Local Firm Management 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 September 26, 2017
 
HB49OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) Creates FY 2018-2019 main operating budget.
 Current Status:   8/22/2017 - Consideration of Governor's Veto
 
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)
 
HB138PAY DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS (SMITH K, BOYD J) To require the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to establish a system for individuals to make anonymous complaints regarding employers discriminating in the payment of wages.
 Current Status:   3/29/2017 - Referred to Committee House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor
 
HB158UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION-MILITARY TRANSFERS (PERALES R, CRAIG H) To permit persons who quit work to accompany the person's spouse on a military transfer to be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.
 Current Status:   6/28/2017 - Referred to Committee Senate Finance
 
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
 
SB158COMBATING ELDER FRAUD (WILSON S) To develop best practices and educational opportunities to combat elder fraud and exploitation and to fine and require full restitution from offenders who are found guilty of certain fraud-related crimes against the elderly.
 Current Status:   9/26/2017 - Senate Judiciary, (Third Hearing)
 
Week in Review

Week in Review
Friday, Sept. 22, 2017

 

 

ABORTION

 

Lawmakers should move forward legislation protecting employees and patients of reproductive health care facilities as violent conduct increases at abortion clinics across the state, ProgressOhio said Thursday.

 

ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE

 

Ohio Third Frontier is moving forward with Gov. John Kasich's $8 million Opioid Technology Challenge following Controlling Board approval, with a launch date scheduled in just over a month. Evaluators also are vetting more than two dozen applications for the other half of $20 million in opioid technology funding introduced in Kasich's 2017 "State of the State" speech. Awards are due by December.

 

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

 

Gov. John Kasich and nine other governors Tuesday urged U.S. Senate leaders to reject a Republican plan to reform health care and to renew efforts for a bipartisan approach. The governors, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I), Virginia Gov. Terence McAuliffe (D), Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), asking them not to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment, saying only a bipartisan approach can achieve true, lasting reforms for health care.

 

AGRICULTURE

 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) has confirmed the first positive cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Ohio horses for 2017.

 

An Ohio State University (OSU) researcher is part of a new $750,000 project to determine whether conservation incentives provided by the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) are meeting one of their goals -- to persuade more farmers to adopt measures that benefit water quality. Robyn Wilson, professor of risk analysis and decision science at OSU's School of Environment and Natural Resources in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), will co-lead the project's social component along with Stephen Gasteyer of Michigan State University.

 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODAg) on Thursday recognized five families representing each region of the state as winners of the 2017 Conservation Farm Family Awards.

 

ARTS, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

 

Cincinnati leads the nation's 100 largest cities for Oktoberfest events and Columbus isn't far behind, personal finance blog WalletHub found in a recent report. Ohio's capital was ranked 10th, with Cleveland at 31st and Toledo at 36th. While six other states had at least four cities in the full list, Arizona was the only other one to have four in the top 40.

 

Following its recognition as the nation's best city for Oktoberfest events, Cincinnati was also named the 13th "most fun" city among the 150 largest cities in a different report by personal finance site WalletHub. The "fun cities" report used 58 metrics, according to WalletHub, that ranged from "fitness centers per capita to movie costs to average open hours of breweries." Cleveland was ranked 42nd overall, followed by Columbus at 54th, Akron at 80th and Toledo at 99th.

 

The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) has announced it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Governor's Awards for the Arts until Monday, Oct. 23.

 

BALLOT ISSUES

 

Ohio's puppy mill amendment recently cleared its first hurdle, with the new petition earning certification from the Ohio Attorney General's (AG) Office. The AG said the petition contains the required 1,000 valid signatures and a "fair and truthful" summary of the proposed ballot initiative. The Ohio Puppy Mill Prevention Amendment would require minimum standards for veterinary care, adequate food and water, appropriate housing and access to exercise and socialization, among other criteria.

 

The group promoting passage of Issue 1, the crime victim bill of rights, announced that it has launched its first television advertisement. The spot called "One Day" emphasizes the right to notification of all court proceedings guaranteed to crime victims under the proposed state constitutional amendment.

