Tax Legislative Report
132nd General Assembly

This legislative report is intended to keep section members up to date on legislation pending before the Ohio General Assembly.
Prepared by: Government Affairs Staff
Report created on February 23, 2018
 
HB11INCORPORATING FEDERAL REVENUE CHANGES (SCHERER G) To expressly incorporate changes in the Internal Revenue Code since February 14, 2016, into Ohio law.
 Current Status:   3/30/2017 - SIGNED BY GOVERNOR; eff. 3/30/2017
 
HB27WORKERS' COMPENSATION BUDGET (BRINKMAN T) To make changes to the Workers' Compensation Law, to make appropriations for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June
30, 2019, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of the Bureau's programs.
 Current Status:   6/30/2017 - SIGNED BY GOVERNOR; Eff. 6/30/2017
 
HB28INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION BUDGET (BRINKMAN T) To make appropriations for the Industrial Commission for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of Commission programs.
 Current Status:   6/28/2017 - SIGNED BY GOVERNOR; eff. 6/28/17
 
HB35BANKING LAW (HUGHES J) To enact a new banking law for the State of Ohio.
 Current Status:   3/8/2017 - House Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development, (Third Hearing)
 
HB49OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) Creates FY 2018-2019 main operating budget.
 Current Status:   8/22/2017 - Consideration of Governor's Veto
 
HB61TAX EXEMPTION-FEMININE PRODUCTS (JOHNSON G, KELLY B) To exempt from sales tax the sale of tampons and other feminine hygiene products associated with menstruation.
 Current Status:   10/10/2017 - House Ways and Means, (Second Hearing)
 
HB70FUEL TAX TRANSPARENCY (MERRIN D) To enact the "Fuel Tax Transparency Act" requiring stickers to be placed on retail service station pumps displaying the rates of federal and state taxes applicable to gasoline and diesel fuel.
 Current Status:   3/15/2017 - House Government Accountability and Oversight, (First Hearing)
 
HB74INCREASE COLLEGE TAX DEDUCTION (HUFFMAN S, GAVARONE T) To increase the maximum income tax deduction for contributions to the state's 529 college savings program from $2,000 to $3,000 per beneficiary per year.
 Current Status:   3/14/2017 - House Ways and Means, (First Hearing)
 
HB75PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE-ARMED FORCES (GAVARONE T, MERRIN D) To establish an expedited process to grant a professional license to an individual who is on active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States, or is the spouse of such an individual, and holds a valid license in another state.
 Current Status:   3/15/2017 - House Armed Services, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, (Second Hearing)
 
HB78ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES (RETHERFORD W) To revise the laws governing the provision of adult protective services.
 Current Status:   3/9/2017 - House Aging and Long Term Care, (First Hearing)
 
HB82ADJUST PROPERTY TAX FEE (RYAN S) To adjust the fees allowed to county treasurers for collecting property taxes.
 Current Status:   2/28/2017 - Referred to Committee House Government Accountability and Oversight
 
HB89AUGUST SALES TAX HOLIDAY (PATTERSON J, KELLY B) To provide for a three-day sales tax "holiday" in August 2017 during which sales of clothing and school supplies are exempt from sales and use taxes.
 Current Status:   2/28/2017 - Referred to Committee House Ways and Means
 
HB93PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TAX RETURNS (CLYDE K) To require a candidate for President or Vice-President of the United States to submit copies of the candidate's five most recent federal income tax returns for publication on the Secretary of State's official web site.
 Current Status:   5/9/2017 - House Federalism and Interstate Relations, (First Hearing)
 
HB104TAX REFUND ON BAD DEBTS (SCHAFFER T) To allow vendors to receive a refund of sales tax remitted for bad debts on private label credit accounts when the debt is charged off as uncollectible by the credit account lender.
 Current Status:   2/20/2018 - Referred to Committee Senate Finance
 
HB116TAX EXEMPTION-GLASSES AND CONTACTS (MERRIN D) To exempt prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other optical aids sold by licensed dispensers from sales and use tax.
 Current Status:   10/25/2017 - Referred to Committee Senate Ways and Means
 
HB118TAX COMPLAINT DISMISSAL (MERRIN D) To expressly prohibit the dismissal of a property tax complaint for failure to correctly identify the property owner.
 Current Status:   11/6/2017 - SIGNED BY GOVERNOR; eff. 2/5/18
 
HB162TAX CREDIT-SOUND RECORDING (SMITH K, LATOURETTE S) To authorize a refundable income tax credit for individual investors in a sound recording production company equal to a portion of the company's costs for a recording production or recording infrastructure project in Ohio.
 Current Status:   5/9/2017 - House Ways and Means, (First Hearing)
 
