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May 18, 2018

OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
  • The Ohio House of Representatives have failed to elect an interim speaker. Ohio representatives were slated to select someone to serve as the Speaker of the House until the new General Assembly begins in January of 2019. However, disagreements have stalled the vote and resulted in the House cancelling session this week.
  • According to Governing magazine, Ohio's local governments have experienced budget cuts at three times the national average. Arizona is the only state whose local governments have experienced larger budget cuts than Ohio.
     
  • Republican Shane Wilkin has been selected as the newest member of the Ohio House of Representatives and will be sworn in the next time the House meets for session. Wilkin will replace Cliff Rosenberger as the representative for the 91 st House district.

SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY BILL IS AMENDED, VOTED OUT OF COMMITTEE
This week, a bill regarding when a political subdivision can apply sovereign immunity in the event of a vehicle collision was amended and subsequently voted out of committee. HB 419, sponsored by Rep. Henne (R - Clayton), would modify the defense to the liability of a member of a police or fire department or emergency medical service of a political subdivision for the negligent operation of a motor vehicle in response to an emergency by requiring that the vehicle has its lights and sirens simultaneously activated.
During its fourth hearing before the House Civil Justice Committee, an amendment was adopted which redefines an "emergency call" within the language, in addition to removing the requirement that the vehicle have deployed its lights and sirens at the time of the accident. The definition of "emergency call" is now "a call to duty involving any reported or observed inherently dangerous situations that demand an immediate response of the part of a peace officer." The bill was then voted unanimously out of committee.
We appreciate that Rep. Henne and his office have worked extensively on this language with the Ohio Municipal League and has taken into advisement the concern our members expressed regarding the initial version of the bill language. The League will continue to report on this bill as it moves through the legislative process.

NEW LEGISLATION OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST INTRODUCED
Here is the new legislation introduced this week of interest to municipalities:
  • HB 654 - LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING. Sponsored by Rep. Smith (D - Euclid) and Rep. Boggs (D - Columbus), this bill would make a supplemental appropriation under the budget of the Auditor of State to make disbursements to political subdivisions appearing on the Auditor of State's fiscal caution, fiscal watch, or fiscal emergency list during the FY 2018-FY 2019 biennium.

  • HB 656 - LAW ENFORCEMENT DATABASE. Sponsored by Rep. Sheehy (D - Oregon), this bill would require the Attorney General to create and operate a database of information regarding law enforcement officers who have been terminated from employment, or resigned in lieu of termination, and require law enforcement agencies to access the database for the sole purpose of determining eligibility of those officers for employment. 

FLOOR ACTION FOR BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
Here are the bills that were voted before entire legislative chambers this week:
  • HB 133 - DISASTER RELIEF. Sponsored by Rep. Ryan (R - Newark), this bill would create the Disaster Relief Act to exempt out-of-state disaster businesses and qualifying out-of-state employees from certain taxes and laws with respect to disaster work on critical infrastructure performed in this state during a declared disaster. During its fifth hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, no testimony was heard on this bill. An amendment was adopted that changes the calculation of interest payments for underpaid estimated taxes so that it mirrors federal law. The bill was then unanimously voted out of committee. That same afternoon, the bill proceeded before the full Senate where it was voted on unanimously once again. The bill will now head to the desk of the Governor for his signature.
  • SB 268 - THEFT IN OFFICE. Sponsored by Sen. Wilson (R - Maineville), this bill 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 its fourth hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, the bill was voted unanimously out of committee. It then proceeded before the full Senate, where it was unanimously passed again. The League's Executive Director Kent Scarrett offered written testimony in support of the bill, which you can read HERE  .

