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 December 12, 2017
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:   4/25/2017 - REPORTED OUT, House Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development, (Third Hearing)
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. 90 days
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:   5/16/2017 - House Ways and Means, (First 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:   11/15/2017 - Referred to Committee Senate Ways and Means
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:   12/5/2017 - PASSED BY HOUSE; Vote 95-0
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:   12/12/2017 - House Ways and Means, (Second 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:   11/14/2017 - House Ways and Means, (Second 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:   12/12/2017 - BILL AMENDED, House Ways and Means, (Fifth 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:   12/5/2017 - House Government Accountability and Oversight, (Fifth 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:   12/5/2017 - House Government Accountability and Oversight, (First Hearing)
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:   12/7/2017 - Introduced
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:   12/5/2017 - House Government Accountability and Oversight, (Fifth 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:   12/5/2017 - Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid, (First 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:   11/15/2017 - Referred to Committee Senate Finance
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:   11/29/2017 - Senate Ways and Means, (First Hearing)
SB239REGIONAL COUNCILS OF GOVERNMENTS (DOLAN M) To modify the law concerning regional councils of governments.
 Current Status:   12/5/2017 - Introduced
Week in Review

Week in Review


Friday, Dec. 8, 2017




Legislation prohibiting abortion services for women seeking the procedure because of a Down syndrome diagnosis was reported out of the House Health Committee on a party-line vote Wednesday. Doctors who violate SB164 (LaRose) would face a fourth-degree felony, revocation of their medical license and possible civil penalties. The committee also heard opponent testimony on HB258 (Hagan-Hood), which would prohibit abortion of a fetus with a detectable heartbeat, which can occur in the sixth week of pregnancy. Eight witnesses testified against the bill in person, while the committee received 11 pieces of written opponent testimony.




Attorney General Mike DeWine released preliminary numbers of drug cases that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) has received to date in 2017, with the number of confirmed carfentanil submissions nearly quadrupling and a 46 percent increase in fentanyl submissions.


At the request of Gov. John Kasich, the Ohio Third Frontier has made available up to $20 million to advance new technologies in the battle against drug abuse and addiction. Awards totaling $10 million were approved Friday by the Third Frontier Commission. These projects range from pain management alternatives to new apps that improve diagnosis and treatment.




At the final meeting of the House Speaker's Task Force on Alzheimer's and Dementia Tuesday, the group heard presentations on efforts different groups are undertaking to assist all of the individuals affected by those with cognitive handicaps, not just those suffering from the diseases. Following the meeting, Chairwoman Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) said that the group's next steps will be to continue conversations and produce a final report that could inform potential future legislation.


Citing predictions that the number of Americans over 65 is expected to double by 2060, personal finance blog WalletHub ranked the nation according to steps taken to combat elder abuse in a report released Wednesday. Ohio ranks 24th in overall elder-abuse protection in the report, which included the District of Columbia in second place. Across three sub-rankings, the Buckeye State was 28th in prevalence, 16th in resources and 33rd in protection.




The operator of the "Fire Ball" amusement ride will not face state punishment following a deadly malfunction at the 2017 Ohio State Fair. According to an Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) investigation summary, Amusements of America and its Fire Ball ride were in compliance with Ohio law at the time of its inspection. The department found the operator also complied with Ohio law with regard to timely accident notification, but did not file an accident report within the required 24 hours.




Attorney General Mike DeWine announced he would challenge a potential move by the Columbus Crew SC to Austin, TX after Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) brought his attention to a state law concerning publicly-funded professional sports teams.




A Summit County Medicaid provider can't provide documentation for hundreds of services billed to the state, Auditor Dave Yost's office said this week. Bovkisha Lee, a personal care aide, was paid $176,611 by Medicaid from 2013 through 2015, but Yost's office said it found hundreds of errors and lack of documentation, leading to a determination she owes $89,003, with $82,000 representing overpayments and the rest, interest.




The Ballot Board unanimously certified two proposed constitutional amendments as containing only one amendment each on Tuesday, clearing the way for backers to begin collecting signatures. The amendments titled the "Initiative and Referendum Amendment for Counties and Townships" and the "Ohio Community Rights Amendment," were both brought by the Ohio Community Rights Network, who say they want to secure the authority of communities to enact stronger environmental rights and protections than those recognized in state, federal or international law.




