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June 22, 2018
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:

  • Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week that Ohio is allowed to purge inactive voters from its voter rolls, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has announced that no voters will be purged before the November 6th general election.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling in the South Dakota v. Wayfair case this week and ruled that state and local governments are allowed to apply sales and use tax to remote sales. To read more about this ruling, you can reference our bulletin blast from earlier this week HERE.

  • The House voted to seat former county commissioner Shane Wilkin as the representative for the 91st House District. Rep. Wilkin is replacing former Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger.

This week, the Ohio Supreme Court has overturned a ruling regarding a law allowing the state to deduct Local Government Funds from any municipalities that collect fines from tickets issues by traffic cameras.

In 2014, the legislature passed SB 342, which included provisions severely restricting municipal use of traffic cameras. The City of Toledo challenged these restrictions in the Lucas County Common Pleas Court. The court found those provisions to be unconstitutional and thus prevented the law from being enforced. The state appealed this decision, and during this appeal the legislature passed a new law, the biennial budget bill HB 64. In this new law were included provisions stating that any municipality who does not comply with the previous provisions will have their Local Government Funds deducted in the amount of the fees they collect via traffic cameras. The courts found the state in contempt of their previous ruling and blocked the implementation of this new law.

 The Ohio Supreme Court decision was on the ruling that blocked the implementation of the provisions in HB 64 deducting LGF monies from non-compliant municipalities. Though the courts had ruled portions of SB 342 unconstitutional, it had failed to establish the relevant portions of HB 64 as unconstitutional as well. Now the city of Toledo must now challenge the constitutionality of the provisions in HB 64 going forward. The League will continue to monitor and report on this case as it moves through the legal process.


This week, both opponents and proponents, including the League's Executive Director Kent Scarrett, came before the House Ways and Means Committee to testify on HB 571. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), would specify that, for the purposes of the sales and use tax and local lodging taxes, the "price" on the basis of which a hotel intermediary must collect and remit the tax is the total amount paid by the customer for the hotel lodging, as advertised by the hotel intermediary.

Additional proponents of this bill include the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association, the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, the Ohio Township Association, the County Commissioner Association of Ohio. You can read Director Scarrett's testimony HERE, in addition to a joint written statement of support from both the League and the Ohio Township Association HERE.

The bill's supporters explained that the bill closes a loophole allowing Online Travel Agencies (OTA) to collect local lodging taxes but not remit them to the requisite local government entities. Because these companies are already collecting these taxes, the bill is simply mandating that OTAs remit the taxes they already currently collect within the price they currently charge for the rooms they sell. This means there will be no increase in price on the consumer level. The buyer will still pay the same rates for rooms booked on OTAs, and local governments have the potential to receive millions of dollars in local lodging tax that they are currently being denied.

The League will continue to monitor and report on the status of this bill as it moves through the legislative process. In the meantime, the League is asking our members to contact their state representative and express their support for this bill.    


This week, the House passed a bill that would remove the cap on the amount of grant monies the state can allocate to a municipality for hosting a major sporting event. HB 531, sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton) and Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), removes limitations on the amount of sports events grants that may be awarded in a fiscal year or for a specific grant, would modify eligibility requirements for such grants, and would fund the grant program from state sales tax receipts.

Almost ten years ago, the state started a grant program that allocates grants up to $500,000 to local organizing committees, counties or municipalities who are hosting a major sporting event. In addition to removing the $500,000 cap, the bill mandates that the grant program be funded via sales taxes in a fund administered by the Ohio Department of Development Services.

A municipality hosting a major sporting event would be eligible for grant monies from this fund provided the event will generate over $250,000 in economic growth. During prior committee hearings, proponents of the bill gave examples of just how much economic activity these kinds of events can create. The Greater Columbus Sports Commission claimed that since 2000, the events they've sponsored in Columbus and Cleveland have generated over $570 million. A representative for the CEO of the Cincinnati Reds said the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game created $70 million in economic impact.
This bill will help empower municipalities to bid for the opportunity to hosts these kinds of events, knowing these grant funds will help offset the cost while generating revenue for the local community. The League is supportive of this bill, and we will continue to track and report on this legislation as it heads to the Senate to begin the hearing process. 

Here are the bills of municipal interest that were passed by the House of Representatives this week:

  • HB361 - LOCAL PROPERTY TAX. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), expands the timeframe for deciding local property tax complaints. This week, the House passed the bill out of the chamber 89-2. The League is supportive of this legislation.
    • HB 342 - TAX LEVIES. This bill, sponsored by Merrin (R - Monroe Township), changes ballot language on local tax issues. The bill was passed out of the House Chamber 59-31. The League is neutral on this legislation.
  • HB 522 - LIQUOR PERMITTING. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Lanese (R - Grove City), allows those with F liquor permits to participate in outdoor refreshment areas. The House passed the bill out of the chamber 81-5. The League is supportive of this legislation.

