The Latest

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“Hot Issues” bills followed by OASBO    
Prepared by: Barbara Shaner
barbaracshaner@gmail.com
Report created on April 13, 2020


HB76    BALLOT LANGUAGE UNIFORMITY  (MERRIN D)
To enact the "Ballot Uniformity and Transparency Act" to modify the form of election notices and ballot language for property tax levies.
 
CURRENT STATUS
1/22/2020 - Senate General Government and Agency Review , (Fourth Hearing)

COMMENTS
We presented joint opposition testimony with five other organizations on December 11th in the Senate General Government and Agency Review Committee. We had been getting feedback from the Senators on the committee that the bill might not move, but there have been four hearings in the committee so it could be that some version of the bill will pass. Committee members have asked questions during the hearings as to whether there could be some modernization of ballot language by changing the following phrase:  "expressed in cents or dollars and cents for each one hundred dollars."

The point being the term "hundred" could be changed to "thousand". 

Attorney Becky Princehorn from Bricker and Eckler who testified in the hearing on January 22nd, indicated to the committee that such a change was unnecessary. 


HB197    OMNIBUS MEASURES ON CORONAVIRUS  (POWELL J, MERRIN D)
To continue essential operations of state government and maintain the continuity of the state tax code in response to the declared pandemic and global health emergency related to COVID-19, to make appropriations, and to declare an emergency.

CURRENT STATUS
3/27/2020 - SIGNED BY GOVERNOR; eff. 3/27/20
 
COMMENTS
The bill makes the following education-related changes:
  • eliminates state and federal testing for the 2019-2020 school year;
  • prohibits the issuance of report cards for the 2019-2020 school year and provides a one-year safe harbor from sanctions related to the report card;
  • freezes EdChoice eligibility at the 2019-2020 list of 517 buildings;
  • permits students and their school-aged siblings who attended or would have attended a building on the 2019-2020 eligibility list to receive a voucher;
  • waives the third-grade reading guarantee retention requirement;
  • permits schools to grant high school diplomas to students on track to graduate and for whom the principal determines that the student has successfully completed the curriculum;
  • permits schools not to conduct evaluations of district employees, including teachers, administrators or superintendents, for the 2019-2020 school year if determined impractical or impossible;
  • prohibits the use of 2019-2020 value-added data for the purpose of teacher evaluations;
  • permits certain state-licensed individuals to provide services electronically or via telehealth communication to students with special needs;
  • delays all licensure deadlines so that expiring licenses must be renewed no later than 90 days after the emergency period ends or Dec. 1, 2020, whichever is sooner;
  • sets April 28 as the final day of voting for the March 17 primary election and prohibits in-person voting for that election;
  • authorizes the tax commissioner to extend school district income tax filing and payment deadlines for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency declaration; 
  • permits boards of education to use electronic communication for in-person meetings and hearings during the emergency period but not later than Dec. 1, 2020;
  • permits the state director of agriculture to exempt school districts from registering as a food processing establishment overseen by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and from paying registration fees;
  • permits the issuance of one-year, nonrenewable, provisional educator licenses provided certain conditions are met;
  • permits schools to make up through distance learning any number of days or hours necessary to meet minimum instructional hour requirements.

HB305    SCHOOL FINANCING  (CUPP B, PATTERSON J)
To create a new school financing system, and to make an appropriation.

CURRENT STATUS
11/20/2019 - House Finance, (Sixth Hearing)

COMMENTS
There are components of the proposed formula in the Cupp/Patterson bill that still have not had hearings in the House Finance Committee. We expect hearings at some point yet this year. Meanwhile, bill sponsors Cupp and Patterson have been looking at possible changes to the legislation in response to feedback from stakeholders. Speaker Householder has also talked about making changes to assist the school districts from his part of the state. However, the EdChoice issues were the focus during January and February, putting off discussions about school funding. The current Coronavirus outbreak has now overshadowed discussions about all pending legislation including school funding. 

We will keep members updated once details of possible hearings and changes to the bill become available.


HB450    FISCAL OFFICERS - SUCCESSION GUIDELINES  (STEPHENS J)
To require fiscal officers of certain political subdivisions to provide certificates of transition to their successors when leaving office and to modify language regarding the duty of a treasurer of a board of education to deliver to the treasurer's successor all papers related to the affairs of the district.

CURRENT STATUS
2/12/2020 - House State and Local Government, (First Hearing)
 
COMMENTS
This bill was introduced at the request of State Auditor Keith Faber. We were asked to provide feedback on the first version of the proposal, and changes were made after we submitted our input and before the bill was introduced. The bill is improved over the original version, but the members (from the OASBO AOS and Legislative Committees) who have responded to our request for feedback on the bill, indicates there are still concerns. 

School treasurers are already required by law to turn over information, etc., when they leave office. HB 450 makes reference to that statute for school treasurers as we had suggested, but still adds a new requirement for a Certificate of Transition. 

