Weekly Legislative Report: Primaries for Governor, Auditor, Treasurer and U.S. Senate

​Feb. 8, 2018

By yesterday's statewide filing deadline, 11 candidates had filed for Governor of Ohio. In the Republican Primary, as expected, Mike DeWine/Jon Husted will face Mary Taylor/Nathan Estruth. The Democratic Primary picked up some additional candidates we have not previously mentioned. In addition to Richard Cordray/Betty Sutton, Dennis Kucinich/Tara Samples, Bill O'Neill/Chantelle Lewis, Connie Pillich/Schott Schertzer and Joe Schiavoni/Stephanie Dodd, Larry Ealy, a Dayton tow truck driver who filed for the Democratic primary in the last election, also filed petitions along with his running mate Jeffrey Lynn. In addition, Jonathan Heavey, a Cleveland Clinic doctor who has put $1.5 million of his own money into the race, filed along with his running mate Adam Hudak; and Paul Ray/Jerry Schroeder round out the list for a total of eight Democratic tickets. Constance Gadell-Newton and Brett R. Joseph will be unopposed in the Green Party primary.  
 
For Auditor of State, current State Representative and former Ohio Senate President Keith Faber will be unopposed in the Republican Primary, while Democrats will choose between former Congressman Zach Space and Kelli Prather, an occupational therapist from Cincinnati who previously ran in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in 2016.  
 
There's both a Republican and Democratic primary for Treasurer of State. Sandy O'Brien, from Ashtabula County who previously sought the Treasurer's office as the Republican nominee in 2006 and ran in the primary for Secretary of State in 2010, is challenging State Representative Robert Sprague of Findlay, who worked as a management consultant for Ernst & Young and owned his own consulting firm while living in Atlanta. On the Democratic side, Rob Richardson, a Cincinnati attorney and previous candidate for mayor will face off against a former candidate for State Senate Neil Patel of Westerville. 
 
A total of five Republicans will compete for the chance to run against incumbent U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. They include Congressman Jim Renacci, who recently left the race for Governor to seek the seat, who will face off against businessman Mike Gibbons, former candidate Don Elijah Eckhart of Galloway, Marysville business owner Melissa Ackison and Dan Kiley.  
 
You can see a complete list of candidates who filed by visiting the Ohio Secretary of State's website.  
 
Voting in the May primary will begin before you know it on April 10, 2018. The deadline to register to vote and/or update your voter information is April 9, 2018.

Congressional redistricting also makes the May primary ballot

After weeks of negotiations, and many starts and stops, state legislators and members of the Fair Districts=Fair Elections Coalition were able to work out a bipartisan compromise plan to reform the congressional redistricting process. Voters will weigh in this May. In fact, just in time for the Feb. 7 deadline to make the ballot, the Ohio Senate voted to advance the plan Monday night and the Ohio House followed suit on Tuesday.  
 
In an effort to keep communities of interest intact, the plan specifies that 65 counties cannot be split, 18 can be split once and five (the most populous) can be split twice. The cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati would remain whole within their districts. To ensure bipartisan agreement on the map, any plan would require a three-fifths vote of each chamber, including 50% of each minority caucus. Should no agreement be reached, map-making responsibilities would go to the Ohio Redistricting Commission (responsible for state legislative districts), which requires two minority votes from the seven-member body. If the commission fails, the General Assembly would draw a map requiring a three-fifths vote in each chamber, with one-third of the minority in each caucus. Finally, should that three-step process fail, then a four-year, rather than 10-year map can be drawn with a simple majority, but under more strict criteria so that it does not "unduly" favor or disfavor one political party. 
 
With redistricting processes and maps being challenged all over the country, a bipartisan plan of this nature certainly stands out – we'll see how Ohio voters respond.

Corporation Law Committee Weighs in on Crowdfunding Legislation

As further evidence of the stock Ohio legislators place in the views of OSBA members, this week, the Corporation Law Committee offered its perspective on House Bill 10, legislation which would regulate equity crowdfunding in Ohio. Representative Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton), the bill's sponsor, had invited the OSBA to review the bill and this week Thomas Geyer, chair of the Securities Law Subcommittee, testified before the Senate Transportation, Commerce & Workforce Committee as an interested party. 
 
Crowdfunding is a relatively new and evolving method of using the Internet to raise capital to support a wide range of ideas and ventures by which the entity or individual raising funds seeks small individual contributions from a large number of people. In May 2016, regulations permitting crowdfunding under the federal securities law took effect. HB10 is similarly structured and would provide a method for offering crowdfunding securities within Ohio. Under the bill, an "OhioInvests Issurer," must be based in Ohio, with substantial assets or revenues in Ohio and must offer securities that are limited to $5 million in any 12-month period via an "OhioInvests Portal," regulated by the Ohio Division of Securities. At least 80% of the net proceeds of the offering must be in connection with the operation of its business within the state. In addition, investments must be made by Ohio residents who understand and acknowledge the risks of the investment and who are generally limited to an investment of not more than $10,000 within a 12-month period.    
 
The issuer must also be prepared to disclose to potential investors information about its history, management, business plan and capital structure; its current finances, including a current balance sheet and income statement; material risks to the issuer and its business plan; and the intended use of the offering proceeds (which must be placed in escrow unless and until the minimum offering amount is raised.) Additional investor protections are provided by the existing anti-fraud standards of the Ohio Securities Act, along with a new civil remedy applicable to crowdfunding offerings that is outlined in the bill.  
 
Geyer testified that in the view of the OSBA Corporation Law Committee, HB10 as amended, "appropriately balances capital formation and investor protection." We'll keep you posted on the Senate's actions regarding this bill.

Week Ahead 

The Senate will not be in session next week, but the Ohio House has a voting session slated for Wed. Feb. 14 and an if-needed day on Thurs. Feb. 15. 

Tracking OSBA Legislation   

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

 
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