Revenues for November met estimates, however slightly, coming in $8.7 million or 0.5 percent over estimates for the month, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the Office of Budget and Management (OBM). For the year-to-date, Ohio is nearly $29.5 million or 0.3 percent over estimates.




Attorney General Mike DeWine released his office's annual report on businesses' compliance with the terms of economic development incentives they've received. The report found 213 of 272 awards in substantial compliance, while 59 were not in compliance, for a compliance rate of 78.3 percent.


Nearly half a billion dollars in business investment is expected to result from 15 projects for which the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) approved tax breaks Monday. Gov. John Kasich's office said the projects are expected to create 2,338 additional jobs and retain 1,857 positions across the state and result in $107 million in new payroll.




A wide-ranging study from the Pew Charitable Trusts looking at financial data in all 50 states showed that, while there has been a general upswing in states' economic viability since the 2007-2008 recession, many indicators of financial success have not yet returned to pre-recession levels. For Ohioans the data were a mixed bag, with the Buckeye State often sitting near the middle of the pack, occasionally dipping below or exceeding national trends of economic well-being.




Two of the State Board of Education's elected members, Stephanie Dodd of the Ninth District and Nick Owens of the Tenth District, issued a bipartisan statement Friday in defense of the board's role and responsibilities. Dodd and Owens cite those who "suggest" the board should be eliminated or relegated to a lesser role. Recently, the Fordham Institute has written commentary on overhauling the board, and Jai Chabria, a confidante of Gov. John Kasich, submitted a column to the Columbus Dispatch on the same topic. Both noted debate in Michigan about abolishing that state's board.


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said this week that big technology changes are coming to the federal student aid process. The U.S. Department of Education's (USDOE) Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) will launch a mobile platform in the spring, which will allow students and parents to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on a mobile phone. In the fall, USDOE will merge into, "making it easier than ever to apply for financial aid directly from FSA's leading online portal," USDOE said.


The application form for schools seeking STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) designations is now available, the Ohio Department of Education announced. Schools seeking the designations should submit a letter of intent by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 20, and final proposals are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 2, 2018.


The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has scheduled three information sessions across the state this month for those interested in learning more about Community Connectors, the state's mentorship grant program, in advance of the expected opening of applications for the next round of grants in February. The state has $8 million in available funding for the grants. Sessions are Monday, Dec. 11 in Tiffin; Thursday, Dec. 14 in Archbold; and Friday, Dec. 15 in Chillicothe.


The Ohio Supreme Court is again rejecting Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow's (ECOT) request to stop the state from clawing back and withholding money in an enrollment dispute. Justices ruled 5-1 Wednesday to deny an emergency request to grant an injunction or expedite ECOT's case that the online charter school filed in October.


Superintendent Paolo DeMaria gave a lengthy critique Wednesday of Sen. Matt Huffman's (R-Lima) education deregulation proposal, listing several concerns with the legislation. DeMaria was one of many witnesses who signed up to testify or provided written comments on the legislation at a Senate Education Committee hearing.


Ohio should simplify its report cards for local schools and make value-added data account for a greater share of schools' ratings, the Fordham Institute recommended in a report released Thursday. The report, "Back to the Basics," is written by Fordham's Ohio research director, Aaron Churchill, who calls for the state to winnow its dozen-plus letter grades down to six -- one overall grade, based on five component grades.


Youngstown-area lawmakers released a letter this week from the Ohio Ethics Commission affirming the application of state ethics laws to the powerful CEOs that can be appointed to run local schools under Ohio's revamped academic distress commission system. Paul Nick, executive director of the Ohio Ethics Commission, wrote a letter Wednesday to respond to a query on ethics law and Youngstown Academic Distress Commission CEO Krish Mohip from Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown).




The Ohio Republican Party's State Central Committee delayed a vote to endorse candidates for four statewide races on Friday after a new but familiar candidate emerged in the treasurer's race. The delay came after former Ashtabula County Auditor Sandra O'Brien, who was the Republican nominee for state treasurer in 2006 and lost a Republican primary for secretary of state in 2010, sent a letter to the committee saying she will be a candidate for treasurer in 2018 and is concerned about the State Central Committee endorsing at this time.


Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill waffled on his commitment to drop out of the race for governor if former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray entered the race, saying he wanted assurances Cordray would adopt his position of legalizing marijuana and using the revenue for mental health.


Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) announced recently that she will run for the 23rd Senate District in 2018, looking to trade places with Sen. Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood), who has filed paperwork to run for Antonio's seat.


Four Democratic candidates for governor met again Monday night in Cleveland for a debate, commenting on issues similar to those addressed in previous matchups while weighing in on recent developments in the race -- the merger of two GOP gubernatorial campaigns and the entry of Richard Cordray on the Democratic side. Former Rep. Connie Pillich, Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman), former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley participated in the hour-long debate at the City Club of Cleveland. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill, who's declared himself a candidate but has yet to file official paperwork, was not invited. Cordray, former Ohio attorney general and treasurer, joined the race Tuesday after recently resigning as head of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray became the sixth Democrat to enter the governor's race on Tuesday, announcing at Lilly's Kitchen Table in his hometown of Grove City that he will be focusing "on the kitchen table issues that keep families up at night, like the cost of health care and college, how to find that better job and how to save for retirement."


Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) announced Thursday that he would run to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Columbus). "I will fight for our interests, our jobs and for a government that stays out of the way," Balderson wrote on Facebook.


The following endorsements were made over the week:


- Franklin County GOP Central Committee endorsed Mike Gibbons in the U.S. Senate primary.

- Franklin County GOP and Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) both endorsed the Mike DeWine-Jon Husted joint ticket for governor and lieutenant governor.




The state of Ohio ought to designate the Western Basin of Lake Erie as "impaired" under the U.S. Clean Water Act due to nutrient pollution, according to the International Joint Commission (IJC). The state of Michigan has already done so, the organization said in its recently-released "First Triennial Assessment of

Progress on Great Lakes Water Quality." The IJC said the water quality of both Western and Central Lake Erie continues to be "unacceptable."




U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called on fellow Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to step down Wednesday amid several sexual misconduct allegations, including a new one earlier that morning. Brown's statement came after a series of female Democratic senators called for Franken's resignation in rapid succession. Franken announced Thursday he would resign in the coming weeks.




Ohio's four casinos earned $66.4 million in November, up from $62.2 million in November 2016 and down from $66.5 million in October, according to new figures released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission Thursday.




The Senate released its session schedule for the first half of next year, following a similar announcement from the House. The first Senate session of 2018 is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan 17, though an if-needed session is on the calendar for Wednesday, Jan. 10. Like the House's schedule, the Senate's calendar foresees an end to definite sessions in May. Everything on the calendar after Wednesday, May 23 is marked "if needed."


Rep. Michael Ashford (D-Toledo) has applied to fill a vacant position in Lucas County and is recommending that outgoing Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson be his replacement in the General Assembly. Ashford is applying for the Lucas County treasurer seat vacated by Toledo Mayor-elect Wade Kapszukiewicz and considers Hicks-Hudson to be a qualified candidate for the 44th district.


Saying that a "moral crisis has emerged at the Ohio Statehouse in recent weeks," the Ohio Christian Alliance (OCA) put out a statement calling for the legislative inspector general's office to look into incidents involving former legislators and staff that have come up in recent weeks.


Hannah News' interview series on freshman legislators profiled Rep. George Lang (R-West Chester), who was appointed in September to replace former Rep. Margy Conditt (R-Hamilton). Lang entered the General Assembly after around 25 years promoting business development in local government, and he now hopes to apply that drive at the state level.


The House is allowing one more week for changes to an unemployment compensation reform package before bringing it up for a committee vote. House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said after Tuesday's session the bill will clear committee next week and be brought up for a floor vote in January. Speaker Pro Tem Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) said he wants a little more time to work with interested parties on possible amendments to HB382, though he said he does not foresee substantial changes to the legislation. He said analysis shows a near-even split in the sacrifices asked of workers versus employers, and he doesn't want to upset that balance.


Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) appointed Mike Rowe, communications director for the caucus, to serve as chief of staff for the Senate Democrats. Rowe replaces Michael Premo, who resigned last month amid accusations of "inappropriate conduct toward staff." Rowe will begin his new duties on Monday, Dec. 18.


