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 July 29, 2017
 
HB49OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) Creates FY 2018-2019 main operating budget.
 Current Status:   7/6/2017 - Consideration of Governor's Veto; Remaining Veto Items Left Pending by House
 
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:   6/20/2017 - Senate Judiciary, (First Hearing)
 
Week in Review

Week in Review
Friday, July 28, 2017

 

ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE

A recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study shows Ohio has fared much better than the nation at large in the battle against prescription opioids. In 2011 the state implemented pain clinic regulation and mandated that clinicians review prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) data, which the CDC says correlates with a decrease of morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) prescribed per capita in 85 percent of Ohio counties. Other states that enacted the same mandates showed similar reductions.

AGRICULTURE

The Ohio State Fair announced that there will be 195 food and drink vendors offering anything from funnel cakes to deep fried Oreos wrapped in bacon. This year, as is the case every year, there will be new foods available at various concessions throughout the grounds.

 

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor led kickoff festivities at the Ohio State Fair's opening day Wednesday as Gov. John Kasich tended to a more solemn duty at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Kasich was monitoring the state's first execution in more than three years during the morning.

Speaking before state and national press, Gov. John Kasich vowed Thursday that while he was saddened, the 2017 Ohio State Fair would not be defined by the ride incident that killed one and injured seven the night before. Kasich said he had "full and total confidence" in the Ohio State Highway Patrol investigation, which he said would be done without his involvement and with great transparency, and said the lessons learned could then be passed on to amusement parks and fairs across the U.S.

AUDITOR OF STATE

 

Auditor Dave Yost Wednesday released a report, alongside legislation from Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) and Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), that encourages more control and oversight of how local governments are allowed to use credit cards. At the Statehouse, Yost detailed the report, which showed that some of Ohio's local governments lack policy on the use of credit cards for public purposes, with instances ranging from small negligence to outright misuse of public funds.

BALLOT ISSUES

Secretary of State Jon Husted announced the order of issues for the November 2017 ballot: an initiated constitutional amendment on crime victims' rights will be Issue 1, and an initiated statute on prescription drug prices will be Issue 2. Ballot language will be determined later.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) endorsed Issue 2, the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, on Monday, giving backers clout among left-leaning voters in the state. The initiated statute, which will appear on the ballot as Issue 2, limits what the state can pay for prescription drugs.

FY18-19 BUDGET

While Gov. John Kasich used his veto pen on proposed changes to aquatic amusement ride inspections in the budget, several provisions regarding inflatable rides made it into the final version of HB49 (R. Smith). The vetoed provision would have subjected all aquatic amusement rides built or renovated after the bill's effective date to be approved by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). It also would have required that, starting in April 2018, all aquatic amusement rides be subjected to inspection and licensure by local health districts. Representatives for inflatable ride companies pushed for changes to how their industry is regulated during the budget process. The budget includes language eliminating the current $105 fee for inflatable inspections and requires ODAg to set a new fee by rule.

Advocates against domestic violence were able to salvage nearly a quarter million dollars in the biennial budget for education, intervention and staff training overseen by the Ohio Attorney General's Office. The Senate had cut funding included in executive and House versions of HB49 (R. Smith) but restored it in the face of push-back from the Ohio Domestic Violence Network and Choices for Victims of Domestic Violence.

CHILDREN/YOUTH

 

The latest United Way Champion of Children report examines strengthening relationships to foster better communities and help children grow in a healthier environment, leading to a discussion at the Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC) on how to foster better social interactions with youth. Much of the discussion among Wednesday's panel focused on Columbus, especially efforts on the south side to get Columbus youth to open up about their needs and to provide youth a safe place where they can go.

DEATH PENALTY

There were no reported complications Wednesday when child rapist/murderer Ronald Phillips, 43, died by lethal injection at 10:43 a.m. in the Ohio Death House. Officially scheduled for 10 a.m., the execution was reportedly delayed somewhat to allow Phillips to visit with family.

EDUCATION

Auditor Dave Yost wants the Ohio Department of Education to hold back some of Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow's (ECOT) funding for the upcoming school year and scrutinize its enrollment records for overlap with other schools. Statements the online charter school made in court don't jibe with the 14,000-plus student headcount the school is claiming for the 2017-2018 academic year, Yost wrote in a letter to Superintendent Paolo DeMaria last week.

The Ohioana Library recently announced the winners of the 2017 Ohioana Awards, including seven book awards and the Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant. First given in 1942, the Ohioana Book Awards are the second oldest state literary prizes in the nation. Nearly every major writer from Ohio in the past 75 years has been honored, from James Thurber to Toni Morrison.

 

The Ohio Department of Education announced a new effort Tuesday with global staffing firm Adecco Group to help students get work experience and businesses find talent while easing concerns about the practical challenges of bringing teenagers into plants and offices.