HB177TAX EXEMPTION-COMMUNITY GYMS (WEST T) To exempt memberships to gyms or other recreational facilities operated by charitable organizations from sales and use taxation.
 Current Status:   11/14/2017 - House Ways and Means, (Third Hearing)
 
HB185POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TAX CREDIT (HAMBLEY S) To expand the scope of political contributions that qualify for the income tax credit for contributions to political campaigns to candidates for any state, county, municipal, or district office.
 Current Status:   6/6/2017 - House Ways and Means, (First Hearing)
 
HB186COLLEGE TAX DEDUCTION (ROGERS J, SCHERER G) To enact the "Blair Deduction" to allow an individual obtaining a postsecondary degree or credential from an eligible educational institution to claim an income tax deduction for qualified higher education expenses.
 Current Status:   1/23/2018 - House Ways and Means, (Second Hearing)
 
HB216USED VEHICLE TRADE-IN CREDIT (HAMBLEY S, BRINKMAN T) To authorize a sales and use tax trade-in credit for purchases of used motor vehicles from a licensed dealer.
 Current Status:   6/6/2017 - House Ways and Means, (Second Hearing)
 
HB243FIREWOOD SALES TAX (PATTERSON J, CERA J) To exempt from sales and use taxation the bulk sale of firewood and certain other heating fuels, and to reimburse the Local Government Fund and Public Library Fund and county and transit sales tax collections for the resulting revenue losses.
 Current Status:   6/20/2017 - House Ways and Means, (First Hearing)
 
HB292STATE OF RESIDENCE TEST (SCHERER G) To modify the test for determining an individual's state of residence for income tax purposes.
 Current Status:   2/21/2018 - BILL AMENDED, Senate Ways and Means, (Fourth Hearing)
 
HB304DISABLED ADULT ADOPTION TAX CREDIT (YOUNG R) To extend a personal income tax credit available for the adoption of a minor child to include a disabled adult adopted by the adult's stepparent.
 Current Status:   11/14/2017 - House Ways and Means, (Second Hearing)
 
HB312LOCAL GOVERNMENT CREDIT CARDS (SCHURING K, GREENSPAN D) Regarding use of credit cards and debit cards by political subdivisions.
 Current Status:   1/17/2018 - Senate Government Oversight and Reform, (First Hearing)
 
HB333MARRIED COUPLES SEPARATE TAX FILING (BECKER J, LELAND D) To allow married couples to elect to file either separate state tax returns or a joint state return, irrespective of their federal filing status.
 Current Status:   9/19/2017 - House Ways and Means, (First Hearing)
 
HB337TEXTBOOK SALES TAX EXEMPTION (DUFFEY M) To exempt from sales and use tax textbooks purchased by post-secondary students.
 Current Status:   2/20/2018 - REPORTED OUT AS AMENDED, House Ways and Means, (Fourth Hearing)
 
HB351NOAA AND PHS TAX EXEMPTION (PERALES R, BUTLER, JR. J) To 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.
 Current Status:   1/30/2018 - REPORTED OUT, House Ways and Means, (Fourth Hearing)
 
HB361PROPERTY TAX COMPLAINTS TIMEFRAME (GREENSPAN D) To increase the time within which boards of revision must decide property tax complaints.
 Current Status:   12/5/2017 - REPORTED OUT, House Government Accountability and Oversight, (Fourth Hearing)
 
HB371TAXES ON UNSOLD PROPERTY (MERRIN D) To exempt from property taxation the increased value of land subdivided for residential development until construction commences or the land is sold.
 Current Status:   1/16/2018 - REPORTED OUT AS AMENDED, House Ways and Means, (Seventh Hearing)
 
HB382UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION LAW (SCHURING K) To modify terms describing payments made under the Unemployment Compensation Law, to increase the amount of wages subject to unemployment compensation premiums, to require qualifying employees to make payments to the Unemployment Compensation Insurance Fund, to allow the Director of Job and Family Services to adjust maximum weekly benefit amounts, to reduce the maximum number of benefit weeks, and to make other changes to the Unemployment Compensation Law.
 Current Status:   2/13/2018 - House Government Accountability and Oversight, (Fourteenth Hearing)
 
HB430SALES TAX EXEMPTION-OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION (SCHAFFER T) To expand the scope of a sales and use tax exemption for certain kinds of property used in the production of oil and gas.
 Current Status:   2/20/2018 - Referred to Committee Senate Ways and Means
 
HB441TAX RETURN-PREPAID CARD (LANESE L, DEVER J) To allow the Department of Taxation to provide taxpayers who file electronic returns the option of receiving their income tax refund in the form of a prepaid card.
 Current Status:   2/13/2018 - House Government Accountability and Oversight, (First Hearing)
 
