ACEC Ohio Legislative Update--March 24, 2017
The Transportation Budget Bill passed the Ohio Senate this week with a vote of 33-0. The bill will go to conference committee this weekend, with the final vote planned for next week to meet end of March passage deadline. To view the full changes made in the Senate, Click Here. Key items of note:
- Requires voter approval for a county that seeks to levy the newly proposed $5 local motor vehicle registration fee.
- Increases share of motor fuel receipts that are dedicated to local road and bridge projects through the Public Work's Commission's Local Transportation Improvement Program (LTIP) by requiring 1.25 cents in FY 18 and 1.50 cents in FY 19 (current allocation is 1 cent per year). This will divert $48 million over the biennium to local road and bridge projects.
- Requires at least $33 million each fiscal year to be spent on transit/public transportation programs.
- Removes language requiring a Division of Freight within ODOT.
- Removes requirement that ODOT complete a study of the Eastern Bypass of greater Cincinnati.
- Requires ODOT to collaborate with a regional planning organization to perform a study to determine feasibility of constructing limited access entrance and exit interchanges every four miles on certain interstate highways.
- Creates a Smart Transportation Action Team (STAT) to make recommendations regarding the use of public investments related to advances in transportation technology such as autonomous vehicles.
House Bill 49 (GRF Budget Bill) Rep. Smith
The professional services sales tax is back with the Governor’s budget, House Bill 49. As part of the budget proposal moving through the Ohio House, there is a 0.5% sales tax increase with the addition of some professional services being added: lobbying services, cable television services, repossession services, travel services, interior design and landscape design services.
The House Ways & Means Committee has concluded its hearings on the tax package presented in HB 49. The committee received an overwhelming amount of testimony in opposition to the sales tax expansion/rate increase, while receiving virtually no testimony in favor of the proposal. The full House Finance Committee is tentatively slated to meet next week to hear public testimony on HB 49. ACEC Ohio continues to work with the Ohio Services Industry Coalition (a group of over 25 service industry organizations) to voice opposition to any sales tax on professional services, see letter sent to Ohio House Members.
Senate Bill 6 (Bridge Partnership Program) Sen. Hoagland
Senate Bill 6 passed the Ohio Senate this week with a vote of 33-0. The bill extends the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program through the end of FY 2019 and requires the Director of ODOT to submit a report recommending ways to continue to fund the program. ACEC Ohio is an interested party.
The bill requires a public authority to consider all piping materials that meet the engineering specifications for a state funded water or waste water project. There is a companion bill in the Ohio Senate, SB 95, sponsored by Senator Tehar. The ACEC Ohio Government Affairs committee reviewed this bill and provided the following letter to Representative Edwards expressing a willingness to sit down to discuss why the bill codifies what is current engineering practice. The meeting will take place next week. Letter on HB 121
Senate Bill 113 (Vehicle Registration Fee) Sen. Coley
This week, Senator Bill Coley (R-Liberty Twp.) introduced Senate Bill 113, which would increase vehicle registration fees and create a fuel tax cut that registrants would receive an identification card to swipe at the gas pump that would exempt them from the 28-cent-per-gallon Motor Fuel Tax. The Government Affairs legislative review subcommittee is currently looking at this piece of legislation.
Residency Bill (HB 180 from last session) update:
The state (under the Attorney General’s office) has filed an appeal of the decision of a Cuyahoga County court that ruled 131-HB180 as unconstitutional because if violates home rule.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo sided with Cleveland, granting a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the law. Russo wrote that the General Assembly did not have the authority to enact the law because it only seeks to dictate the terms by which municipalities may contract for workers within their region, not provide for the comfort, health, safety and welfare of employees. He also said the law violates home rule powers.
The city of Cleveland sued after Gov. John Kasich signed HB180 (Maag), which banned municipalities from requiring architects and contractors to hire to a certain percentage of local residents for the construction of public projects. Opponents of the law said the measures allow cities to make sure local workers are getting jobs on local construction projects, while supporters said such laws raise costs and hurt competition.
ACEC Ohio currently has legal counsel drafting an Amicus Brief as part of this appeal, other coalitions members such as the Ohio Contractor’s Association are also drafting briefs.