Tuesday's House session included concurrence with Senate changes to HB132 (Dever-McColley), which regulates fantasy sports contests; and passage of HB380 (Householder-Seitz), which bars people in the country illegally from collecting workers' compensation benefits; HB229 (Romanchuk-Wiggam), which designates Feb. 3 as "Charles Follis Day"; HB254 (Wiggam), which requires POW/MIA flags to be displayed at state buildings at certain times; HB312 (Schuring-Greenspan), which sets standards for local governments' use of credit and debit cards; HB329 (Pelanda), which sets a standard for distinguishing between legitimate direct sales businesses and illegal pyramid schemes; HB354 (Reineke), which allows the Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court to have concurrent jurisdiction with Seneca County Common Pleas Court in the operation of an addiction recovery pilot program; HR236 (Hughes), which expresses support for the Hyperloop Transportation Initiative; HCR10 (Thompson-Greenspan), which condemns the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel as well as incidents of anti-Semitism; SB71 (Manning), which allows directors of county alcohol, drug addiction and mental health boards to enter contracts of $25,000 or less without board approval; and HB362 (Carfagna-Ramos), which makes changes to the Highway Patrol Retirement System that were approved by the system's trustees and the Ohio Retirement Study Council.


Tuesday's Senate session included passage of HB170 (Carfagna-Duffey), which deals with computer science education; HB174 (Hughes-Lanese), which would add two judgeships to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court Domestic Relations Division; SB170 (LaRose), which directs the state to seek federal approval to waive skills tests for experienced veterans seeking commercial driver's licenses; and concurrence with House amendments to SB33 (Eklund), regarding the law enforcement automated data system (LEADS); and SB71 (Manning), which allows directors of alcohol, drug addiction and mental health boards to OK contracts up to $25,000 without board approval.


Robert McColley (R-Napoleon) resigned his House seat to take a Senate appointment Tuesday, filling the 1st District vacancy left by former Sen. Cliff Hite's (R-Findlay) resignation for inappropriate conduct toward a Legislative Service Commission staffer. The House elected Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) to replace McColley on the leadership team as assistant majority whip.


Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) appointed Sen. Bob Hackett (R-London) as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in the wake of former Chairman Sen. Cliff Hite's (R-Findlay) resignation for inappropriate conduct.


Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) gave up her leadership position in the House Democratic Caucus Thursday to focus on her run for the Senate in 2018.


In other legislative action, House Education and Career Readiness Committee reported out HB338 (Ginter), regarding bus driver medical exams; House Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out HCR16 (Thompson), which urges the federal government to counter oil market manipulation by OPEC; House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee reported out HR193 (Antonio-Strahorn), regarding recognition of John and Annie Glenn; House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee reported out SB44 (LaRose), regarding electronic campaign finance filings; HB341 (Huffman-Cera), exempting some information about judges from public records; and HB361 (Greenspan), regarding the timeline for deciding property tax complaints; House State and Local Government Committee reported out HB343 (Patterson), regarding garbage collection fees; and SB144, regarding rehabilitation services; Senate Judiciary Committee reported out SB81 (Terhar), regarding concealed carry licensure for veterans; Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee reported out SB223 (LaRose), regarding used tires; and HB44 (Patmon), to designate May 24 as First Responders' Appreciation Day; House Health Committee reported out SB143 (Eklund), to designate Sept. 25 as International Ataxia Awareness Day; and House Transportation and Public Safety Committee reported out HB325 (Faber), a highway naming bill; HB306 (Gonzales), a license plate bill; and HB297 (Hagan), regarding title transfers upon death.




Appointments made during the week include the following:


- Dr. Thomas Nye of Hamilton (Butler County) reappointed to the State Board of Optometry for a term beginning Dec. 1, 2017, and ending Sept. 24, 2022.

- Kimberly A. Mermis of Columbus (Franklin County) to the State Board of Optometry for a term beginning Dec. 4, 2017, and ending Sept. 24, 2022.

- Mary J. Santiago of Lorain (Lorain County) reappointed to the Commission on Hispanic-Latino Affairs for a term beginning Dec. 4, 2017, and ending Oct. 7, 2020.

- Deminique Heiks of Toledo (Lucas County), Kendra J. Kec of Whitehouse (Lucas County), and Judge David E. Stucki of Brewster (Stark County) reappointed to the Governor's Council on Juvenile Justice for terms beginning Dec. 4, 2017, and ending Oct. 31, 2020.

