March 15, 2018
There were no full voting sessions at the Statehouse this week (following the Senate's cancellation of its planned Wednesday session) but committee work continued in earnest in both chambers. OSBA members from the Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Section were successful in working with Representative Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) in amending his Ohio Financial Institutions Reform Act – House Bill 489
before it was favorably reported by the committee. Representative Dever's goal with the legislation is to ensure a friendly environment for acquiring capital in Ohio by providing what regulatory relief the state can for smaller banks and credit unions, many of which have struggled to compete under significant regulations passed by the federal government following the financial crisis.
One provision of the bill sought by the banks would have increased the time period within which claims could be presented against an estate to either six months after the death of the decedent (as required under existing law) or six months after the decedent's estate is opened, whichever is later. Patricia Laub and Bob Brucken had raised concerns that this provision could significantly tip that delicate balance of ensuring those with claims against an estate have a reasonable time to collect, while maintaining the certainty and finality that are so critical to the orderly administration of estates. Ultimately, this provision was removed from the bill.
In developing HB 489, Representative Dever had diligently worked with interested parties, including financial institutions, regulatory agencies and consumer advocates. We are grateful that he continued this collaborative approach as the bill moved through the committee process and that he was open to the OSBA's suggestions. HB 489 will now go to the full House for a vote, which could happen as early as next week. There will likely be more discussion to come regarding the concerns of financial institutions with current estate timeframes, but it remains unclear if there is any common ground that can be reached.
Hearings begin on notary modernization bill Recently
, we outlined Senate Bill 263
, new legislation aimed at modernizing and centralizing the notary system in Ohio, including authorizing electronic notarization. The bill got its first hearing this week in the Senate Insurance & Financial Institutions Committee where the sponsors — Senators Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) — delivered sponsor testimony. With more hearings to come, the OSBA is watching this legislation closely and is working with other interested parties to help deliver on a more efficient statewide notary system.
Court finds Down Syndrome abortion ban unconstitutional
A bill passed by the Ohio General Assembly in December, which would prohibit abortions in Ohio due to a Down Syndrome diagnosis was preliminarily enjoined
by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black of the Southern District on Wed, saying it is "unconstitutional on its face." House Bill 214
sponsored by Representatives Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) and Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township), would have taken effect next Friday, March 23. It had been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several abortion providers. Prolife organizations who backed the bill expect a vigorous state defense of the law, saying the fight has only just begun.
Though Ohioans continued to endure snowy forecasts, this week marks Sunshine Week in Ohio – a celebration, reminder and recommitment of government employees to be open and transparent in conducting public business. Fittingly, Attorney General Mike DeWine's office released an updated "Yellow Book," the manual which provides elected officials, public employees and Ohio citizens with information about public records and compliance. In addition to summaries of Revised Code provisions and case law regarding the Ohio Public Records Act and the Open Meetings Act, the 2018 edition includes updates on recent open government legal decisions and law changes.
All you open government crusaders (we're talking about you, Media Law Committee members!) may download the new Yellow Book
from the Attorney General's website, which also includes helpful public records training videos and resources
(which are eligible for CLE credit). The AG also provides training in person. Here's the upcoming schedule
Both the Ohio House and Senate are scheduled to be in session Wednesday, March 21, with if-needed sessions slated for Thursday, March 22. The Ohio Senate is expected to take up the State Capital Budget, which was reported by committee this week.
Until then, in the spirit of St. Patty's Day (and in honor of our influential estate planning, trust and probate members) we bestow this Irish Blessing upon our entire membership – May the Good Lord take a liking to you
– but, not too soon!
Tracking OSBA Legislation
Remember, you can always track bills we are watching and OSBA priority legislation via the Legislative
section at www.OhioBar.org