Tracked House Bills – May 2019

May 28, 2019 | Advocacy

Chris Schmenk
Bricker & Eckler LLP

 

Governor’s Budget Bill:  The Biennial Operating Budget Bill (HB 166) was introduced in the House March 25, and a substitute bill was passed by the Ohio House on May 9.  Copies of the original and substitute bill are available at: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA133-HB-166  The Ohio Senate Finance Committee is currently holding hearings and under Ohio’s Constitution, a budget bill must be signed by the Governor by June 30.

The bill includes initiatives important to Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted, including additional funding for wraparound services for children and families and a water quality program called “H2Ohio” that will fund improvements in waterways across Ohio including Lake Erie.  Economic development provisions included in the House’s substitute bill include:

  • Rural Industrial Park Loan Fund (provisions of HB 98 summarized below);
  • Opportunity Zone Tax Credits (provisions of SB 8 summarized below);
  • Residential Development Tax Credit (provisions of HB 149 summarized below; NOTE: OEDA submitted written testimony voicing concerns, as an interested party);
  • TIF Term Extension: project or parcel TIFs may be extended by the political subdivision that enacted them for up to an additional 30 years if they: 1. Had service payments that exceeded $1.5 million in the calendar year preceding the adoption of the extension; 2. Had service payments that did not exceed $1.5 million in prior years, but this condition only applies to extensions adopted on or after January 1, 2021, and 3. Provide in the extension for compensation to the local school district in which the parcel(s) is located equal to the amount of taxes that would otherwise have been paid if the extension had not been granted;
  • Elimination of Motion Picture Tax Credit: will likely be reconciled with SB 37 summarized below.

Bills Being Tracked:  Changes from last month are noted below in bold.

House Bills:

HB 2 CREDENTIAL PROGRAMS (Cross, J., Lepore-Hagen, M.)  The legislation introduced May 13 would provide $32.5 million in state funding in FY 2020 and FY 2021 for its three programs, with funding allocated as follows:

  • TechCred Program — $15 million a year ($14.7 million for employer assistance and $300,000 for administrative costs) to reimburse employers for training current or prospective employees who receive a micro-credential.
  • Individual Micro-Credential Assistance Program — $15 million a year ($14.7 million for employer assistance and $300,000 for administrative costs) to provide grants to individuals to pay for the costs of training to earn a micro-credential.
  • Industry Sector Partnerships Program — $2.5 million a year to support regional partnerships across the state, including a grant program to develop the partnerships and promote their mission.

The Bill has been assigned to the House Economic & Workforce Development where a second hearing occurred May 22 and a third hearing is scheduled for May 29.

HB 4 INDUSTRY CREDENTIALS (Richardson, T., Robinson, P.)   This bill, introduced May 16 would permit the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation to develop industry-recognized credentials and certificate programs after being requested to do so by Ohio employers.  The proposed credential or program must be aligned with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet Ohio’s workforce needs, and the Office of Workforce Transformation must consult with the Department of Education, the Chancellor of Higher Education, and other stakeholders while developing such credentials.  The bill was referred to the House Economic & Workforce Development where a first hearing occurred May 22 and a second hearing is scheduled for May 29.

HB 6  ENERGY (Callender, J., Wilkin, S.) Introduced April 12, this bill would create the Ohio Clean Air Program, to facilitate and encourage electricity production and use from clean air resources, to facilitate investment to reduce the emissions from other generating technologies that can be readily dispatched to satisfy demand in real time, and proactively engage the buying power of consumers in this state for the purpose of improving air quality in this state. The bill would support FirstEnergy Solutions’ nuclear plants by creating a surcharge for all Ohio customers to fund the program to be overseen by the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (“OAQDA”). The program would provide a $9.25 per megawatt hour for eligible resources with customers’ monthly cost caps would be set at $2.50 for residential, $20 for commercial, $250 for industrial and $2,500 for very large users of at least 45 million kilowatt hours a year.  OAQDA would also be permitted to create and implement a Reduced Emissions Resource Program for low- or reduced-emissions generation. The legislation would also enable the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to apply for an exemption from the E-Check program and to request the U.S. EPA authorize implementation of the clean air program as an alternative. The bill was assigned to the Energy Generation Subcommittee where numerous hearings have occurred.  A substitute bill adopted by the Subcommittee May 22 revised the bill to eliminate eligibility of renewable resource energy generators (including wind farms) for the Clean Air Program and eliminate the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards.  Other changes made by the Subcommittee include:

