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Activity for week of 03/02/10 click here

Activity at Statehouse Last Week 03/07/10


SB 232 ALTERNATIVE ENERGY TAXES (Widener) To amend sections 3706.01 and 3706.041 of the Revised Code to exempt from property taxation renewable energy facilities that are not financed through the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and to require a payment in lieu of taxes on the basis of each megawatt of production capacity of such facilities.
Sponsor Widener gave testimony before the Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee. The OTA is very concerned with this piece of legislation as alternative energy companies will be exempt from both real and personal property taxes and would only have to pay a total of $6000 per megawatt as opposed to $20,000-$40,000 (depending on local tax rates) per megawatt current law requires. We are working with other local government and school groups on this bill and a similar measure yet to be introduced in the House. Please watch for future updates on this bill and how local governments and schools will be impacted.

Sub. HB 393 NUISANCE ABATEMENTS (Gerberry, Blessing) To amend section 505.87 of the Revised Code to revise the notice required to be provided by a board of township trustees to a landowner and any lienholder for a subsequent nuisance determination made within 12 months after a nuisance determination was made regarding the same property.
This bill passed the House Local Government & Public Administration Committee this week by a vote of 11-0. The bill now goes to the House floor for a vote. The OTA encourages you to contact your House members and urge their support of the bill.

HB 220 PUBLIC NOTICES (Chandler) To enact section 7.16 of the Revised Code to implement the recommendations of the Local Government Public Notice Task Force by authorizing legal publication to be made in a newspaper of general circulation, eliminating certain publication and postal privilege requirements, reducing the number of times publication must be made, requiring newspapers to establish a government rate for publication, allowing publication of a summary of an ordinance rather than publishing it in its entirety, and allowing the costs of publishing delinquent property tax lists to be charged to delinquent taxpayers.
This bill had sponsor testimony this week in the House Local Government & Public Administration Committee. A substitute bill will be introduced at the next committee hearing which will include a variety of changes that the OTA supports. Included in the changes to the original bill are: require newspapers to establish a government rate that cannot exceed the lowest classified rate by other advertisers; eliminate all notices in excess of two; first full notice in newspaper and second notice may be abbreviated, if township has website and notice is placed on the website, but must be at least 50% of the size of the first notice; and revises the qualifications for a newspaper to qualify as a newspaper of general circulation.
The OTA is an interested party on this bill as we do feel the changes made are beneficial to local governments. However, we would like to see the notification language altered to require the first notice be placed in the newspaper and if a township has a website, eliminate the second notice. (based on RC 505.10)

HB 246 WORKERS COMPENSATION (Yuko, Stewart) To amend sections 742.38, 4123.57, and 4123.68 of the Revised Code to provide that a firefighter, police officer, or public emergency medical services worker who is disabled as a result of specified types of cancer or certain contagious or infectious diseases is presumed for purposes of the laws governing workers' compensation and the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund to have incurred the disease while performing official duties as a firefighter, police officer, or public emergency medical services worker.
This bill has all testimony on this week in the House Aging & Disability Services Committee. The OTA and OML submitted a joint letter in opposition to the bill. (attached)

HB 433 MILITARY LEAVE / HB 449 HUMAN REMAINS
HB 433 (Ujvagi) To amend section 5923.05 of the Revised Code to provide publicly employed fire fighters and emergency medical technicians with a minimum paid military leave of seventeen 24-hour days.
Testimony was heard on HB 433, the second hearing, and then the bill was included as an amendment to HB 449. The OTA and OML are opposed to HB 433 due to the increased costs associated with the bill and the rationale being used to request the additional hours. (attached is the fiscal note for HB 433) We have sent a letter opposing the bill to Committee member Rep. Adams and a letter to Budish asking for the language to be removed from HB 449. (both attached)

Household Sewage Treatment System (HSTS)
There have been some developments in the HSTS legislation. Remember, the General Assembly extended the moratorium on the enactment of the "new HSTS rules" to July 1, 2010 in HB 363 late last year. Senators Niehaus and Grendell have agreed to some changes to SB 110 (Niehaus's HSTS bill) and are in the process of drafting and reviewing language. Some of the changes being considered include: clarifying grandfathering of current working systems or current systems that get repaired as to not cause a public health nuisance, clarifying language relative to maintenance of household sewage treatment systems and the responsibility of the property owner to maintain an HSTS and pay for inspections by board of health if required to have an inspection, altering definition of public health nuisance relative to HSTS, creating an alternative less expensive option for property owners to appeal a decision of the board of health relative to HSTS, and setting the effective date of the rules to January 1, 2012. Once language is finalized, the OTA will work with other interested parties, the Sponsor and other legislators to make the bill the best it can be for township residents. Watch for future alerts relative to this matter.