LEGISLATION OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST: COMMITTEE RECAP
Here are the bills that received hearings in committees this week:
  • HB 575 - VOLUNTEER TAX CREDITS. Sponsored by Rep. Keller (R - Middletown) and Rep. Rezabek (R - Clayton), this bill would grant income tax credits to persons who serve as volunteer firefighters or emergency medical service technicians. During sponsor testimony in the House Ways and Means Committee, the representatives sponsoring the bill explained how the legislation allows volunteer firefighters and EMTS to receive a refundable tax credit annually based on their years of service. The bill sponsored say the bill is a means of compensating the time and resources volunteer firefighters spend training and responding to fires. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • HB 276 - THREATENING UTILITY WORKERS. Sponsored by Rep. Rezabek (R - Clayton) and Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), this bill would expand the offense of aggravated menacing to prohibit threatening a utility worker with intent to obstruct the operation of a utility. During its second hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, proponents from the Utility Workers Union of America, Ohio Municipal Electric Association and the Ohio Gas Association testified in support of the bill, citing the need to protect utility workers who face threats as they respond to emergency situations involving utilities. The League is supportive of this bill.

  • HB 425 - POLICE BODY CAMERAS. Sponsored by Rep. Antani (R - Miamisburg) and Rep. Craig (D - Columbus), this bill would provide that specified portions of peace officers' body-worn camera recordings and the infrastructure record of a public school are not public records for purposes of the Public Records Law. During its second hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, a substitute bill was adopted which, among other changes, prohibits disclosing a video depicting or identifying a child, expands the bill to apply to law enforcement dashboard cameras as well and uses language from Ohio's public records laws so the bill also applies to the State Highway Patrol. The ACLU of Ohio and the Columbus Department of Public Safety testified in support of the bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.

  • SB 296 - LAW ENFORCEMENT BENEFITS. This bill, sponsored by Sen. LaRose (R - Hudson) and Sen. Hottinger (R - Newark), this bill would revise the payments that surviving family members receive from the Ohio Public Safety Officers Death Benefit Fund and permit surviving spouses and children to participate in the health, dental, and vision benefits offered to state employees as if the survivors were employees of this state. During its first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the bill's sponsors explained how the bill extends the length of time families of deceased officers' full benefits, as well as increases the length of time they are eligible for healthcare from the state. The League is looking into this bill.  

  • SB 299 - WATER IMPROVEMENTS. Sponsored by Sen. Gardner (R - Bowling Green) and Sen. O'Brien (D - Bazetta), this bill 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 first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the bill's sponsors explained that the legislation is not a mandate, but rather an authorization allowing General Revenue Funds and capital funding to be spent to reduce phosphorus levels in Lake Erie. Proponents for the bill, including the Oho Environmental Council Action Fund and The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, testified in support of this bill. The League is supportive of this legislation.

  • HB 263 - OUTDOOR DINING AREAS. Sponsored by Rep. Lanese (R- Grove City), this bill would generally allow an owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog to take the dog in an outdoor dining area of a retail food establishment or food service operation. During its first hearing before the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee, the bill's sponsor explains how the bill allows individual restaurants and bars to decide whether or not to allow dogs on patios, rather than public health offices. The League is neutral on this legislation.

  • SB 210 - AUXILIARY CONTAINERS. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Coley (R - Liberty Township), would authorize a person to use an auxiliary container for any purpose, to prohibit a municipal corporation from imposing a tax or fee on auxiliary containers, and to clarify that the existing anti-littering law applies to auxiliary containers. During its third hearing before the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee, an amendment was adopted into the bill which extends this ban to charter counties and home rule townships. The amendment was accepted with 7 yes votes, with 2 no votes from the Democratic legislators on the committee. Opponent testimony was heard from members of the Ohio Chapter Sierra club, saying the bill's prevention of allowing local communities to pass laws would threaten "local democracy, silence the voices of the people, and hinder economic growth and development." The Surfrider Foundation also testified in opposition to the bill. The Ohio Manufactures' Association submitted written proponent testimony. The League's Executive Director Kent Scarrett, offered written opponent testimony, which you can read HERE  .
     