 

The Lorain Academic Distress Commission this week named David Hardy Jr., deputy superintendent of academics for St. Louis Public Schools in Missouri, as its CEO. Under the new state oversight model adopted in 2015, Hardy will take direct operational control of Lorain City Schools and have broad powers to make changes in the district, powers that will expand the longer he is in office. Lorain is the second

district to fall under this new structure because of persistently low performance on state measures; Youngstown was the first.

 

Ohio House members got an overview of the data on income and academic achievement and discussed where to focus further discussions Thursday at the first meeting of the Speaker's Task Force on Education and Poverty.

ELECTIONS

Secretary of State Jon Husted responded on Monday to the request from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity for publicly available voter data, providing some voter information that is available on his office's website but refusing to provide Social Security and driver's license information.

Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) announced new legislation Monday that would prevent the state from cancelling a voter's registration for moving within the state or not voting in elections. Clyde, a Democratic candidate for secretary of state, said her HB274 would still allow removing voters from the rolls for valid reasons such as death, moving out of state, or if the voter requests it. Calling the bill the "Stop the Purge Act," she said she is introducing it on the heels of a report by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission showing polling problems in Ohio.

ELECTIONS 2018

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Gibbons announced Tuesday that he has launched a six-figure cable television and digital advertising campaign. The ad, titled "Vacation," criticizes Congress for not passing legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The following endorsements were made over the week:

- Reps. Robert Cupp, Bill Seitz, Steve Arndt, John Becker, Tom Brinkman, Jim Butler, Margaret Conditt, Jonathan Dever, Jay Edwards, Tim Ginter, Wes Goodman, Steve Hambley, Brian Hill, Darrell Kick, Laura Lanese, Scott Lipps, Derek Merrin, Bill Reineke, Jeff Rezabek, Mark Romanchuk, Gary Scherer and Dick Stein endorsed Dorothy Pelanda for secretary of state.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

Ohio's jobless rate edged back up to 5.0 percent last month after falling to 4.9 percent in May, ranking it among the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Total employment in the state was up 1 percent since June 2016, however, a number the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) called "statistically significant." Non-agricultural wages and salary employment in Ohio increased 11,500 over the month, from a revised 5,517,300 in May to 5,528,800 in June, BLS reported Friday.

ENVIRONMENT

Gov. John Kasich was in Cleveland Tuesday to tout the success of past and continuing efforts to improve Lake Erie water quality at a ceremonial bill signing at the Great Lakes Science Center. Earlier this month, Kasich signed SB2 (Hite), which would make reforms to the Lake Erie Commission and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) Tuesday was among majority Republicans who voted for the U.S. Senate to move forward with debate on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What that legislation will look like, however, remains unclear. On a conference call, Portman reiterated his support for a "repeal and replace" approach to the Affordable Care Act Wednesday while opposing a "repeal only" attempt that he said would make conditions worse. "If you repeal only, it would be disastrous for Ohio," he said, saying experts told him it would lead to more insurance companies withdrawing from markets while doing nothing for the counties that have no insurer.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) released a statement Thursday saying he would support passing a health care bill out of the Senate with the goal of getting it to a House-Senate conference committee to work out details. Portman's statement came amidst reports that Senate leaders were seeking support of a "skinny repeal" version of legislation that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nicknamed Obamacare. That "skinny repeal" effort ultimately failed.

GAMBLING

While the Senate may have tried to save the Permanent Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering by taking language out of the biennial budget that sunset it, the committee ultimately did not survive after the conference committee restored the House-backed sunset measure and Gov. John Kasich signed the budget.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

Two of the special panels House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) created, the Speaker's Task Force on Alzheimer's and Dementia and the Speaker's Task Force on Education and Poverty, announced members. Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville), chair of the Alzheimer's panel, said members of her group include Reps. Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland), Gary Scherer (R-Circleville), Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira), Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) and Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati). Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima), chairman the education panel, said members include Reps. Margy Conditt (R-Hamilton), Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) and Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights); Dr. Bob Mengerink, superintendent of Cuyahoga County ESC; Anthony Knickerbockerk, career and technical education director of Lancaster City Schools; John Stack, president and owner of Cambridge Education Group; Karen Boch, superintendent of Wellston School District; Thomas Maridada II, CEO of BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools; and Hannah Powell, executive director of KIPP Columbus.

 

Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) has been selected to participate in the Council of State Governments' (CSG) Henry Toll Fellowship. He is one of 48 members in the fellowship's class of 2017. The Toll Fellowship, named for CSG founder Henry Wolcott Toll, has convened a group of the nation's top officials for the intensive, six-day, five-night intellectual boot camp for more than 30 years. This year's program will be held Aug. 25-30 in Lexington, KY.

