Weekly Legislative Report: Ohio Senate passes OSBA tax law proposal unanimously

May 24, 2018

Congratulations are in order for the members of the Taxation Law Committee (and of course to the taxpayers they serve). House Bill 292, which would restore clarity to the law by re-establishing a "bright line" test for determining who is a resident of Ohio for tax purposes, passed the Ohio Senate unanimously yesterday. If you will recall, the bill is in response to a 2015 Ohio Supreme Court decision in Cunningham v. Testa, which muddled the previous test practitioners had relied upon by injecting the common law of domicile into the mix. The Committee has worked closely with the Ohio Department of Taxation, the Ohio Association of CPAs and of course, the sponsor of the bill, State Representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville), to take the proposal from conception to almost-law (a concurrence from the House and a signature from the Governor are all that are needed, though that may be more difficult than it sounds (see next story)). 

Before the Senate passed the bill, it earned a few amendments in committee, one of which will help with another tax law issue the Taxation Law Committee has been seeking to address as it relates to where to file appeals to Board of Tax Appeals decisions, now that a direct appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court is no longer an option. The amendment clarifies to which court of appeals a taxpayer (both individuals and businesses) may go. You may remember from a few weeks back that the Taxation Law Committee won the consent of the OSBA Council of Delegates on another proposal that would have dealt with this problem. Though somewhat different than the OSBA proposal, addressing this in HB 292, rather than as a standalone bill, speeds up the timeline for fixing things considerably.  

Read the OSBA's statement celebrating HB 292's passage yesterday here

...About that House concurrence... 

Last week, we updated you on the status of finding an interim Speaker of the Ohio House. As of this writing, the House Republicans still have not reached a consensus. In fact, they had scheduled a Tuesday session to take a vote, but then canceled it. Yesterday, they decided to cancel both Wednesday and Thursday's scheduled sessions, with acting Speaker Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) explaining to Statehouse reporters that though Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) reportedly has reached the 50 votes he needs, Schuring wants to be absolutely sure before a vote is taken. Of course, the news that law enforcement had served a warrant and were raiding former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger's residence and storage unit in Wilmington yesterday likely had a hand in the delay. What this means for the rest of us? No bills will make it through the chamber until a proper leader is installed.  

Sports betting coming to Ohio?​

While, we are unwilling to place bets on what will happen in the House Speaker race, we are watching with great interest what may happen with sports betting in Ohio now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the federal ban (effectively everywhere except Nevada) is unconstitutional.  

This has raised a lot of questions in Ohio for if and how sports wagering could come to fruition. Some believe that the Ohio Constitution would have to be amended. Still others believe that a provision in the amendment where Ohio voters legalized four casinos in Ohio in 2009 means that once neighboring states open the floodgates, Ohio must permit it as well. (And Pennsylvania and West Virginia have already passed laws to begin sports betting). Meanwhile, legislators have already started to discuss potential legislation. And this week, the Ohio Lottery Commissioner weighed in, saying that while there are no immediate plans to get sports betting up and running, the Commission already has the authority to do so.  

With more questions than answers at this point, we encourage those with an interest to tune into an upcoming OSBA Quick Web Cast on June 7, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. There, OSBA Assistant Executive Director of Policy and Public Affairs Todd Book will talk with Senator Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township), who chairs the Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee, and attorney Kevin Braig of Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick, LLC, covering all the ins and outs as this story continues to unfold. You can pre-register for this CLE program at www.OhioBar.org.  

ACLU sues state over congressional districts 

Finally, breaking news on Wednesday: Though the current Ohio congressional districts have been in place since the last redistricting process in 2011, and despite Ohio voters' recent approval of a new and more bipartisan way to draw maps in the future, the ACLU-Ohio, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the League of Women Voters of Ohio and a voter from each of Ohio's 16 current U.S. House Districts have filed suit challenging the maps. Perhaps emboldened by court action in other states casting aside partisan maps, they hope to have a redrawn map in place in time for 2020, a presidential election year. This would be just one year before Ohio was already scheduled to draw new districts under the new, voter-approved process. Attorney General Mike DeWine's office says they are reviewing the suit and will respond in court. Stay tuned.  

In the meantime, you can read more about the national redistricting landscape in Todd Book's recent Ohio Lawyer column (the March/April edition). And for more background on the new process voters have approved, check out our May 2018 Primary Election information page. Ohio voters approved State Issue 1 by (an unofficial vote of) 75%-25%. 

Week ahead 

Neither the House or Senate are scheduled to be in next week following the Memorial Day holiday and we’ll be taking the week off from our updates as a result. Enjoy your three-day weekend with family and friends, and please remember to take a moment to honor and remember those who have served.  

Tracking OSBA legislation    

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

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