Committee Hearings Next Week


Tuesday, March 9

Senate Energy & Public Utilities, (Chr. Widener, 466-3780), Finance Hearing Rm., 9:30 a.m.

SB 232 RENEWABLE ENERGY (Widener) To exempt from property taxation renewable energy facilities that are not financed through the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and to require a payment in lieu of taxes on the basis of each megawatt of production capacity of such facilities. (2nd Hearing-Proponent)

Senate State & Local Government & Veterans Affairs, (Hughes, 466-5981), S. Hearing Rm., 10am

SB 218 TOWNSHIP ZONING (Schaffer) To codify federal restrictions on local zoning of amateur station antenna structures thereby preserving amateur radio service communications as a Homeland Security resource and to place the burden of proof for compliance on the zoning authority. (3rd Hearing-All testimony)

House Aging & Disability Services, (Chr. Newcomb, 466-1405), Rm. 115, 3 p.m.

HB 246 OP&F DISEASE COVERAGE (Yuko) To provide that a firefighter, police officer, or public emergency medical services worker who is disabled as a result of specified types of cancer or certain contagious or infectious diseases is presumed for purposes of the laws governing workers' compensation and the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund to have incurred the disease while performing official duties as a firefighter, police officer, or public emergency medical services worker (3rd Hearing-All testimony)

Wednesday, March 10

House Agriculture & Natural Resources, (Chr. Domenick, 466-3735), Rm. 018, 9:30 a.m.

SB 165 OIL/GAS DRILLING (Niehaus) To revise the Oil and Gas Law. (5th Hearing-Possible amendments & vote)

Senate Ways & Means & Economic Development, (Gibbs, 466-7505), N. Hearing Rm., 10:15 am

HB 313 COUNTY LAND USE (Ujvagi, Winburn) To authorize a county with a population greater than 100,000, or a population between 78,000 and 81,000, to organize a county land reutilization corporation, to authorize a county treasurer of a county with such a corporation to utilize the alternative redemption period in actions to foreclose abandoned lands, to immunize a county land reutilization corporation from liability for breach of a common law duty in connection with a parcel of land, and to make other changes regarding county land reutilization corporations. (3rd Hearing-All testimony-Possible amendments, substitute & vote)

House State Government, (Chr. Gerberry, 466-6107), Rm. 017, 2 p.m. or after session

HB 445 ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICTS (Letson) To establish local entertainment districts in municipal corporations or unincorporated areas of counties of specified populations for the purpose of the issuance of D-1, D-2, and D-5 liquor permits under specified conditions. (1st Hearing-Sponsor)

House Ways & Means, (Chr. Letson, 466-5358), Rm. 114, 3 p.m.

1st Hearing-Sponsor-Pending intro & ref on bill regarding wind and solar tax exemptions

Senate Highways & Transportation, (Chr. Patton, 466-8056), South Hearing Rm., 3:30 p.m.

SB 166 TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS (Hughes) To allow emergency personnel in public safety vehicles to report traffic law violations under certain circumstances. (3rd Hearing-All testimony-Possible vote)

OTA Township Bill
The OTA is working with Senator Bill Seitz on a large township bill. The bill will include provisions dealing with annexation, JEDDs, executive session, and nuisances. Senator Seitz sent around a co-sponsor request in early January and at this time the following four senators have signed on:
- Cates
- Grendell
- Patton
- Widener
The OTA encourages you to contact your senator, if he/she is not on the list, and encourage him/her to call Sen. Seitz's office to sign on as a co-sponsor of this township bill.

Heidi M. Fought
Director of Governmental Affairs
Ohio Township Association
6500 Taylor Road, Suite A
Blacklick, OH 43004
(614) 863-0045
(614) 863-9751 Fax

 

News at the Statehouse:  03/02/10

Board of Tax Appeals - Reduction in Revenue for Local Governments

There is a very serious threat to another local government funding source. Currently, local governments receive from the state a reimbursement for the 10% rollback of property taxes. At this time, the Ohio State Bar Association is proposing that a portion of the rollback reimbursement from each entity be redirected to help fund the Board of Tax Appeals, which had their budget slashed in the last budget bill by the members of the General Assembly and Governor. The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has suggested that the BTA funding request of $1,038,000 is not sufficient and should be more in the neighborhood of $2.5 M. Additionally, he has informed interested parties that whatever solution is suggested will not be a short term or temporary solution and that a permanent and predictable funding source for the BTA, outside of the state general revenue fund, is essential.

