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    April 20, 2018

    OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE

    Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:

    • Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced this week that the state has renewed for one year a rebate agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. that has saved Ohio agencies more than $730,000 on the cost of naloxone. Read more below on how to participate in the rebate program.

    • The Ohio EPA released its Nutrient Mass Balance Study for Ohio's Major Riverson Monday. The study showed that, consistent with previous studies, as little as 7% of the total phosphorous comes from point sources such as sewage-treatment plants, and that manure and commercial farm fertilizers are the primary sources of algae. 

    • 37 Ohio fire departments received a total of $369,978 in grants from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation through a program to protect firefighters from carcinogens and other harmful elements encountered during fire fights.
     
    LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS UNTIL AFTER MAY PRIMARY


    Members of the Ohio House and Senate have left Columbus for the next few weeks as they return to their districts in anticipation of the May 8th primary election. The General Assembly does not have any scheduled session dates until after the election, and no committees are expected to meet in the interim. 


    "CLEAN WATER FAIR PRICING ACT" RE-INTRODUCED IN THE HOUSE


    This week, Rep. Duffey (R - Worthington) and Rep. Lanese (R - Grove City) introduced House Bill 602. This bill would penalize a municipal corporation for engaging in certain actions related to its provision of water and sewer services outside of its territory by reducing or withholding payments the municipal corporations receives from the Local Government Fund and rendering the municipal corporation ineligible for state water and sewer development funds.

    The language reduces Local Government Fund (LGF) payments by 20% until such time as the municipality charges the same sewer and water rates to all of its customers. The bill also states that any municipality that charges different rates to its customers would be ineligible for a loan, grant, or other form of financial assistance from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Public Works Commission, the Ohio Water Development Authority, and the Ohio Development Services Agency until the rates are made the same. These provisions are, once again, an attack on municipal Home Rule. 

    This preemption language was previously included in HB 49, the state's main operating budget, but was vetoed by Governor Kasich. The League remains adamantly opposed to this legislation. We will continue to update you on the status of HB 602 in future legislative bulletins. 

     
    CITY OF COLUMBUS TESTIFIES AGAINST "STAND YOUR GROUND" LOCAL PREEMPTION LANGUAGE


    Last week, we wrote about local preemption language that was amended into HB 228, the "Stand Your Ground" bill that makes a number of significant changes to Ohio's concealed carry laws. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Johnson (R - McDermott) and Rep. LaTourette (R - Chagrin Falls), was amended last week with previously unforeseen language which specifies that any local firearm regulation that interferes with an individual's right to bear arms; inhibits their ability to protect themselves, their families, or others from intruders or attackers; or inhibits the legitimate use of firearms, is preempted by the state. The bill preempts local legislation and the ability of local government to prosecute gun crimes or engage in "other legal process" as it pertains to firearms. It also gives any person or group the ability to sue a local government if that person or group feels that they are adversely affected by a local ordinance or rule regarding firearms. That person or group would be awarded actual damages, paid by the local government. This legislation is another state attack on Home Rule that prohibits municipalities from governing in a way that best serves their constituents.

    On Tuesday, Rep. Leland (D -Columbus), Ranking Member on the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee, held a press conference with Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein to discuss the local preemption language. Klein highlighted how this legislation would potentially affect Columbus' ability to move 11 proposed pieces of legislation to close the gaps between state and federal gun ownership regulation. He also argued that Home Rule is necessary for these types of regulations because urban and rural areas have different needs.

    The bill received its fifth hearing in the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee on Tuesday afternoon. Lara Baker-Morrish, City Solicitor General for the City of Columbus, offered testimony in opposition to the bill. Her testimony focused on the local preemption as well, stating that it is important for local governments to be able to make decisions on how to protect citizens based on local issues without state interference. You can read Baker-Morrish's testimony HERE. The committee also heard from a variety of opponents and proponents on the legislation.

    The League plans to testify in opposition to this legislation if it is brought up for consideration at a future hearing, and we will continue to provide updates and details on how this legislation could affect municipalities. 


    OML REGIONAL CONFERENCES COMING SOON

    In the next few months, the OML will be holding regional conferences throughout the state to bring important elements of our Annual Conference right to the doorstep of the local leaders who serve Ohio's cities and villages.

    The goal of these Regional Conferences is to provide an opportunity for League members prevented from attending our three-day Annual Conference held in downtown Columbus by either distance or time constraints but know it is important to receive the timely information and access to resources that the conference provides. In an attempt to reach our members unable to attend the Annual Conference, we have put together a single day program of general session topics with presentations by featured speakers who are experts in their municipal sectors. 

    The regional conferences are an invaluable opportunity for municipal officials statewide to have the ability to be presented with critical information directly related to the success of their own communities, as well as connect and network with other local leaders in their area. This opportunity is not limited to League members who cannot come to Columbus but is a great opportunity for all municipal and local government officials to refresh their skill sets and get the most recent information on critical topics.
    Registration information including the conference agenda can be accessed HERE

    The dates and locations for the four Regional Conferences are as follows:

    • Southeast: Friday, May 18th at the Ohio University Conference Center in Athens.
    • Southwest: Friday, June 8th at the Manor House Banquet Center in Mason.
    • Northeast: Friday, June 29th at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
    • Northwest: Friday, August 17th at the Hancock Hotel in Findlay.

    We encourage you to sign up as soon as possible, as space will be limited, and we look forward to seeing you there!

