxes the subdivision received from a tax increment financing (TIF) project to use instead for public safety or road maintenance expenses not covered by the CARES Act. The diversion can be up to 25 percent. If the federal government loosens restrictions on CARES Act funding, local governments will have to pay money back to the TIF (language HERE); 
  • Exempts local governments from competitive bidding requirements when necessary to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. The state currently has this exemption (language HERE).
 
You can read a complete synopsis of all the amendments adopted by the House HERE.
 
 
SB 310 was then voted out of the House by a vote of 87-8. The eight representatives that voted against the legislation were Rep. Brinkman (R - Cincinnati), Rep. Hood (R - Ashville), Rep. Keller (R - Middletown), Rep. Vitale (R - Urbana), Rep. Dean (R - Xenia), Rep. Jordan (R - Ostrander), Rep. Powell (R - Laura), and Rep. Zeltwanger (R - Mason).
 
The bill will now be sent to the Senate for concurrence on the changes made by the House. It is possible a conference committee may be convened instead to concur on the bill, but no official announcement has been made. After concurrence, the bill will be sent to the Governor for his signature. The bill will become effective immediately upon the Governor' s signature.
 
Additionally, the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) have released a spreadsheet with estimated distributions each county will receive under SB 310. You can find an explanation of the spreadsheet HERE and the spreadsheet itself HERE.
 
The League is grateful that the House has passed this important legislation, and we are hopeful that it will be accepted by the Senate and sent immediately to Gov. DeWine for his signature. We encourage our members to contact their Senators and urge for quick concurrence on the bill, and we will continue to keep our members apprised of this legislation.
 
 
 
GOVERNOR DEWINE ANNOUNCES ENTERTAINMENT FACILITY REOPENINGS AND OTHER UPDATES IN PRESS CONFERENCE
 
Here are the updates from the press conferences Gov. DeWine held this week:
 
 
Reopening Announcements:
 
  • The following entertainment venues may open beginning June 10 if they are able to follow Retail, Consumer, Service & Entertainment Guidelines along with any other applicable additional guidance:
    • Aquariums
    • Art galleries
    • Country clubs
    • Ice skating rinks
    • Indoor family entertainment centers
    • Indoor sports facilities
    • Laser tag facilities
    • Movie theaters (indoor)
    • Museums
    • Playgrounds (outdoor)
    • Public recreation centers
    • Roller skating rinks
    • Social clubs
    • Trampoline parks
    • Zoos
 
  • On June 19, the following entertainment facilities will be allowed to reopen once they submit plans for how they will be keeping people safe:
    • Casinos
    • Racinos
    • Amusement parks
    • Water parks
    • Outdoor theaters
 
 
GOVERNOR DEWINE ANNOUNCES EFFORTS TO IMPROVE ISSUES OF RACISM AND INEQUALITY
 
Governor DeWine announced that he is intensifying efforts in Ohio to improve issues of health and economic disparities, racism, and inequity. The efforts will include new plans to improve law enforcement access to quality training, enhancing transparency between the police and the public, recruiting more minorities to serve as peace officers, and adding more oversight to Ohio's law enforcement agencies to ensure accountability.
Additionally, other continuing work will include addressing lead paint poisoning in children, reducing infant and maternal mortality in the African American community, increasing home visiting programs for at-risk, first-time moms, fighting the drug epidemic in Ohio, and prioritizing the availability of mental health services in Ohio's schools for children who need them.
 
The Governor's office will be releasing further details on these initiatives, and we will provide our members with this information as it becomes available.
 
   
 
LEAGUE THANKS U.S. SENATOR SHERROD BROWN FOR JOINING MAYORS CONFERENCE CALL
 
The League, along with the Mayors Association of Ohio, thanks U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown for joining a weekly mayor's conference call to discuss the decisions being made in Washington that will affect Ohio's cities and villages. Sen. Brown also took the time to answer questions from our mayors and speak with them about the issues they are facing in their local communities.
 
We are grateful for the work Sen. Brown does in our nation's capital to advocate for Ohio's municipalities, as well as his appreciation of the crucial role local government plays in the lives of Ohio residents. We appreciate the opportunity to speak with him and discuss what steps can be taken to rebuild a strong, bright economic future for Ohio's municipalities.
 
   
 
UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE COMMUNITIES INVITED TO SIGN LETTER URGING FOR ADDITIONAL FEDERAL AID
 
The National League of Cities' (NLC) University Communities Council, along with the International Town & Gown Association and International City/County Management Association (ICMA), are asking local governments to sign a university and college communities letter to the U.S. Senate to ask for direct federal support to stabilize local budgets after COVID-19 and begin to recover economically. Senators will need to decide soon if they will respond to a House bill that included direct support to communities like ours. All communities are anticipating the economic challenges ahead, which is why a collective letter to the Senate is needed now before they make a decision.
 
