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STATEHOUSE ACTIVITIES

SB 110 HSTS Regulations

The House Environment & Brownfield Development committee passed SB 110 out of committee yesterday by a vote of 9-2.  Included in the committee version was the prohibition against annexation for owners forced to tap into a sewer system due to a sewer line being within 300 feet of their property.

 

The bill then went to the full House for a vote later in the afternoon.  Rep. Hagan (Youngstown) offered an amendment that would remove the annexation prohibition language that the OTA supported.  The amendment was accepted by a vote of 54-42.  The bill was then passed by the full House by a vote of 93-3.  To see how your House member voted on the amendment and the bill, please visit http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/JournalText128/HJ-05-27-10.pdf (Pages 27-29).

 

The bill now goes to the full Senate for concurrence on the changes.  The Senate may concur with the changes, refuse to concur on the changes, thus forcing a conference committee or just sit on the bill.

 

At this point, we do not know the direction of the Senate but as we have for the last several years, we will continue to be a partner in the process with all interested parties for an equitable standard for all Ohioans.

 

Watch for a legislative alert next Tuesday with more information on this bill, as we will know on Tuesday morning what direction the Senate will head.

 

HB 464 / SB 232 ALTERNATIVE ENERGY TAXATION

Both of these bills were marked for a hearing in the House Ways and Means committee this week.  Senator Widener gave sponsor testimony on his bill and no other witnesses testified.  HB 464 was not called for a hearing, as the Committee was postponed until after session and ultimately cancelled.  Both of these bills are marked for hearings next week.

 

The OTA is still working with other interested parties on these measures.  We have submitted our concerns with and what we support in both bills to the Chair of the Ways & Means Committee and the Governor’s office for consideration.

 

Again, watch for a legislative alert on Tuesday, as we will know (hopefully) what will be included in the bill the House will likely pass.

 

HB 471 TRANSFER OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS

This bill will permit townships, counties, and combinations of townships, counties, and municipal corporations to establish transfer of development rights programs.  The bill had sponsor testimony before the House Local Government & Public Administration Committee this week.

 

FUNDING FOR POLICE PROTECTION

Budget cuts across the state are impacting all local governments and services.  The one area that we hear about frequently here at the State Association is the lack of funding for sheriff road patrols.  Rep. Lundy (Lorain Co.) has asked the OTA to consider legislation that would help townships with respect to funding for police protection services.  The OTA is working with Rep. Lundy, who hopes to introduce a bill in the next few weeks.

 

 

RECENTLY INTRODUCED

HB 531 GAME HUNTING (Williams, B.) To eliminate the prohibition against hunting or shooting game within one-half mile of a township park.

 

HB 532 ESTATE TAX EXEMPTION (Murray) To exclude from the estate tax land subject to an agricultural or conservation easement. Am. 5731.16, 5731.21, 5731.37, and 5731.38.

 
 
ETHICS COMMISSION OPINION

The Ethics Commission adopted Advisory Opinion No. 2010-03, reminding all public officials and employees of nepotism restrictions in the Ethics Law applicable when public funds are expended for employment or service contracts.  (The opinion is available from the Commission and will be on its Web site - www.ethics.ohio.gov - next week.)

 

Ethics statutes prohibit public officials and employees from:

(a) Hiring or using their positions to secure employment for their family members;

(b) Recommending or nominating their family members for public jobs with their own, or any other, public agencies; or

(c) Giving or using their positions to secure, for family members, raises, promotions, job advancements, overtime pay or assignments, favorable performance evaluations, or any other things of value related to employment.   

 

The Ethics Commission has noted that the purpose of these restrictions is to assure that the discretionary decision-making authority exercised by a public official is not impaired when the official is expending public resources for employment or service contracts.  The Commission’s opinion gathers case law and other precedent regarding nepotism over the last thirty years, explains who is considered a “member of the public official’s family,” and gives examples of the nepotism restrictions.