Legislative Update
Prepared by: David Field
Report created on November 24, 2017
HB34HEALTH CARE COMPACT (RETHERFORD W) To enter into the Health Care Compact.
 Current Status:   12/8/2016 - REPORTED OUT, Senate Government Oversight and Reform, (Third Hearing)
HB64OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) To make operating appropriations for the biennium beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30, 2017, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of state programs.
 Current Status:   6/30/2015 - SIGNED BY GOVERNOR; eff. 6/30/15; certain provisions effective 9/29/15, other dates
HB65TAX-EXPENDITURE APPRAISAL (DRIEHAUS D) To provide for the periodic appraisal of the effectiveness of tax expenditures.
 Current Status:   3/24/2015 - House Ways and Means, (First Hearing)
HB259CERTIFICATES OF INSURANCE (RYAN S, SEARS B) To regulate certificates of insurance prepared or issued to verify the purchase of property or casualty insurance coverage.
 Current Status:   12/22/2015 - SIGNED BY GOVERNOR; eff. 3/23/16
HB326TAX LAW-JOINT FILING (AMSTUTZ R, MCCLAIN J) To make technical changes to the state income tax law, to modify the requirements for receiving the joint filing credit, and to provide that, for the 2015 taxable year, any taxable business income under $125,000 for married taxpayers filing separately or $250,000 for other taxpayers is subject to the graduated tax rates applicable to nonbusiness income, while business income in excess of those amounts remains subject to the existing 3% flat tax.
 Current Status:   10/26/2015 - House Ways and Means, (Fifth Hearing)
HB368HEALTH INSURANCE LIMITS-EXCLUSIONS (SEARS B) To make changes to the health coverage benefit limits and coverage exclusions for life and health insurance guaranty associations.
 Current Status:   11/4/2015 - House Insurance, (First Hearing)
HB416JOINT SELF-INSURANCE POOLS (SCHURING K) To enable state colleges and universities to establish joint self-insurance pools.
 Current Status:   11/29/2016 - REPORTED OUT, House Insurance, (Third Hearing)
SB64CREDIT HISTORY-INSURANCE PREMIUM (TAVARES C) To prohibit an insurer's use of a credit score, credit history, or credit report in fixing a premium rate for, or the terms and conditions of, an insurance policy, or in determining whether to issue, continue, or renew an insurance policy.
 Current Status:   6/16/2015 - Senate Insurance, (First Hearing)
SB68CONTRACEPTION INSURANCE (TAVARES C) To require health insurers to provide coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and to prohibit employment discrimination under the Ohio Civil Rights Law on the basis of reproductive health decisions.
 Current Status:   3/24/2015 - Senate Insurance, (First Hearing)
SB115CERTIFICATES OF INSURANCE (BACON K, BEAGLE B) To regulate certificates of insurance prepared or issued as evidence of property or casualty insurance coverage.
 Current Status:   6/16/2015 - SUBSTITUTE BILL ACCEPTED & REPORTED OUT, Senate Insurance, (Third Hearing)
Week in Review

Week in Review

Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017




People traveling for the holidays will encounter more messages from the state about how to stop children from starting drug use and how to report suspected drug crimes to authorities after billboard owners agreed to donate advertising space across Ohio. The Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio is donating close to 200 digital, poster and bulletin billboard displays for the public awareness campaign featuring messages from the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (Ohio MHAS).

In its latest "State Budgeting Matters" report, the Center for Community Solutions (CCS) looked at the state's efforts to address drug addiction through prevention, highlighting strategies used throughout the state. CCS noted that drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, and Ohio has the second highest rate of overdose deaths of any state in the nation. Overdose deaths involving other drugs, including alcohol and cocaine, are also on the rise. CCS said Ohio's overdose death rate has exceeded the national average for most of the past two decades, and has risen even more sharply than the rest of the country in recent years.



Ohio farmers have a reason to be optimistic even amid lagging profits from corn and soybeans, according to an agricultural economist from the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Farm incomes are expected to increase this year nationally for the first time in four years, said Ani Katchova, an associate professor in the OSU Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.


The Trump administration has appointed Leonard Hubert as state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA). Hubert will join the Ohio FSA team on Monday, Nov. 27, USDA said in a news release. Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) spokesperson Mary Turocy told Hannah News that Hubert will continue to chair the OCRC. Hubert's term expires on July 28, 2021.




A report released by Auditor of State Dave Yost detailed numerous audit findings which he said suggest some local government entities do not properly regulate their processes of collecting and depositing incoming payments. Auditors have identified more than $3.4 million in incoming payments in the past decade that never made it into government accounts. The missing money involved at least 77 local governments and school districts. While not all of these cases were definitively criminal, 53 employees at these entities were convicted of theft.