You can read the letter HERE and add your name and community by using the sign-on form HERE. All those interested in signing the letter just do so before June 15th. If you have any questions or technical difficulties, you can contact Brittney Kohler at kohler@nlc.org .
 
 
 
A MESSAGE TO OHIO'S MUNICIPAL LEADERS
 
The following is an article from the League's Executive Director Kent Scarrett that will appear in the upcoming edition of Cities and Villages magazine:
 
The past several months, our local communities have faced multiple crises that will have a lasting impact on society. Even now, local leaders are in the midst of guiding their residents through a period of unprecedented fear and unrest. Communities across the state are suffering from deep revenue cuts while continuing to deliver quality local services through the worst global pandemic in modern history. In recent days, civil unrest towards systemic racism and inequality have broken out in both peaceful protests and violent riots that have left the downtowns of many cities shattered and burned. These circumstances are unique, and our municipal leaders have never faced such challenging times.
 
I have been proud to watch Ohio's cities and villages respond to these crises. Our communities are in need of strong local engagement and leadership, and our municipal leaders are rising to meet these challenges. The work local governments do to provide their residents with public health and safety has never been more on display; however, there is still so much more work to be done before these difficult times are behind us.
 
Our communities must be united now more than ever. These crises are an opportunity to come together, to help one another, to work with one another and to witness what a united community can truly accomplish.
 
While municipal leaders across our state are working on behalf of their residents, the League is committed to ensuring they have the most accurate and up-to-date information they need to make the right decisions. We do not just advocate on behalf of our municipalities at the Statehouse; we also work to provide constant updates as decisions are made by the state and federal government that affect local communities. In addition to our publications and webinars, we also facilitate communication and collaboration among municipal leaders through regular conference calls. These are not challenges that we can overcome alone. Cities and villages must work together, asking questions and sharing best practices to see Ohio and its residents safely through to the other side.
 
The work is far from over, but our cities and villages are well equipped to work together towards healing and equity in our communities. This is an opportunity for municipal leaders to reach out to their residents and provide the guidance and stability our communities need now more than ever. As municipal leaders continue to work on behalf of their citizens, we will continue to work on behalf of our local leaders. We cannot survive these times without coming together, and I know Ohio's cities and villages are capable of creating united communities that will lead our state into a stable and prosperous future.
 
 
 
 
MUNICIPAL BILLS ON THE MOVE
 
Here are the bills of municipal interest that passed the House and Senate this week:
 
  • HB 253 - FIREWORKS. Sponsored by former Rep. Manning and Rep. O'Brien (D - Bazetta), would revise the Fireworks Law by among other things allowing for the discharge of legally purchased fireworks within the state. Municipalities would retain local control on the discharging of fireworks within their communities. After being voted out of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, the bill was passed by the full House by a vote of 77-17. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HB 680 - MAIL ELECTION. Sponsored by Rep. Abrams (R- Harrison), would create a procedure to conduct an election entirely by mail in the case of a public health emergency, to modify certain deadlines for absent voting, and to direct the Secretary of State's use of federal CARES Act funds. The bill was amended during its second hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee that, among other changes, set the deadline for voters to request mail-in ballots at seven days before the election. The bill was then passed by the full House by a vote of 61-34. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
  • SB 277 - POOLED COLLATERAL. Sponsored by Sen. Schuring (R - Canton), would make changes to the Ohio Pooled Collateral Program. The bill was passed by the full Senate unanimously. The League is neutral on 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. The bill was passed by the full Senate unanimously. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • HB 425 - CONCEALED WEAPONS. Sponsored by Rep. Wiggam (R - Wooster), would modify the requirement that a concealed handgun licensee must notify a law enforcement officer that the licensee is authorized to carry a concealed handgun and is carrying a concealed handgun when stopped. The bill was informally passed by the House. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
 
 
 
COMMITTEE UPDATE: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
 
Here are the bills impacting municipalities that received committee hearings this week:
 
  • 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. During its third hearing before the House Civil Justice Committee, a substitute bill was introduced that allows a project owner to sue a design firm for breach of contract. The League testified as an interested party. You can read the testimony in full HERE (Link: https://bit.ly/3cCArhQ)
 
  • HB 674 - LIQUOR LAWS. Sponsored by Rep. Hillyer (R - Urichsville), would revise specified provisions of the liquor control law and declare an emergency. During its second hearing before the House Commerce and Labor Committee, the League submitted interested party testimony, which you can read HERE. During its third hearing, an amendment was adopted that, among other changes, expanded the area in which it would be legal to consumer beer or liquor bought in an airport restaurant.
 