You are strongly encouraged to contact your Ohio House and Senate members and express your opposition to the erosion of local government funding, especially when the state cut the original funding for the program and now local governments are being asked to foot the bill.

SB 165 OIL & GAS WELLS (Niehaus) Revises laws governing oil and gas wells.

SB 165 was changed to remove even MORE local authority. SB 165 was modified in December 2009 to allow ODNR the authority to permit, locate and regulate production operations, including some compressor stations and transfer stations on a case-by-case basis. ODNR having sole authority means stations may be approved under cover without any involvement by localities, zoning or public hearings. These stations are reported nationwide to cause major noise and air pollution. As an example, a compressor station in Tuscarawas has a deafening roar of 90 decibels every few minutes, day and night. The change also gives ODNR this sole authority over access roads.

Please call members of the Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, as well as your House member, to STRIKE THE LANGUAGE: “PRODUCTION OPERATIONS" in the bill pending before the Committee.

Hearings at the Statehouse this week:

COMMITTEE SCHEDULE FOR WEEK OF MARCH 1

Tuesday, March 2

House Aging & Disability Services, (Chr. Newcomb, 466-1405), Rm. 115, 3 p.m.

HB 246
OP&F DISEASE COVERAGE (Yuko) To provide that a firefighter, police officer, or public emergency medical services worker who is disabled as a result of specified types of cancer or certain contagious or infectious diseases is presumed for purposes of the laws governing workers' compensation and the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund to have incurred the disease while performing official duties as a firefighter, police officer, or public emergency medical services worker. (2nd Hearing-All testimony)

The Ohio Township Association opposes this legislation and will be providing testimony in conjunction with the Ohio Municipal League.

Wednesday, March 3

Senate Agriculture, (Chr. Schuring, 466-0626), North Hearing Rm., 9 a.m.

SB 233
LIVESTOCK CARE (Gibbs) To establish requirements and responsibilities of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board and the Director of Agriculture in administering and enforcing the rules adopted by the Board that govern the care and well-being of livestock in this state and to make an appropriation. (1st Hearing-Sponsor (Pending referral))

House Financial Institutions, Real Estate & Securities, (Ch Koziura, 466-5141), Rm 116, 10am

HB 317
CREDIT UNIONS (Heard, Ujvagi) To authorize credit unions to be eligible public depositories, to make credit union loans eligible for certain economic development assistance programs, and to permit certain public investments to be made through a credit union. (2nd Hearing-All testimony)

House Local Government and Public Administration, (Ch Chandler), Rm 114, 10am

HB 220
PUBLIC NOTICE (Chandler) To implement the recommendations of the Local Government Public Notice Task Force by authorizing legal publication to be made in a newspaper of general circulation, eliminating certain publication and postal privilege requirements, reducing the number of times publication must be made, requiring newspapers to establish a government rate for publication, allowing publication of a summary of an ordinance rather than publishing it in its entirety, and allowing the costs of publishing delinquent property tax lists to be charged to delinquent taxpayers. (1st Hearing-Sponsor)

HB 393
TOWNSHIP NUISANCES (Gerberry, Blessing) To revise the notice required to be provided by a board of township trustees to a landowner for the abatement, control, or removal of vegetation, garbage, refuse, or other debris from the owner's land. (4th Hearing - All testimony, PV)

House State Government, (Chr. Gerberry, 466-6107), Rm. 017, 2:30 p.m. or after session

HB 445
ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICTS (Letson) To establish local entertainment districts in municipal corporations or unincorporated areas of counties of specified populations for the purpose of the issuance of D-1, D-2, and D-5 liquor permits under specified conditions. (1st Hearing-Sponsor)

HB 436
GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS (Balderson, Boose) To authorize a state agency to contract out its provision of a good or service to a private contractor under specific contractual provisions; to require the state agency to prepare a business case before executing such a contract; to create the Council on Efficient Government to review business cases, issue advisory reports, and undertake other duties regarding contracting out the provision of a good or service; to require the Council to prepare an annual report; and to require the Governor to select goods or services that could be provided by a private contractor and submit the selections for Council review. (1st Hearing-Sponsor)

Senate Energy & Public Utilities, (Chr. Widener, 466-3780), Finance Hearing Rm., 3:30 p.m.

