1. Governor exercises veto authority on MBR
This week Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 487, legislation containing general provisions of his Mid-Biennium Review (MBR), after vetoing 13 items added by the legislature. For weeks, the Governor cautioned that he intended to veto a $30 million appropriation for nursing homes, which sustained heavy cuts in last year’s biennium budget. True to his word, this funding was among the provisions removed from the bill, stating in his veto message that no new data has been presented to justify or demonstrate a need for the $30 million.
The Governor also vetoed a provision that would have required a state agency, as part of a request to the Controlling Board to provide additional information about any proposed supplier that is not headquartered in Ohio. In his message, the Governor said the provisions were unnecessarily burdensome to state agencies and businesses and could ultimately increase the cost of purchases by the state.
A provision requiring any construction management contract and bond with a construction manager at risk, or any design-build contract with a design-build firm to be submitted to the Attorney General for approval was removed from the bill. The Governor said reforms initiated in last year’s biennium budget to reduce the cost of public construction were predicated on the selection of construction managers-at-risk and design-build contractors by way of “best value” determination as opposed to strictly a “low bid” approach. He said the creation of new authority that could, at the eleventh hour, undo proceedings leading up to a contract award would unnecessarily erode the intent and benefits of the reforms.
The Governor released a fact sheet highlighting the following among the provisions remaining in the bill:
- School Facilities/State Architect: Merging the State Architect’s Office with the School Facilities Commission into a new Facilities Construction Commission to reduce costs and align related authority and resources within a single commission with oversight responsibility for all state non-transportation construction.
- Eliminating Duplication: Consolidating two Department of Natural Resources programs – recycling/litter prevention and scrap tire regulation – into closely related programs in the Ohio EPA to create a more efficient, less costly state program for material and waste management.
- Giving County Job and Family Service Agencies (CDJFS) the Option of Cost-Saving Consolidation: Expanding the authority to consolidate operations of CDJFS from three pilot counties to the entire state to allow every CDJFS to optimize public services and reduce costs.
- Simplifying Eligibility Determination Systems: Simplifying Medicaid eligibility systems to federal entitlement programs other than Medicaid.
To read more about the items vetoed, please click here.
2. MBR impact on workers’ compensation
As it pertains to workers’ compensation, the general MBR bill makes the following noteworthy changes to workers’ compensation in Ohio:
- Requires the Administrator of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) to make the rules which govern the operating procedures of the BWC and the Industrial Commission of Ohio available electronically. The bill also requires that the Administrator must make the BWC’s classifications, rates, rules, and the rules of procedure available electronically upon request. These changes would essentially eliminate the paper-form of these publications that are presently required.
- States that Permanent Partial Disability payments that are awarded in a workers’ compensation claim for a loss of use or ankylosis are to be paid in weekly installments and may only be commuted to a lump sum payment or payments if special circumstances exist to justify such payment or payments (i.e. the claimant’s need for financial relief or for the purpose of furthering his or her rehabilitation). Present law requires a lump sum payment of the entire award or the remainder of what is owed on the award, once the award is final (i.e. not pending pursuant to an appeal that is timely filed).
- Allows state institutions of higher education that are self-insured for the purposes of workers’ compensation coverage, to include its hospitals in its self-insured workers’ compensation coverage. Current law excludes such hospitals from coverage.
- Permits the Administrator to allow professional sports leagues to provide workers’ compensation coverage to its professional athletes and coaches under a sports league workers’ compensation insurance policy that is issued under the laws of another state. It continues that those professional athletes, coaches, and the dependents of such professional athletes or coaches who are covered by such a policy, are prohibited from applying for or receiving compensation or benefits under Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws.
For more information on the MBR's impact on workers' compensation, please contact: James Boutrous (248.220.1355, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Adrienne Stemen (216.348.5760, email@example.com).
3. Cleveland plan, education MBR passed
After months of discussion and numerous revisions, House Bill 525, which contains what has been referred to as the Cleveland School Plan, was approved by both chambers this week and now goes to the Governor for his signature. Spearheaded by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, in coordination with teachers, labor leaders, the business community and other interested parties, the House and Senate worked to ensure passage prior to the legislative summer recess.
