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 March 15, 2019
OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE

Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
  • This morning, Governor DeWine unveiled his biennial State Operating Budget proposal. The actual text of the legislation will be released next week. You can access the budget's "Bluebook" HERE, listing the administration's various budget proposals and projects. The league is currently reviewing the document and the specifics to be released next week to identify items impactful to municipalities. We will share those budget items with our members in our next bulletin. 
  • Gov. DeWine signed his first bill as governor this week. HB 86, which was "fast-tracked" through the legislative process, was the result of a drafting error from legislation passed in the 132nd General Assembly, creating the need to clarify that certain long-guns are not illegal in the state of Ohio.
  • The U.S. Economic Development Administration funded a study that estimated the closing of the Lordstown GM Plan will reduce economic output by over $3 billion. The study estimated that state and local tax revenue will see reductions of approximately $12.9 million.
 

BILL ELIMINATING SOVERIGN IMMUNITY UP FOR THIRD HEARING, OPPONENT TESTIMONY

A bill reintroduced from the previous General Assembly which almost virtually eliminates sovereign immunity for police, fire and emergency vehicles of political subdivisions is moving through the legislative process. As currently written, HB 27, sponsored by Rep. Ingram (D - Cincinnati), would allow sovereign immunity protections only to police pursuits when a person is fleeing from the commission of a criminal offense, eliminating all other sovereign immunity protections for any other safety service emergency runs. A copy of the bill's analysis and text can be found HERE

What can our members do? Come testify before the House Civil Justice Committee this Tuesday at 3 p.m., call or write your state representative and senator and alert them of the bill; urge them not to support the legislation, and also pass a Resolution opposing HB 27. If you pass a Resolution, be sure to send copies to your legislators and the league.

HB 27 is scheduled for opponent testimony in the House Civil Justice Committee this Tuesday, March 19th at 3 p.m. in Hearing Room 113 in the Ohio Statehouse. For those that can join us and testify Tuesday, a written copy of the testimony should be submitted to brandon.sagraves@ohiohouse.gov by 3 p.m. on Monday, March 18th.

Our members are encouraged to come testify before the committee and share with legislators the impact the bill would have on their communities and the changes that would have to be made in responding to public emergencies. If you cannot attend the hearing, written testimony can be submitted to the committee via the address above.
For any questions about drafting or submitting testimony, please contact the League's Director of Communications Ashely Brewster at abrewster@omlohio.gov or 614-221-4349.
 

 
SENATE HEARINGS CONTINUE FOR
TRANSPORTATION BUDGET

This week, three hearings were held on Sub. HB 62, the Transportation Budget, before the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee. Many stakeholders in transportation infrastructure testified to various portions of the bill. Representatives from various public transit entities across the state testified to the need for more money for transit in addition to the $100 million as allocated by the substitute version of the bill passed by the House. Several county commissioners and county engineers explained the need for more transportation funding than the bill allocates, with several asking for an increase to the current 10.7-cent increase proposed in the bill. Mayor Kessler of Bexley also testified regarding the proposed electric vehicle registration fee.

Ohio Department of Transportation Dir. Marchbanks testified again on the need for increased transportation infrastructure funding, saying the substitute version of the bill, with its 10.7-cent increase, falls "far short of Ohio's real need." Dir. Marchbanks urged the Senate to restore the gas tax increase to the 18 cents first proposed by Governor DeWine.

The committee also heard from opponents to the bill, including representatives from the Ohio Oil & Gas Association and the American Petroleum Institute, who testified against the language redirecting $5 million from the Oil and Gas Fund to local governments with at least one producing oil or gas well for infrastructure needs. The League is supportive of that provision.

Testimony from the president of the Ohio Contractors Association spoke to the importance of indexing the gas tax increase to inflation, saying it would fight off the "impacts of inflation which we do not control." The League is also supportive of indexing.

Hearings on HB 62 will continue next week, with Dir. Scarrett and mayors from around the state scheduled to testify. But time is running out for local officials to voice their support of the Governor's original 18-cent gas tax increase. The bill must be sent to the desk of Gov. DeWine by the end of this month. We urge our members to continue to contact their Senators and urge that the initial 18-cent gas tax increase be restored.

This week we have begun sending out the League's Transportation Infrastructure Statement, a study which explains the need for the 18-cent gas tax increase and identifies current municipal-specific statistics and needs of our communities for proper and sustainable funding solutions for transportation infrastructure. We will continue to send the statement to our full membership in the coming week. The statement can also be found on our website at www.omlohio.org.

We continue to encourage our members to pass resolutions urging the legislature to enact a 18-cent gas tax increase and initiate other changes to generate more revenue for local infrastructure. Our members can click HERE for a sample resolution for city councils to reference if they have not already passed a resolution. To be most effective, we suggestion that communities that have passed a resolution to ensure they send a copy to their state Representative, Senator, the Governor as well as the League.


