OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
- The Ohio Legislature has (sort of) recessed for the summer. The Ohio House announced they will not return to legislative activity until late September while the Ohio Senate has "if needed" session dates scheduled for July 10th and August 22nd and then tentative late September. While the General Assembly is on break, the frequency of our legislative bulletins will slow down to every other Fridays.
- The Development Services Agency has announced six projects will be receiving tax breaks. These tax breaks are projected to create approximately 272 new jobs, retain 421 jobs, generate $14 million in payroll and over $190 million in investments.
- The Ohio Secretary of State announced that 59 races and one local issue during last month's primary election were either tied or were decided by a single vote.
BILL PREEMPTING LOCAL WATER DELIVERY
PRACTICES RECEIVES COMMITTEE HEARING
The League would like to thank all of the municipal officials who responded to our "Call-to-Action" last week. We notified our members that HB 602 was slated for a hearing and possible vote in the House Finance Committee this past Tuesday. HB 602 is legislation sponsored by Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Rep. Laura Lanese (R - Grove City) preempting municipalities from setting water rates for political subdivisions to which they have extended water and sewer services, deprive municipalities of Local Government Fund revenues and deny Ohio cities access to state and federal grants.
We are happy to report that due to the level of contact made by our members expressing opposition, along with the great proponent testimony from municipal officials, the legislation was not put up for a vote. Since the Ohio House is on summer recess, the committee will not meet again until late in the fall and then into the "lame duck" session, where the proposal may or may not receive additional attention.
The League is grateful to those who took time out of their busy schedules to join us in committee at the Statehouse to testify in opposition to the bill. We would like to thank Richard Westerfield, administrator of the Columbus Department of Public Utilities Division of Water, and Lima's Director of Utilities Michael Caprella, for their in-person testimony and Mayor Lydia Mihalik of Findlay and Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein for sharing their concerns with the committee members through written testimony.
To access testimony provided to the committee, please go to the Ohio House Finance Committee webpage at
and look under the June 26
Hearing tab. League Executive Director Kent Scarrett submitted written opponent testimony, which you can read
. A copy of the bill's analysis can be found
, in addition to the "Call-to-Action"
that we sent to our members.
With this bill possibly coming to light once again during this fall's "lame duck" session, we are strongly encouraging our members over the summer to talk to their state representative about this unnecessary and arbitrary expansion of state government into municipal contracts and tell them to oppose HB 602. It is important we continue to stand opposed to the continued assault on the interests of our communities and the voters who determine practices best for their hometowns.
OML BOARD MEETS WITH GUBERNATORIAL
CANDIDATE RICHARD CORDRAY
Last Friday, gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray joined the League's quarterly Board meeting. The candidate spoke to the importance of Ohio's municipalities as areas of growth and said he was "distressed" by the history of struggle between municipalities and the state government. He spoke to the need to allow municipalities more transparency and local control over their revenues and the need to curtail state control over the municipal net profits centrally collected by the state tax department. A fundamental issue of the campaign, he continued, should be discontinuing the solving of state problems on the back of local governments.
Cordray took questions from Board members on a variety of issues, from the need for broadband infrastructure to challenges to the administration of the centralized collection of municipal net profits. He spoke to the importance of funding infrastructure not only as an investment in a tangible future, but to help create good jobs. He referenced his background in handling public finances, from his time as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to his tenure as Ohio's Attorney General to his time as Ohio's State Treasurer during the recession of 2008.
We appreciate Mr. Cordray and his staff for taking the time to come and speak with our Board and address the issues most impactful to municipalities. We are grateful for his time and for the thought-provoking conversation he initiated. We hope all of Ohio's current leaders and candidates will continue to focus on the importance of investing in and revitalizing municipalities around the state.
NEW LEGISLATION OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
Here are the new bills introduced this week that are of interest to municipalities:
- HB 712 - PREVAILING WAGE. Sponsored by Rep. Hood (R - Ashville) and Rep. Dean (R - Xenia), would repeal the Prevailing Wage Law.
FLOOR ACTION: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
The Legislature worked until late into the evening this week in order to clear the last of its backlog of bills before recessing for the summer. Here are the bills of municipal interest that received votes on the chamber floors this week:
- HB 425 - BODY CAMERAS. Sponsored by Rep. Antani (R - Miamisburg) and Rep. Craig (D - Columbus), the 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. It was voted out of the House by a vote of 88-0. The bill now heads to the Senate to begin the committee process. The League is neutral on this legislation.
- HB 469 - MIXED USE TAX CREDITS. Sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton) and Rep. Patton (R - Strongsville), the bill would authorize a nonrefundable insurance company tax credit for contributions of capital to transformational mixed-use development projects. It was voted out of the House by a vote of 78-0 and now heads to the Senate to begin the committee process. The League is supportive of this legislation.
