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Legislative Actions This Week: 03/04/11
SB 5 Collective Bargaining - As you have heard, SB 5 passed the Senate on Wednesday, March 2.  The vote was 17-16.
As passed by the Senate, the bill would:
- Declare strikes by public employees to be illegal.
- Employees engaging illegal strikes would be subject to fines and unions could be subject to contempt citations from the court.
- Mandates merit pay be utilized to compensate employees, and this applies to township police officers and firefighters, whether it’s a joint district or a large township’s department.
- Prohibits layoffs from being based exclusively on seniority.  Other factors such as job performance will play a role in deciding which employees get laid off.
- Prohibits employers from paying the employee’s share of retirement contributions for OPERS, OP&F, and the other state pension systems.
- Townships are prohibited from paying more than 85% of the cost of health care benefits.  It appears this restriction would apply to township officials as well.
- Employers prohibited from negotiating the details of health insurance coverage in a collective bargaining agreement.
- More police and fire supervisors would not be eligible to engage in collective bargaining.
- Expands management rights and narrows the scope of bargaining.
- Bargaining during the term of contracted would be curtailed or eliminated.
- Agreements would not be able to require that a set number of employees be on duty at any given time.
- During impasse resolution procedures, management and labor would have to publicly disclose their latest proposals from the bargaining table.
- If an impasse remained after fact finding, the public employer would hold a public hearing at which labor and management would present and explain their last, best offers.
- The employer would then have the right to select which offer to accept and implement as the new contract.
- Mediators and fact finders would have, as a primary consideration, the interests of the public and the public employer’s current ability to afford the costs of the proposed collective bargaining agreement.
- Employers facing fiscal emergency would have the ability to terminate, modify, or renegotiate agreement.
 
The bill now goes to the House for consideration.  The bill is likely to be sent to the House Commerce & Labor Committee.
 
HB 50 Annexation Petitions - This bill would permit a political subdivision, including townships, to be considered as owners for Type 2 expedited annexations.
Opponent testimony was provided on the bill before the House Local Government Committee.  Two letters of support were provided to the Committee.  Please find attached all testimony submitted on Tuesday.
You are encouraged to read all testimony.  If you have examples of egregious annexation attempts using township-owned (or another political subdivision) land, you are encouraged to send them to us and members of the House Local Government Committee.
The original sponsor of the bill is no longer a member of the House of Representatives but Rep. Kirk Schuring has agreed to sponsor the bill from this point forward.  The OTA will be working with Rep. Schuring and others to try and pass this bill.
 
HB 114 Transportation Budget - Every two years the state enacts a transportation budget.  The bill includes funding for ODOT and the Local Transportation Improvement Program. 
The bill had several hearings in the House Finance Transportation Subcommittee.  The OTA sent a letter addressing two concerns with the bill. Please find that letter attached for your review.
The bill was referred back to the full Finance Committee, which is expected to accept amendments and vote on the measure early next week.
 
Sub. SB 3 Pension Reform - This is the companion bill to HB 69, which reforms the five state pension systems.
The OTA sent a letter to the Full senate in opposition to the monthly minimum language.  Please find that letter attached.
 
Sub. HB 61 Compensatory Time - This bill gives private sector employers the option of offering compensatory time off in lieu of monetary overtime compensation and alters part-time status for township employees from 1500 hours to 1800 hours.
The OTA sent a letter of support to the full House this week encouraging their support.  Please find the Sub. HB 61 support letter attached.
 
 
Legislation Introduced this Week:
HB 128 Ambulance Staffing - This bill, introduced to assist part-time, substantially volunteer and volunteer units, would alter the staffing requirements for EMS vehicles on the way to a scene to permit one person to be in the vehicle, as opposed to current law which requires two people.  The bill is attached for your review.
 
 
Other Legislative Initiatives:
Competitive Bidding Thresholds - OTA staff met with Rep. Uecker and formally requested he carry a bill to increase the township competitive bidding thresholds.  Rep. Gerberry has expressed interest in jointly co-sponsoring the measure.  Watch future alerts for updates!
Payment for EMS Contracts via EMS Run Fees - OTA staff met with Rep. Bubp and representatives from the Auditor of State’s office and the Fire Chief’s Association to discuss potential legislation that would make it easier for townships to contract for emergency medical services and then pay for those services via a township EMS run fee.  More information on this legislative initiative to come soon!
 