Among the many provisions included, the bill requires a municipal school district—of which the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is the only municipal district in the state—to adopt a performance-based salary schedule for teachers and principals. Additionally, the bill specifies that the district board and the teachers' union must negotiate how specialized training and experience will be factored into layoff and recall decisions.
The bill allows for the creation of a Municipal School District Transformation Alliance which would be charged with confirming and monitoring a "transformation alliance education plan" prepared by the mayor. The Alliance would also make recommendations to the Department of Education on the approval of sponsors of new community schools located in the district.
Concerns were raised during debate in both chambers regarding a provision included in the bill that would allow the school board to propose a levy for current operating expenses, a portion of which would be allocated to partnering community schools and distributed among those schools on a per-pupil basis. Some legislators felt a dangerous precedent would be set in allowing levy dollars to be shared with community schools.
Separately, Senate Bill 316, the Governor’s Education MBR was also approved by both chambers this week. Discussion on the bill centered on a third-grade reading guarantee supported by the Governor. Beginning with students entering third grade in the 2013-14 school year, the bill requires the State Board of Education to determine the “cut” score, progressively adjusting it upwards until the retention requirements apply to students who do not receive at least a “proficient” score. The bill provides exceptions to the retention requirement for certain students with disabilities, limited English proficient students, and students previously retained.
4. Legislation approved this week
The Ohio House met on June 12 and 13 and the following bills are among those approved:
Senate Bill 321: Sponsored by Senator Bill Beagle (R- Tipp City), the bill authorizes the State Library Board to establish library districts for association libraries.
House Bill 479: Sponsored by Representatives Lou Blessing (R-Cincinnati) and Christina Hagan (R- Uniontown), the bill enacts the “Ohio Legacy Trust Act”, which requires the recording of personal property transfers with the county recorder upon request and regulates the temporary conveyance of trust real property for financing purposes.
House Bill 495: Sponsored by Representative Terry Johnson (R- McDermott), the bill authorizes the validity of a concealed handgun license issued by another state if the other state automatically recognizes an Ohio concealed handgun license without the need for any reciprocity agreement between the states.
The Ohio Senate met on June 12 and 13 and the following bills are among those approved:
House Bill 262: Sponsored by Representative Teresa Fedor (D- Toledo), the bill authorizes a juvenile court to hold a delinquent child complaint in abeyance pending the child's completion of diversion actions if the alleged delinquent child is charged with prostitution-related conduct is a victim of trafficking in persons. The bill increases the penalties for trafficking in persons and obstruction of justice, and creates the Victims of Human Trafficking Fund.
House Bill 509: Sponsored by Representative Terry Blair (R- Berea), the bill includes local government provisions of the Governor’s MBR.
Among the provisions included in the bill:
- Authorizes individual or joint self-insurance program contracts awarded to a nonprofit corporation or a regional council of governments also to cover the employees of other nonprofit corporations that employ 50 or fewer employees and that have been organized for the primary purpose of representing the interests of political subdivisions.
- Requires county auditors to report to the Auditor of State, by November 1, 2012, their formula for allocating the county undivided local government fund and the dollar amount distributed in 2012.
- Requires that when a village is dissolved, all resolutions of the township in which the village was located apply to the territory that was once the village.
- Creates the Statewide Emergency Services Internet Protocol Network Steering Committee to advise the state on the implementation, operation, and maintenance of a statewide emergency services internet protocol network to support state and local government next-generation 9-1-1 and the dispatch of emergency service providers.
5. Bills signed by the Governor
The following bills were signed by the Governor this week. Legislation becomes effective 90 days following the Governor’s signature.
Senate Bill 315: Sponsored by request by Senator Shannon Jones (R- Springboro), the energy component of the Governor’s MBR makes changes to the energy and natural resources laws and related programs of the state. The bill was signed on June 11.
House Bill 386: Sponsored by Representative Lou Blessing (R- Cincinnati), the bill makes revisions to Ohio’s gaming laws related to casinos, the state lottery, video lottery terminals, horse racing, and gambling. The bill included two vetoes before receiving the Governor’s signature on June 11. To read more on the vetoes, click here:
House Bill 487: Sponsored by request by Representative Ron Amstutz (R- Wooster), the bill includes the general provisions of the Governor’s MBR (See story above). The bill was signed on June 11.
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