HB458DELINQUENT PROPERTY TAX PUBLICATION (LIPPS S, RYAN S) To provide that, once the initial publication of a county delinquent property tax list is made in a newspaper of general circulation, the second publication of that list may be done online.
 Current Status:   1/16/2018 - Referred to Committee House Ways and Means
 
HB460RIPARIAN BUFFERS-TAX EXEMPTION (PATTERSON J, SHEEHY M) To exempt qualifying riparian buffers in the Western Basin of Lake Erie from property taxation, to reimburse local taxing units for resulting revenue losses, and to require soil and water conservation districts to assist landowners with the creation and maintenance of riparian buffers.
 Current Status:   2/13/2018 - House Energy and Natural Resources, (Second Hearing)
 
HB469TAX CREDIT-MIXED USE PROJECTS (SCHURING K) To authorize a nonrefundable insurance company tax credit for contributions of capital to transformational mixed use development projects.
 Current Status:   2/20/2018 - House Government Accountability and Oversight, (First Hearing)
 
HB470TAX LEVY-PUBLIC LIGHTING (EDWARDS J) To authorize a property tax levy specifically to fund lighting for roads and public places.
 Current Status:   2/20/2018 - REPORTED OUT, House State and Local Government, (Third Hearing)
 
HB488PROPERTY TAX LEVY-BALLOT LANGUAGE (HOOD R) To modify the information conveyed in election notices and ballot language for property tax levies.
 Current Status:   2/14/2018 - Referred to Committee House Ways and Means
 
HB507TAX CREDIT-STILLBORN CHILDREN (GONZALES A) To allow a refundable income tax credit for parents of stillborn children.
 Current Status:   2/20/2018 - Referred to Committee House Ways and Means
 
HJR3SCHOOL DISTRICT OBLIGATIONS REFUND (BRENNER A) To conditionally authorize the issuance of state obligations to refund pending school district obligations, to conditionally waive, beginning in 2020, the requirement that schools levy property taxes to pay debt charges on their obligations, and to conditionally authorize a treasury fund that is restricted exclusively to educational purposes.
 Current Status:   3/7/2017 - Referred to Committee House Finance
 
HJR4UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BONDS (SCHURING K) 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.
 Current Status:   2/13/2018 - House Government Accountability and Oversight, (Fourteenth Hearing)
 
SB35TAX CREDIT RESTRICTION REMOVAL (SKINDELL M) To remove the income restriction on the earned income tax credit and to make the credit refundable beginning in 2017.
 Current Status:   3/22/2017 - Senate Ways and Means, (Second Hearing)
 
SB36AGRICULTURAL COMPUTATION (HITE C) To require that the computation of the capitalization rate for the purposes of determining CAUV of agricultural land be computed using a method that excludes appreciation and equity buildup and to stipulate that CAUV land used for a conservation practice or enrolled in a federal land retirement or conservation program for at least three years must be valued at the lowest of the values assigned on the basis of soil type.
 Current Status:   5/16/2017 - Referred to Committee House Ways and Means
 
SB72PREVAILING WAGE LAW (HUFFMAN M) To allow political subdivisions, special districts, and state institutions of higher education to elect to apply the Prevailing Wage Law to public improvement projects.
 Current Status:   3/7/2017 - Referred to Committee Senate Finance
 
SB123PROPERTY TAX COMPLAINT PROCESS (COLEY W) To limit the right to initiate most types of property tax complaints to the property owner and the county recorder of the county in which the property is located.
 Current Status:   6/14/2017 - Senate Ways and Means, (Second Hearing)
 
SB131EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION-TAX CREDITS (DOLAN M) To provide that compensation paid to certain home-based employees may be counted for purposes of an employer qualifying for and complying with the terms of a Job Creation Tax Credit.
 Current Status:   6/6/2017 - Referred to Committee House Ways and Means
 
SB132TAX CREDIT-FOREIGN TRADE (DOLAN M, EKLUND J) To establish a five-year pilot program whereby taxpayers with facilities in this state with activated foreign trade zone status may claim a nonrefundable commercial activity tax credit equal to the amount redeployed by the taxpayer to job creation and renewable energy resources.
 Current Status:   4/26/2017 - Referred to Committee Senate Ways and Means
 
SB147OHIO RURAL JOBS ACT (HITE C) To enact the "Ohio Rural Jobs Act" which authorizes a nonrefundable tax credit for insurance companies that invest in rural business growth funds, which are certified to provide capital to rural and agricultural businesses.
 Current Status:   9/27/2017 - Senate Ways and Means, (Second Hearing)
 
