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General Assembly Update
There is really nothing moving in the General Assembly at this time.  However, there have been several committee meetings with hearings on bills that have an impact on township government and several new pieces of legislation introduced.  You may read these bills in their entirety at www.legislature.state.oh.us.
House Commerce & Labor Committee
HB 271 TOWNSHIP FIRE DEPARTMENTS  (Patten, Stewart, D.)  To modify coverage of the Public Employees' Collective Bargaining Law with respect to township fire departments.  (1st Hearing-Sponsor)
Rep. Patten said the bill would give professional fire departments that serve at least 5,000 residents the opportunity to engage in collective bargaining. He said current law allows such organizing only for firefighters in unincorporated areas with 5,000 or more population. As a result, the law excludes from bargaining firefighters in departments that may actually serve well over 5,000 residents, but that fail to meet the threshold because the unincorporated area is too small.  Co-sponsor Rep. Stewart said he introduced similar legislation during his first term in 2002. He said the bill would affect about 14 township departments.
The OTA has opposed this bill in the past and will continue to do so because of the precedent this type of legislation will set and the costs of collective bargaining.
Passed the House
HB 318 TAX RATE FREEZE (Sykes) To postpone for two years the last of five scheduled income tax rate reductions, to reduce salaries of General Assembly members by five percent, and to make conforming amendments.
This bill will delay the last income tax reduction that was put into place in 2005.  What this means is the state will potentially collect roughly $840 million.  This could have an impact on the Local Government Fund, as this money goes into the state's general revenue fund, of which the LGF receives 3.68% of the state's general revenue fund.  This bill goes to the Senate for hearings.
Introduced in the 128th General Assembly
HB 326  ESTATE TAX (Hottinger, Grossman)   To reduce the estate tax, to authorize townships and municipal corporations, or electors thereof by initiative, to exempt from the estate tax any estate property located in the township or municipal corporation, and to distribute all estate tax revenue originating in a township or municipal corporation that does not exempt property from the tax to the township or municipal corporation.
SB 184  PRIVATE ROAD PLOWING  (Gibbs)   To authorize townships to use road equipment and labor resources available to a township to plow certain private roads and driveways either at the expense of the township or for a fee charged to specified persons.
Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution
The Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution has embarked on a strategic planning process to determine how to better serve our state.  To this end, the Commission has developed a brief survey and would like to get your input.  Below is the link that will take you directly to the survey.  It should take about 10 minutes to complete.  The OTA thanks you in advance for your participation in this survey.  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=FuueY2sPsD2Zp_2bt6UjyRvQ_3d_3d
If the link is not active it can be pasted or typed into a browser window, or the survey is available on the front page of The Commissionís Web site at www.DisputeResolution.ohio.gov 
Issues on November Ballot
Please find attached a document that explains the three statewide issues on the ballot this November.  This document provides you the ballot language and the arguments for and against each issue.
Next Meeting of the Ohio Commission on Local Government Reform & Collaboration
The next public hearing and meeting of the Ohio Commission on Local Government Reform & Collaboration will take place on Friday, October 30. The meeting will be held at the Engineer's Club of Dayton located at 110 E. Monument Avenue, Dayton, Oh 45402. The public notice and parking options are attached.
Bureau of Workers' Compensation
The OTA received word from our Group Rating sponsor that based on proposed BWC changes, your premiums will increase.  Our group rating program sponsor, FrankGates, is working in partnership with other group rating sponsors to alter the proposed changes by BWC.  To that extent, a website has been organized to allow group rating members to voice their opinion on the proposed BWC changes, namely the Break Even Factor Surcharge for group rating participants.  By entering information on the website, a letter will be sent directly to BWC, the Governor, the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate.  The OTA is encouraging all townships to voice their opinion at http://www.ohioworkerscompalert.com.  If this link does not work, please cut and paste the link into your web browser.