Tracked House Bills – September 2017

Sep 27, 2017 | Advocacy |

Chris Schmenk.
Bricker & Eckler LLP.

After a brief summer recess, the legislature reconvened in September.  A Senate session scheduled for September 6 to further consider the Biennial Budget was cancelled so that talks could continue between the Senate and the Administration.  New bills and changes are noted below in bold.

HB 10 CROWDFUNDING  (Arndt, S.)  This bill was introduced in the House February 1 and would permit intrastate equity crowdfunding under certain circumstances.  The bill would provide an exemption from registration under the Ohio Securities Law for certain crowdfunding initiatives.  The bill passed in the House on June 21 and was referred in Senate (6/28/2017) to the Transportation, Commerce & Workforce Committee.  The Committee held its first hearing with sponsor testimony September 6. Sponsoring Representative Steven Arndt (R-Port Clinton) said the measure “keeps Ohio competitive by providing another means or tool that invites and supports investment in Ohio and our communities.” Ohio is in the minority when it comes to intrastate equity crowdfunding, he said. Under the Ohio-Invests Crowdfunding Platform, port authorities, community improvement corporations and chambers of commerce can be issuers.”  By doing so, this provides the gateway for Ohio based business to publicly introduce their business venture and its business plan to Ohio residents and thereby provide them the opportunity to invest in an Ohio based business venture,” Rep. Arndt said.

HB 49 BIENNIAL BUDGET (Smith, R.)  Governor Kasich signed a state operating budget bill into law on June 30. Before doing so, however, he line-item vetoed 47 items. The House then reconvened July 6 and overrode 11 of the vetoes.  The Senate reconvened August 22 and voted to concur with the House on 6 veto overrides, as noted below.  The legislature now has until the end of the General Assembly (December of 2018) to override any of the remaining Governor’s vetoes.  Compromise discussions are apparently occurring between the Legislature and the Administration on various topics including local revenue lost by counties and transit authorities due to the replacement of the Medicaid managed care sales tax (Item 33 below), other matters relating to Medicaid and a provision that would have given the legislature power to appoint members to the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission, instead of the governor.

The 6 veto overrides with which the Senate concurred include those noted below:

Item 3 – Controlling Board Authority: Deletes limits on the Controlling Board’s ability to adjust appropriations and create new funds.  Veto overridden by both House and Senate

Item 23 – Medicaid Coverage of Optional Eligibility Groups: Eliminates the prohibition on the Department of Medicaid from covering any new, optional groups “unless expressly permitted by statute” because this would violate federal law requiring there be a single state agency in charge of administering the Medicaid program. Veto overridden by both House and Senate

Item 25 – Legislative Oversight of Rules Increasing Medicaid Rates: Eliminates the requirement that any Medicaid payment rate increase must go to the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee and the ability for the General Assembly to, by concurrent resolution, stopping a rate increase. Veto overridden by House

Item 26 – Medicaid Rates for Neonatal and Newborn Services: Eliminates the provision that would require that the Department of Medicaid set rates for certain neonatal and newborn services at levels equal to 75 percent of the Medicare rates for those services, and forces the Medicaid director to reduce the rates for other services to avoid an increase in Medicaid expenditures. Veto overridden by both House and Senate

Item 27 – Medicaid Rates for Nursing Facilities: Eliminates the provision that makes numerous changes in the formula used to determine Medicaid payment rates for nursing facility services, including eliminating portions of the reimbursement formula that are focused on quality and accountability measures. Veto overridden by both House and Senate

Item 30 – Long-Term Services Added to Medicaid Managed Care: Eliminates the provision that prohibits nursing facilities, as well as home- and community-based waiver services, with limited exceptions, from being added to Medicaid managed care at any time prior to the General Assembly’s enacting legislation authorizing the addition. This provision also creates a temporary study committee to examine the merits of including these services in the managed care system. Veto overridden by House

Item 31 – Behavioral Health Redesign: Eliminates the provision requiring the Ohio Department of Medicaid delay the addition of behavioral health services into managed care until July 1, 2018. Veto overridden by both House and Senate

