Weekly Legislative Report: OSBA Council of Delegates meets tomorrow

​April 26, 2018

We've been talking about it for weeks and now the day is finally here — members of the OSBA Council of Delegates will be reporting to OSBA headquarters tomorrow at 1 p.m. to take up seven proposals originating from five OSBA committees and sections. The Council's favorable support of a proposal means it will be become a priority bill for the association (with the exception of the Real Property Section Council's proposed Title Standard updates, as those are not statutory changes, but guidelines for practitioners promulgated by the OSBA). 

In previous weekly reports, we've discussed proposals by the Corporation Law Committee, the Estate Planning Trust and Probate Section, the Real Property Section Council. This week, we'll round things out and cover Taxation Law Committee and the Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee proposals. 

Taxation Law Committee proposal would bring needed clarity to appeals process for Board of Tax Appeals decisions 

Last year, as part of the State Budget Bill, the procedure for tax appeals set forth in RC 5717.04 was changed significantly. Instead of having the right to file appeals of Board of Tax Appeals decisions directly to the Supreme Court (as was the common practice), they can now only be filed with the appropriate court of appeals. The problem is, following a recent 10th District Court of Appeals decision, there is confusion surrounding which is the appropriate court of appeals.  

The OSBA Taxation Law Committee identified the problem and immediately got to work on how to solve it. They are proposing to not only add clarity surrounding where appeals can be filed, but also to provide that should an appeal be filed in an inappropriate court, it should not be considered a jurisdictional defect. 

The first issue arises from a 10th District Court of Appeals decision (Stines v. Limbach, 61 Ohio App.3d 461) which limited the meaning of “taxpayer” to only property taxpayers based upon the definition at the end of the section. If this interpretation were adopted state-wide, all non-property tax appeals would need to be taken to the 10th District, regardless of where the taxpayer resides or conducts business. The Taxation Law Committee proposal would delete the definition of taxpayer such that the term would no longer be limited to only property taxpayers. Additionally, all taxpayers would have the option to appeal decisions of the Board to the 10th District, or, if an individual, to the district where the taxpayer resides or, if a business, to the district where it’s principal Ohio operations are conducted. Secondly, the Committee is proposing a provision to ensure that, if a tax appeal is filed in the wrong district, the jurisdiction of the courts of appeal is still invoked. In such cases, the appeal would be transferred to a proper court of appeals. This clause is critical because taxpayers have a limited time to appeal Board decisions and could be barred from bringing such appeals by filing in the incorrect court, which would be particularly troublesome due to the narrow interpretation in the Stines case.  

Thanks to the Taxation Law Committee for their quick action and work that will help their fellow tax practitioners, and more importantly, protect the Ohio taxpayers they serve.

OSBA Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee seeks to make Ohio even more military friendly 

The OSBA Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee is always looking for ways to support and honor Ohio veterans as well as active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coastguardsmen and their families. In fact, this year, they have two proposals before the Council of Delegates.  

The first would ensure Ohio courts and law enforcement officers have clear and readily accessible legal authority that permits active duty military personnel stationed in Ohio, along with their spouses and dependents, to operate motor vehicles in Ohio so long as they retain a valid driver’s license issued by their State of legal residence. At this time, the prime (and perhaps only) source of legal authority for the current policy is an Attorney General of Ohio opinion that is now more than 50 years old (Attorney General of Ohio Opinion No. 66-074 under then Ohio Attorney General William Saxbe). The proposed legislation would exempt active duty military members, their spouses and dependents, who are stationed in Ohio but are legal residents of another State and who have a valid license issued by said State, from the Ohio licensing requirements found in ORC 4506 and 4507. This would be consistent with most other states, which have already enacted such laws which Ohioans on active duty and their family members who are stationed therein.
 
The second proposal seeks to ensure those members of the armed forces who are employees of municipalities would be afforded the full measure of benefits as those employed by the state if they are called to active duty. Permanent public employees who are members of the Ohio organized militia or members of other reserve components of the armed forces of the United States, including the Ohio National Guard, are entitled to a leave of absence from their respective positions without loss of pay for the time they are performing service in the uniformed services, for periods of up to one month, for each calendar year in which they are performing service in the uniformed services. The Military and Veterans Affairs Committee believes language is necessary to frame the statue as a general law, applying to all public employees and not one subject to municipal home rule to be consistent with the original intent of the statute. 

As always, we appreciate the Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee's commitment and passion for supporting our troops! If you are interested in reviewing the language of any of the Council of Delegates proposals up for consideration tomorrow, please visit www.ohiobar.org/codreport. There's still time to weigh in with your views on any of these proposals by contacting one of your District Council of Delegates representatives. The full roster is also available at the aforementioned link.  

Ohio House Speaker Election to be held May 15 

House Republicans have set the date — May 15 — for replacing former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger who resigned recently amid talk of an FBI investigation into his travel activities. Representative Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) has been presiding while Representatives Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Larry Householder (R-Glenford) continue to duke it out. 

Don't forget to vote in the May 8 Primary Election 

In the May 8 statewide Primary Election, voters will choose party nominees for state, local and federal offices as well as weigh in on local issues and one statewide issue that seeks to reform congressional redistricting in Ohio — State Issue 1. 

There's plenty of time to vote and if you haven't had a chance to brush up on State Issue 1, we've got you covered! Visit our 2018 Primary Election information page to get background on the proposal, review arguments for and against and also to benefit from helpful links to ensure you can get to the polls.  

In addition (and as always), www.judicialvotescount.com is an excellent resource​ for learning more about the judges on the ballot.  

Week ahead 

The Statehouse remains a bit of a ghost town, which is typical right before an election. 

And not to be confused with the Ohio House Speaker election or the statewide Primary Election, the OSBA is hosting its own election this May 1-7 for President-Elect. Like last year, voting will be conducted online and eligible voters will receive an email Tuesday morning with instructions on how to participate. If you are a member in good standing and do not have an email address on file, look for you ballot in the mail. You can find more information on the election and the two candidates on the OSBA website

Tracking OSBA Legislation

Remember, you can always track bills we are watching and OSBA priority legislation via the Legislative section at www.OhioBar.org.

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