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 February 9, 2018


Here are the top 3 things you need to know this week:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting that the country added 200,000 jobs in January, keeping the national unemployment rate at 4.1% for four consecutive months.

  • Have you been hearing about the Ohio Legislature's redistricting efforts and wondered what the criteria are? Here's the breakdown in numbers: the current plan requires maps have a maximum of 65 counties with no splits, 18 counties with only one split, and 5 counties that have two splits through them.

  • The Ohio Department of Transportation reports that before this week's big "winter event", they have used 55,000 tons of road salt this winter. The average amount of road salt used each winter is approximately 75,000 tons.

Ohio was on the national stage this week as members of the Ohio Legislature participated in what many are calling an "historic moment" as the issue of fair elections and the gerrymandering of congressional districts was addressed in a bi-partisan manner through the ratification of Senate Joint Resolution 5.

By Tuesday night, by a vote of 31-0 in the Senate and 83-10 in the House, the Legislature voted to place the redistricting proposal on the May primary ballot, for Ohio voters to decide if this proposal is better than the previous guidelines established in 2011, when the last map was drawn that gave Republicans control of 12 of the 16 Ohio congressional districts.

The effort that will be placed before Ohio voters to decide is significant not only because of the ability of politically polarized interests to reach significant and meaningful compromises on how congressional elections will work in the state, but also because of the degree of influence minority parties will have in the drawing of future congressional districts.

The provisions included in the resolution calls for a three-tiered process, largely keeping the power to draw districts within the Legislature by providing the following:

  • The Ohio General Assembly will be tasked with drawing a 10-year map that must be approved by a supermajority or three-fifths of both chambers of the legislature-including the support of 50% of the minority party-when the first attempt is made.

  • Should that fail, the Ohio Redistricting Commission would then have the chance to draw a 10-year map which must merit the approval of two minority members on the commission.

  • If that does not work, it heads back to the General Assembly, where a 10-year map must be supported by at least one-third of the minority party.

  • If that effort fails, the Legislature would then have to pass first a four-year then a six-year map that meets even stricter requirements ensuring no incumbent or party are favored, that political subdivisions are no "unduly split", and that each district strives for compactness.

By this structure, the incentive is significant for the majority party to work closely with members of the minority party so that the first attempt at drawing a map is successful. The Legislature's role in congressional redistricting reform is done for now; it is up to the voters this May to decides whether or not to approve the resolution.

Another bill that violates local Home Rule authority over the use of red light traffic cameras has been voted out of a House committee this week. HB 410, sponsored by Rep. Seitz (R - Cincinnati) and Rep. Butler (R - Oakwood), would among other things, grant municipal and county courts original and exclusive jurisdiction over any civil action concerning a traffic law violation, specify that the court require an advance deposit for the filing of specified civil actions by the local authority bringing the civil action, and modify the reporting requirements and LGF withholding that apply to subdivisions that operate traffic law photo-monitoring devices.

Specifically, HB 410 removes from cities and villages their right to use administrative hearings for civil citations issued via traffic cameras, which is an effective and financially-responsible means of providing a hearing process - particularly for Ohio's small villages - and mandates a municipality file a civil action and make an advanced deposit for the court's cost and fees. The League opposes this language because it will place an undue financial burden on municipalities. In July, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down portions of SB 342 from the 130 th General Assembly, granting municipalities the constitutional authority to operate and issue citations from traffic cameras. HB 410 unnecessarily relitigates an issue that has already been decided by the highest court in the state.

Perhaps the most damaging provision mandates municipalities using traffic cameras to file an annual report with the state tax commissioner with the total revenues collected from the devices so their Local Government Fund (LGF) distribution can be reduced accordingly. HB 410 would punish municipalities who use that right by further depleting the revenues they need to ensure safety and provide local services.

During its fourth hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, the bill was voted out with one dissenting vote. The bill awaits action by the full House where it will then be sent to the Ohio Senate to begin the committee hearing process in that chamber.
The League urges our members to contact their members of the Ohio House and request that they honor the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling and respect municipal Home Rule authority by not voting in favor of the bill. We also ask that you contact your member of the Senate and tell them of the misdirection the proposal represents and urge their opposition.