Item 33 – Health Insuring Corporation Franchise Fee: Deletes the provision that would require the Department of Medicaid to ask the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services whether the franchise fee may be increased through the health insuring corporation (HIC) franchise fee and, if the fee may be so increased, to request approval for the increase. Veto overridden by House (this is apparently the provision that would mitigate the loss of Medicaid managed care organization sales tax that goes to counties and regional transit authorities)

Item 34 – Controlling Board Authorization Regarding Medicaid Expenditures: Deletes the provision requiring the director of budget and management to transfer money from the General Revenue Fund to the Health and Human Services Fund and requiring the Medicaid director to request the Controlling Board to authorize expenditures from the Health and Human Services Fund for purposes of paying for the Medicaid program. Veto overridden by both House and Senate

Item 36 – Waiver Regarding Healthy Ohio Program: Eliminates the mandate that the Department of Medicaid request the same waiver to implement the Healthy Ohio program which was previously denied by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Veto overridden by House

Item 37 – Oil and Gas Leasing Commission Appointments: Deletes the transfer of appointment authority for members of the Ohio Oil and Gas Leasing Commission from the governor to the General Assembly. Veto overridden by House

HB 53 UNION DUES/RIGHT TO WORK (Becker, J.) This bill was introduced in mid-February by Representative Pete Becker from Clermont County.  Co-sponsors include Representatives Hood, Brinkman, Dean, Thompson, Vitale, Goodman, Riedel, Roegner, Merrin, Antani, Zeltwanger and Keller.  It would remove any requirement under the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Law that public employees join or pay dues to any employee organization, prohibit public employers from requiring public employees to join or pay dues to any employee organization and prohibit an employee organization from being required to represent public employees who are not members of the employee organization.  The bill was referred Feb. 14 to the House Finance Committee.  No hearings have yet occurred.

HB 69 TIF DISTRICTS (Cupp, R.)    This bill would require reimbursement of certain township fire and emergency medical service levy revenue forgone because of the creation of a municipal tax increment financing district.  The board of township trustees may, by resolution, waive the application of the reimbursement or negotiate with the municipal corporation that created the district for a lesser amount of payments in lieu of taxes.  In sponsor testimony, Representative Robert Cupp said the bill will assist townships that provide fire, emergency medical and ambulance services to both the township and to a municipal corporation located within the township that does not provide its own.  This bill gives townships the choice of collecting the reimbursement, waiving it, or negotiating a partial reimbursement of the money the levy would have raised but for the TIF, Representative Cupp explained. The bill only applies prospectively and to TIFs created by municipal corporations where townships provide the fire, emergency, or rescue services.  The bill was referred to the House State and Local Government Committee, where numerous hearings have occurred.  The bill was passed out of Committee May 10, and in its current form, it would not require such reimbursements for municipal incentive district TIFs. The bill passed in the House June 21, and on June 28, it was referred in the Senate to the Ways & Means Committee, which held its first hearing with sponsor’s testimony September 6.  A second hearing is scheduled for September 20.

HB 102  SCHOOL FUNDING  (Brenner, A.)  This bill, introduced March 1 and referred to the House Finance Committee, would replace locally levied school district property taxes with a statewide property tax and require recipients of certain tax exemptions to reimburse the state for such levy revenue lost due to those exemptions.  It would also increase the state sales and use tax rates and allocate additional revenue to state education purposes; to repeal school district income taxes; require the Treasurer of State to issue general obligation bonds to refund certain school district debt obligations; create a new system of funding schools where the state pays a specified amount per student that each student may use to attend the public or chartered nonpublic school of the student’s choice, without the requirement of a local contribution; eliminate the School Facilities Commission; eliminate the Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program, Pilot Project Scholarship Program, Autism Scholarship Program, and Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program; eliminate interdistrict open enrollment; require educational service centers to transport students on a countywide basis, and permit school districts to enter into a memoranda of understanding for one district to manage another.  It was referred to the House Finance Committee, and a June 20 hearing was continued.

HB 114 RENEWABLE ENERGY (Blessing, L.)    This bill, introduced March 8, is very similar to last year’s HB 554 except it would: convert the renewable energy standards to goals indefinitely, rather than for a two year period; permit residential customers of a distribution utility or electric services company to opt out of any rider, charge or other recovery mechanism designed to recoup the cost of renewable energy; clarify that renewables are bypassable charges, rather than nonbypassable charges, and specify that the 12.5% renewable energy goal to be attained by 2027 will end at that time and not continue indefinitely. The bill passed in the House March 30 and moved to the Senate, where it was referred to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  Hearings occurred June 7 and 14.

