|Ohio Legislative Report - 132nd General Assembly Review|
THE LEGISLATIVE REPORT
OPBA Attorney Brian Holb
It was a busy session for the 132nd General Assembly. There were several pieces of legislation signed into law by Governor Kasich that impact members of the OPBA. This article provides a description of each bill and any pertinent information. All of these bills take effect March 20, 2019 unless otherwise noted.
BILLS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR KASICH
State Representative Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) put forth HB 38 providing that purposely causing the death of a first responder or military member is aggravated murder when the offender knows or has reasonable cause to know the person is first responder or military member, and it is the offender’s specific purpose to kill a member of these classes. State Representative Bernadine Kent (D-Columbus) put forth HB 137 making peace officers mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect and expanding the types of peace officers authorized to receive reports of child abuse and neglect.
State Representatives Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) and Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) put forth HB 425 providing the visual or audio portion of a body-worn camera or dashboard camera recording showing, communicating, or disclosing any of the following is exempt from the Ohio Open Records Law:
State Representatives Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) put forth HB 572 which is effective March 22, 2019 and revises service credits under the Public Employees Retirement System, the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund, the State Teachers Retirement System, and the School Employees Retirement System.
Senate Bill 33 put forth by Senator John Eklund (R-Chardon) takes effect March 23, 2018 and allows disclosure of information from LEADS to a defendant or defendant’s counsel when formally requested pursuant to the rules of discovery in a traffic or criminal case. Senate Bill 37 put forth by Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) requires the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission to develop and conduct a chief of police training course for newly appointed village, city, and township chiefs. SB 37 applies to those chiefs appointed on or after January 1, 2018.
In an unusual turn of events, Governor Kasich vetoed two bills impacting OPBA members which were overridden by both chambers of the General Assembly.
House Bill 228 was put forth by State Representatives Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Chagrin Falls) modifying the law governing the authority of a law enforcement officer or investigator to carry a weapon. A law enforcement officer or investigator who is authorized to carry a firearm but is NOT acting within the scope of their duties may possess a firearm in any room in which any person is consuming beer or intoxicating liquor in a premises for which a D permit has been issued under O.R.C. 4303 or in an open air arena for which a permit of that nature has been issued so long as ALL of the following apply:
In a contentious battle, Senate Bill 296 was originally put forth by Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) and Senator Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) to revise the payments that surviving family members receive from the Ohio Public Safety Officers Death Benefit Fund. The bill would also permit surviving spouses and children to participate in the health, dental, and vision benefits offered to state employees as if the survivors were employees of this state. The bill was subsequently amended in the House Finance Committee by Representative Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) as a vehicle to increase the compensation of elected public officers through 2028; to create the Public Office Compensation Advisory Commission; to create the Office of InnovateOhio; to allow the Lieutenant Governor to receive the salary of the head of an office within the Governor's office in lieu of the Lieutenant Governor's statutory salary; and to declare an emergency.
Under the pay language, legislators and statewide nonjudicial elected officers will experience a three-year phase in receiving raises of 4% in 2019 and 2020, and 3% in 2021. Annual adjustments after that of 1.75% will sunset in 2028. Additionally, committee leaders will receive a $9,000 per year stipend, up from $6,500. Leaders of non-finance subcommittees will receive $6,750 per year, up from $5,000. Finally, judges, prosecutors, and sheriffs will see raises of 1.75%. Other county officeholders will receive 5% raises in 2019 and 2020 and then revert to the 1.75% yearly increase. Township and board of elections officials will receive annual 1.75% raises from 2019-2020.
These amendments caused Senator LaRose to remove his name from sponsorship of the bill as this was a large departure from the initial intent of the bill. The bill, as amended drew criticism from Governor Kasich who was not in favor of pay raises during the lame duck session of the legislature. Governor Kasich vetoed the bill, sending it back to the House and Senate for override votes. The Senate voted 25-6 and the House voted 71-16 to override the Governor’s veto.
There were a slew of anti-labor bills put forth in the 132nd General Assembly by State Representative John Becker (R-Union Township, Clermont County) that did not make it out of committee. Some of the bills sought to enact a new section of the Ohio Constitution and amending Ohio’s Public Employee Collective Bargaining Law (O.R.C. 4117) which would prohibit laws, rules, and agreements requiring public sector employees to join or pay dues to a union and prohibiting unions from representing nonmember public sector employees in employment related matters. Other offerings from Rep. Becker included enacting a new section of the Ohio Constitution subjecting any public employee collective bargaining representative to an annual election to remain certified as the exclusive representative. This change could also prohibit dues and other fees payable to an employee organization from being deducted from the payroll check of a public employee and to prohibit those dues and fees from being used for political purposes unless authorized by the public employee.
Finally, Rep. Becker sought to enact the "Double Dippers Inappropriately Privileged (DDIP)" to provide that an individual retiring on or after the effective date of this act from one of the state's public retirement systems who is re-employed as a public employee will not receive the pension portion of the retirement allowance for the period of employment.
THE 133RD OHIO GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The 133rd General Assembly convened January 7, 2019. The OPBA believes several pieces of legislation that did not make it out of committee in the previous General Assembly will be introduced again. Some of the possible legislation we are watching include bills:
The OPBA will actively advocate for legislation that will make your job safer. Please direct any feedback or suggestions you have on legislation to Brian Holb at firstname.lastname@example.org.