This week, with Rep. Ryan Smith (R - Bidwell) elected as the new Speaker of the House, representatives got to work voting on a lengthy backlog of bills that have been stalled on the House floor during the speaker's election process. Here is a list of all the bills that the House voted out of the chamber this week:

  • HB 139 (Perales-Keller). Lifts exemptions from public disclosure on permanently retained records 100 years after their creation. 91-0. 
  • SB 4 (Kunze, Oelslager). Expands expungement opportunities for human trafficking victims. 79-12.
  • HB 58 (Brenner, Slaby). Requires State Board of Education to adopt model curriculum on cursive handwriting. 87-4.
  • HB 296 (Gavarone). Moves aggravated drug trafficking from fourth-degree to third-degree felony if done near drug treatment center. 84-0.
  • HB 231 (Ginter, Sprague). Creates pilot program for dispending controlled substances. 84-2.
  • HB 365 (Hughes, Boggs). Reagan Tokes Act. 83-3.
  • HB 383 (Carfagna). Requires notice to parents when a child care center is found to have created serious risks to children's health and safety. 82-2. 
  • HB 402 (Hill). Changes telephone company regulation. 58-30. 
  • HB 406 (Lanese). Adds certain mental health professionals involved in criminal justice matters to the list of those whose home addresses are exempt from disclosure under public records laws. 83-0. 
  • HB 454 (Patterson, Arndt). Addresses sold but unused township cemetery plots. 84-1. 
  • HB 477 (Koehler) Repeals outdated laws relevant to education. 88-0. 
  • HB 494 (Antani). Specifies franchisors are not to be regarded as the joint employer for franchisees' workers. 66-23
  • HB 513 (Brenner-Ginter). Expands the homestead exemption for surviving spouses of fallen first responders. 92-0.
  • HB 541 (Patterson, LaTourette), waiving license restrictions for short-term volunteer service by health professionals from other states. 88-0.
  • HB 548 (McClain). Allows motorcycle operators to wear earplugs for hearing protection while riding. 89-0. 
  • HB 552 (LaTourette). Deals with chemical capture and euthanasia of animals. 82-3. 
  • SB 257 (Uecker, O'Brien). Updates hunting and fishing license laws. 89-0.
  • SB 86 (Hackett). Omnibus highway and bridge designation; creates license plate and awareness day. 92-0.

Here are the bills of municipal interest that received hearings in committee this past week.   
  • HB 643 - WATER IMPROVEMENTS. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Arndt (R - Port Clinton) and Rep. Patterson (D - Jefferson), would allow equipment for the protection and preservation of Lake Erie to be purchased with proceeds from the Parks and Recreation Improvement Fund and to appropriate funds for projects enhancing water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin. During its fourth hearing before the House Finance Committee, the bill was voted unanimously out of committee. This was after a substitute bill was adopted changing the source of funding for a phosphorus reduction program in the Department of Agriculture. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • HB 625 - AUXILIARY CONTAINERS. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Lang (R - West Chester Township) and Rep. Lipps (R - Franklin), would authorize a person to use an auxiliary container for any purpose, to prohibit a municipal corporation, charter county, or limited home rule township from imposing a tax or fee on auxiliary containers, and to clarify that the existing anti-littering law applies to auxiliary containers. During its second hearing before the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee, proponents of the bill, including the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Manufacturers' Association, voiced their support of the bill. It is important to note that to date, no municipality, county or township in Ohio have passed any such tax or fee on auxiliary containers. The League is opposed to this legislation.
  • SB 239 - REGIONAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS. This bill, sponsored Sen. Dolan (R - Chagrin Falls), would modify the law concerning regional councils of governments. During its second hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, a representative from the state Auditor's office cited specific examples of malpractice as evidence for the bill's necessity. The Ohio News Media also supported the legislation, as did OML Executive Director Kent Scarrett, who submitted written proponent testimony.  You can read that testimony HERE.
  • HB 675 -TAX LEVY. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Barnes (D - Cleveland), would expressly authorize municipal corporations to impose an unvoted property tax levy not exceeding one mill per dollar of taxable value for the purpose of funding a local Hope for a Smile Program. During its second hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, proponents from dental associations praised the bill for seeking to help alleviate dental professional shortages in rural Ohio. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • SB 17 - LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Tavares (R - Columbus), would increase monthly allocations to the Local Government Fund from 1.66% to 3.68% of the total tax revenue credited to the General Revenue Fund each month. During its first hearing in the Senate Finance Committee, no testimony was given on this bill. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • SB 213 - ECONOMIC PROGRAMS. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Schiavoni (D - Boardman), would enhance economic and employment opportunities and improve local infrastructure in Ohio by providing additional assistance to workforce development and employment programs; establishing a revolving loan program for small businesses seeking to expand operations; extending job tax credits to smaller businesses; enabling expanded participation in public sector contracting by smaller companies; enhancing support for child care centers; funding additional local infrastructure and public transit; authorizing tax incentives for hiring military veterans, for donating money to local programs assisting distressed communities, or for improving distressed property; exempting the homes of disabled veterans from property taxation; terminating the income tax deduction and reduced tax rate for business income; and make an appropriation. During its first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the bill's sponsor explained the legislation's intention to promote economic development and job growth by investing in small businesses. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • HB 281 - BROADBAND EXPANSION. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Carfagna (R - Genoa Township), would establish the residential broadband expansion program within the Development Services Agency to award matching grants for last mile broadband expansion in municipal corporations and townships and make an appropriation. During its first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the bill's sponsor explained that the bill is designed to help provide broadband service for Ohio residents who currently lack such service. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • SB 252 - VISITORS BUREAUS. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Peterson (R - Sabina), 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 first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the bill's sponsor said county commissioners understand how best to aid a convention and visitors' bureau, making the bill a "good government" bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.
  • SB 268 - THEFT IN OFFICE. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Wilson (R - Maineville), would expand the increased penalties for theft in office based on the amount of property or services stolen and to include as restitution certain audit costs of the entity that suffered the loss involved in the offense. During sponsor testimony, the bill's sponsor explained that in one year, 74 public officials stole a total of over $2 million. However, the maximum penalty for theft in office is currently only a third-degree felony. The bill therefore provides more accountability for public officials. The League is supportive of this legislation.