  • HB 308 - PSTD COVERAGE. Sponsored by Rep. Patton (R - Strongsville), concerns workers' compensation and disability retirement for peace officers, firefighters, and emergency medical workers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder arising from employment without an accompanying physical injury. During its third hearing before the Senate General Government and Agency Review Committee, opponents testified against the bill. The League submitted joint opponent testimony along with the County Commissioner's Association of Ohio and the Ohio Township Association, which you can read HERE. (Link: https://bit.ly/3eTwDu1)
 
  • SB 308 - CIVIL IMMUNITY. Sponsored by Sen. Huffman (R - Lima), would revise the law governing immunity from civil liability and professional discipline for health care providers during disasters or emergencies, provide qualified civil immunity to service providers providing services during and after a government-declared disaster, and declare an emergency. During its fifth hearing before the Sente Judiciary Committee, a substitute bill was adopted that, among other changes, removed the provisions pertaining to local governments from the bill. The League is now natural on this legislation.
 
  • HB 13 - BROADBAND EXPANSION. Sponsored by Rep. Carfagna (R - Genoa Twp.) and Rep. O'Brien (D - Warren), would establish the residential broadband expansion program and to make an appropriation. During its sixth hearing before the House Finance Committee, amendments were adopted that, among other changes, removed language regarding railroad crossings. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • HB 621 - BUSINESS OPENINGS. Sponsored by Rep. Cross (R - Kenton) and Rep. Wilkin (R - Hillsboro), would enact the Business Fairness Act and declare an emergency. During its second hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the bill's sponsors explained that the intent of the legislation was to ensure small businesses can compete equally alongside big businesses for customers in the current economic climate. The League is still looking into this legislation. (Link:https://bit.ly/3dEarDU)
 
  • HB 676 - ACCOUNTABILITY BOARDS. Sponsored by Rep. Jordan (R - Ostrander), would create twelve regional State and Local Government Accountability Appeal Boards and declare an emergency. During its third hearing before the State and Local Government Committee, no testimony was given on this bill. The League is still looking into this legislation. (Link:https://bit.ly/30edQFB)
 
  • HB 330 - WORKERS' COMPENSATION. Sponsored by Rep. Patton (R - Strongsville), would charge workers' compensation experience in firefighter cancer claims. During its third hearing before the House Insurance Committee, the Northern Ohio Fire Fighters and the Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association submitted proponent testimony in support of the bill. The League is neutral on this legislation. (Link: https://bit.ly/2MwT7VD)
 
  • HB 384 - TRAFFIC CONTROLS. Sponsored by Rep Boggs (D - Columbus) and Rep. Leland (D - Columbus), would permit a local resident, neighborhood association, or neighborhood organization to request the erection of a stop sign at an intersection and support a request for a lower prima-facie speed limit on certain streets and highways. During its second hearing before the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee, the Ohio Bicycle Federation testified in support of the bill. The League is still looking into this legislation. (Link: https://bit.ly/3cvWO8E)
 
  •  HB 614 - UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION. Sponsored by Rep. Frazier (R - Newark) and Rep. Richardson (R - Marysville), would study and reform the application, processing, and administration infrastructure of Ohio's unemployment compensation system. During its fifth hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, a substitute bill was adopted that, among other changes, requires the auditor of state's office to examine the benefit claims process. The League is still looking into this legislation. (Link:https://bit.ly/3eV997X)
 



COMMITTEE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF JUNE 7, 2020
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
SENATE HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND MEDICAID
Tue., Jun. 9, 2020, 9:30 AM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
Sen. Burke: 614-466-8049
New date of hearing originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 3.
 
RESCIND DIRECTOR OF HEALTH ORDERS (MCCOLLEY R, ROEGNER K) To rescind certain orders of the Director of Health regarding COVID-19, to require the approval of the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review for Department of Health orders to be effective for more than fourteen days, to require statewide Department of Health orders to include the Governor's signature, to modify the Department's rulemaking authority, to allow in-person high school graduation ceremonies, and to declare an emergency. 
 
Third Hearing, Opponent Testimony
 
Report(s):  My Tracked Bills, OML Legislative Report
CHECK OUR WEBSITE MONDAY FOR ANY CHANGES TO THE COMMITTEE SCHEDULE

Ohio Municipal League Meetings & Trainings

Due to COVID-19 OML Meetings & Trainings are currently postponed. 

OML/OMAA Webinar

June 18, 2020 11:00 am ~ 12:00 pm
"Public Records - Changes & Trends in 2020 "


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