HB 478, the bill overhauling the regulations governing the installation of small cell wireless infrastructure in municipalities' right-of-way, continued to receive testimony in this week's committee hearings. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Smith (R - Bidwell) and Rep. LaTourette (R - Chesterland) and would modify the law regarding wireless service and the placement of small cell wireless facilities in the public way.

The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee held a fourth hearing on the bill this week. Written testimony was submitted by the Columbus Chamber of Commerce supporting the bill, praising it for supplying a more uniform set of regulations that will aide in the deployment of small cell technology throughout the state. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson wrote in his submitted testimony that he was concerned about the bill's limits on local control. The League is supportive of this legislation, and we will continue to report on its progress as it moves through the legislative process.


The Ohio Department of Commerce will be announcing the recipients of marijuana processing, testing lab and dispensary provisional licenses this spring. The department received 104 applications for processing licenses; the state has set the limit of licenses to be awarded at 40. There is no limit on the amount of testing lab licenses the department can award, and so far, 9 applications have been received - including two from public universities or colleges. This spring will also see the announcement of provisional dispensary licenses; 376 applications have been submitted for the 60 available initial licenses.

The application review process is taking place while the department is also receiving requests for 70 different administrative hearings from marijuana grower applications, which were awarded last year. Many of the 184 initial applicants for the 24 available provisional licenses are alleging that there are concerns with the process. Months of hearings are expecting to be scheduled to review whether or not any applicants were unfairly denied a license.

Meanwhile, the Marijuana Business Daily is reporting that sales of medical marijuana in the state could total to an estimated $400 million a year. This projection comes alongside a separate projection from Arcview Market Researching, which is tracking marijuana data nationwide. The legal marijuana industry across the U.S. is projected to grow from $6.7 billion in 2016 to $22.6 billion by 2021.

For more information about the medical marijuana licensing process - and the new toll-free hotline being developed by the Pharmacy Board - you can visit the Department of Commerce's website at

The State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) is seeking a two-year, non-paid member who is a representative from a municipal corporation. The 19-member commission, co-chaired by Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Public Safety, oversees the implementation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know program in Ohio. The program requires anyone who stores, uses or generates hazardous materials to report the material's location and volume to SERC, the local emergency planning committee (LEPC) and the local fire department. Communities must prepare plans for how to deal with emergencies involving these hazardous substances. Commission members consist of representatives from state agencies, local governments, environmental groups and industry.