This week the League held a successful webinar on the implementation of HB 478, the bill regarding the deployment of micro wireless facilities within the municipal right-of-way. On Thursday, the League and the Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association hosted a webinar titled "Small Cell Wireless Service & placement of Facilities in the Public Way." Hundreds of participants from over 37 municipalities received crucial information regarding the contents of the new law and the implications for municipalities. We want to thank speakers Gregory J. Dunn, Christopher Miller, and Lindsay Miller of Ice Miller LLP in Columbus for an excellent presentation and for answering many important questions from webinar participants. For those who were unable to attend, the recording and the power point slides from the presentation are available for purchase. If you are interested in purchasing this presentation, you can find the order form HERE.

In addition to the webinar, the League was involved in a second educational opportunity regarding small cell infrastructure. On Monday, the City of Dublin hosted the Municipal Design Guidelines Workshop to help foster productive discussions surrounding best practices. Over the course of the entire day, including a working lunch sponsored by the League, participants heard from Christopher Miller and Lindsey Miller of Ice Miller LLP on the bill's content, examined the City of Dublin's design guidelines and directed pertinent questions to a panel of telecommunication industry representatives. We would like to thank the City of Dublin for hosting this important educational event.

Next month, the City of Bowling Green and Bowling Green State University are hosting a Town & Gown Summit on July 18-20.  The purpose of the summit is to allow city and university staff to discuss topics that are relevant to communities that host colleges and universities, identify common challenges, share best practices and collaborate on solutions. For those interested in attending, please click
HERE for registration and more information.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Tue., Jun. 26, 2018, 9:45 AM, South Hearing Room
Sen. Uecker: 614-466-8082
TRAFFIC ORDINANCE JURISDICTIONS (CRAIG H, SEITZ B) To specify the jurisdiction of municipal and county courts over municipal traffic ordinances and to establish requirements governing fines, fees, or other charges for traffic violations and infractions imposed by a municipal corporation that does not have the authority to establish a mayor's court. 
Fourth Hearing, Sponsor/All Testimony, POSSIBLE VOTE
Tue., Jun. 26, 2018, 11:15 AM, North Hearing Room
Sen. Eklund: 614-644-7718
PROPERTY VALUE CONTEST-RESOLUTIONS (MERRIN D) To require local governments that contest property values to formally pass an authorizing resolution for each contest and to notify property owners. 
Second Hearing, All Testimony
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Wed., Jun. 27, 2018, 9:00 AM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
Sen. Balderson: 614-466-8076
LAKE ERIE IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (SKINDELL M, EKLUND J) To authorize the creation of a special improvement district to facilitate Lake Erie shoreline improvement. 
Fourth Hearing, All Testimony, POSSIBLE VOTE
Wed., Jun. 27, 2018, 9:45 AM, North Hearing Room
Sen. Coley: 614-466-8072
SPECIAL ELECTION REQUIREMENTS (PELANDA D, RETHERFORD W) To eliminate the requirement of holding a special election to fill a vacancy in a party nomination for the office of representative to Congress under certain circumstances. 
Second Hearing, All Testimony, AMENDMENTS/POSSIBLE VOTE
OFFICIAL NOTICE DELIVERY (HAMBLEY S, RYAN S) To authorize certain state agencies, local governments, and other boards, commissions, and officers to deliver certain notices by ordinary mail and electronically instead of by certified mail. 
Fourth Hearing, All Testimony, AMENDMENTS/POSSIBLE VOTE
LOCAL GOVERNMENT CREDIT CARDS (SCHURING K, GREENSPAN D) Regarding use of credit cards and debit cards by political subdivisions. 
Fourth Hearing, All Testimony, AMENDMENTS/POSSIBLE VOTE


Upcoming Meetings & Events

Regional Summer Conference Series
June 29, August 17
Annual Municipal Income Tax Seminar
July 11 ~ 13, 2018
Renaissance Hotel 
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