 
ACTIONS NEXT WEEK:
The Governor will be delivering his State of the State address on Tuesday, March 8.  We may know more about his budget plans following the speech and we will let you know in next week’s alert. The budget is set to be introduced on Tuesday, March 15.
 
Committee Schedules beginning 3/4/2011
Monday, March 7
House Finance & Appropriations, (Chr. Amstutz, R., 466-1474), Rm. 313, 2:30 p.m.
HB 114
TRANSPORTATION BUDGET  (McGregor, R.)  To make appropriations for programs related to transportation and public safety for the biennium beginning July 1, 2011 and ending June 30, 2013.  (3rd Hearing-Possible substitute)  
Tuesday, March 8
House State Government & Elections, (Chr. Mecklenborg, R., 466-8258), Rm. 116, 1:30 p.m.
SB 4
PERFORMANCE AUDITS  (Schaffer, T.)  To require performance auditing by the Auditor of State of a minimum of four state agencies each biennium, to establish the Leverage for Efficiency, Accountability, and Performance Fund, and to make an appropriation.  (2nd Hearing-All testimony-Possible amendments & vote)
House Insurance, (Chr. Hottinger, J., 466-1482), Rm. 018, 3 p.m.
HB 123
BWC BUDGET  (Hottinger, J.)  To allow the Administrator of Workers' Compensation to waive criteria certain public employers must satisfy to become self-insuring employers; to require bills for medical and vocational rehabilitation services in claims that are ultimately denied to be paid from the Surplus Fund Account under specified circumstances; to make other changes to the Workers' Compensation Law; to make appropriations for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation and for the Workers' Compensation Council for the biennium beginning July 1, 2011, and ending June 30, 2013; and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of the Bureau's and the Council's programs.  (2nd Hearing-All testimony)
House Finance & Appropriations, (Chr. Amstutz, R., 466-1474), Rm. 313, 3:30 p.m.
HB 114
TRANSPORTATION BUDGET  (McGregor, R.)  To make appropriations for programs related to transportation and public safety for the biennium beginning July 1, 2011 and ending June 30, 2013.  (4th Hearing-All testimony-Possible amendments & vote)
Wednesday, March 9
House Health: Pension Reform Sub., (Chr. Schuring, K., 752-2438), Rm. 018, 2:30 p.m.
HB 69
PENSION SYSTEMS  (Wachtmann, L.)  Regarding the state retirement systems.  (General testimony & overview)
House Transportation, Public Safety & Homeland Security, (Chr. Combs, C., 644-6721), Rm. 122, 4 p.m.
HB 128
AMBULANCE STAFF  (Carey, J., Peterson, B.)  To revise the requirements for staffing ambulances and the priorities for distributing grants for emergency medical services.  (1st Hearing-Sponsor)
Wednesday, March 16
House Health: Pension Reform Sub., (Chr. Schuring, K., 752-2438), Rm. 018, 2:30 p.m.
HB 69
PENSION SYSTEMS  (Wachtmann, L.)  Regarding the state retirement systems.  (General testimony & overview)
 
Meetings this Week:
The OTA has been meeting with new members of the General Assembly and new members of the House Local Government Committee.  If any of these are your legislator, contact them and follow up with them regarding township issues of importance!
 
This week we met with the following legislators: Speaker Batchelder and Finance Chairman Rep. Amstutz, Rep. Sykes, Rep. Buchy, Rep. Damschroder and Rep. Heard.
 
OTA staff also met with Auditor of State Dave Yost and key staff.
 
 
OTA Programs
Even though we just finished the annual Winter Conference, the OTA is now planning for the 2011 Summer One Day Sessions.  The summer sessions will be held:
July 22 - Burr Oak state Park
July 29 - Canton
August 5 - Findlay
August 12 - Cincinnati
 
Do you have a hot-button topic in your area of the state that you would like to focus on at your regional meeting?  Please send any and all topic suggestions my way!  We want to make these sessions as informative as we can for each area!