GOVERNOR

Appointments made during the week include the following:

- Comfort A. Cole-Keneh of Gahanna (Franklin County), Ibrahima Sow of Reynoldsburg, (Franklin County) and Eugenie Kirenga of Kettering (Greene County), to the New African Immigrants Commission for terms beginning July 21, 2017 and ending Oct. 7, 2017.

- Rosaire Ifedi of Columbus (Franklin County), Abass M. Bangura of Reynoldsburg, (Franklin County) and Tariq Mohamed of New Albany (Franklin County) to the New African Immigrants Commission for terms beginning July 21, 2017 and ending Oct. 7, 2018.

- Brigadier General Todd M. Audet of Sylvania (Lucas County) to the Transportation Review Advisory Board for a term beginning July 21, 2017 and ending June 29, 2022.

- David Regula of Navarre (Stark Co.) reappointed to the Transportation Review Advisory Board for a term beginning July 21, 2017 and ending June 29, 2022.

- Todd L. Poole of Powell (Delaware Co.) to the State Fire Council for a term beginning July 26, 2017, and ending Nov. 1, 2019.

- Steven A. Moore of Otway (Scioto County) to the Shawnee State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning July 27, 2017 and ending June 30, 2026.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

A recent report issued by the Center for Community Solutions (CCS) found that Ohio's infant mortality rate of 6.8 deaths per 1,000 births was higher than the national average of 6.0 deaths per 1,000 births, and it examined key factors contributing to the state's infant mortality rate by using data from over 800,000 births in Ohio from 2010 to 2015.

The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) this week informed providers of its timeline for implementing a redesign of behavioral health services, aiming for billing and coding under the redesign to commence Jan. 1. But lawmakers are already halfway to forcing a six-month delay of that effort by overriding one of Gov. John Kasich's budget vetoes.

 

Speaking to attendees of a Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) forum on Thursday, University of Washington School of Public Health Assistant Professor Anjum Hajat emphasized the difference between income and wealth, noting income is the flow of resources in a household at a given point in time, while wealth is financial assets minus debt.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Franklin University, a private, nonprofit institution, founded in 1902 in Columbus, recently received approval for its change of status application by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to bring Urbana University under Franklin's accreditation as a branch campus, effective Aug. 1, 2017.

Youngstown State University (YSU) announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Western Galilee College in Israel as part of the university's continued efforts to expand the institution's global reach. The MOU, which sets the framework for a variety of educational collaborations, is the result of a seven-day trip to Israel in January that included YSU President Jim Tressel and a delegation from Youngstown State University and the Youngstown Business Incubator.

Kent State University (KSU) is being recognized for the eighth time as a "Great College to Work For" by the Chronicle of Higher Education, a trade publication for colleges and universities. Now in its 10th year, the "Great Colleges to Work For" annual report recognizes the colleges that get top ratings from their employees on workforce practices and policies. The Chronicle released its 2017 results on July 17, based on survey responses from more than 45,000 people at 232 institutions (155 four-year private and public colleges and 77 two-year colleges).

A year after Pokemon GO's worldwide release, Kent State University researchers have released a study on whether the game actually did promote exercise. And they found that playing a popular physically-interactive, smartphone-based game, like Pokemon GO, may actually promote exercise.

Ohio State University said Tuesday that its facilities operations and development department has been recognized with the 2017 APPA Sustainability Award. Ohio State's sustainability work includes recycling and zero waste initiatives, green building guidelines and energy conservation.

Online social media networking site LinkedIn has teamed up with BioEnterprise, the city of Cleveland, Cleveland State University (CSU) and Cuyahoga County to provide data, analysis and market research on the talent flows of software developers, data scientists, data analysts and other computer science positions within the Northeast Ohio health IT sector, according to BioEnterprise.

IMMIGRATION

With a burgeoning population of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, including Columbus' sizable Somali community, state leaders created a New African Immigrants Commission in 2009 to develop relevant policies and programs. But until just days ago, it existed only on paper, since governors' offices and legislative leaders had failed to appoint anyone to the body. That changed Friday with Gov. John Kasich's announcement of six appointees -- enough to meet a quorum and allow the 11-person body to conduct business.

JUDICIAL

The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct announced the availability of a new online docket Tuesday that provides real-time access to case information and documents in lawyer and judge disciplinary cases.

 

A federal judge has granted a motion that will allow a group of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to intervene in a lawsuit filed by Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) against the state. The lawsuit claims the state is depriving the developmentally disabled community of options in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Auditor of State Dave Yost announced Friday that the city of Wellston (Jackson County) has achieved financial stability after spending nearly eight years in fiscal emergency.