Ohio should expect steady growth in holiday retail sales thanks to slow but steady statewide economic growth according to a report released this week by Ohio Council of Retail Merchant's research organization Focus on Ohio's Future. The report, prepared by the University of Cincinnati's (UC) Economics Center, estimates a 2.04 percent increase in holiday retail spending from 2016 to 2017, indicating a 9 percent total increase since 2015.




The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) honored 12 schools across the state recently for achieving high academic outcomes while serving a large population of low-income students. ODE named two Schools of Promise, four High Performing Schools of Honor and nine High Progress Schools of Honor, with two schools receiving more than one award. All awards require the schools to serve at least 40 percent economically disadvantaged students, while the other criteria for each award examine varying levels of high performance on state tests and district assessments.




The U.S. Supreme Court has set oral arguments on a case over whether Ohio can remove voters from the rolls for not voting in federal elections for Jan. 10, 2018. The Court had scheduled the case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, to be originally heard on Nov. 8, but pushed it back because one of the attorneys in the case was on medical leave, and the attorney who replaced him needed time to prepare.



Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, ignited controversy Friday with a Facebook post about having been "sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females ... in the last 50 years." His comments were made in regard to allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), saying he was saving opponents research time, and adding that he was disappointed "by this national feeding frenzy about sexual indiscretions decades ago." Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor condemned his comments, saying he showed "gross disrespect for women," and his fellow candidates called for him to resign his seat and withdraw from the race for governor. He posted further comments Friday night intended to explain his earlier post, but on Sunday issued an apology, writing in part, "I have damaged the national debate on the very real subject of sexual harassment, abuse and, unfortunately, rape."


The Summit County Republican Party Saturday announced it was endorsing Attorney General Mike DeWine for governor, and two of his primary opponents criticized the move as being decided by "party insiders."


The following endorsements were made over the week:




The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Friday released its figures on Ohio's unemployment rate for October 2017, noting it was 5.1 percent, down from 5.3 percent in September 2017. Ohio's nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 4,300 over the month, from a revised 5,546,600 in September to 5,550,900 in October 2017.




Rover Pipeline LLC has received federal approval to continue horizontal directional drilling (HDD) at four crossings in Ohio.




The Ohio Lake Erie Commission and the Kasich administration have taken another step to reduce phosphorus entering Lake Erie under the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Ohio Domestic Action Plan (DAP) 1.0 will be provided to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for review and comment and to serve as Ohio's part of the U.S. Domestic Action Plan, the final version of which is due in February 2018. The goal is to reduce phosphorous loading in Lake Erie by 40 percent by 2025.




Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) announced Monday that he is reintroducing legislation that would declare video taken by body-worn cameras used by police as public records, but would also outline exemptions for some of that video. Antani said that the bill seeks to find a balance between protecting privacy of individuals and private businesses and the public's right to records. He said lawmakers need to make sure that the law follows new technology, and body cameras are a new technology where the law is still ambiguous, especially when it comes to public records.


Jason Mauk will resign soon as chief of staff to Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and take over operations of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee. Mauk told Hannah News he's planned his departure for nearly a year, and disclosed his intentions to leave at the outset of Obhof's presidency. He said Obhof asked him to stay through completion of the FY18-19 budget, a timeline that stretched into the fall as discussion of veto overrides left key elements of the spending plan up in the air. He anticipates officially leaving in early December.




Gov. John Kasich's office said Tuesday he signed HB31 (Cupp), which eliminates some defunct state entities and revives another. Lawmakers sent it to the governor's office a day earlier, after final passage a few weeks ago.




Witnesses before the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) said Friday that they support home health care initiatives like Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) but are opposed to ODM's proposed rules on EVV as written. Several witnesses said they were voicing their concerns to legislative representatives and would go before the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) in December if the rules did not change. The rules are designed to prevent fraud by having home health care staff electronically register visit times, and the 21st Century CURES Act requires a system be in place by January 2019.


A home health agency in Hamilton County owes the state $4.51 million for Medicaid overpayments and interest stemming in part from patient care provided by nearly 80 unqualified employees. Personal Touch Home Care of Ohio was reimbursed $9.46 million by the Ohio Department of Medicaid from 2012 through 2014 for providing home health services. State auditors determined that $4.25 million of that amount was overpayment based on 773 errors in a sample of 1,728 services.




Work is underway on the second phase of Ohio Northern University's solar initiative with a 1-megawatt solar array. The first phase, a 2-megawatt array, was completed in early 2017. Together, the two solar arrays will generate a total 15 percent of ONU's electricity needs, reducing the university's carbon footprint by over 3,300 tons, equal to 315 average households.


More than 68,000 Ohio high school students participated in the second year of College Credit Plus, an increase over first-year participation, according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). ODHE released the latest numbers on Tuesday showing 68,365 students participated in the program in the 2016-17 school year, which ODHE said saved more than $144 million in higher education costs. The program allows high school students to take college classes for college credit at a slightly reduced cost or free. Slightly more than 54,000 students participated during the 2015-16 academic year, the first year of the program, for a savings of nearly $124 million.


The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law earned top honors in the Ohio Attorney General's fifth annual Public Service Mock Trial Competition for Ohio law school students.




October home sales nearly matched record-setting figures from a year ago and also marked an increase from September, the Ohio Association of Realtors (OAR) reported. October sales reached 153,882, close to the 154,023 seen in October 2016, the strongest October on record. Last month's figures represented a 2.6 percent increase over September's 149,926.



Christopher Burd hasn't paid the mortgage on his Blacklick home since 2011, according to Wells Fargo Bank, but the 10th District Court of Appeals says the lender permanently forfeited the right to foreclose on the FHA-insured loan when it failed to meet face-to-face with Burd within the first three months of default. Wells Fargo has turned to the Ohio Supreme Court, noting the magnitude of government-backed loans in Ohio and the U.S., 5 percent of which are considered "seriously delinquent," the bank says. The Court accepted the bank's appeal in October but has yet to set a briefing schedule.


The Ohio Supreme Court announced Monday that three dozen court professionals achieved national certification this week through the Court Management Program, bringing to nearly 300 the number of certified court managers employed in Ohio.




The Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) received 370 medical marijuana dispensary applications, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) announced Monday.




Ohio's young hunters checked 4,958 white-tailed deer during the two-day youth gun season, Nov. 18-19, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).


Oil and natural gas shale well operators have spent more than $302 million on Ohio roads and bridges through road use maintenance agreements (RUMAs) since 2011, according to an industry report released Tuesday. The Energy In Depth (EID) report, "Ohio's Oil and Gas Industry Road Improvement Payments," says RUMA funds have been used to address more than 639 miles of roadway in Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe and Noble counties.


The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced it is waiving campsite fees for the night of Friday, Nov. 24 to encourage families to spend time enjoying their Black Friday outdoors instead of in shopping malls and stores.



The Ohio Women's Policy Network (WPPN) announced Tuesday that Elizabeth Brown has joined the group as its new part-time executive director. Currently, Brown is serving her first term on Columbus City Council, where a number of her legislative priorities have focused on strengthening women and families, including passing a paid family leave policy.



The Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) announced recently that it will be offering a limited-time tax amnesty program beginning Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 and ending Thursday, Feb. 15. The Ohio Tax Amnesty is available to eligible taxpayers -- individuals and businesses -- with unreported or underreported tax debts. During the six-week amnesty period, taxpayers who fully pay qualifying tax delinquencies will owe no penalties and only half of the interest normally charged. To learn more and to determine eligibility for the program, interested taxpayers and tax practitioners should go to http://www.ohiotaxamnesty.gov/. Questions can also be directed to ODT via its toll-free phone number at 800-304-3211.




The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC) on Monday approved the purchase of 16 automated toll payment machines (ATPMs). The machines and spare parts will cost nearly $2.6 million, according to the resolution that was adopted during the commission's monthly meeting.




The House Public Utilities Committee will launch a series of hearings next Tuesday on HB247's (Romanchuk) push to eliminate electric security plans and non-bypassable bill riders that slow the competitive market. Chairman Robert Cupp (R-Lima) told the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) Governing Board Tuesday that Rep. Mark Romanchuk's (R-Mansfield) watershed legislation will be a top consideration going into the final weeks of 2017.




U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) brought together Ohio veterans and various veterans' organizations in Columbus Tuesday for a hearing of the Senate Veterans' Affairs committee.

At the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Brown was joined by U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D- Columbus); Chip Tansill, director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services; Keith Harman, commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW); Melissa Twine, an Air Force veteran; and James Powers, an Army and Army national guard veteran.




The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors approved an investment report Friday showing net returns of 7.5 percent in FY17, eclipsing the bureau's performance over the previous three, five and 10 years. BWC investments earned $1.878 billion in the recent fiscal year from assets allocated 55.1 percent to bonds, 32.8 percent to stocks, 10.5 percent to real estate, and 1.6 percent to cash.




The Franklin County commissioners have approved contracts with the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council and local service provider Impact Community Action to administer a pilot program designed to help county residents transition into apprentice programs that lead to well-paying skilled construction trades careers. The program, called Building Futures, will provide both "soft skills" and trade-specific training before culminating in apprenticeship entrance assessment. Participants may progress directly from this program to a traditional apprenticeship in one of the skilled construction trades.


This information compiled by:
David W. Field, CAE
actionTRACK - Hannah News Service, Inc.