 

Backers of Issue 2, the Drug Price Relief Act, pushed back on opponents of the proposal Thursday at a Statehouse event, highlighting veterans who support the issue, which will limit what the state pays for prescription drugs to no more than what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays for the same drug.

 

EDUCATION

 

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Friday, Sept. 15, submitted the state's plan, as approved by the State Board of Education, to the U.S. Department of Education for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Ohio's ESSA plan specifies, to the federal government, key aspects of Ohio's education policy framework and reflects engagement with parents, students, educators, and business and community leaders, as well as the governor and General Assembly.

 

State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria joined Chris Woolard, senior executive director for Accountability and Continuous Improvement for ODE, Monday to provide the State Board of Education an overview of how Ohio schools fared on their 2016-2017 report cards. According to the two, they showed statewide performance increases amid some lagging achievement grades. DeMaria cautioned the board from making broad assumptions based on the report card results, especially given that Ohio's education system is still in the process of phasing in new standards that came along with changes to assessments within the past three years.

 

State Board of Education members focused discussions Monday morning on student supports and the effects of trauma on their ability to learn and function in school. The board's Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee heard a briefing from the head of Ohio's Family and Children First Cabinet Council, Chad Hibbs, about a new pilot project to address absenteeism involving dozens of districts across Ohio.

 

The State Board of Education geared up Tuesday afternoon to vote on recommendations to reduce testing, then reversed course after hours of procedural debate and pushed the discussion to a later meeting. Meanwhile, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) sent a staff member to the board to say he won't even consider one of the ideas they were discussing, the elimination of Ohio's high school exam on American government.

 

Ohio's recent reported graduation rate for students with disabilities would be halved under new federal standards, ODE staff told State Board of Education members Tuesday.

 

Ohio educators who have successfully used Project WILD can now provide students with additional hands-on learning about wildlife and habitat through grants, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced Tuesday. Grants totaling $500 each will be awarded on a competitive basis to 40 schools or organizations currently participating in Project WILD, a supplemental environmental education curriculum for preschool through grade 12. The grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and only one grant per project site is allowed per state fiscal year.

 

State Board of Education Member Kara Morgan, a registered Democrat and Kasich appointee to the board, brings experience in metrics and problem solving to the goal of learning, having earned a doctorate in engineering.

 

ELECTIONS 2018

 

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, announced in Cleveland Monday her plan to address health care in the Buckeye State and implement a fiscally sustainable model that she said will replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The plan would include an end to the expansion of Medicaid under Gov. John Kasich.

 

The following endorsements were made over the week:

 

- Reps. Nicholas Celebrezze (D-Parma), Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) endorsed Betty Sutton for governor.

 

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

 

Ohio's unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in August 2017, up from 5.2 percent in July 2017, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) said Friday. Ohio's nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 5,200 over the month, from a revised 5,540,000 in July to 5,545,200 in August, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) in cooperation with ODJFS.

 

ENERGY

 

Recently proposed legislation that would revise wind setback restrictions was praised by environmentalists and medical professionals during a Statehouse press conference Wednesday. Sen. Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) said his SB188 offers a compromise between those who want to harvest wind and those who do not want turbines near where they live. According to the bill, the actual setback distance required is increased from 1,125 feet to 1,225 feet. However, the distance is only measured from the tip of its nearest blade at 90 degrees to the exterior of the nearest habitable residential structure on an adjacent property, not to the property line.

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) Director Craig Butler said Wednesday while Rover Pipeline LLC is successfully working toward compliance with July's "unprecedented" unilateral order, the company is still in violation of at least one component. That violation has resulted in a referral to Attorney General Mike DeWine to bring Rover into compliance and to compel it pay a civil penalty, Butler said.

 

A coalition including the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC), Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups sounded the alarm Thursday as the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auctioned another 141 acres in Wayne National Forest for oil and gas development, its third lease since approving horizontal drilling in Ohio's only national forest last December. The auction brings to nearly 2,000 acres land leased for "fracking" out of a total of 18,000 acres of forest earmarked for development.

