Tracked Senate Bills – March 2023

Mar 28, 2023Advocacy

135TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY – PROPOSED & ENACTED LEGISLATION
(Changes from last month are noted in italics):

SENATE RESOLUTIONS:
Nothing relevant to economic development introduced as of this writing.

SENATE BILLS:

SB 1  DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (Reineke, B.)  Introduced on January 11, 2023, this bill renames the Ohio Department of Education as the Department of Education and Workforce and creates the position of Director of Education and Workforce.  The bill also makes larger reforms of the State Board of Education and the role of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Note the companion bill in the lower chamber (HB 12).

On March 1, the Senate passed a substitute version of this bill; on March 21, the House State & Local Government Committee held its first hearing. 

 Importantly for economic developers, the Ohio Dept. of Education would lose most of its responsibilities except for licensure and territory transfer decisions.  In its place, the new Ohio Dept. of Education and Workforce, which would answer directly to the Governor (rather than a state board of education), would be separated into traditional and career-tech education-focused divisions.

SB 2  PROPERTY TAX (Schuring, K.) Introduced on January 12, 2023, this bill seeks to authorize certain subdivisions to designate areas within which certain residential property is wholly or partially exempted from property taxation.  (Note this bill continues from SB 329, as was introduced in the 134th General Assembly.)

Specifically, this bill makes changes to CRA law to authorize political subdivisions to establish up to 300-acre-sized Neighborhood Development Areas within their boundaries within which certain residential property is wholly or partially exempted from property taxation.  The NDA property tax exemptions would be 100% with local school board approval (75% without such approval); existing owner-occupied dwellings would receive 10-year exemptions for improvements ≥$5,000; in new home construction, the homebuilder would receive an exemption during the period from commencement of construction until the new home is sold, with the new home owner subsequently receiving a 10-year exemption.

SB 3  COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION (Schuring, K.)  Introduced on January 11, 2023, this bill seeks to create the Ohio Community Revitalization Program, authorizing nonrefundable income tax credits for undertaking community projects.  (Note this bill continues from SB 344, as was introduced in the 134th General Assembly.)

SB 4 FILM & THEATER (Schuring, K.) Introduced on January 11, 2023, this bill modifies the film and theater tax credit and authorizes a tax credit for capital improvement projects relating to the film and theater industries.  (Note this bill continues from SB 341, as was introduced in the 134th General Assembly.)

SB 5  WORKFORCE VOUCHER PROGRAM (Schuring, K.)  Introduced on January 11, 2023, this bill establishes the Workforce Voucher Program, which sunsets two years after the bill’s effective date, and authorizes tax credits for graduates of the Voucher Program.

SB 25 REAL PROPERTY FORECLOSURES (Hackett, R.) Introduced on January 23, 2023, this bill addresses procedural matters in tax foreclosures of real property under R.C. Chapter 2329.  Specifically, the bill allows for the use of private selling officers, or PSOs, to sell foreclosed property, rather than county sheriffs, and it reduces the number of appraisals that must be obtained.

On February 15, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on the measure. 

SB 36 PROPERTY FORECLOSURES-TENANT RIGHTS (Blessing III, L.) Introduced on January 31, 2023, this bill grants to tenants and certain other eligible bidders rights relating to the purchase of residential property sold at foreclosure.  This bill is the re-introduction of SB 334 during the 134th General Assembly.

The Senate Community Revitalization Committee held two hearings on the measure in February.  In sponsor testimony, Sen. Louis Blessing (R-Colerain Twp.) stated the bill provides a first right of refusal in the foreclosure auction bidding process to purchasers who would sign an affidavit stating they would live in the property for at least one year before turning a property into a rental; this measure mirrors current law in California.  The impetus for the bill is to prevent institutional housing investors from mass purchasing foreclosed properties and making them permanent rentals.

SB 75  ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (Blessing, L.)  Introduced on March [__], 2023, this bill makes changes to JEDD law to allow two or more municipalities to create a joint economic development district without involving a township.

On March 14, the Senate Local Government Committee held its second hearing on the measure. 

 During sponsor testimony, Sen. Louis Blessing (R-Cincinnati) said the bill has a specific transaction in mind: allowing a JEDD between Evendale and Lincoln Heights in Hamilton County; former Senate President Richard Finan now is the mayor of Evandale.

 To allow multiple municipalities to establish a JEDD, without also involving a township, the bill requires at least one of the cities to meet two of the following “distressed area” criteria: (i) reaching 125% of the state average unemployment during the most recent 12 months; (ii)  having at least 10% population loss between 1980 and 2000; (iii)  having a prevalence of vacant or demolished commercial or industrial facilities; (iv) having 51% of the population is below 80% of the area’s median income; and (v) having income weighted tax capacity of the school district is below 70% of the state average.  Note these distress criteria are taken from the Ohio Enterprise Zone program’s distressed zone designations.