Weekly Legislative Report: We have a Speaker!

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​June 7, 2018

It wasn't pretty, but as of yesterday, we have a new Speaker of the Ohio House. Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) ascended to the dais of the House Chamber after receiving a plurality of votes (44 out of 91 House members present) on the 11th round of voting. The first 10 rounds, under the Rules of the House, were conducted to see if any of the four candidates could get a majority vote. They could not. The rules say if it can't be done in 10 rounds, in the 11th round, the candidate with the most votes winsSmith did. A majority vote would have been 46 and Smith held at 44 votes in all rounds. Representa​tive Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) the House Minority Leader held his caucus together, earning 28 votes in every round but the last when he got 27The remaining 19-20 votes bobbed back and forth between State Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) and Jim Hughes (R-Upper Arlington), effectively splitting the Republican caucus and denying Smith his majority.

Immediately after the vote, OSBA Past President Justice Patrick Fischer was on hand to administer the oath of office. Smith remarked “I always wondered what it would be like to go 10 rounds in a prize fight. Now I know, and called on all members to put their differences aside for the sake of the Ohioans they serve.  

Whether they can put their differences aside and overcome the cloud hanging over the chamber due to an FBI investigation into the travel activities of the former speaker and the bitter fight for who will be speaker in the next legislative session, we shall see, but for the time being, they have set an ambitious calendar for today of 17 bills, including the much-discussed payday lending crackdown (HB 123) and funding for new voting machines (SB 135). They will also take up some bills we've had our eyes on, including:  

  • House Bill 407, sponsored by Representative Jonathan Dever (R-Madiera), which would establish estate by dower. (Our coverage: Here.  
  • House Bill 297, sponsored by Representative Christina Hagan (R-Marlboro Township), which would allow owners of a motor vehicle, watercraft, or outboard motor who have joint ownership with right of survivorship to transfer title through a transfer-on-death designation. 
  • House Bill 411, sponsored by Representative Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), which would modify the state's wrongful imprisonment law.  
  • Senate Bill 139, sponsored by Senator Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township), which would adopt the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act. (Our coverage: Here.) 
  • House Bill 391, sponsored by Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township), which would include the cost of accounting done to determine the extent of economic loss as a type of economic loss for which restitution may be granted. 

Meanwhile the Senate plugged away​

While most were watching the House Speaker election, the Ohio Senate was quietly plugging along with its work, passing eight bills, including bills on school safety (HB 318), curtailing toxic algae in Lake Erie (SB 299) and legislation regarding oil and gas production equipment tax exemptions (HB 430), perhaps solving the matter which previously triggered a gubernatorial veto. They also passed two bills the OSBA has been working closely on:  
  • House Bill 10, sponsored by Representative Steven Arndt (R-Port Clinton), which would permit intrastate equity crowdfunding under certain circumstances passed unanimously. We covered this bill a while back when the OSBA Corporation Law Committee testified on it. A special thanks to Corporation Law Committee member Tom Geyer for his work. In an unusual step, the Senate Rules Committee also added an unrelated amendment to the bill that would require a performance audit of JobsOhio in fiscal year 21 and every four years after, this was a recommendation of State Auditor (and candidate for Attorney General) Dave Yost.
  • Senate Bill 263the Notary Public Modernization Act, sponsored by Senators Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Steve Wilson (R-Maineville), also passed the Senate unanimously. As you may recall, the OSBA joined the consortium of metro bar associations in testifying on this legislation a few weeks back. 

OSBA-recommended omnibus probate bill reported by committee​

Additionally, we are pleased to report that House Bill 595the OSBA's Estate Planning Trust & Probate Law Section's recommended omnibus probate bill (part II), sponsored by Representatives Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and Jeffery Rezabek (R-Clayton) was voted out of the House Civil Justice Committee. Next stop: The House floor. Read our previous coverage of the bill here  

​Sports Betting Webcast TODAY 

Don't forget, OSBA Assistant Executive Director of Policy and Public Affairs Todd Book will be hosting a Quick Web Cast today at 1 p.m. to discuss what the future may hold for sports betting in Ohio now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the federal ban (effectively everywhere except Nevada) is unconstitutional. We are excited that Book will be joined by Senator Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township), who chairs the Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee, and attorney Kevin Braig of Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick, LLC. There's still time to register: https://yourosba.ohiobar.org/product/28431.

​Week Ahead

The House has cancelled its two "if needed" sessions set for next week on Wednesday and Thursday and scheduled sessions for Wednesday, June 20 and June 27. Meanwhile the Senate has an "if needed" days slated for June 13 and June 27.

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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