  • adding a Dec. 31, 2026 sunset date;
  • revising residential customer monthly cost caps to $1 rather than $2.50 and lowering the cap on monthly charges for commercial customers to $10 a month for 2020, returning them to the prior $15 a month in following years;
  • enabling cost recovery for utility co-owners of Ohio Valley Electric Corp;
  • requiring the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to establish by October 1 a cost structure for industrial customers in which average charges across all customers must remain at $250 per month;
  • requiring the clean air credit price to remain at $9 rather than providing the authority the ability to adjust for inflation after year one;
  • removing language prohibiting a clean air resource receiving credits from receiving a renewable energy credit for the same megawatt hour of electricity, and
  • removing language requiring the Third Frontier Commission to create a program and set aside funding for battery storage technology research.

HB 7  WATER FUND  (Ghanbari, H., Patterson, J.)  This bill, introduced  May 13, would create the H2Ohio Trust Fund for the protection and preservation of Ohio’s water quality, create the H2Ohio Advisory Council to disburse money from the Fund for water quality programs, and create the H2Ohio Endowment Board to make recommendations to the Treasurer of State regarding the issuance of securities to pay for costs related to the purposes of the Fund.  The bill authorizes the H2Ohio Advisory Council to disburse up to $50 million per fiscal year by issuing loans and awarding grants to applicants that apply for money to address water quality issues in Ohio. If Fund money is appropriated specifically to the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, or the Environmental Protection Agency, it requires the Directors of those state agencies to each prepare an annual plan detailing how the money will be spent.  It also requires the Council to review and approve each agency’s annual plan before the agency may spend the appropriated money.  The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee where a second hearing took place May 23.

HB 13 BROADBAND (Carfagna, R., O’Brian, M.) Introduced May 16, this bill is based on a proposal that passed the House last year (HB 281, 132nd GA) and would require the Development Services Agency (DSA) to establish the Residential Broadband Expansion (RBE) Program to provide grants to municipal corporations and townships (project sponsors) to help fund projects that provide broadband to any residential area within their boundaries that is without broadband (eligible area).  It excludes as an eligible area under the RBE Program, any area that has received, or is designated to receive, any other state or federally funded grants that are designed to encourage broadband deployment. The program would allow the Director of DSA to accept applications from project sponsors each fiscal year, review each application within 60 days, and fund applications on a first-come, first-served basis until all program funds for the fiscal year are awarded. Program funds, up to $2 Million per biennium, would come from currently-budgeted DSA funds.  It has been referred to the House Finance Committee.

HB 34   MINIMUM WAGE  (Kelly, B.)  This bill would increase the state minimum wage and allow municipalities, townships and counties to establish higher minimum wage requirements.  The bill has been referred to the House Commerce & Labor Committee.

HB 48  ROAD IMPROVEMENT FUND  (Greenspan, D.)  This measure would provide for a new Local Government Road Improvement Fund for local governments to fund road improvements.  It has been referred to the Finance Committee.

HB 93  PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION (Skindell, M., Upchurch, T.)  Introduced February 21, in addition to any appropriations made for the 2020-2021 biennium, this bill would make additional appropriations related to public transportation in the amount of $100 million for public transportation and $50 million for the highway operating fund in both 2020 and 2021.  The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.