SB176MUNICIPAL INCOME TAX RESTRICTIONS (JORDAN K) To prohibit municipal corporations from levying an income tax on nonresidents' compensation for personal services or on net profits from a sole proprietorship owned by a nonresident.
 Current Status:   9/7/2017 - Referred to Committee Senate Ways and Means
 
SB186BUSINESS INCOME CLASSIFICATION (PETERSON B) To provide that wages and guaranteed payments paid by a professional employer organization to the owner of a pass-through entity that has contracted with the organization may be considered business income.
 Current Status:   11/28/2017 - House Ways and Means, (First Hearing)
 
SB187DELINQUENT MUNICIPAL INCOME TAXES (EKLUND J, WILSON S) To allow municipal corporations to charge delinquent taxpayers the costs of collecting municipal income taxes regardless of whether the costs are incurred before or after a judgment is entered against the taxpayer.
 Current Status:   11/7/2017 - Senate Finance, (First Hearing)
 
SB203MUNICIPAL TAX RULE REINSTATEMENT (DOLAN M) To reinstate the municipal income tax "throw-back rule" used in apportioning business income among municipalities.
 Current Status:   11/15/2017 - Referred to Committee Senate Finance
 
SB209PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS-TIF (COLEY W, EKLUND J) To modify the conditions that determine the relative priority of property tax exemptions when a parcel subject to a tax increment financing arrangement concurrently qualifies for another exemption.
 Current Status:   10/25/2017 - Referred to Committee Senate Ways and Means
 
SB210AUXILIARY CONTAINER USEAGE (COLEY W, EKLUND J) To 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 antilittering law applies to auxiliary containers.
 Current Status:   1/30/2018 - Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid, (Second Hearing)
 
SB213ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDING PLAN (SCHIAVONI J) To enhance economic and employment opportunities and improve local infrastructure in Ohio by providing additional assistance to workforce development and employment programs; establishing a revolving loan program for small businesses seeking to expand operations; extending job tax credits to smaller businesses; enabling expanded participation in public sector contracting by smaller companies; enhancing support for child
care centers; funding additional local infrastructure and public transit; authorizing tax incentives for hiring military veterans, for donating money to local programs assisting distressed communities, or for improving distressed property; exempting the homes of disabled veterans from property taxation; terminating the income tax deduction and reduced tax rate for business income; and to make an appropriation.
 Current Status:   11/15/2017 - Referred to Committee Senate Finance
 
SB224GOODS TAXATION-FOREIGN DELIVERY (EKLUND J) To exempt from sales and use tax goods purchased by a foreign citizen or entity if the goods are in Ohio only temporarily for package consolidation before being delivered to a foreign address, and to declare an emergency.
 Current Status:   2/6/2018 - Senate Finance, (Second Hearing)
 
SB226PERMANENT SALES TAX HOLIDAY (BACON K) To provide for a permanent three-day sales tax "holiday" each August during which sales of clothing and school supplies are exempt from sales and use tax.
 Current Status:   2/20/2018 - Referred to Committee House Ways and Means
 
SB239REGIONAL COUNCILS OF GOVERNMENTS (DOLAN M) To modify the law concerning regional councils of governments.
 Current Status:   2/21/2018 - Senate Government Oversight and Reform, (Second Hearing)
 
Week in Review

Week in Review

 

Friday, Feb. 16, 2018

 

 

ABORTION

 

Capital Care Network of Toledo could once again legally provide surgical abortions following a local hospital's decision to sign a transfer agreement with the clinic. On Monday evening, the ProMedica Board of Trustees authorized the ProMedica Toledo Hospital to enter into the agreement with the city's last abortion clinic. Facilities that provide surgical abortions are required by law to have a written transfer agreement with a local, non-public hospital.

 

A soon-to-be-effective state law prohibiting abortion for women seeking the procedure because of a Down syndrome diagnosis is being challenged in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio on behalf of several abortion providers in Ohio. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on Thursday, says HB214 (LaTourette-Merrin) places an unconstitutional burden on a woman's right to abortion, "striking at the very heart of the Fourteenth Amendment's right to privacy and autonomy."

 

ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE

 

The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show an intensification of annual drug overdose deaths in Ohio amounting to almost triple the national average, which is likely related to the state's ongoing opioid crisis. According to the National Vital Statistics System's recently released Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts report, 5,232 drug overdose deaths were reported between July, 2016 and July 2017, up significantly from the 3,763 overdose deaths reported for the same period the previous year for a 39 percent increase.

 

AGRICULTURE

 

Reps. Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) and Martin Sweeney (D-Cleveland) Tuesday introduced the Ohio Proud Craft Beer Act. HB509 has 25 cosponsors and would grant "Ohio Proud Craft Beer" certifications to craft beer and cider that are brewed using Ohio-grown ingredients. In addition, the bill would allow craft brewers to sell one-ounce tastings and a limited amount of finished product for off-site consumption.

