The OLC actively tracks bills that affect Ohio’s public libraries and updates you on the legislative process every step of the way. Please direct any questions to Michelle Francis, OLC’s Director of Government and Legal Services.
OLC Bill Tracker (PDF)
As 2019 begins, so does a new legislative session. On Jan. 7, 132 lawmakers were sworn into office as the 133rd Ohio General Assembly. In addition, the Ohio House of Representatives elected Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) as the next speaker. Any legislation that had not passed by the close of the 132nd session will have to be re-introduced in the 133rd session to be considered. To put this into perspective, of the 1,142 bills introduced during the last legislative session only about 160 were passed.
A summary of actions during the lame duck session is available below:
House Bill 291: Bonding/Insurance Policy Legislation
Sponsored by Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster), this bill allows public libraries to purchase an “employee dishonesty and faithful performance of duty policy” instead of individual surety bonds for library fiscal officers. The bill originally allowed this flexibility only for schools and other local governments. The OLC worked with the sponsor to include public libraries and submitted proponent written testimony in the Senate. The new law will become effective in March 2019.
Senate Bill 263: Notary Bill
Co-sponsored by Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Sen. Steve Wilson (R-Maineville), this bill overhauls notary services in Ohio and provides significant authority to the Secretary of State. The new law will become effective in March 2019. The OLC is working with its legal counsel to develop a summary of the legislation specific for public libraries that offer notary services. Also, the OLC plans to work with the new Secretary of State’s office to do a webinar on the changes specifically for OLC members.
House Bill 228: Gun Legislation
Co-sponsored by Rep. Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) and Rep. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), this bill was passed by the legislature and then vetoed by Gov. Kasich. Both the House and the Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto making the bill law. The new law becomes effective at the end of March 2019. It makes a minor change to the list of entities required to post signage prohibiting deadly weapons, but still includes public libraries. The OLC is working with its legal counsel to provide a summary on the library specific provisions of the bill.
SB 21/HB 342: Poll Workers/Ballot Language
The bill became the vehicle for changes originally proposed in HB 342, sponsored by Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclovea Twp.), to change levy ballot language. The OLC, along with other local government organizations and the state associations representing public schools raised concerns with the bill behind the scenes in the Senate. Bond counsel that works with the various organizations shared issues about the proposals in HB 342, including how it would change ballot language and potentially confuse voters. The Senate understood the concerns and did not pass SB 21 before adjourning.
HB 736: Property Tax Levies and Taxing Authority
Sponsored by Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Cincinnati), the bill could have prohibited public library boards from placing tax issues on the ballot. It would have made it permissive as opposed to mandatory (under current law) for taxing authorities to place the issues on the ballot for libraries. The OLC appreciates all of the efforts by members who contacted legislators expressing their opposition to the bill.