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

 

Legislation proposed in the Senate would eliminate the duty of an individual to retreat before using force in self-defense in nearly all circumstances. "More than 30 states in the country recognize the right to self-defense in their criminal statutes," Sen. Joe Uecker (R-Loveland) told the Senate Judiciary Committee during sponsor testimony on SB180 (Uecker-Hottinger) Tuesday. The bill would allow an individual to use force in self-defense anywhere as long as they are legally allowed to be there. Currently, Ohio's "stand-your-ground" law only applies to situations occurring in the person's residence, vehicle or the vehicle of a family member.

 

House members got their first look Tuesday at HB320 (Hagan-Roegner), aimed at a more forward-looking approach to state budgeting through a Long-Range Financial Outlook Council. The Republican sponsors said the permanent council would draw research from the Legislative Service Commission, which would also appoint its chairman, and as such would remain "impartial and fact-based."

 

Stan Uchica, vice president and commercial lender for Park National Bank, Tuesday called legislation supported by the Ohio Treasurer "unfair government competition" and observed in testimony, "I ... have been told that Republicans claim that the private market can better serve the needs of its customers than government can. Thus, it does not make sense that if you believe in a market economy, you would have a government agency competing in such a market." He was speaking about HB54 (Blessing-Gavarone).

 

House amendments to school infrastructure and technology legislation SB8 (Gardner-Terhar) were unanimously rejected by the Senate Wednesday, with Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) explaining that the bill could be further amended to address budget issues. "We're happy with everything that's in the bill right now, but we might use that as a vehicle for additional budget cleanup-related issues, or potentially some issues where we're able to work out agreements with the administration instead of doing additional overrides," Obhof told reporters after session. "I'm not sure how that's going to turn out yet, but we thought it was best to have it handy just in case."

 

On replacing the managed care organization (MCO) sales tax, Obhof said progress continues to be made among the Senate, House, governor's office and County Commissioners Association of Ohio. He said it's possible that SB8 could be a vehicle for any agreement reached on that issue.

 

The Senate unanimously concurred with House amendments to SB37 (Hite), which requires the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission to develop and conduct a chief of police training course for newly-appointed chiefs of police. The upper chamber also unanimously adopted SR175 (Bacon-Kunze) which supports the proposed Hyperloop route connecting Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh; HB59 (Leland-West), which designates Oct. 7 as "Moses Fleetwood Walker Day" and SB163 (Wilson) which, according to the Legislative Service Commission (LSC), "expands the categories of domestic corporate and U.S. depository institution bonds in which a county may invest its inactive funds."

 

The House Wednesday overwhelmingly passed HB116 (Merrin) that will exempt prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other optical aids from the state's sales and use tax, though some Democrats said the Legislature should do more to make local governments whole. Gov. John Kasich vetoed similar language in HB49 (R. Smith), the biennial budget, arguing that the language was not compliant with the Streamline Sales and Use Tax Agreement. After session, House Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) said HB116's implementation is delayed in the bill, making it slightly different and giving the state a chance to prepare for it.

 

In other action, the House unanimously passed HB159 (Riedel) designating May as "Drive Ohio Byways Month"; HB196 (Lipps) designating October as "Ohio Chiropractic Awareness Month"; HB252 (Huffman) designating January as "Blood Donor Awareness Month"; and SB57 (Kunze) designating May 17 as "Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Awareness Day." Also passing by a vote of 86-6 was HB215 (Riedel) creating the Paulding County Municipal Court in Paulding and establishing one full-time judgeship on that court and by a vote of 85-9, HB235 (Gavarone) addressing the state education plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

 

A bill aimed at preventing fraud would allow the Ohio Secretary of State to dissolve a limited liability company (LLC) under certain circumstances. Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Copley), who is running for secretary of state in 2018, offered sponsor testimony on SB179 before members of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday.