  • HB 228 - STAND-YOUR-GROUND GUN LAWS. Sponsored by Rep. Johnson (R - McDermott) and Rep. LaTourette (R - Chagrin Falls), this bill would assign to the prosecution the burden of disproving a self-defense or related claim, expand the locations at which a person has no duty to retreat before using force under both civil and criminal law, and modify the Concealed Handgun Licensing Law regarding a licensee's duty to keep the licensee's hands in plain sight, the penalties for illegally carrying a concealed firearm or improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, and the posting of warning signs regarding the possession of weapons on specified premises. During its sixth hearing in the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee, Buckeye Firearms submitted written proponent testimony while the bill's opponents testified against the bill, including the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the Ohio Municipal League. You can read Executive Director Kent Scarrett's opposition testimony HERE  .
     

  • HB 543 - COUNTY PROSECUTORS. Sponsored by Rep. Perales (R - Beavercreek) and Rep. Hambley (R - Brunswick), this bill would allow a county prosecuting attorney to enter into a contract with a regional airport authority, port authority, or regional planning commission to be its legal adviser. During its third hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, no testimony was given. The League is neutral on this legislation.
     

  • HB 530 - LODGING TAX. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Hambley (R - Brunswick) and Rep. Arndt (R - Port Clinton), 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 fourth hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, written testimony was submitted asking for more oversight of visitors' bureaus. The League is neutral on this legislation.
     

  • HB 585 - FIREARM LAWS. Sponsored by Rep. Henne (R - Clayton) this bill would expand the definition of dangerous ordnance to include armor piercing ammunition and expand the definition of an automatic firearm to include any device within the federal definition of machine gun; create additional conditions under which an individual may not possess a firearm or dangerous ordnance and eliminate the process by which an individual may apply for relief from a weapons disability; generally prohibit a person from buying, purchasing, obtaining, or furnishing a firearm on behalf of a third party; provide for the entry of protection orders into the federal NCIC database and LEADS; and provide for the issuance by a court of an extreme risk protection order. During its second hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the bill was amended to clarify which felonies would result in charges for a resident who owns a firearm while under disability. The amendment also changes the law establishing how residents under disability can apply for relief, as the original bill eliminated that procedure. Proponents testified in support of the bill, including Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg, a 14-year-old girl who was one of the 17 people killed during the February 14 th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Other proponents included the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Ohio, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in American and former Senate President Tom Neihaus, testifying as a member of Governor Kasich's task force on gun violence. The League is neutral on this legislation.
     

  • HB 343 -PROPERTY VALUES. Sponsored by Rep. Merrin (R - Monclova Township), this bill would require local governments that contest property values to formally pass an authorizing resolution for each contest and to notify property owners. During its first hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, the sponsor explained that the bill's goal is to ensure elected officials authorize property value contests. The League is neutral on this legislation.
     

  • HB 351 - MILITARY EXEMPTIONS. Sponsored by Rep. Perales (R - Beavercreek) and Rep. Butler (R - Oakwood), this bill would require municipal corporations to exempt from taxation the military pay of members of the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Public Health Service. During its second hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Lt. Brian Beamer of the U.S. Public Health Service testified in support of the bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.
     

  • SB 288 - FIREARM LAWS. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Eklund (R - Chardon) and Sen. Kunze (R - Hilliard), would expand the definition of dangerous ordnance to include armor piercing ammunition and expand the definition of an automatic firearm to include any device within the federal definition of machine gun; create additional conditions under which an individual may not possess a firearm or dangerous ordnance and eliminate the process by which an individual may apply for relief from a weapons disability; generally prohibit a person from buying, purchasing, obtaining, or furnishing a firearm on behalf of a third party; provide for the entry of protection orders into the federal NCIC database and LEADS; and provide for the issuance by a court of an extreme risk protection order. During its first hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, the bill's sponsors spoke to the bill. It is companion legislation to HB 585. The League is neutral on this legislation. 
     

     
  • HB 34 - PUBLIC NOTICES. Sponsored by Rep. Hambley (R - Brunswick) and Rep. Ryan (R - Newark), this bill would 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. During its third hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, no testimony was given on this bill. The League is supportive of this legislation.
     