SB 116
RAILROAD MAINTENANCE (Buehrer) To authorize the Public Utilities Commission to hear complaints regarding a railroad's failure to properly sustain certain areas near its tracks and to authorize forfeiture for noncompliance and to update certain provisions of law governing railroads. (4th Hearing-All testimony-Possible vote)

SB 232
RENEWABLE ENERGY (Widener) To exempt from property taxation renewable energy facilities that are not financed through the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and to require a payment in lieu of taxes on the basis of each megawatt of production capacity of such facilities. (1st Hearing-Sponsor-Pending referral)

Introduced last week:

HB 456 ESTATE TAX (Okey) To repeal the estate tax effective January 1, 2011.
This bill has been referred to the House Ways & Means Committee chaired by Rep. Tom Letson. The OTA strongly encourages townships to express their view on this piece of legislation. Urge Chair Letson and other members of the House Ways & Means Committee (and the House) to include an alternative revenue source for townships if they eliminate the estate tax, as local governments receive 80% of the revenue from the estate tax.

SB 232 RENEWABLE ENERGY (Widener) To exempt from property taxation renewable energy facilities that are not financed through the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and to require a payment in lieu of taxes on the basis of each megawatt of production capacity of such facilities. Am. 3706.01 and 3706.041

This bill is the Senate's version of a bill to address green energy projects. The OTA is working with the County Commissioners, School Boards, and other interested parties to make sure that local tax revenue is still provided to local governments.

HB 459 TOWNSHIP FUNDS (Dyer) To authorize a board of township trustees to require that interest earned on a special fund be credited to that special fund, rather than to the general fund.

The OTA supports this permissive piece of legislation.

Census Update

The Census Bureau is making available to all of its 2010 Census Government Agency Partners, digital promotional tools for placement on your Web sites and an html signature add-on that will link people to the 2010.census.gov and Census Bureau social media networking sites. By implementing these tools on your sites, you can help us reach millions of people and increase awareness and motivation about participation in the 2010 Census.

There are three digital promotional tools:
* An html digital email signature add-on to your email signature
* A 2010 Census Countdown Clock Web site Widget
* 2010 Census logo and/or banners for your Web site

We encourage everyone to help us make the 2010 Census the best count of America's population ever and we thank you for your contributions to the 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign.

Instructions to Downloading and Using Digital Promotional Tools:

If your Web site staff needs help with implementing any of these digital tools, please contact: Ms. Schere.Y.Johnson, Schere.Y.Johnson.Jordan@census.gov or call her at 301-763-3620.

Candidates for 2010

The firm that the OTA employs to help us lobby at the General Assembly has compiled a list of candidates, as they filed last month, for statewide races, the US House, US Senate and Ohio House and Senate. Please find attached an election list for your reference.

IRS Webinar Regarding 1099s

Free Webinar on Form 1099-MISC Reporting

The Internal Revenue Service invites you to attend a free on-line webinar specifically designed for State and Local Governments:

Subject: 1099 MISC Filing Requirements for State & Local Governments

When: March 30, 2010

Duration: 60 Minutes

Presented by: Federal, State and Local Governments Division of TE/GE

Learn About:

- Who is required to file?

- What type of entities do I send a 1099 MISC to?

- How do I secure their tax identifying number?

- What type of payments are subject to 1099 MISC reporting?

- What is Backup Withholding?

- How do I deposit Backup Withholding?

Registration:

REGISTER & ATTEND

(Click on the link to register and attend the session)
EASTERN

http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=65909
2 p.m.

Works Compensation - Safety Congress

Ohio employers are encouraged to register for the upcoming Ohio Safety Congress & Expo, sponsored by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Safety Congress is the largest occupational safety and health event in the Midwest. Safety Congress features diverse programming on the latest advances in occupational safety and health to prevent occupational accidents and injuries and reduce workers’ compensation costs. This free, three-day event will be held March 30 through April 1 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

“The key to saving money on workers’ compensation insurance premiums is investing in the safety of our workforces,” said BWC Administrator Marsha Ryan. “BWC recognizes that employers are busy serving the needs of their customers. Safety Congress is designed to give them a one-stop opportunity to gain knowledge about the latest safety advances, techniques and products to help prevent workplace illnesses and injuries.”

Safety Congress offers informative general sessions featuring nationally-recognized experts, safety demonstrations and roundtable discussions designed to give employers a chance to problem solve with their peers. This year, BWC has expanded the educational component of Safety Congress by offering more than 150 courses that cover many areas related to workplace safety and workers’ compensation claims management. For the first time, many of these courses will fulfill BWC safety program requirements and allow participants to earn free continuing education credits (CEU).

The Expo Marketplace will be held on March 31 and April 1 and features more than 200 vendors of safety products, tools, personal protective equipment and services. The Expo allows Ohio businesses to have first-hand information about the most current safety products and equipment, view demonstrations, and build lasting beneficial relationships with the manufacturers and distributors of these products.

While the event is free, employers are encouraged to pre-register online at ohiobwc.com. Classes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. On-site registration will also be available.