HB 98  LOAN FUND  (Jones, D., Cera, J.)  Similar to HB 695 introduced in the last General Assembly, this bill would reinstate the rural industrial park loan program under Ohio Development Services Agency, as detailed in ORC 122.23-.25, with an appropriation of $25 million.  The program would assist eligible applicants in financing the development and improvement of industrial parks by providing financial assistance in the form of loans and loan guarantees for land acquisition; constructing, reconstructing, rehabilitating, remodeling, renovating, enlarging, or improving industrial park buildings; and infrastructure improvements.  The bill has been assigned to the House Economic & Workforce Development where it had its first hearing March 27. As noted above, the provisions of this bill were included in the House Substitute Budget Bill (HB 166).

HB 116  TRANSPORTATION PLANNING  (Brinkman, T.)  Introduced March 4, in addition to any appropriations made for the 2020-2021 biennium, this bill would make additional appropriations related to transportation planning and research in the amount of $4.5 million for FY 2020 which shall be used to (1) study the Cincinnati Eastern Bypass Project, (2) review work done previously by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet relative to the Brent Spence Bridge Project, and (3) make recommendations on moving forward with both projects cooperatively.  The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.

HB 149 TAX EXEMPTION (Merrin, D.)  Introduced March 19 and identical to HB 371 from the last General Assembly, this bill would amend ORC 5709.51 among other code sections and temporarily exempt from property tax the increased value of land subdivided for residential development until construction commences or the land is sold.  The bill would benchmark an “ascribed taxable value” of the newly subdivided parcel, and any increase in taxable value would be exempt from taxation until either (1) Construction of a residential building on that property commences, or (2) Title to the property is transferred for consideration by a qualifying owner to another person.  The construction of streets, sidewalks, curbs, or driveways or the installation of water, sewer, or other utility lines on a subdivided parcel would not cause construction of a residential building to commence for purposes of the bill, and the value of those improvements would thus automatically be exempted from taxation until construction of a residence begins or the property is sold.  The bill is now being called the “Affordable Homebuilding and Housing Act” and has been referred to the House Economic and Workforce Development Committee, when two hearings have occurred.  The bill appears to be generating concerns from associations representing local entities, including the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the Ohio Library Council, the Ohio Association of School Board Officials and the County Auditors Association of Ohio. As noted above, the provisions of this bill were included in the House Substitute Budget Bill (HB 166).

HB 162 TAX CREDIT (Patton, T.)  This bill would increase the overall cap on the motion picture tax credit from $40 million per fiscal year to $100 million per fiscal biennium.  The bill has been referred to the Finance Committee.

HB 166 STATE BUDGET BILL (Oelslager, S.) As described above, this is the Administration’s Biennial Budget Bill.  It has been referred to the Finance Committee where hearings are occurring.

HB 185 JOBSOHIO (Ingram, C.)  Introduced April 4, this bill would establish that records kept by JobsOhio are public records subject to inspection and copying under Ohio Public Records Law and to require all meetings of the JobsOhio Board of Directors to be open to the public, except when in an executive session.  It has been referred to the Economic and Workforce Development Committee.

HB 190 BROADBAND PROGRAM  (Smith, R.) This bill, introduced May 9 and identical to HB 378 which passed in the House during the 132nd GA, would create the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program to provide funds to extend broadband service to unserved areas of the state.  The program would be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency.  The following entities could apply for a grant: (1) private businesses, (2) political subdivisions, (3) nonprofit entities organized to provide telecommunications services, and (4) co-ops organized to provide phone and Internet services.  Grant amounts cannot exceed the lesser of: (1) 50% of the total project cost, or (2) $5 million. Recipients could use funds to construct broadband infrastructure to serve unserved areas, including installing middle-mile or last-mile infrastructure, grant-project planning, obtaining construction permits, constructing facilities, purchasing equipment, and installing and testing the service.  The bill would appropriate $50 million per year for FYs 2020 and 2021 from the Facilities Establishment Fund, to be used to award grants under the Program.  It has been referred to the Finance Committee.

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