     
    NALOXONE REBATE EXTENDED THROUGH MARCH 2019

    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced this week that the state has renewed a naloxone rebate agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for another year. This agreement has saved 127 Ohio agencies a total of $732,384 on the cost of naloxone between March 2015 and December 2017. It will continue to allow non-federal public entities in Ohio to receive a $6 rebate for each Amphastar naloxone syringe purchased until March 31, 2019. As part of the agreement, if Amphastar raises its wholesale price of naloxone during the term of the agreement, the company will also increase the rebate amount. For more information on how to apply for rebates, please click HERE.

     
    GRANT TRAINING IN COLUMBUS MAY 31-JUNE 1

    Central Ohio Organization of Public Purchases and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grants workshop in Columbus on May 31-June 1, 2018. At this class, you'll learn how to write grant proposals start to finish and how to locate and track relevant grant opportunities. They are offering OML members a special tuition rate of $425. To receive the discounted rate, use the code "OHASSN." You can find the full event details here

     
    COMMITTEE RECAP: HEARINGS FOR BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST

    Here are the bills that impact municipalities that received committee hearings this week:

    • HB 10 - INTRASTATE EQUITY CROWDFUNDING. Sponsored by Rep. Arndt (R - Port Clinton), this bill would permit intrastate equity crowdfunding under certain circumstances. During the bill's fifth hearing before the Senate Transportation, Commerce, and Labor Committee, the League's Executive Director Kent Scarrett testified in favor of the bill, highlighting the benefits of crowdfunding in incentivizing economic development and placemaking in Ohio's municipalities. Kent's testimony can be read HERE. The bill was unanimously voted out of committee and will head to the full Senate for consideration.

    • HB 342 - LOCAL BALLOTS. Sponsored by Rep. Merrin (R - Monclova Township), this bill would permit local tax-related proposals to appear only on general and primary election ballots and not on an August special election ballot and to modify the information conveyed in election notices and ballot language for property tax levies. During its sixth hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, an amendment was adopted to remove the language stating that local tax-related proposals could not appear on an August special election ballot. The legislation now only modifies the ballot language for property tax levies. As a result, the League is now neutral on this bill. The bill was voted out of committee by a vote of 8-2 and will head to the full House for consideration.
     
    • SB 118 - PTSD TREATMENT-FIRST RESPONDERS. Sponsored by Sen. LaRose (R - Hudson) and Sen. Brown (D - Toledo), the bill would make peace officers, firefighters, and emergency medical workers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder arising from employment without an accompanying physical injury eligible for compensation and benefits under Ohio's Workers' Compensation Law with coverage limited to one year. During the bill's second hearing before the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee, the committee heard proponent testimony from the Liberty Township Fire Chief, Fraternal Order of Police, and Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters. The League is currently neutral on this legislation.
     
    • SB 13 - RECORDING LAW ENFORCEMENT. Sponsored by Sen. Tavares (D - Columbus), this bill would grant a person the right to lawfully record any incident involving a law enforcement officer and impose civil liability upon the state or a local law enforcement agency if a law enforcement officer employed by the state or local law enforcement agency interferes with the recording of the incident, destroys the recording, seizes the recording without a warrant or subpoena or the person's consent, or retaliates against the person who recorded the incident. During the bill's sponsor testimony in the Senate Local Government, Public Safety, and Veterans Affairs Committee, committee members discussed possibilities of creating a more "balanced" bill. The League is currently evaluating this legislation.
     
    • HB 291 - GOVERNMENT INSURANCE. Sponsored by Rep. Wiggam (R - Wooster), the bill would authorize counties, townships, and municipal corporations to purchase an employee dishonesty and faithful performance of duty insurance policy, instead of a bond, for protection from loss due to the fraudulent or dishonest actions of, and the failure to perform a duty prescribed by law by, an officer, official, employee, or appointee for which a bond is required by law. This bill was scheduled for a sponsor hearing before the Senate Local Government, Public Safety, and Veterans Affairs Committee, but it was pulled from the agenda at the sponsor's request. The League is currently supportive of the bill and offered written proponent testimony in the House.
     
    • SB 182 - DOGS ON PATIOS. Sponsored by Sen. Coley (R - Liberty Township), this bill would generally allow an owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog to take the dog in an outdoor dining area of a retail food establishment or food service operation. During its fourth hearing before the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee, an amendment was adopted that requires dogs to be vaccinated in accordance with state and local law. The League is neutral on this bill.
    • HB 133 - DISASTER WORK. Sponsored by Rep. Ryan (R - Newark), this bill would create the Disaster Relief Act to exempt out-of-state disaster businesses and qualifying out-of-state employees from certain taxes and laws with respect to disaster work on critical infrastructure performed in this state during a declared disaster. During its third hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, proponent testimony was submitted by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce. The League is neutral on this legislation.
    • SB 252 - INCOMPATIBLE OFFICES. Sponsored by Sen. Peterson (R - Sabina), this bill would authorize local elected officers that have levied a hotel lodging excise tax, or a designee of such officers to simultaneously hold the position of officer or member of the board of trustees of a convention and visitors' bureau without constituting incompatible offices. During its third hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, the committee heard opponent testimony from private citizens who shared personal experiences with visitors' bureaus. The League is neutral on this legislation.
    NEW LEGISLATION OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST INTRODUCED

    Here is the new legislation introduced this week of interest to municipalities:
    • HB 598 - LAND SALES. Sponsored by Rep. Green (R - Mt. Orab) and Rep. West (D-Canton), this bill would give county auditors more discretion with respect to how often tax-forfeited land shall be offered for sale, expressly immunize counties from civil liability in connection with such land, and remove a requirement that property held by a land bank for more than fifteen years must be offered for sale at a public auction.
    • HB 599 - FIREARMS-LOCAL AUTHORITY. Sponsored by Rep. West (D - Canton), this bill would restore local authority to regulate the ownership, possession, purchase, sale, transfer, transportation, storage, and keeping of firearms.