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    August 10, 2018 

    OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
     
    Here are the top three things you need to know from this week:
     
    • The first large-scale cultivator in Ohio has been approved by the state to begin growing marijuana plants in their Eastlake. The cultivator, Buckeye Relief LLC, says they plan to put marijuana in dispensaries by January 2019.
    • The Ohio Department of Commerce has accounted that only 13 of the 104 companies applying to make medical marijuana products like brownies and lotions met the minimum state requirements. The State is allowed to give out up to 40 total processor licenses.
    • The U.S. Senate has approved $300 million for Great Lakes restoration programs. The House approved the same amount, despite threats from President Trump to cut funding from the program.
     
    OML ASKS LOCAL LEADERS TO URGE GOVERNOR TO INVEST BUDGET SURPLUS IN MUNICIPALITIES
     
    The Ohio Municipal League is encouraging its members to pass a resolution urging Governor Kasich to invest this year's projected budget surplus in Ohio's local governments. The League also drafted a sample resolution municipalities could pass to make their stance clear, along with a sample letter to send to state leaders. You can find the resolution HERE and the sample letter HERE.
     
    This week, the governor proposed using the projected surplus of $147 million to fund an income tax withholding reduction and an additional $68 million to max out the state's rainy day fund.
     
    The League has asked that local leaders urge the state to invest these dollars in crucial local services. This is an opportunity for municipalities to remind the state of their urgent need to rebuild infrastructure and bolster public safety services to fight the opioid epidemic. Ohio's municipalities should insist the state use these dollars be used to close the gap created through past Local Government Fund raids that resulted in a loss of $435 million for municipalities in CY 2015 alone. It is crucial that municipalities be heard and that this revenue be used to strengthen local governments across the state.
     
     
    OML SENDS LETTER TO LEGISLATORS DETAILING FAILINGS OF THE OHIO BUSINESS GATEWAY
     
    As tax administrators and filers across the state already know, the Ohio Business Gateway (OBG) has been unable to process increased filings and have caused significant delays, not only preventing taxpayers from logging into their accounts and filing their payments, but also causing municipalities to receive less revenue - and, in some instances, preventing them from receiving their monthly distributions on time.
     
    When HB 49, the state's two-year budget bill, was being debated before the legislature, the provision creating the centralized collection of net profit business filing through the state via the OBG was defended by the administrators of the OBG. In his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, the State Chief Administration Office Stu Davis said, "We are confident that either the existing or the new system has more than enough capacity to handle the increased volume and transactions." That promise has proven to be false.
     
    Municipalities across the state report not receiving substantial monthly distributions almost a month and a half after they were due. Entire accounting offices have been locked out of their accounts and have been unable to make their tax filings. And these problems not only plague the net profits potion, but withholdings as well.
     
    The League has written a letter detailing these failings and has sent it to members of the Ohio legislature. The present circumstance is unacceptable and must not be allowed to continue. We ask the state to find some kind of resolution so that taxpayers and municipalities alike can stop paying the price for the inadequacy of the Ohio Business Gateway. You can read that letter HERE.
     
     
    BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR
     
    This week, Governor Kasich signed several of the bills the legislature has sent to his desk. The following are the bills with an impact to municipalities:
     
    • HB 34 - PUBLIC NOTICES. Sponsored by Rep. Hambley (R - Brunswick) and Rep. Ryan (R - Newark), will modify which notices are required to be sent by certified, ordinary, and electronic mail; allow elected officials to receive public records training before their term begins; and allow a county prosecuting attorney to legally advise a regional airport authority, port authority, or regional planning commission.
     
    • HB 95 - DISTRACTED DRIVING. Sponsored by Rep. Hughes (R - Columbus) and Rep. Seitz (R - Cincinnati), will adds an enhanced penalty for distracted driving to a moving violation.
     
    • HB 168 - CEMETERY REGISTRATION. Sponsored by Rep. Stein (R - Norwalk), will establish the Cemetery Grant Program to help not-for-profit cemeteries with repairs and maintenance.
     
    • HB 263 - DOGS ON PATIOS. Sponsored by Rep. Lanes (R - Grove City), will allow restaurants to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas.
     
    • HB 312 - POLITICAL SUBDIVISION SPENDING. Sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton) and Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), will regulate the use of credit cards and debit cards by political subdivisions.
     
    • SB 127 - GARBAGE COLLECTION VEHICLES. Sponsored by Sen. LaRose (R - Hudson), will would require drivers to move over or slow down when approaching stationary garbage trucks.
    • SB 239 - REGIONAL COUNCILS OF GOVERNMENT. Sponsored by Sen. Dolan (R - Chagrin Falls), will increase transparency for regional councils of government and was amended to also designate three memorial highways.
     
     
    HOUSE COMMITTEE TO STUDY AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
     
    The House Transportation and Public Safety Committee will be studying both autonomous and connected vehicles through a series of committee meetings this summer. This announcement builds on a previous seven-month study ending earlier this year, which sought to educate both the committee and the public on how autonomous connected vehicle technology is evolving.
     
    The forthcoming report will include input from industry leaders, policy think tanks and other stakeholders. The Chair and Vice Chair of the Committee, Rep. Green (R - Mt. Orab) and Rep. Reineke (R - Tiffin) are encouraging members of the public to weigh in on how autonomous and connected vehicles impact various areas: manufacturing, the economy, infrastructure and public safety. For more information about this study, please contact Rep. Green's office at rep88@ohiohouse.gov.
     
     
    REGISTER NOW FOR OML'S FINAL REMAINING
    SUMMER REGIONAL CONFERENCE
     
    Next Friday, the League will hold its fourth and final 2018 Summer Regional Conference in Findlay. We want to thank all of the municipal officials who have joined us for our three previous regional conferences that were held in Athens, Mason, and Canton, Ohio. The response from League members to our efforts to take a portion of our annual conference to the four corners of the state through the regional conference approach has been very gratifying and we appreciate the continued support.
     
    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, either because of distance constraints or other issues, to have access to the timely information our members receive at our Annual Conference and to experience some of the opportunities that the conference provides. 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 2018 Summer 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 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.
     
    The final conference in the 2018 regional series will be held August 17th at the Hancock Hotel in Findlay.
     
    Registration information including the conference agenda, can be accessed HERE.
     
    We encourage you to sign up for this remaining conference as soon as possible, as space will be limited. We look forward to seeing you and your entire administrative staff there!