 
GOVERNOR DEWINE OUTLINES WATER QUALITY
FUND AT IMPACT OHIO CONFERENCE

Before unveiling his biennial budget plan, Gov. DeWine unveiled a fund he is proposing to create to invest up to $900 million in water quality initiatives over the next 10 years. The Governor outlined his plan at the Impact Ohio Conference in Toledo, which was in part sponsored by the League.

The Governor's operating budget proposal, unveiled today, requests $85 million initially for the H2Ohio fund. Future budgets would determine how much would be allocated for the fund in the years to come. The fund would be used to support both land and water-based restoration programs in addition to research and scientific study. This strategy would be more effective than using a bond issue to address water quality challenges in Lake Erie and across the state, according to Gov. DeWine.

This is the second time the idea of a water quality fund has been addressed by Gov. DeWine. The idea first came up during his State of the State address. During the speech, he recognized that while creating this fund would not be inexpensive or easy, it would be far less expensive in the long run than borrowing money to address Ohio's water problems.

The League appreciates that the Governor recognizes the urgency of effectively and sustainably addressing the issue of water quality across the state and we look forward to working with his administration to ensure local governments are fully funded and equipped to improve water quality for communities across Ohio.
 

 
OML ATTENDS NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES CONGRESSIONAL CITY CONFERENCE

This week, the League's Board President Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst, Executive Director Kent Scarrett and Legal Counsel Garry Hunter attended the NLC'S Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C.

The annual conference is designed to educate municipal officials and NLC member communities from across the country on current issues and programs impacting municipalities nationwide, federal action that relate to the administration of municipal government, provides a forum for municipal officials to educate their federal representatives on issues important to their constituent communities and to visit those policymakers on Capitol Hill. The event had nearly 2,300 delegates from across the country with 60 attending from Ohio.

Attendees are given the opportunity to hear presentations from legislators and thought leaders from various areas of government addressing issues affecting cities across America. The main topics addressed at the conference were the issues of infrastructure, affordable housing, the opioid epidemic and the FCC preemption of local control over the installation of 5G technology in municipal rights-of-way. Other topics included best practices for strengthening local communities and highlighting new funding opportunities to support economic growth on the local level.

At the end of the event, attendees were able to meet with their legislative delegations to Capitol Hill in meetings coordinated by NLC. These meetings gave local officials the opportunities to share the specific concerns of their communities with their congressional representatives.

The league greatly appreciates the time Congressmen Balderson, Davidson, Stivers, Jordan and aides to Congressman Portman were able to provide President Barhorst and Dir. Scarrett as they met in their legislative offices to discuss the future of Ohio's cities and villages and the need to strength the partnership between the federal government and our municipalities.
 
 
BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST VOTED OUT OF THE SENATE
 
Here is the piece of legislation impacting municipalities voted out by the Senate this week:
  • SB 10 - THEFT IN OFFICE. Sponsored by Sen. Wilson (R - Maineville), would expand the penalties for theft in office based on the amount stolen and to include as restitution audit costs of the entity that suffered the loss. The bill was voted out of the Senate 32-0. The League supports this legislation.
 
BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST INTRODUCED

Here are the bills impacting municipalities that were introduced this week:
  • SB 105 - MASSAGE THERAPY. Sponsored by Sen Brenner (R - Powell), would make changes to the massage therapy licensing law.
 
COMMITTEE UPDATE: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST

Here are the bills of municipal interest that received committee hearings this week:
  • HB 27 - SUBDIVISION LIABILITY. Sponsored by Rep. Ingram (D - Cincinnati), would modify political subdivision liability for an employee's negligent operation of a motor vehicle. During its second hearing before the House Civil Justice Committee, a representative from the Ohio Association for Justice and an attorney submitted proponent testimony. The League is opposed to this legislation.
  This bill will be up for a third hearing next week for opponent testimony. Our members are encouraged to submit written opponent testimony or testify in person before the House Civil Justice Committee. This bill eliminates sovereign immunity for municipalities and it is imperative the legislature understand the extensive negative consequences this would have not only for first responders, but for local communities as a whole. Please submit your opponent testimony to brandon.sagraves@ohiohouse.gov by 3 p.m. on Monday, March 18th. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, March 19th at 3 p.m. in Hearing Room 113 in the Ohio Statehouse. For any questions about drafting or submitting testimony, please contact the League's Director of Communications Ashely Brewster at abrewster@omlohio.gov or 614-221-4349.
 
