Weekly Legislative Report: HB 292 passes House and news on governor's race


​Nov. 2, 2017

It's been a busy week in Columbus, both legislatively and politically...

HB 292 Passes the House

The hardworking members of the OSBA's Taxation Law Committee cleared the first major hurdle to the finish line as the Ohio Ho​use of Representatives passed House Bill 292. This OSBA priority bill, sponsored by Representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville), would put in place a new and improved Brightline test for determining Ohio residency for tax purposes. The bill passed overwhelmingly—90-1—and now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration. As always, we'll keep you posted on its progress. You can read more about HB 292 from a previous update.

Other Bills Passed...

The Ohio House also took up a number of other bills as part of Wednesday's busy session that was not without its controversy, sending the Senate all of the following:

  • HB 214, which would ban abortions in which the unborn child has or may have Down syndrome. Vote 63-30
  • HB 174, which would add two judges to the Domestic Relations Division of the Franklin County  Court of Common Pleas. If passed, these judges would be elected in 2018. Vote 85-1 (83-1 for the emergency clause)
  • HB 137, which would add municipal and county peace officers to the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect Vote 91-0.
  • HB 50, which would establish requirements for electronic benefit transfer cards issued under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and HB 119, which deals with SNAP and Medicaid eligibility. Vote 61-30 and 74-14, respectively.
  • HB 334, which provides that wages and guaranteed payments paid by a professional employer organization to the owner of a pass-through entity that has contracted with the organization may be considered business income. Vote 80-11

Justice O'Neill Enters Governor's Race, Rosenberger Not Entering Race for Auditor

On Sunday, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill announced that he intends to file petitions to run in the Democratic Primary for Governor of Ohio, joining four other announced candidates, including State Senator Joe Schiavoni, former State Representative Connie Pillich, former U.S. Representative Betty Sutton and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. (...So far—there's still no word on whether former Attorney General and current Director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray or former Cincinnati Mayor and talk show host Jerry Springer will enter the race). Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, and U.S. Representative Jim Renacci are the announced Republican candidates. 

While providing a broad overview of what he would do as Governor, it's what O’Neill did not do that's raised some questions. While announcing his candidacy, O'Neill did not resign his seat on the state's highest court. The Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct states that "Upon becoming a candidate in a primary or general election for a nonjudicial elective office, a judge shall resign from judicial office." O'Neill maintains that he will officially become a candidate only when he is certified to the ballot in February 2018 and he will not step down until then. In the weeks ahead the $64,000-dollar question is: When does one become a candidate?

Should O'Neill resign now or in February, it will be up to Governor John Kasich, a Republican, to pick the justice's replacement. As O'Neill is the only Democrat currently serving on the Court, it would give Republicans complete control of the Court, and should he pick one of the two announced Republican candidates for the Court, it could potentially give them a leg up in the race.

In other 2018 statewide election related news, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger has announced that he will NOT be running for Auditor of State, leaving former Senate President Keith Faber as the only announced Republican. Former U.S. Representative Zach Space is the only announced Democratic candidate. 

Election Day 2017 is Tuesday

With all the talk of 2018, don't forget that this coming Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 is Election Day in Ohio, when Ohioans will decide two important statewide issues, as well as weigh in on local candidates and issues, including 107 municipal judicial elections.

As a reminder, the OSBA Board of Governors has taken a position in opposition to State Issue 1, which would enshrine a 10-point victims bill of rights to the Ohio Constitution. Though the OSBA is supportive of victims rights, protections already exist in and are better addressed in the Ohio Revised Code, as opposed to expanding the language in the state constitution. The proposed language is more extensive and detailed than any other right currently enumerated in the state Bill of Rights. This will undoubtedly lead to unintended consequences, including increased costs and potential delays in the criminal justice system.

You can read more about the statewide issues by visiting the OSBA's 2017 General Election page.

Tracking OSBA Legislation

As always, track OSBA priority bills via the Legislative section at www.OhioBar.org.

Week Ahead

The Ohio House is not scheduled to be in session next week; however, the Ohio Senate will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Your Turn

Do you have an opinion on the O'Neill bid for governor and whether or not he should step down? What do you think about the bills that passed the Ohio House this week? What about State Issues 1 and 2? On any of these topics, we'd love to hear your views. You can have your say by emailing OSBA Director of Policy and Government Affairs Todd Book at TBook@OhioBar.org.




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