 

The Ohio Farmers Union (OFU) and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) charged the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) and Ohio Beef Council Thursday with "serious abuses" of an $800,000 state beef "check-off" fund that OFU says is being illegally used to fund lobbying activities and political campaign interests at the state and national level. ODAg denied the accusations, saying it takes oversight of commodity check-off programs seriously and employs third-party auditors as part of that.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL

 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has responded to Purdue Pharma's announcement that it intends to cease marketing opioids to doctors. "Purdue Pharma's announcement that they will no longer send out sales reps to promote OxyContin to doctors is a victory for everyone. But, it's too little, too late. It is a decision that should have been made years ago and should be now made by all other makers of opioid pain medications," DeWine said in a statement Sunday, noting Purdue's place among the big pharmaceutical companies being sued for promoting addictive painkillers.

 

AUDITOR OF STATE

 

Auditor Dave Yost on Thursday shared the results of a review showing nearly $128,000 in unjustified Medicaid payments to a Scioto County personal care aide. The auditor report shows that Joseph Poole requested reimbursement and received $158,000 from the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM). Auditors determined that Poole was ineligible to receive 81 percent, or $127,901, of that payment due to non-compliance with Medicaid requirements.

 

BALLOT ISSUES

 

The Ohio Attorney General's (AG) Office Friday certified a petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution regarding standards and payment requirements for kidney dialysis services. On Jan. 30, 2018, the Ohio Attorney General's Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution, entitled "Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Amendment," from legal counsel for the petitioning committee. The petition was certified as containing both the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters and a "fair and truthful" summary of the proposed amendment.

 

FY19-20 CAPITAL APPROPRIATIONS BUDGET

 

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) told Hannah News Monday that he expects a capital appropriations bill will be introduced by the end of February. It will be smaller than in years past, with Obhof saying he expects to have about 10 percent less funding available than in the 131st General Assembly.

 

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said Wednesday that funding to upgrade voting machines will not be included in the forthcoming capital budget, but will be considered in separate legislation. He said there are a number of issues that need to be worked out regarding voting machine funding.

 

BUSINESS/CORPORATE

 

Secretary of State Jon Husted Thursday announced 10,075 new entities filed to do business in Ohio throughout the month of January. The secretary of state's office said January's filings are an increase of 42 when compared to the same month in 2017.

 

DEATH PENALTY

 

The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday upheld multiple death sentences for Richard Beasley of Akron, convicted of murdering three men who had responded to fake employment ads Beasley had posted on Craigslist. Beasley, 58, used the free classified ad domain to lure Ralph Geiger, David Pauley, Timothy Kern and Scott Davis to a remote farm in southeastern Ohio where he supposedly wanted to employ workers. The Death Row inmate killed and robbed the first three men and injured the fourth. He was given the death sentence in 2013.

 

EDUCATION

 

Aiming to streamline Ohio's education-to-workforce pipeline, House Republicans announced legislation Wednesday that would significantly alter the state's public education system and the departments that oversee it. Under HB512, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation and much of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and State Board of Education would be combined under a new, cabinet-level agency, the Ohio Department of Learning and Achievement.

 

Education officials added millions Monday to the total of student funding overpayments they're seeking to recover from the shuttered Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), one day before the Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments on the school's enrollment reporting dispute with the state. At a sparsely attended meeting, State Board of Education members voted 15-0 to accept the report of a hearing officer who agreed with the ODE finding that ECOT could not substantiate 18.5 percent of its reported 2016-2017 enrollment. The resolution on the hearing officer's report directs ODE to seek recovery of $19,234,109.11.

 

Schools with a higher proportion of students at risk of not graduating on time are seeing the students take advantage of new diploma options created for the class of 2018, ODE officials said Tuesday. Department staff shared results of a survey sent to 156 schools across 45 districts to gauge how the new diploma options are being used, which is meant to help State Board of Education (SBOE) members with their long-term discussions of whether and how to overhaul the graduation system. About half of the schools responded to the survey.

 

ECOT student records have been delivered to all but two school districts -- Beavercreek City in Greene County and Triway Local School District in Wayne County -- according to interim master Myron Terlecky. Terlecky, assistant master for compliance Richard Kruse and attorneys for ECOT and its sponsor, Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West (ESC), appeared before Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Michael Holbrook at an emergency status conference he convened Friday.

 

The beleaguered Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) had its latest day in Court Tuesday, when counsel for the e-school and ODE debated whether it would be an "absurd result" to argue that an online school should receive full student funding from the state for the entire academic year if a student logs onto the website a couple of minutes every month. The answer to that question is an emphatic yes, said attorney Doug Cole, arguing for ODE. Attorney Marion Little, representing ECOT, contradicted that view, saying e-schools and other charters are no different than traditional public schools in that respect.

