- The legislature is in recess after both the House and the Senate failed to agree on a State Operating Budget, forcing both chambers to pass a 17-day interim budget.
- Ohio's new gas tax is effective as of today. The tax is expected to generate $865 million in additional revenue each year. You can review the breakdown of the revenue distribution by community on ODOT's website at www.dot.state.oh.us.
- The House of Representatives failed to concur on the Senate's changes to the Bureau of Worker's Compensation (BWC) budget, which removed coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) without an accompanying workplace injury. This bill has been sent to a conference committee to work out final language.
LEGISLATURE PASSES INTERIM STATE OPERATING AND BWC BUDGETS
This weekend, the Senate and the House respectively approved a 17-day interim state operating budget and a one-month interim budget for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
The legislative conference committee must parse through Am. Sub. HB 166, the State Operating Budget bill, and find a version of the language both chambers can agree upon. The budget bill is currently 3,217 pages long and allocates in spending $69 billion over the biennium. There are several major sticking points holding up concurrence, including tax policies, school funding and healthcare.
The interim state operating budget bill, SB 171, and the interim BWC budget, SB 172, were both signed by Governor DeWine late Sunday evening. Governor DeWine issued a statement expressing his disappointment that the legislature had not come to an agreement while reassuring Ohioans that state services would not experience any interruptions. This is the third time over the last 28 years that the legislature has failed to produce the State Operating Budget on time.
The Conference Committee will continue deliberations over the next few weeks to meet the new July 17th deadline.
On behalf of our member municipalities, the League urges the legislature to ensure the final state operating budget invests in Ohio's cities and villages and begins to repair and strengthen the partnership between the state and its municipalities.
We also encourage the legislature to ensure provisions regarding the coverage of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) without an accompanying workplace injury remain out of the BWC budget so the matter can be properly vetted in separate legislation.
The League asks our members to contact their legislative delegation and remind them of the importance of investing in our cities and villages. The voices of local leaders carry weight at the Ohio Statehouse, and legislators need to hear from their municipalities regarding the importance of retaining the budget provisions that will help strengthen and grow Ohio's cities and villages in order to strengthen and grow the state as a whole.
ENERGY BILL HB 6 STILL UNDER DELIBERATIONS IN SENATE COMMITTEE
Last week, the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee adopted a substituted bill for HB 6, which would facilitate and encourage electricity production and use from nuclear and renewable energy resources in this state and to maintain, with modifications, the standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency savings. (Link: https://bit.ly/2XK7rRK).
HB 6 has featured prominently in the media due to provisions that opponents argue are essentially bailouts of two nuclear plants owned by FirstEnergy Solutions. Senate President Larry Obhof (R - Medina) says the bill is intended to preserve Ohio's nuclear plants while reducing consumer rates.
The Senate's substitute bill no longer eliminates standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency entirely. Instead, HB 6 in its current form reduces target benchmarks while enabling utilities to use banked savings towards energy efficiency compliance in the future. These standards would be eliminated after 2025.
Speaker of the House Larry Householder (R - Glenford) has said it is unclear whether or not the Senate's changes ensure rates will be reduced. While environmental groups vocalized their gratitude that the old standards have not been entirely eliminated in the Senate changes, they maintain opposition, saying the changes don't do enough to ensure energy efficiency. We will keep our members apprised of further changes to the bill as it moves through the legislative process. The League is neutral on HB 6.
STATUS UPDATE: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
Here is the current standing of several bills impacting municipalities:
- HB 242 - AUXILIARY CONTAINERS. Sponsored by Rep. Lang (R - West Chester Township) and Rep. Jones (R - Freeport), would authorize the use of an auxiliary container for any purpose, to prohibit the imposition of a tax or fee on those containers, and to apply existing anti-littering law to those containers. This bill has been voted out of the House State and Local Government Committee 8-6 and is waiting consideration by the full House. The League is opposed to this legislation.(Link: https://bit.ly/2Vp9WUn)
- HB 163 - WATER/SEWER SERVICE. Sponsored by Rep. Brinkman (R - Cincinnati), would create a process for withholding local government funds and state water and sewer assistance from municipal corporations that engage in certain water and sewer practices with respect to extraterritorial service. This bill is currently still pending in the House Public Utilities Committee. The League is opposed to this legislation. (Link: https://bit.ly/2MjkCEY)
- HB 252 - LAND REUTILIZATION. Sponsored by Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), would create the Land Reutilization Demolition Program and make an appropriation. This bill has been re-referred to the House Finance Committee. The League is supportive of this legislation. (Link: https://bit.ly/2MxVp9K)
- 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. This bill has been re-referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee. The League is neutral on this legislation. (Link: https://bit.ly/2DNudwX)
NO COMMITTEE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK