Tracked Senate Bills – June 2017
Bricker & Eckler.
Please Note: Updated information differing from last month is indicated in bold.
SB 3 – WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT (Beagle, B., Balderson, T.) – 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. The changes in the substitute bill impact five key areas including high school credits for subject area competencies; OhioMeansJobs readiness seal; regional workforce collaboration model; simultaneous credit for integrated coursework; and statutory definitions. The bill passed in the Senate April 26 and the House’s Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee held hearings with sponsor’s and proponents’ testimony May 17 and June 7. Another hearing is scheduled for June 21, and lawmakers have said the bill is on track for possible House approval by the end of June.
SB 9 – SALES TAX HOLIDAY (Bacon, K.) – This bill, introduced January 31 and which has become an annual piece of legislation over the last few years, would provide for a three-day sales tax “holiday” in August 2017 during which sales of clothing and school supplies are exempt from sales and use taxes. It was signed by the Governor June 13 so it can take effect this August.
SB 36 – CAUV (Hite, C.) – This bill would amend the method of calculating real property taxes on agricultural land (“CAUV” or Commercial Agricultural Use Program). It would prescribe additional factors that must be considered in calculating CAUV and remove the equity build-up deduction from the formula. It would also place a ceiling on the per-acre taxable value of CAUV land if the land is being used for conservation purposes. Per amendments passed by the Senate, the bill’s provisions would be phased in over a three-year period, making it effective the first tax year after 2016 in which a county’s sexennial appraisal or triennial update occurs. It would also require the use of an equity yield rate equal to the greater of the average of the total rates of return for the 25 most recent years for which those rates have been calculated and published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or the loan interest rate the commissioner used for that year to calculate the capitalization rate. The bill was passed out of the Senate May 10 and now moved to the House, where it was referred to the Ways and Means Committee May 16.
SB 43 – BUILDING CODES (Bacon, K.) – This bill was introduced February 9 and would enable limited home rule townships to adopt building codes regardless of any similar codes adopted by the county in which the township resides. In introducing the bill, sponsor Representative Bacon said his proposal would let residents and businesses in certain limited home rule townships obtain building permits at the township level, which would be more convenient than seeking permits from county departments. The bill was referred to the Local Government, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs Committee, where several hearings have occurred.
SB 51- LAKE ERIE (Skindell, M., Eklund, J.) – This bill, introduced February 14, would authorize the creation of a special improvement district to facilitate Lake Erie shoreline improvement. The definition of “public improvement” would be expanded to include shoreline improvement projects, and funds from special assessments on property within the district could be used to pay for such improvement projects. It has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
SB 97 – ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (LaRose, F., Yuko, K.) – This is a companion bill to HB 122 and would establish a Regional Economic Development Alliance Study Committee to study the benefits and challenges involved in creating regional economic development alliances. It has been referred to the Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee. A hearing was held on June 21 in which Sen. LaRose gave sponsor testimony. OEDA will continue to work with the sponsor as it seeks to have OEDA representation on the committee.
SB 123 – LIMIT RIGHT TO INITIATE PROPERTY TAX COMPLAINTS (Coley, W.) – This bill was introduced April 5 and would limit the right to initiate a property tax complaint to the property owner, the owner’s spouse, certain agents of the owner or spouse, or the recorder of the county in which the property is located. School boards, county commissioners, a county prosecuting attorney or treasurer, township trustees, and municipal corporations would be authorized to file property tax complaints only as counterclaims to complaints filed by the property owner, the owner’s spouse, or an agent of the owner or spouse. The bill prohibits any person, board, officer, or other entity from compelling a county recorder to initiate a property tax complaint. It has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee, where hearings occurred May 3 and June 14.
SB 128 – NUCLEAR ENERGY (Eklund, J., LaRose, F.) – This bill was introduced April 6 and would provide financial assistance to FirstEnergy’s two nuclear power plants. The bill would establish the Zero Emission Nuclear Resource Program, which would create the zero-emissions credits, or ZECs, to be priced by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and purchased by distribution utilities with nuclear plants. Utilities would recover that cost through rate increases on consumers in areas with nuclear plants with the increase capped at 5% of June 2015 rates. The program would sunset in 16 years and run in two year cycles. Under the bill, should those two plants be sold or transferred the value of ZECs received is to be reduced by an amount equal to one-half the dollar amount of any net proceeds of the sale. That provision would not be in effect in the event of bankruptcy, according to the bill. The measure would also require any company subject to the bill’s provisions with a headquarters in Ohio to maintain that headquarters. Although the ZEN program is modeled after similar programs in Illinois and New York, Senator Eklund said it contains several new provisions including the 16-year sunset and the plant sales provision. Another new item is language requiring plants receiving credits to maintain employment levels “similar to that of nuclear energy resources constructed prior to 1990 in the United States with the same reactor type, similar nameplate capacity, and single-unit location. The Bill was referred to the Utilities Committee, where four hearings have occurred. After the June 8 hearing, Utility Committee Chair Senator Bill Beagle said the fate of the bill is still unclear at this point.
SB 131 – TAX CREDITS (Dolan, M.) – Introduced April 13, the bill provides 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. A first hearing in the Ways and Means Committee recently occurred, with sponsor testimony indicating that his bill would allow compensation paid to qualified home-based employees to be counted for the purposes of an employer qualifying for or complying with the Job Creation Tax Credit program. The bill would not expand the existing tax credit, he emphasized. Sen. Dolan said the employees would have to be new hires and permanently home-based in Ohio. They must also be associated with a capital investment that the employer is making in Ohio. “There has to be direct supervision with a supervisor at the facility directing them on a day to day basis,” the sponsor added. The bill passed in the Senate May 24 and was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, where a first hearing with sponsor’s testimony occurred June 6.
SB 132 – TAX CREDIT (Dolan, M.) – Introduced April 13, this bill would establish a five-year pilot program whereby taxpayers with facilities in this state with activated foreign trade zone status may claim a nonrefundable commercial activity tax credit equal to the amount redeployed by the taxpayer to job creation and renewable energy resources. It was referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
SB 147 – RURAL Jobs (Hite, C.) – Introduced May 10, this bill would enact the “Ohio Rural Jobs Act” which authorizes a nonrefundable tax credit for insurance companies that invest in rural business growth funds, which are certified to provide capital to rural and agricultural businesses. It was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee. The provisions of this bill are currently in the Senate Budget sub-bill.
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