 

Explaining that he sees a high level of interest among the members of his Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee to do something in the apprenticeship area, Chair Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) said Wednesday it is still unclear how HB110 (Hagan-Dean) differs from current law.

 

ODE is seeking comments on its proposed updates to Ohio's Learning Standards in Science and Social Studies - Extended. All Ohioans can share their thoughts about the standards through a survey accessible online at https://www.ohio-k12.help/standards/. The deadline for comments is Monday, March 12.

 

Applications for the 2018 Appalachian Regional Commission/Oak Ridge National Laboratory Summer STEM Program are now available. All middle and high school students interested in math, science and technology who attend a public school in Appalachian Ohio are encouraged to apply. The institute will take place at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN, from July 7-20, 2018 for high school students and teachers; and from July 15-20, 2018 for middle school students.

 

The departments of education (ODE) and higher education (ODHE) Thursday announced that students intending to participate in the fourth year of College Credit Plus can now begin the notification process for the 2018-2019 school year. The program allows Ohio students the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school.

 

According to the Food Research and Action Center's (FRAC) "2016-2017 School Breakfast Scorecard" report, Ohio schools' participation in the national School Breakfast Program (SBP) is proportionally one of the lowest in the nation, ranking 43rd out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report stated that 87.5 percent of Ohio schools offering free and reduced-price (F&RP) lunches offered school breakfast in the 2016-2017 school year - a figure the center says should be higher.

 

ELECTIONS

 

A left-leaning group released a report this week finding that most state election systems have vulnerabilities to hacking and other interference by foreign governments bent on disrupting elections. The Center for American Progress (CAP) said it conducted research and interviewed election officials as part of its report, assigning grades to all 50 states and the District of Columbia on what it said was adherence to best practices in seven categories: minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration systems; voter-verified paper ballots; post-election audits that test election results; ballot accounting and reconciliation; return of voted paper absentee ballots; voting machine certification requirements; and pre-election logic and accuracy testing.

 

ELECTIONS 2018

 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine got the nod he was looking for Friday when the Ohio Republican Party's Central Committee voted 59-2 to endorse him in the gubernatorial primary over Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who was critical of the process. Members also endorsed U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) for U.S. Senate and all leading candidates for attorney general, auditor, secretary of state and treasurer. The committee went on to endorse all U.S. House Republican incumbents and Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof's (R-Medina) and House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger's (R-Clarksville) recommended candidates.

 

Saying it is time for Democrats to come together and unite, former Rep. Connie Pililch dropped her gubernatorial bid Wednesday and threw her full support behind Richard Cordray. Pillich was joined by running mate and Marion Mayor Scott Schertzer at an event at Cordray's German Village campaign headquarters, along with Cordray and his running mate, Betty Sutton. Pillich said she decided to drop out over the weekend and had not spoken to Cordray before making her decision. Afterward, she called Cordray and offered her support.

 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich and his running mate, Tara Samples, Thursday outlined their proposed criminal justice platform, calling for the closing of the state's private prisons, a reduction in prison sentences for non-violent offenders, more training and equipment for police officers and treatment for those with mental health issues.

 

Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) has to run for re-election as a write-in candidate for the May primary because she did not properly sign her petition forms, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

 

The following endorsements were made over the week:

- The Ohio Right to Life PAC Monday announced it was endorsing Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for governor in 2018.

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Provisions of the Trump administration's proposed budget cutting Great Lakes restoration efforts are "out of touch with reality" and "dead on arrival in Congress," advocates told reporters in a call Thursday. Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition Campaign Director Todd Ambs criticized the budget cuts in those terms, and Policy Director Chad Lord voiced similar opposition. The group plans to work with "bipartisan champions" in Congress, Ambs said.

 

FEDERAL

 

After a night of 11th hour deliberations lasting till dawn, a five-hour long government shutdown ended Friday morning when President Trump signed into law a budget agreement lauded by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) for including $6 billion aimed at fighting the nation's opioid addiction crisis.

 

A number of Ohio organizations reacted to the Monday release of President Donald Trump's proposed budget for FY19.

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

 

In one of the first new pieces of artwork commissioned by the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) in 59 years, the painting "Greeting Lincoln" portraying a speech given by President-elect Lincoln to a joint session of the 54th Ohio General Assembly was unveiled outside of the Ohio House chambers on Tuesday.

 

During its voting session on Wednesday, the House agreed with Senate amendments to HB79 (Retherford-Hagan), sending the bill to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. The legislation allows trained tactical medical professionals to carry firearms while on duty with special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams. The House also voted 89-3 to pass HB370 (Perales), which would add a depiction of Wilbur and Orville Wright's first piloted airplane, the Wright Flyer, to the Great Seal of the state of Ohio and to Ohio's Coat of Arms.

