Ohio Municipal League Legislative Bulletin

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April 21, 2017

This was the second week of the spring recess for members of the Ohio General Assembly. During this period, as it is budget season, House leadership continues to comb through hundreds of amendments submitted by all members of the Ohio House, in attempts to advance policies members believe would be beneficial to the state. Leadership will construct an substitute bill that will incorporate all of the changes determined to reflect the priorities of the House and it's spending priorities. We anticipate new language to emerge next week from committee hearings scheduled in the House Finance Committee.

The League has requested multiple amendments to important issues we have previewed at length in previous legislative bulletins. Meanwhile, we need members to stay alert over the next few weeks to our emails and to continue to talk to your legislative delegation members, both in the House and Senate, and continue to empress upon them your concerns with challenges to local control and revenue management. Once the final amendments are made public, we will immediately inform you and provide advice on what steps to take.

 

LEAGUE PARTICIPATES IN SPONSORING OHIO MUNICIPAL SUMMIT ON AFTER-SCHOOL AND SUMMER LEARNING EVENT

The Ohio After-school Network, along with the National League of Cities and the Ohio Municipal League, hosted the first ever Ohio Municipal Summit on After-school and Summer Learning. The event took place last week on Wednesday, April 12, and was attended by education, after-school and municipal leaders from around the state.

League Executive Director, Kent Scarrett, addressed attendees as part of the opening remarks, speaking on the importance of every person in after-school and summer learning lobbying for a better future for students and, by proxy, a better future for Ohio. Other speakers included Matt Zone, President of the National League of Cities and a City of Cleveland Councilman, and Reginald MacGregor, the Manager of Engineering Employee Development at Rolls Royce. Those who attended the event learned about how after-school and summer learning programs improve workforce readiness, safety, and educational outcomes for students in a variety of workshops. They also heard from a panel that included Mayor Nan Whaley of the City of Dayton and Councilman Zone, which discussed how municipal leaders can invest in and benefit from after-school and summer learning programs in their cities.

The Ohio Municipal League was proud to be a part of this important summit, and we will keep our members aware of future opportunities to engage in discussions about how after-school and summer learning can benefit Ohio's municipalities.

LEAGUE AND MUNICIPAL ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION PREPARE A REPORT TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL MODERNIZATION COMMISSION

Last month, Governor Robert Taft, a member of the Constitutional Modernization Commission, asked the League to review Article XVIII (Home Rule) of the Ohio Constitution and suggest any amendments that might be appropriate.  Honoring that request, as General Counsel for the OML, Garry E. Hunter, Esq. formed a committee to: (1) Study Article XVIII of the Constitution of Ohio; (2) Promote an exchange of experiences and suggestions respecting desired changes in Article XVIII; (3) Consider the problems pertaining to the amendment of Article XVIII; and, (4) Make recommendations to the Ohio Constitution Modernization Commission's Education, Public Information, and Local Government Committee.

A copy of the final report submitted to Governor Taft can be accessed HERE.

Mr. Hunter constituted the committee with members of the OML and the Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association ("OMAA").  The Committee comprises Garry E. Hunter, Esq.,  OML/OMAA General Counsel, Chair; E. Rod Davisson, Esq., Village Administrator Obetz, Vice Chair; Kent Scarrett, OML Executive Director; Ed Albright, OML Deputy Executive Director; Stephen J. Smith, Jr., Esq. and Thaddeus M. Boggs, Esq., of the Frost, Brown, Todd Law Firm in Columbus; Thomas Schmitt, Esq., Assistant Law Director, City of Westerville, Metz, Bailey, McLoughlin Law Firm; Paul G. Bertram, III, Esq., Director of Law, City of Marietta; Darren Shulman, Esq., City Attorney, City of Delaware; and, Les S. Landen, Esq., Director of Law, City of Middletown.

The Report suggests the following changes to Article XVIII, Section 3 of the Constitution to clear up confusion over the intent of the original 1912 Constitutional Convention language on Home Rule:                     

We will be sure to alert our members of any future activity that takes place related to actions by the modernization review commission.

 

LEAGUE NOMINEES TO JAIL BOARD APPOINTED

On April 17, 2017, the League Executive Director Kent Scarrett nominated three people to serve on the Ohio Jail Advisory Board: Greg Peterson who is Mayor of Dublin and an accomplished attorney; Robert Ratliff, who is Law Director for the City of Bucyrus and an accomplished attorney, and; Louis Gallizio, who is the Jail Administrator for the City of Parma.

On April 19, the nominations were accepted by the Board and the three individuals received their appointments. We would like to congratulate them and we know they will do a great job representing municipalities on the Board.

   

POOLED COLLATERAL SYSTEM ENSURES SAFETY OF OHIO'S TAX MONEY BY THE OHIO TREASURER'S OFFICE

Innovative legislation recently passed by the Ohio Legislature streamlines and modernizes Ohio's public deposit collateral structure. HB 64 created the Ohio Pooled Collateral System (OPCS) to better ensure the safety and protection of Ohio's government deposits by creating a centralized pool of collateral overseen by the Ohio Treasury.

This system is required to be operational by July 1, 2017, and participation is voluntarily for financial institutions. Local governments retain the authority to select their financial institution and can still require collateral above the state statutory rate.

Under prior law, Ohio's collateral monitoring and oversight process was decentralized, which could create uncertainty as to whether local governments had a perfected security interest in the amount of collateral pledged against their deposits, and whether or not that deposit was appropriately protected in the event of a financial crisis.

With the creation of OPCS, the Ohio Treasury will oversee a pool of collateral for each financial institution that chooses to participate on behalf of Ohio's local governments. This new structure seeks to reduce costs for Ohio's local governments, provides administrative benefits for local governments, and most importantly, guard against fraud.

With OPCS, Ohio's local governments still have ample flexibility in the handling of their public deposits and control over their banking relationships. OPCS simply leverages the administrative capacity of the Treasurer's office to streamline the collateral process, while giving local governments the autonomy and flexibility to make the best decisions on behalf of their constituents.

In addition, OPCS provides greater efficiencies to Ohio's local governments. OPCS shifts the burden of processing pledged collateral from local governments to the Treasurer's office, freeing up valuable time and resources for local governments. OPCS also enables financial institutions to report information to the Treasurer's office rather than multiple entities.

Under OPCS, the Treasurer's office utilizes a 3rd party pricing source to determine the market value of collateral that participating financial institutions have pledged, and ensures that all necessary steps have been taken by those financial institutions to protect public deposits. This safeguards Ohio's tax money and protects against potential fraud or abuse.

Furthermore, the Treasurer's office maintains OPCS records via an online portal to allow for the efficient and transparent reporting of all public deposits and corresponding collateral. This daily monitoring enables participating local governments to review and analyze their collateral reports in a manner not available before.

With OPCS, local governments have yet another tool in their tool-belt to help ensure the safety, security and protection of Ohio's public funds.

OPCS was established based on changes to the Ohio Revised Code in 2015 and is scheduled to launch on or before July 1, 2017. For more information, please contact the Treasurer's office at 614-995-3773 or by email at constituentaffairs@tos.ohio.gov.

SENATE DEMOCRATS ELECT NEW LEADER

The Senate Democrat Caucus lost their leader Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) this week, who stepped down from the leadership role to dedicate more time to his gubernatorial aspirations. The Senate Democratic Caucus elected Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond) to take the reins of leadership. Yuko is a long-time veteran of the General Assembly, having served in both chambers.

After being elected to lead his fellow democratic members, Senator Yuko was quoted as saying, "During the upcoming budget debate in the Senate, we will fight to ensure our schools and communities have the resources they need and deserve."

The league heartily congratulates Senator Yuko on his new role. The League has had a long and very enjoyable relationship with the Senator. We look forward to working with the new leader and wish him great success.

MARIJUANA RULES BEGIN  PERCOLATING

 

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program has sent a number of initial rules to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). The proposed addition would be OAC 3796. The rule-making process can be tracked at: http://www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov

Future rules are also expected from the Ohio Pharmacy Board. The Ohio Association of Public Safety Directors, an affiliate of the League, will be hosting a panel discussion on May 5 from representatives from both agencies. Please see the events section below for more details. All are invited.

 
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