 

Ohio medical providers and patient advocates gathered at the Ohio Statehouse Wednesday to push legislation, SB56 (Lehner-Tavares) and HB72 (Johnson-Antonio), that would reform "step therapy" practices. According to the coalition, "Step therapy is a cost management tool health plans use where patients must first take, then fail, prescription medications deemed to be at less cost than a drug originally prescribed. Only after patients 'fail first' on medications required by the health plans, can patients then get what a physician prescribed in the first place."

 

The Ohio Senate announced Thursday that the following changes have been made to committee assignments: Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) was removed from both the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee and the Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee and Sen. Sean O'Brien (D-Cortland) was appointed instead. In addition, O'Brien was removed from the Senate Ways and Means Committee and replaced by Schiavoni.

 

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) hosted Linda McMahon, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), at the Statehouse Thursday. He said the reason for the meeting was to talk about ideas on how Ohio lawmakers and local leaders can help small businesses grow.

 

In other legislative action, the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee reported out HB230 (Gonzales-Ginter) which prohibits landlords, etc. from preventing the display of the Thin Blue Line Flag; the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee reported out HB142 (Wiggam) which rescinds the requirement an individual notify a law enforcement officer he or she is carrying a concealed handgun; the House Finance Committee reported out HB168 (Stein) regarding cemetery maintenance; the House Health Committee reported out HB184 (Gavarone-DeVitis) dealing with teledentistry and dental practice.; the House State and Local Government Committee reported out SB62 (Yuko) designating July 8 as "Harrison Dillard Day"; the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee reported out license plate bill HB321 (Koehler-Green) and designation bills HB308 (Cera), HB311 (Johnson), HB324 (Ashford-Sheehy) and HB330 (Rogers); and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out SR59 dealing with Soo Locks upgrades.

 

GOVERNOR

 

Gov. John Kasich again spoke of having a purpose bigger than oneself while interviewing and honoring five individuals from Central Ohio for their selfless acts. The lunchtime event in Columbus on Tuesday was sponsored by the Dispatch Media Group, which sought to recognize members of the Columbus area "whose extraordinarily selfless acts set them apart in these divisive times." The five finalists and 20 semifinalists were selected by a panel of judges from 118 submissions.

 

Appointments made during the week include the following:

 

- Joel A. Bokerman reappointed to the Ohio Fair Plan Underwriting Association Board of Governors for a term beginning Sept. 19, 2017, and ending Sept. 18, 2019.

 

HIGHER EDUCATION

 

Kenyon College has received a $75 million gift from an anonymous donor, the institution announced Friday. President Sean Decatur and Board of Trustees Chair Brackett B. Denniston said the donation is the largest single gift in the college's history.

 

Total and Columbus campus enrollment hit record highs at Ohio State University (OSU), the institution announced Friday. The university also noted it welcomed its "best-prepared and most diverse" freshman class in history in Autumn 2017.

 

The University of Toledo (UT) will teach more than more than 2,000 local high school students and teachers how to use mathematics and computational thinking to solve cybersecurity problems in smart vehicles as part of a new $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

 

The Ohio State University Marching Band has been selected to perform in the 2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, representing the state of Ohio. This marks the first parade appearance for the band.

 

The University of Toledo (UT) reports that the total enrollment for fall semester 2017 is 20,579 compared to the 20,648 students enrolled in fall semester 2016. In addition, "The academic preparedness of the incoming class improved with an average ACT score of 22.9, an increase from 22.7 in fall 2016, and an average GPA of 3.42, up from 3.36 the year before," the school noted.

 

Ohio University reports that, for the fifth consecutive year, it has enrolled more than 4,000 first-year students, although the incoming freshman class of 4,045 is down 6.1 percent from last year. However, the university notes, "The Class of 2021 set an all-time university record for freshman quality with a class average of 24.1 composite ACT and a 3.54 average high school GPA.

 

Real estate investment firm Welltower Inc. Wednesday announced the transfer of over 100 acres of land and modern office buildings to the University of Toledo (UT), a gift estimated to value over $30 million, the largest donation in the university's history.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

Dreamers from Central Ohio gathered at the Statehouse for a Tuesday news conference to tell their stories and to urge Congress to pass either the Recognizing America's Children (RAC) Act or the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act before President Trump's six-month deadline runs out.