 

The House also passed SB144 (Burke), creating the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) Council to replace the current OOD Commission, Consumer Advisory Committee and the Governor's Council on People with Disabilities. The vote was 90-0. The bill now heads back to the Senate for agreement on amendments. In addition, the chamber unanimously passed HB359 (Stein), which creates a ceremonial procedure for retiring an Ohio state flag.

 

In other legislative action, the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out HB422 (Ginter-Rogers) which deals with the acquisition of municipal waterworks and sewage disposal system companies; the House State and Local Government Committee reported out HB314 (Schaffer) which provides a tax credits for law enforcement officers who purchase their own safety equipment; and HB453 (Greenspan) which addresses the rights of charter county hospitals; and the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee reported out highway designations bills HB372 (Romanchuk) and HB346 (West) and license plate bills HB429 (West) and HB445 (Riedel).

 

GOVERNOR

 

Gov. John Kasich Monday ordered all public flags in Ohio be flown at half-staff to honor of the lives and service of Westerville Police Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli until their interments. "The finest among us are those who risk it all every day for our safety, and Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were those people. Their deaths are a terrible tragedy for my hometown of Westerville and all of Ohio," Kasich wrote on Twitter shortly after the officers were killed on Saturday, Feb. 10.

 

Appointments made during the week include the following:

 

- James W. Sheppard III of Worthington (Franklin County) has been appointed to the State Board of Education for a term beginning Feb. 9, 2018, and ending Dec. 31, 2020.

- Rochelle W. Hall-Rollins of Holland (Lucas County), Lori Kershner of Springboro (Warren County), Jill R. Radler of Delphos (Allen County), James F. Plasencia of Bucyrus (Crawford County), and Victor A. Wilson of Columbus (Franklin County) reappointed to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council for terms beginning Feb. 12, 2018, and ending Dec. 31, 2020.

- Brenda Brandon of Oak Harbor (Ottawa County), Morgan E. Gattermeyer of Hamilton (Butler County), Rhonda J. Rich of Troy (Miami County), Michael E. Denlinger of Cincinnati (Hamilton County), Matt A. Harrison of Greenville (Darke County), and Michael E. Richards of Greenfield (Highland County) to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council for terms beginning Feb. 12, 2018, and ending Dec. 31, 2020.

- John J. Lynch of Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) to the Real Estate Appraiser Board for a term beginning Feb. 13, 2018, and ending June 30, 2020.

 

 

GUNS

 

Law enforcement groups and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America both testified Tuesday against HB228 (Johnson-LaTourette), a bill to expand self-defense rights and modify duties for concealed carry weapon (CCW) licensees.

 

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

 

On Wednesday, HB345, the Multistate Compact Cure Bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Butler (R-Dayton), was reported out of the House Health Committee on a bipartisan vote. Notably, however, the bill was opposed by committee Chairman Rep. Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City) who was joined in opposition by Reps. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) and Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville).

 

Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC) members quizzed Kasich administration officials Thursday on whether claims data for the first few weeks of a behavioral health billing overhaul offer any warning signs about care access or the health of the provider network. Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) Director Barbara Sears told the committee that 433 out of 636 providers had submitted claims, and 94 percent of those providers had received some payment for claims. The claims rejection rate is running about 25 percent, versus a pre-redesign rate of about 11 percent.

 

HIGHER EDUCATION

 

The State of Ohio Leadership Institute, created by HB49 (R. Smith), the biennial budget, with the goal of helping new lawmakers at the state and local level, named Trevor L. Brown as its inaugural executive director on Monday.

 

HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS

 

The Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) awarded $5.5 million in grants to 22 local organizations to help low-income Ohioans complete home repairs and provide homebuyer counseling. Local organizations can use the grants to complete health and safety home repairs, improve handicapped accessibility and provide down payment assistance and homebuyer counseling.

 

INSURANCE

 

A program established to collect past due taxes from insurance agents has surpassed the $20 million threshold, Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) Director Jillian Froment announced. Through a partnership established in 2011 with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Ohio Department of Taxation, ODI, on an annual basis, determines if agents are compliant with Ohio laws.

 

JUDICIAL

 

The Ohio Supreme Court Wednesday addressed whether cities and other political subdivisions can be held liable for damages when foliage obstructs traffic control devices, leading to auto accidents. The case, Pelletier v. City of Campbell et al., had drawn friend-of-court briefs from the Ohio Municipal League, Ohio Township Association, County Commissioners Association of Ohio, County Engineers Association of Ohio, Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys, city of Canton, other municipalities and townships and additional parties.