- 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. It was voted out of the House by a vote of 79-0. The bill now heads to the Senate to begin the committee process. The League is neutral on this legislation.
BILLS HEADED TO THE GOVENOR
- HB 312 - POLITICAL SUBDIVISION SPENDING. Sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton) and Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), the bill would change the law regarding use of credit cards and debit cards by political subdivisions. During its fourth hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, the bill was amended to clarify some language in the bill as well as continue a property tax abatement in the City of Lorain. The bill was then voted out of the Senate 32-0. The House concurred on the changes and the bill now heads to the Governor's desk for his signature. The League is neutral on this legislation.
- SB 127 -WASTE COLLECTION VEHICLES. Sponsored by Sen. LaRose (R - Hudson), the bill would require motor vehicle operators to take certain actions upon approaching a stationary waste collection vehicle collecting refuse on a roadside. It was voted out of the House by a vote of 84-0. The Senate concurred on previously-adopted technical changes changes and the bill now heads to the Governor's desk for his signature. The League is supportive of this legislation.
- SB 239 - REGIONAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS. Sponsored by Sen. Dolan (R - Chagrin Falls), the bill would modify the law concerning regional councils of governments. During its fourth hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the bill was amended to include naming multiple memorial roads, an amendment dealing with state liability insurance and an amendment clarifying Canton can have more than one Tourism Development District. The bill was then sent to the House floor, where it was voted out 88-0. The Senate concurred on the changes and the bill now heads to the Governor's desk for his signature. The League is supportive of this legislation.
- SB 299 - WATER IMPROVEMENTS. Sponsored by Sen. Gardner (R - Bowling Green), the 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 second hearing before the House Finance Committee, it was amended with a variety of provisions, including $1 million for Broadband Development Grants to cover data analysis and deployment as well as an appropriation of $7.1 million in a local match to federal funding for 18 counties after flooding. It was voted out of committee and sent to the House, where it was voted out by a vote of 88-0. The Senate concurred on the changes and the bill now heads to the Governor's desk for his signature. The League is supportive of this legislation.
- HB 263 - DOGS ON PATIOS. Sponsored by Rep. Lanese (R - Grove City), the 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. It was voted out of the Senate by a vote of 32-0. The House concurred on the changes and the bill now heads to the Governor's desk for his signature. The League is neutral on this legislation.
- HB 18 - SPECIAL ELECTIONS. Sponsored by Rep. Pelanda (R - Marysville) and Rep. (R - Hamilton), eliminates 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. The League is now tracking this bill because during its second hearing before the Senate Government and Oversight Reform Committee, SB 252, sponsored by Sen. Peterson (R - Sabina), was amended into HB 18. SB 252 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. The bill was voted out of the Senate by a vote of 32-0 and was concurred on by the House by a vote of 67-22. The bill now heads to the Governor's desk for his signature. The League is neutral on this legislation.
COMMITTEE RECAP: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
Here are the bills of municipal interest that received committee hearings this week:
- SB 309 - TAX CREDITS. Sponsored by Sen. Peterson (R - Sabina) and Sen. Kunze (R - Hilliard), the bill would lengthen the maximum term of the job creation tax credit for businesses making substantial fixed asset and employment investments and for their suppliers, authorize commercial activity tax exclusions for receipts of those suppliers from sales to such businesses, and authorize local governments to grant longer term property tax exemptions for such businesses or suppliers. During is first hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, the bill's sponsors explained that the legislation, which they call the "MegaJobs bill", is designed to incentivize the "largest of large job creators" to bring their business to Columbus - such as Amazon's second headquarters. The League is reviewing this legislation.
- HB 343 - PROPERTY VALUES. Sponsored by Rep. Merrin (R - Moncolva Township), the 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 second hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, both opponents and proponents testified on the bill. Proponents included the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association, the Ohio Real Estate Association, the Council on State Taxation and the Ohio Apartment Association. Opponents included the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the Ohio Township Association, the Coalition for Fair Taxation, Akron and Cleveland schools and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials. The League is neutral on this legislation.
- HB 625 - AUXILIARY CONTAINERS. Sponsored by Rep. Lang (R - West Chester Township) and Rep. Lipps (R - Franklin), the bill 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, opponents to the bill testified against it. League Executive Director Kent Scarrett submitted written opponent testimony explaining how the bill preempts taxes and fees no municipality, county or township has yet to implement. You can read his testimony in full HERE.
- SB 208 - WEAPON POSSESSION. Sponsored by Sen. Terhar (R - Cincinnati), the bill would allow a law enforcement officer or investigator, whether on or off duty, to carry a weapon on certain premises open to the public. During its second hearing before the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee, the committee voted down an amendment that was drafted to try to protect private property rights. The bill was then voted out of committee 9-1. The League is neutral on this legislation.