A 2015 law requiring that police officers be present at the site of red-light and speed cameras violates the Ohio Constitution, the Ohio Supreme Court said Wednesday in a ruling that also struck down two other restrictions on use of the cameras. The opinion by Justice Patrick Fischer finds provisions of 130-SB342 (Seitz), which took effect in 2015 after passage in late 2014, do not qualify as "general laws" and thus violate municipalities' home rule powers in Article XVIII, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution.

MARIJUANA

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) on Thursday released a draft map detailing where medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to be located. The map is broken down into four quadrants including a northwest region, northeast region, southwest region and southeast region. Further maps break down the regions into districts, where various numbers of dispensaries will be permitted. In the northwest region, 10 total dispensaries will be permitted; in the northeast, 18; in the southeast, 17; and in the southwest, 15.

 

PEOPLE

 

Gov. John Kasich Friday ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff on all public buildings and grounds throughout the state of Ohio from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, July 22 in honor of the life and service of Congressman Ralph Regula, who died Wednesday at the age of 92.

 

POLITICS

 

With President Donald Trump scheduled to make an appearance in Youngstown on Tuesday for a campaign rally, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) took aim at the president in a conference call held Monday, saying Trump has not followed through on his promises.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

 

Ohio Department of Commerce (DOC) Director Jacqueline Williams on Monday announced the appointment of Jeff Hussey as state fire marshal. Hussey had been serving as interim state fire marshal since the retirement of Larry Flowers in May. Prior to his promotion, Hussey served as chief deputy state fire marshal under Flowers.

 

STATE GOVERNMENT

 

The Division of Unclaimed Funds will hold an auction of safe deposit box items on Friday, July 28. This is the third auction to take place this year. The auction will start at 9 a.m. at the Apple Tree Auction Center, 1625 W. Church St. in Newark, OH 43055. Private previews can be scheduled on Monday and Tuesday, July 24 and 25 by calling 740-344-4282. Public previews will be on Wednesday and Thursday, July 26 and 27 from noon to 5 p.m.

 

The Controlling Board Monday approved all of the requests on its 75-item agenda, including requests for a cash transfer to allow the Department of Commerce to implement its seed-to-sale marijuana database program and a waiver of competitive selection for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to purchase testing equipment for the growing harmful algal bloom (HAB) problem on Lake Erie.

 

Ohio EPA is helping eligible homeowners in 21 additional counties repair or replace failing home sewage treatment systems (HSTS) with principal forgiveness loans to their county commissions or health departments. This is in addition to the aid announced earlier to Crawford, Marion, Seneca and Wyandot counties.

 

The Ohio Arts Council Board approved more than $12 million in grants to support Ohio artists, organizations, students, educators and public arts programming during its initial FY18 funding round. The 15-member board approved 635 grants at its July 19 meeting.

 

TAXATION

 

Legislative leaders appointed members of the Tax Expenditure Review Committee created in 131-HB9 (Boose): Sens. John Eklund (R-Chardon), Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) and Reps. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster), Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake).

UTILITIES

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is citing Youngstown Thermal's "financial struggles" in establishing an emergency surcharge as efforts to place the utility into receivership proceed. PUCO also has directed Youngstown Thermal to establish a segregated escrow account in which future customer payments should be deposited. On June 14, Youngstown Thermal notified the commission of its financial troubles, and PUCO began a review of its financial stability.

 

With the shape of Ohio's smart grid still emerging, presenters at the second installment of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's (PUCO) PowerForward series Tuesday said the components of its electric "platform" and the way it communicates with people and consumer apps must remain flexible enough to accommodate the future demands of customers and technology.

 

John McDonald, a smart grid business development leader with GE, discussed where electric power systems may go in the future at Tuesday's session of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) PowerForward summit.

It is rare to get Ohio's four major electric utilities around the same table and the same set of policy questions, company representatives agreed Wednesday, when they did exactly that as part of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's (PUCO) three-day PowerForward smart grid conference. Officials for American Electric Power (AEP) of Ohio, Duke Energy, Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) and FirstEnergy spoke to a number of issues facing the utility industry as new generation and distribution technologies and new customer expectations loom.

 

Following presentations Wednesday from experts on the evolving power grid, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Asim Haque laid out lofty goals for the future of electric utilities in Ohio. "The thing we're trying to do is frankly start a revolution here," Haque said on the possibilities of modernizing Ohio's electric grid through installing smart meters with built-in processing power, and providing energy consumers with real-time energy usage updates through smartphone apps.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) has announced more than a quarter million dollars in workplace safety grants as part of its latest round of awards. Twelve Ohio employers will share more than $294,675.00 in Safety Intervention Grants to purchase equipment meant to substantially reduce or eliminate workplace injuries and illnesses.

 

 

 


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