HB 122 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (Hambley, S., Rogers, J.)  Introduced March 9, this bill would establish a Regional Economic Development Alliance Study Committee to study the benefits and challenges involved in creating regional economic development alliances. Senate Bill 97 is a companion to this bill.  The bill is relatively simple in that it creates a study committee to look at the pros and cons to establishing regional economic development alliances.  The committee is made up of 3 members of the House; 3 members of the Senate; the Governor, or his designee; 2 persons from academia engaged in a relevant field of study (appointed by the co-chairs of the committee); 2 economic development professionals (appointed by co-chairs of the committee); and the chair of the Regional Prosperity Initiative (or their designee) as a nonvoting member.  Specifically the committee is charged with studying enhancing collaboration for successful regional economic development; shared services; and also the mobilization of resources among alliance members. The committee is directed to consult with county commissioners, township trustees, city councils and mayors, members of statewide and regional organizations that represent political subdivision, and members of chambers of commerce.  The bill was reported out of House Committee May 10 and passed in the House September 13.

HB 155 COMMERCIAL VEHICLE TRAINING (Sprague, R., Howse, S.)  This bill was introduced March 23 and would authorize a nonrefundable tax credit to be taken against either personal income tax or commercial activity tax liability for expenses incurred by an employer to train a commercial vehicle operator.  Under the proposed program, employers would submit to the Director of the Development Services Agency, by December 1, eligible training expenses expected to be incurred during the next calendar year. The ODSA Director would then certify up to $50,000 per employer of such expenses as being eligible for tax credits.  After incurring eligible training expenses, employers could then apply to ODSA for tax credits in amounts equal to one-half of the incurred eligible expenses.  On May 1, it was referred to the House Ways & Means Committee, where a hearing with sponsor’s testimony occurred May 16.

HB 166  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT (Reineke, B., Cupp, R.)  Originally introduced in January, a substitute bill was introduced in April that would revise the laws governing the state’s workforce development system, programs that may be offered by primary and secondary schools, certificates of qualification for employment, and the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency, and would designate the first week of May as In-Demand Jobs Week.   Many of those provisions were adopted in the Biennial Budget Bill, so another substitute version has been introduced, which shifts the focus to an In-Demand Jobs Week in May and revises the training requirements for alternative resident educator licenses, allowing for-profit entities such as Teach for Tomorrow to provide training to prospective alternative educators.  A hearing is scheduled in the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee September 20.

HB 173 TAX CREDITS (LaTourette, S., Patton, T.)  This bill was introduced April 5 and would provide that compensation paid to certain home-based employees may be counted for purposes of an employer qualifying for and complying with the terms of a Job Creation Tax Credit.   It was referred on May 1 to the House Ways & Means Committee, and a first hearing with Sponsor’s testimony occurred May 9.

HB 178 NUCLEAR ENERGY (Devitis, T.)  This is a companion bill to SB 128 (see explanation there) and was introduced April 10.  It was referred to the House Public Utilities Committee, where several hearings have occurred. Sponsors in both chambers are continuing conversations with interested parties in order to earn support for these bills.

HB 203 SUMMER JOBS (Barnes, J.) This bill was introduced May 9 and would require the Director of Development Services to establish a youth summer jobs pledging initiative to increase access to summer employment opportunities for high school and college youth.  It was referred to the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, where one hearing has occurred and a second hearing is scheduled for September 20.

HB 281 BROADBAND EXPANSION (Carfagna, R.) This bill, introduced June 20, would establish the residential broadband expansion program within the Development Services Agency to award matching grants for last mile broadband expansion in municipal corporations and townships and to make an appropriation. It was referred to the House Finance Committee, where a hearing is scheduled for September 20.

HB 292 OHIO RESIDENCY (Scherer, G.) Introduced June 27, this bill would modify the test for determining an individual’s state of residence for income tax purposes.  It was referred to the House Ways & Means Committee, where a hearing is scheduled for September 19.

HB 342  TAX LEVIES  (Merrin, D.)  Introduced September 11, 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 would also modify the information conveyed in election notices and ballot language for property tax levies.

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