- Brooke M. Burns-Jackson of Columbus (Franklin County), Magistrate Kathleen Swiger Lenski of Miamisburg (Montgomery County), and Reginald A. Wilkinson of Columbus (Franklin County) to the Governor's Council on Juvenile Justice for terms beginning Dec. 4, 2017, and ending Oct. 31, 2020.

- Officer Anthony L. Johnson of Columbus (Franklin County) and Reverend Walter S. Moss of Canton (Stark County) to the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board for terms beginning Dec. 5, 2017, and ending April 29, 2020.

- Stiney Vonderhaar of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) reappointed to the Governor's Council on Juvenile Justice for a term beginning Dec. 5, 2017, and ending Oct. 31, 2020.

- James A. Tomaszewski Jr. of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Commercial Dog Breeding Advisory Board for a term beginning Dec. 6, 2017, and ending March 12, 2020.

- Dean J. Hempfling of Delphos (Van Wert County) to the Ohio Rail Development Commission for a term beginning Dec. 6, 2017, and ending Oct. 20, 2021.

- The Honorable David A. Hejmanowski of Delaware (Delaware County) to the Governor's Council on Juvenile Justice for a term beginning Dec. 7, 2017, and ending Oct. 31, 2018.




The Ohio affiliate of Prevent Blindness announced a new partnership with the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival on Friday, which the group said will "bring public awareness to the gift of sight as it relates to the visual beauty of this event." The festival will donate 0.5 percent of net ticket proceeds for the entire run of the event to support the sight saving programs of Prevent Blindness.


An amendment offered by Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee Chair Sen. Dave Burke (R-Marysville) on Tuesday and then tabled so it can be studied over the coming week greatly expands the scope and bulk of HB145 (Sprague-Huffman). The 114-page amendment enacts budget provisions that transfer the duties of the Ohio Respiratory Care Board and the Board of Dietetics to the State Medical Board.


Reproductive health care legislation that received its first hearing Wednesday has already achieved what might have been considered highly unlikely or impossible before -- it has gained the support of prominent organizations both for and against abortion rights. HB302 would allow a pregnant minor to consent to health services to maintain or improve her life or the life of the fetus. Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), HB302 co-sponsor, said the substitute version of the bill accepted by the committee Wednesday clearly states that the legislation does not affect current Ohio abortion laws, which helped gain the support of Ohio Right to Life.




Ohio State University announced that Geoffrey Chatas will resign as chief financial officer and senior vice president to become chief operating officer of Georgetown University, his alma mater. Chatas is to depart in early February. Michael Papadakis, deputy chief financial officer, treasurer and vice president of financial services and innovation, will serve as Chatas' interim replacement.


The University of Akron has received a $300,000 grant from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) to help increase diversity in the legal profession. The grant will support a four-week immersion program, the Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) program, for prospective students from "underrepresented backgrounds," the university said.




The Ohio Supreme Court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed a complaint this week against Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Amelia Salerno, a former Republican state representative. Two counts of judicial conduct rule violations were listed in the complaint.




The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee called a first hearing Tuesday for two lawmakers' attempt to regulate the use of traffic cameras without running afoul of a recent court ruling that upended their previous try at curtailing the cameras. Reps. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Jim Butler (R-Dayton) testified on HB410, which responds to a 5-2 Ohio Supreme Court ruling issued this summer that found Seitz's 130-SB342 violated municipalities' constitutional home rule powers.




Jimmy Gould, head of CannAscend and supporter of a failed 2015 marijuana legalization campaign, blasted as "a travesty" the state's process for awarding medical marijuana cultivation licenses, after not being included among licensees announced by the Ohio Department of Commerce last week. Gould later pointed to the fact that one of DOC's paid application scorers had a drug dealing conviction, prompting some state officials including Auditor of State Dave Yost to urge a freeze on the licensing process.


However, the process for authorizing businesses to grow marijuana in the state will continue unabated, Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) spokesperson Stephanie Gostomski told Hannah News on Thursday. Gostomski said a criminal background check was not required for the contract, and that the scoring process was not tainted by the involvement of Trevor Bozeman, who was "highly qualified" for the job.


The Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) began accepting applications for medical marijuana processors on Monday. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15, according to the Medical Marijuana Control Program. The state also noted that the application deadline for testing laboratories from privately-held entities was 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8.




Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general, announced Monday that Col. James R. Camp is a new Ohio assistant adjutant general. In his new role, Camp will be responsible for directing Air National Guard operations and establishing policy to ensure mission readiness of more than 4,900 personnel assigned to four flying wings and six geographically separated support units.




Hunters checked 72,814 white-tailed deer during Ohio's 2017 weeklong deer-gun hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Two days (Saturday, Dec. 16, and Sunday, Dec. 17) of deer-gun season remain. The muzzleloader season is Saturday-Tuesday, Jan. 6-9, 2018. Archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018.


Ohio Attorney General (AG) Mike DeWine Thursday urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close a lock in waters near Illinois to prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. DeWine made the recommendation in comments submitted to the corps about its plan for preventing nuisance species like Asian carp from moving from the Mississippi River Basin into the Great Lakes.




Charlie Mix, a former lobbyist for the state AFL-CIO from the 1970s to 1993, died Friday, Dec. 1 at the age of 90 at the VA facility in West Palm Beach, FL. A celebration of his life has been set for Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at the Villas at Charleston Lakes Clubhouse in Canal Winchester, OH 43110 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. A Marine and veteran of World War II, Mix is survived by his wife of 34 years, Carol Pierce Mix.




Ohio will get a wireless broadband network to connect public safety agencies as part of FirstNet, an effort led by the U.S. Department of Commerce. AT&T will build, operate and maintain the "highly secure" network.




Minimum wage earners will see a 15-cent increase in pay come January, or 7 cents if they're waitstaff, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC). The agency released Monday its calculated increases for wages under the constitutional amendment Ohio voters approved in 2006 to tie Ohio's minimum wage to inflation. The minimum wage for non-tipped employees will be $8.30 in 2018, up from $8.15 this year. For tipped employees, it will be $4.15, up from $4.08.


For the second time this year, the Controlling Board approved its agenda without any members of the panel holding any of the items for questions. Among the items approved was more than $5 million for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to build a new 11,500- square-foot visitors center at Hocking Hills State Park in Hocking County. The park is Ohio's most visited state park and draws more than 2 million visitors each year.


Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Chief Information Officer (CIO) Stuart Davis solicited $37,000 from a state vendor to host his speaking session at the Cincinnati CIO Executive Summit, according to Inspector General Randall Meyer's office. The vendor, CGI, is a global information technology (IT) consulting company that has received nearly a quarter of a billion dollars for IT contracts with the state of Ohio since 2010, according to the IG's office. The case is being referred to the City of Columbus Prosecuting Attorney's Office.


Capitol Square passersby may notice that preliminary construction work is underway at the Rhodes State Office Tower, where a modernization process has begun to improve the 41-story building's energy efficiency and to repair the building's facade.


Ohio Department of Commerce Director Jacqueline T. Williams Wednesday announced the appointment of Akil Hardy as the new superintendent of the Division of Unclaimed Funds following the Dec. 31 retirement of the current superintendent Yaw Obeng.




An expert panel before the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee Wednesday informed lawmakers of the myriad impacts that could result from widespread use of driverless vehicles and driver-assisted vehicles, touching on safety measures, concerns of increased unemployment and social effects resulting from what they perceived as probable technological advances.




Gov. John R. Kasich Wednesday ordered all flags be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Thursday, Dec. 7, in honor of those who lost their lives serving their country. He notes in the resolution, "We remember the lives lost that tragic December morning and we owe all men and women of our military a debt of gratitude that we can never fully repay."




A Cleveland construction worker and garbage hauler already serving a federal prison sentence now has a workers' compensation fraud conviction after pleading guilty recently. Christopher Gattarello, 53, is already in federal prison for ordering the demolition of an asbestos-filled building in 2012 in Cleveland. The BWC also said it secured a guilty plea from another man last week on a fraud charge. Timothy S. Lumsden, 50, of Avon Lake was given a sentence of a suspended jail sentence, $5,385 in restitution and three years of community control for working as a carpenter while receiving disability benefits.




Speakers at a Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC) panel Wednesday said the jobs that people are used to today may not be around for much longer, but also said folks should not necessarily fear the future of jobs either. The panel, titled "The Future of Work" featured Director of the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation Ryan Burgess; Idea Foundry Director Alexander Bandar; Todd Warner of Columbus State Community College; and Katina Fullen, the executive director of I know I Can who moderated the panel discussion.

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