One point of interest is regarding that statute from current law. ORC Section 3313.28 still refers to the treasurer being required to turn over information related to teachers. Since we no longer possess/collect those records, we indicated to the AOS that the section needs to be amended. The AOS agreed and that change is reflected in HB 450.
SB 244 is a similar bill that was introduced in the Senate, however, the change to current law section 3313.28 is not yet included in the Senate bill. 


SB89    CAREER-TECHNICAL EDUCATION -- EDCHOICE  (HUFFMAN M)
With regard to career-technical education and the compensation of joint vocational school districts located in enterprise zones, to make changes regarding STEM
school report cards, to prohibit the use of value-added data for evaluations of career technical educators, to revise the law on community school fiscal officer liability, to make changes regarding school financing studies by the Department of Education, to revise the eligibility and operation of the Educational Choice Scholarship program, to dissolve existing academic distress commissions, to place a moratorium on the creation of academic distress commissions, to establish the School Transformation Board, to rename the income-based expansion of the Educational Choice Scholarship program as the Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship program, and to declare an emergency.

CURRENT STATUS
2/12/2020 - Consideration of House Amendments; Emergency Clause 7-24, Senate Does Not Concur

COMMENTS
This bill had been used by the House to propose changes to the EdChoice voucher program, phasing out the district-paid, building performance-based program. New vouchers going forward would be income-based and paid for directly by the state. The income threshold would be raised to 250% of the Federal poverty level (up from the current 200%). 

Other provisions added to the bill were the elimination of the three current Academic Distress Commissions and the sunset of the territory transfer law adopted last spring in the budget bill that allows township residents to vote to move from one district to another. 

SB 89 is now sitting in a Conference Committee awaiting agreement between the House and Senate. It is unclear whether the bill will move once the legislature returns, and if so, which provisions will remain in the bill. 


SB179    REQUIRE TWO LICENSE PLATES  (UECKER J, HOTTINGER J)
To retain and continue current law requiring the display of two license plates for most motor vehicles.

CURRENT STATUS
12/11/2019 - Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce, (First Hearing)
 

SB212    AUTHORIZE TOWNSHIPS-EXEMPT PROPERTY TAX  (SCHURING K)
To authorize townships and municipal corporations to designate areas within which new homes and improvements to existing homes are wholly or partially exempted from property taxation.

CURRENT STATUS
3/4/2020 - PASSED BY SENATE; Vote 29-1

COMMENTS
  1. SB 212 permits townships and municipalities to designate Neighborhood Development Areas (NDAs) where tax exemptions can be granted for 70% or 100% of the increase in value when residential development and/or renovation occurs. The exemption can be granted for up to a 10-year period for new development, or a 5-year period for a renovation. Again, only the increase in value would be exempt; the original value of the property would not be exempt.
  2. Before establishing an NDA, the township or municipality would need to show findings that there is a lack of adequate, affordable housing, and that residential development or needed renovations would not otherwise occur without the tax exemption.
  3. The township or municipality must notify each affected school district (along with other public notice/meeting requirements) before passing a resolution designating an NDA. The school district must agree to the exemption covering 100% of the increase in value, otherwise the exemption percentage defaults to 70%.
  4. Property already covered by a TIF or a CRA cannot become part of an NDA.
  5. Our testimony on this legislation:
    1. requested that schools be part of any decision to designate an NDA, rather than only the power to agree to a 100% exemption, or to keep the exemption at 70%
    2. urges a better definition of 'affordable housing' to avoid tax exemptions on high-end property
    3. requests that a report that estimates the additional cost to the school district because of the potential increase in the student population be included in the findings required of the township or municipality (see #2 above)

In our discussions with bill sponsor Senator Schuring, he has indicated that the intent of this legislation is to provide incentives for affordable housing development in those areas that truly need it. In many areas of the state, there is not an issue with a lack of housing. The state's population numbers are relatively constant, so the bill is not needed on a statewide basis. Residential development flourishes in areas where economic development is already occurring. SB 212 is not meant to be used in those areas. We are seeking ways to shore up the bill language so this intent is spelled out more clearly. Senator Schuring has promised to work with us as the bill goes through the House. 
OASBO joined with OSBA and BASA for interested party testimony in the Senate Ways & Means Committee February 25th. 


SB248    SCHOOL STORM SHELTERS  (SCHAFFER T)
To extend until November 30, 2022, the moratorium on the building code requirement for storm shelters for school construction projects.

CURRENT STATUS
1/22/2020 - Senate General Government and Agency Review , (First Hearing)
 
COMMENTS
The bill extends from September 15, 2020, to November 30, 2022, the existing moratorium on the building code requirement for storm shelters in school buildings operated by a public or private school or in any such school building undergoing or about to undergo construction, alteration, repair, or maintenance financed prior to the end of the moratorium.