  • HB 554 - DESIGN CONTRACTS. Sponsored by Rep. Seitz (R - Cincinnati), this bill would regulate the use of indemnity provisions in professional design contracts related to public improvements. During its second hearing before the House Civil Justice Committee, proponents including a risk manager and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio testified in support of the bill, saying it would benefit not only architectural and engineering firms but also public entities throughout the state a well.  The League is neutral on this legislation.


OML REGIONAL CONFERENCES COMING SOON
This week, the Ohio Municipal League held the first Regional Conference in Athens for municipal leaders across the southeastern region of Ohio. Over the next few months, the OML will be holding regional conferences throughout the state to bring important elements of our Annual Conference right to the doorstep of the local leaders who serve Ohio's cities and villages.
The goal of these Regional Conferences is to provide an opportunity for League members prevented from attending our three-day Annual Conference held in downtown Columbus by either distance or time constraints but know it is important to receive the timely information and access to resources that the conference provides. In an attempt to reach our members unable to attend the Annual Conference, we have put together a single day program of general session topics with presentations by featured speakers who are experts in their municipal sectors.
The regional conferences are an invaluable opportunity for municipal officials statewide to have the ability to be presented with critical information directly related to the success of their own communities, as well as connect and network with other local leaders in their area. This opportunity is not limited to League members who cannot come to Columbus but is a great opportunity for all municipal and local government officials to refresh their skill sets and get the most recent information on critical topics.
Registration information including the conference agenda can be accessed HERE .
The dates and locations for the remaining three Regional Conferences are as follows:

Southwest: Friday, June 8 th at the Manor House Banquet Center in Mason.

 

Northeast: Friday, June 29 th at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

 

Northwest: Friday, August 17 th at the Hancock Hotel in Findlay.

 

We encourage you to sign up as soon as possible, as space will be limited, and we look forward to seeing you there!

 



COMMITTEE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 20, 2018
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
HOUSE FINANCE
Tue., May. 22, 2018, 10:00 AM, Hearing Room 313
Rep. Smith: 614-466-1366
 
LAKE ERIE PRESERVATION EQUIPMENT (ARNDT S, PATTERSON J) To 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. 
 
Second Hearing, All Testimony
 
HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS
Tue., May. 22, 2018, 10:00 AM, Hearing Room 121
Rep. Schaffer: 614-466-8100
 
TAX CREDIT-VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER/EMS (KELLER C, REZABEK J) To grant income tax credits to persons who serve as volunteer firefighters or emergency medical service technicians. 
 
Second Hearing, Proponent Testimony
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
HOUSE FINANCE
Wed., May. 23, 2018, 9:00 AM, Hearing Room 313
Rep. Smith: 614-466-1366
 
LAKE ERIE PRESERVATION EQUIPMENT (ARNDT S, PATTERSON J) To 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. 
 
Third Hearing, All Testimony
Thursday, May 24, 2018
SENATE PUBLIC UTILITIES
Thu., May. 24, 2018, 9:00 AM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
Sen. Beagle: 614-466-6247
Governor's appointments: 
- John Igoe, Christopher Ferruso and Dasmine Wright to the Public Benefits Advisory Board
 
MUNICIPAL WATER-WORKS ACQUISITIONS (GINTER T, ROGERS J) To govern acquisitions of municipal water-works and sewage disposal system companies by certain larger nonmunicipal water-works or sewage disposal system companies. 
 
Second Hearing, Proponent Testimony

CHECK MONDAY FOR ANY CHANGES TO THE COMMITTEE SCHEDULE
Up Coming Meetings & Events

Regional Summer Conference Series
May 18, June 8, June 29, August 17
OML/OMAA Webinar
Updates on ADA,FMLA, Title VII Accommodation...
May 17, 2018
10:00 am ~ 11:00 am
Registration Information
Mayors Association Annual Conference 
June 13 ~ 15, 2018
Akron, Ohio

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