Ohio's State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) meets at 1:15 to 3:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday's in the months of February, April, June, August, October and December at the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, 2855 West Dublin-Granville Road, Columbus, Ohio. If you are interested in applying for the commission, you can apply online with the Governor's Office of Boards and Commissions at
  • HB 378 - BROADBAND GRANTS. Sponsored by Rep. Smith (R - Bidwell) and Rep. Cera (D - Bellaire), the bill would create the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program and make an appropriation. During its third hearing before the House Finance Committee, proponents from rural areas, businesses and local governments offered proponent testimony supporting the bill. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • HB 221 - WATER/SEWER PROJECTS. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Holmes (D - Girard), would expressly include, as eligible projects under the State Capital Improvements Program administered by the Ohio Public Works Commission, water and sewer laterals located on private property. During its first hearing before the House Finance Committee, proponents from various water districts and boards of association supported codifying existing Ohio Public Works Commission policy. The League is supportive of this bill, as it is permissive for municipalities.
  • HB 415 - LOCAL ROAD IMPROVEMENTS. Sponsored by Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), this bill would allocate one-half of any surplus revenue to a new Local Government Road Improvement Fund, from which money will be distributed directly to local governments to fund road improvements. During its fourth hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the bill was voted out of committee 11-0. The League is supportive of this bill.
  • HB 314 - SAFETY TAX CREDIT. Sponsored by Rep. Schaffer (R - Lancaster), this bill would allow an income tax credit for law enforcement officials who purchase safety or protective items to be used in the course of official law enforcement activities. During its second hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the Fraternal Order of Police and Baltimore Chief of Police Michael Tussey offered proponent testimony supporting the bill's measure to provide financial assistance in purchasing necessary safety equipment not offered by agencies - especially in smaller political subdivisions. The League is currently interested party on this bill.
  • HB 470 - LOCAL LIGHTING FUNDS. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Edwards (R - Nelsonville), would authorize a property tax levy specifically to fund lighting for roads and public places. During its first hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, Rep. Edwards explained in his sponsor testimony that this bill would grant municipalities to use money in their general funds for specific needs by letting voters know exactly how their tax dollars will be spent and by letting those decisions be made locally. The League is supportive of this bill.
  • HB 168 - CEMETERY REGISTRATION. Sponsored by Rep. Stein (R - Norwalk), this bill would modify duties of the Division of Real Estate in the Department of Commerce regarding cemetery registration, specify cemetery owners must reasonably maintain cemeteries, establish the Cemetery Grant Program, and make an appropriation. During its third hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, no testimony was offered in opposition to the bill. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • HB 251 - BOND MATURATION. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), would increase from five to ten years the maturity period of other political subdivision's bonds and obligations eligible for investment of a subdivision's interim moneys, a county's inactive moneys, and money in the county public library fund. During its third hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the League's Executive Director, Kent Scarrett, offered written proponent testimony supporting the bill for allowing municipalities the opportunity to generate more revenue via investments and thus fund the services they provide to their communities.
  • HB 382 - UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION LAW. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton), would modify terms describing payments made under the Unemployment Compensation Law, increase the amount of wages subject to unemployment compensation premiums, require qualifying employees to make payments to the Unemployment Compensation Insurance Fund, allow the Director of Job and Family Services to adjust maximum weekly benefit amounts, reduce the maximum number of benefit weeks, and make other changes to the Unemployment Compensation Law. During its thirteenth hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, no testimony was given. The League is neutral on this bill.
  • HJR 4 - UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BONDS. Also sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton), this joint resolution would enact Section 2t of Article VIII of the Constitution of the State of Ohio to allow the General Assembly to provide by law for the issuance of bonds to pay unemployment compensation benefits when the fund created for that purpose is or will be depleted or to repay outstanding advances made by the federal government to the unemployment compensation program. During its thirteenth hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, no testimony was given on the bill. The League is neutral on this legislation.
  • SB 127 - WASTE COLLECTION VEHICLES. Sponsored by Sen. LaRose (R - Hudson), this bill would require motor vehicle operators to take certain actions upon approaching a stationary waste collection vehicle collecting refuse on a roadside. During its second hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, proponent testimony was given by representatives from Waste Management and the Buckeye Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America, citing the bill's efforts to prevent accidents that have gravely injured sanitation workers due to distracted driving. The League is supportive of this bill.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Tue., Feb. 13, 2018, 1:30 PM, Hearing Room 114
Rep. Manning: 614-644-5076
LAW ENFORCEMENT VEHICULAR ASSAULT (PATTON T, KELLY B) To include negligently causing serious physical harm to a law enforcement officer while operating a motor vehicle or other specified mode of transportation as a violation of the offense of vehicular assault. 
Third Hearing, All Testimony, SUBSTITUTE BILL
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Wed., Feb. 14, 2018, 2:30 PM, Hearing Room 017
Rep. Anielski: 614-644-6041
LAW ENFORCEMENT TAX CREDIT (SCHAFFER T) To allow an income tax credit for law enforcement officials who purchase safety or protective items to be used in the course of official law enforcement activities. 
Third Hearing, All Testimony, AMENDMENTS/POSSIBLE VOTE
Report(s):  My Tracked Bills
TAX LEVY-PUBLIC LIGHTING (EDWARDS J) To authorize a property tax levy specifically to fund lighting for roads and public places. 
Second Hearing, All Testimony

Up Coming Meetings & Events

Mayor's Court Initial Training Program
January FULL
February 14 & 15

Registration Information
Newly Elected Council Training Seminars
February 24, March 3 & 24
OCMA Winter Conference
ICMA Midwest Conference

March 7th ~ 9th, 2018

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