  • SB 52 - CYBER SECURITY. Sponsored by Sen. Gavarone (R - Bowling Green), would create the civilian cyber security reserve forces, make the Secretary of State a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, require the Secretary of State to appoint a chief information security officer, require the boards of elections to audit election results, and make an appropriation. During its third hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, the committee adopted two amendments dealing with elections. The Ohio Township Association submitted written proponent testimony. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • SB 50 - SOLID WASTE FEES. Sponsored by Sen. Eklund (R - Chardon), would increase state solid waste disposal fee that is deposited into the Soil and Water Conservation District Assistance Fund, and make an appropriation. During its first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the bill's sponsor explained that the bill would create funding necessary for local soil and water conservation districts. The League is still looking into this legislation.
  • SB 39 - MIXED-USE TAX CREDIT. Sponsored by Sen. Schuring (R - Canton), would authorize an insurance premiums tax credit for capital contributions to transformational mixed-use development projects. During its first hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the bill's sponsor explained the bill is designed to create a "unique tax credit that will help transform Ohio's downtowns with new and robust economic development." The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • HB 47 - PROPERTY TAX COMPLAINTS. Sponsored by Sen. Greenspan (R - Westlake), would increase the time within which property tax complaints must be decided and to change the name of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. During its first hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, the bill's sponsor said the status quo does not allow enough time for county boards of revisions to be compliant with state law. The League is neutral on this legislation.
  • HB 76 - ELECTION NOTICES. Sponsored by Rep. Merrin (R - Monclova Township), would enact the "Ballot Uniformity and Transparency Act" to modify the form of election notices and ballot language for property tax levies. During its first hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, the bill's sponsor said the bill clarifies existing ballot language by using the $100,000 standard used by newspapers and other media outlets. The League is still looking into this legislation.
  • SB 8 - OPPORTUNITY ZONES. Sponsored by Sen. Schuring (R - Canton), would authorize tax credits for investments in an Ohio Opportunity Zone. During its fourth hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, the Manufacturing Policy Alliance and the Ohio REALTORS submitted testimony supporting the amendment. The League is supportive of this legislation.
  • SB 31 - PUBLIC RECORDS. Sponsored by Sen. Roegner (R - Hudson), would include emergency service telecommunicators as individuals whose residential and familial information is exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Law. During its first hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill's sponsor said the bill creates and "additional layer of protection" similar to those protections afforded to first responders The League is supportive of this legislation.


COMMITTEE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 18, 2018
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
HOUSE FINANCE
Tue., Mar. 19, 2019, 9:00 AM, Hearing Room 313
Rep. Oelslager: 614-752-2438
Testimony on the executive budget proposal from OBM Director Kimberly Murnieks, LSC Director Mark Flanders and Tax Commissioner Jeff McClain.
 
 
SENATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC SAFETY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS
Tue., Mar. 19, 2019, 11:15 AM, North Hearing Room
Sen. Uecker: 614-466-8082
 
TRAFFIC LAW PHOTO MONITORING (CRAIG H) To make changes to the laws governing traffic law photo-monitoring devices, other civil traffic violations, and related fines and fees. 
 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
 
PEDESTRIANS IN CROSSWALKS (BRENNER A) To alter the law governing yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. 
 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
 
 
HOUSE CIVIL JUSTICE
Tue., Mar. 19, 2019, 3:00 PM, Hearing Room 113
Rep. Hambley: 614-466-8140
 
PUBLIC MOTOR VEHICLE LIABILITY (INGRAM C) To modify political subdivision liability for an employee's negligent operation of a motor vehicle. 
 
Third Hearing, All Testimony
 
 
HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS
Tue., Mar. 19, 2019, 3:00 PM, Hearing Room 116
Rep. Schaffer: 614-466-8100
 
PROPERTY VALUE CONTESTS (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, Proponent Testimony
 
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
 
 
SENATE JUDICIARY
Wed., Mar. 20, 2019, 9:15 AM, North Hearing Room
Sen. Eklund: 614-644-7718
 
CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITIES OFFENSES (HOAGLAND F) To modify certain criminal offenses with respect to critical infrastructure facilities and to impose fines and civil liability for damage to a critical infrastructure facility. 
 
Second Hearing, Proponent Testimony
 
Thursday, March 21, 2019
HOUSE FINANCE
Thu., Mar. 21, 2019, 9:00 AM, Hearing Room 313
Rep. Oelslager: 614-752-2438
Testimony on the executive budget proposal from Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, Chancellor Randy Gardner, DRC Director Annette Chambers-Smith and DYS Director Ryan Gies.
 
PLEASE CHECK THE OML WEBSITE MONDAY FOR ANY UPDATES TO THE COMMITTEE SCHEDULE

Ohio Municipal League Meetings & Trainings

OML Lobbying Day
March 27, 2019



Ohio Municipal League

Legislative Inquires:
Kent Scarrett, Executive Director
Edward Albright, Deputy Director
Ashley Brewster, Director of Communications
Thomas Wetmore, Legislative Advocate

Website/Bulletin Issues:
Zoƫ Wade, Office Manager