- HB 703 - CONCEALED HANDGUNS. Sponsored by Rep. Becker (R - Union Township), the bill would enact the "Decriminalization Effort For Ending Notorious Deaths -- Teachers With Options (DEFEND-TWO)" to allow a concealed handgun licensee or qualified military member to carry a concealed handgun in certain public premises, to reduce the penalty for a concealed handgun licensee who carries a concealed handgun in a prohibited place, and to prohibit public employers and universities from disciplining employees or students who lawfully carry a concealed handgun on the premises. During its first hearing before the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee, the bill's sponsor explained that the bill reduces the penalty for carrying a firearm with a concealed carry license in a public gun-free zone from a felony to a fourth-degree misdemeanor. The League is reviewing this legislation.
- HB 675 - TAX LEVY. Sponsored by Rep. Barnes (D - Cleveland), the bill 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 third hearing in the House State and Local Government Committee, a substitute bill was adopted clarifying local authority regarding the establishing of a Hope for a Smile program. No testimony was heard on this bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.
- HB 585 - FIREARM LAWS. Sponsored by Rep. Henne (R - Clayton), the 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; to create additional conditions under which an individual may not possess a firearm or dangerous ordnance and to eliminate the process by which an individual may apply for relief from a weapons disability; to generally prohibit a person from buying, purchasing, obtaining, or furnishing a firearm on behalf of a third party; to provide for the entry of protection orders into the federal NCIC database and LEADS; and to provide for the issuance by a court of an extreme risk protection order. During its fourth hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, a substitute bill was adopted by committee that, among other changes, removed the seizure of "deadly weapons" from someone under an extreme risk protection order (only "firearms" can be seized now) as well as the elimination of "ex parte" hearings after those firearms were seized due to concerns from critics regarding due process. No testimony was given on the bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.
- SB 51 - LAKE ERIE. Sponsored by Sen. Skindell (D - Lakewood) Sen. Eklund (R - Chardon), the bill would authorize the creation of a special improvement district to facilitate Lake Erie shoreline improvement. During its fourth hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, no testimony was given ad the bill was voted unanimously out of committee. The League is supportive of this legislation.
- HB 621 - DEATH BENEFITS. Sponsored by Rep. Hughes (R - Columbus), the bill would revise the payments that surviving family members receive from the Ohio Public Safety Officers Death Benefit Fund and would 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 third hearing before the House Insurance Committee, no testimony was given on this bill. The League is supportive of this legislation.
- HB 34 - PUBLIC NOTICES. Sponsored by Rep. Hambley (R - Brunswick) and Rep. Ryan (R - Newark), the 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 fourth hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, the bill was amended to include provisions regarding public officials' public records training as well removing several sections regarding when using electronic uses would not be permissible. The League is supportive of this legislation.
OML MUNICIPAL INCOME TAX SEMINAR APPROACHING FAST
From Wednesday, July 11 to Friday, July 13
th, the Ohio Municipal League will host its annual Municipal Income Tax Seminar at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Columbus. Local tax administration officers and their staff will meet in Columbus to hear from panelists and discuss best practices regarding administering municipal income tax.
Officials from the Ohio Department of Taxation will be presenting on the state's new law instituting the centralized collection of municipal net profits. Attendees will hear from panelists from a variety of topics ranging from reviewing business returns to the "odds and ends" of issues related to the administration of Ohio's municipal income tax. As always, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with various vendors from around the state.
You can find the full agenda for the seminar
, as well as the registration form
. If you are interested in attending, please sign up as soon as possible. We look forward to seeing everyone there.
REGISTER NOW FOR OML'S FINAL REMAINING
SUMMER REGIONAL CONFERENCE
Today, the League is holding its third 2018 Summer Regional Conference in Canton. We appreciate all who have registered for our conference and we look forward to meeting everyone and for the opportunity to provide an important educational experience and a valuable networking opportunity. We also want to thank all of the municipal officials who have joined us for our two previous regional conferences that were held in Athens and Mason, Ohio. The response from League members to our efforts to take a portion of our annual conference to the four corners of the state through the regional conference approach has been very gratifying and we appreciate the continued support.
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, either because of distance constraints or other issues, to have access to the timely information our members receive at our Annual Conference and to experience some of the opportunities that the conference provides. 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 2018 Summer 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 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.
The final conference in the 2018 regional series will be held August 17th at the Hancock Hotel in Findlay.
Registration information including the conference agenda, can be accessed
We encourage you to sign up for this remaining conference as soon as possible, as space will be limited. We look forward to seeing you and your entire administrative staff there!