 

JUDICIAL

 

The application period is now open for school officials to apply for grants to help defray the transportation costs for student field trips for grades four and up to the Ohio Supreme Court. This is the seventh time grants have been offered to visit the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center which includes both the Supreme Court and its Visitor Education Center.

 

A county common pleas court can consider local zoning and nuisance claims brought by a township against property owners attempting to fill a rock quarry, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Other complaints involving the owners' state land application management plan (LAMP) must instead go before the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC), according to the unanimous decision by the Court in Rocky Ridge Development, L.L.C. v. Winters.

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

The city of Cleveland will enter a bid to become the home for Amazon headquarters, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced Friday.

 

MARIJUANA

 

The Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) on Tuesday released pot dispensary application materials. Dispensary applications will be accepted online from Friday, Nov. 3 until Friday, Nov. 17 and must be submitted electronically using the link that will be provided at www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/dispensaries.

 

MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM

 

Re-filed Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) rules for the Behavioral Health Redesign Initiative cleared the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) on Monday, but not without debate and testimony. Testimony was provided by Teresa Lampl, an associate director with the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers, and Jim Tassie, assistant director with ODM.

 

Several members of the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC) took representatives of the administration to task over the Medicaid spending plan for the current biennium at Thursday's meeting of the group. Several took exception to the idea that the budget as passed by the Legislature is actually underfunded for the biennium with Rep. Scott Ryan (R-Newark) also objecting to the labeling of that assertion a "legislative shortfall."

 

MILITARY AFFAIRS

 

The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and Military Affairs Task Force scheduled its first four base visit dates during an organizational meeting Thursday. Members will travel to Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base on Tuesday, Oct. 3; Mansfield Air National Guard Base on Thursday, Oct. 5; Toledo Air National Guard Base on Monday, Oct. 16; and Springfield Air National Guard Base on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Alex Lapso, legislative liaison for the Ohio National Guard (ONG), said he would work on scheduling specific times for the visits. He also suggested members visit an older ONG armory building and a newer ONG community training center.

 

NATURAL RESOURCES

 

Hepatica Falls Tree Farm has been named the 2017 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee. The farm is located in Harrison County and owned by Randy and Koral Clum, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

 

PEOPLE

 

Representatives of the Ohio Farmers Union (OFU) gave U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) the Golden Triangle, the senator's office announced Friday. The Golden Triangle is the National Farmers Union's (NFU) highest legislative honor.

 

Senate Democratic Caucus Communication Director Mike Rowe recently announced the hiring of Giulia Cambieri as the caucus' deputy communication director.

 

Former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Todd Snitchler will lead the American Petroleum Institute's (API) market development department, the association announced Tuesday.

 

POLITICS

 

Ohio State University researchers said this week that people who tend to trust in their intuition or believe that the facts they hear are politically biased are more likely to stand behind inaccurate beliefs.

 

STATE GOVERNMENT

 

House and Senate leadership is joining the governor's office, Ohio Supreme Court and state attorney general to launch a new public-private partnership with the Council of State Governments Justice Center and federal officials, whose Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) Ohio first completed seven years ago. Gov. John Kasich, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina), House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine have requested another round of criminal justice review, entitled "JRI 2.0" following Ohio's engagement with the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center between 2008-2010 under former Gov. Ted Strickland.

 

An Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) law enforcement staff officer improperly used state time and equipment to plan aspects of his secondary business conducting firearms training, according to Inspector General (IG) Randall Meyer.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

It is important for toll roads to embrace emerging technologies in the face of potential high-tech competition like the Hyperloop, Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC) Executive Director Randy Cole said Monday.

 

WORKFORCE

 

Nearly three quarters of Ohio restaurants say they are experiencing labor challenges in a new survey conducted by the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) and Cleveland Research Company, which tracks the industry in Ohio.

 

 

 


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