 

The Ohio Supreme Court will accept public comment until March 14 on proposed rule amendments addressing the designation or election of an administrative judge in a multi-division municipal court. In Ohio, each court or division of a court has an administrative judge with various powers and duties, including controlling the docket, assigning cases and administering personnel policies.

 

JUVENILE JUSTICE

 

Sponsors of legislation that would ban "sexting" by teenagers said the bill will give prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys the ability to determine who is pandering obscene material of minors and who is just a teenager "making a bad choice." Reps. Jeff Rezabek (R-Dayton) and Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) said HB355 would give a second chance to teens who have engaged in the distribution of sexually explicit digital material, or "sexting."

 

MARIJUANA

 

The Ohio Department of Commerce's (DOC) medical marijuana cultivator application scores cannot be trusted because of deficiencies in the agency's information technology (IT) system, according to Auditor of State Dave Yost.

 

NATURAL RESOURCES

 

The Ohio Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp will welcome campers this summer under a new name - "Camp Canopy" -- according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

 

Uncertified ginseng may not be possessed after Saturday, March 31 without a weight receipt, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). "Anyone planning to keep uncertified ginseng beyond the deadline must schedule an appointment to get it weighed and documented," the department said in a news release.

 

PEOPLE

 

Rebecca Everman of Westerville has been named senior executive assistant and assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF).

 

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) will recognize Brad Cole's over 31 years with the organization at an open house luncheon at the Statehouse on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Cole, CCAO's managing director of research, retires effective Thursday, March 1.

 

The Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) announced the hiring of Tod Bowen as managing director of sales and growth. In his new position, Bowen will be responsible for member and vendor sales, recruitment, Mid-America Restaurant Expo sales, sponsorship sales and major events. He began working at ORA on Jan. 28.

 

POLITICS

 

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the 2018 Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) Legacy Dinner, ODP Chairman David Pepper said Wednesday. Holder, who chairs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), plans to "fire up" attendees ahead of the Tuesday, May 8 primary election to support congressional redistricting proposal SJR5 (Huffman-Sykes) and to campaign for Democrats running for offices across the state in the general election, Pepper told reporters on a conference call.

 

TAXATION

 

Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) presented sponsor testimony on his SB22 Tuesday, legislation which was originally introduced a year ago to conform Ohio's tax code to the federal tax code for the 2016 filing year but will now be amended to conform state law to the federal tax code for the 2017 filing year.

 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

 

Legislation resolving differences between local governments and wireless companies on the deployment of small cell technology passed the House 76-15 on Wednesday. "A coalition of over 90 municipalities negotiated over the past three months with representatives from the wireless industry. The product of that hard work is substitute HB478 (LaTourette-R. Smith)," Rep. Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) said.

 

UNIONS

 

Bemoaning what they say are sustained attacks on labor unions, two left-leaning advocacy groups released a new policy brief suggesting state lawmakers pursue a different route to address worker issues. Policy Matters' Hannah Halbert, Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters Communications Director Doug Stern and Wright State University economics professor Rudy Fichtenbaum decried the six "right-to-work" proposals introduced by Reps. John Becker (R-Cincinnati) and Craig Riedel (R-Defiance).

 

UTILITIES

 

In the final of five scheduled public hearings on a six-year extension and modification of its electric security plan, American Electric Power (AEP) of Ohio drew vocal support Monday for proposed smart grid technology and a job-rich solar installation expected to produce 400 megawatts (MW) of solar energy at a soon-to-be announced location in Appalachian Ohio. The hearing follows PUCO approval of modifications to AEP Ohio's current ESP last fall, when the utility agreed to replace its scuttled power purchase agreement (PPA) with a scaled-down version benefiting the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC). In addition to the solar installation, the ESP approved on Nov. 3 also provided for 500 megawatts of wind power in the AEP portfolio; smart energy technologies including public safety micro-grids, electric vehicle charging stations and smart street lighting; replacement of aging infrastructure and "aggressive" vegetation management; and a new dispatch system and security upgrades at substations.

 

The Ohio Consumers' Counsel is asking state regulators to provide consumers "across-the-board savings" on their utility bills in keeping with federal tax reductions enjoyed by electric, natural gas and telephone providers. "Fair" enough, say Ohio's electric utilities, assuming any rate cut is subject to the routine ratemaking process overseen by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). PUCO opened the "investigation" into the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's (TCJA) impact on utilities in early January and has set a comment deadline of Thursday, Feb. 15.

 

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) on Thursday approved construction of two utility-scale solar farms in Brown and Hardin counties, representing two different regions of the state. Together they will produce 275 megawatts (MW) in northwest and southwest Ohio. OPSB called them the "first of their kind" to be reviewed by the board and the largest solar-powered electric generating facilities in Ohio once constructed.

 


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