Fall 2015 Ohio legislative update

Listed below are legislative bills currently pending in the 131st Ohio General Assembly. If you would like to view full text of each individual legislation, please click on the links below.

S.B.85Property-Tax Complaints

Sponsored by Senator Bill Coley (R)

Introduced to the Senate on February 23, 2015, Senate Bill 85 addresses property tax complaints and is currently pending in the Ways and Means Committee. The Bill would amend sections 307.699, 3735.67, 5715.19, 5715.27, and 5717.01 of the Revised Code to only permit property tax complaints to be initiated by the property owner, the property owner’s spouse or representative, or the county recorder. Right now, the current law allows property owners, the property owner’s spouse or representative, the county recorder, a real estate broker, the board of county commissioners, the prosecuting attorney or treasurer of the county, the board of township trustees, the board of education, or the mayor to file a property tax complaint.

S.B.180Anti Discrimination-Employment

Sponsored by Senator Joe Uecker (R)

On June 10, 2015, Senate Bill 180 was introduced to the Senate and is now currently pending in the Senate Civil Justice Committee. Senate Bill 180 would make it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to fire an employee without just cause, refuse to hire a potential employee, or to discriminate against someone regarding matters related to employment just because that person exercised a constitutional right within a house or car not owned by their employer. The Bill would also allow a person to file a charge with the Civil Right Commission if they find that another person has engaged in an unlawful discriminatory practice. The Civil Rights Commission would then investigate the unlawful discriminatory practice.

S.B.201Nuisance-Vacant Property

Sponsored by Senator Jim Hughes (R)

Under current law, a “nuisance” property is defined as a real property where prostitution, the illegal manufacturing or selling of alcohol, and/or the production of indecent films takes place. Senate Bill 201, introduced to the Senate on August 10, 2015, would expand the definition of “nuisance property” to include any real property where an offence of violence has occurred or is occurring. Real Property also includes vacant land. For purposes of this Bill, an offence of violence has many definitions, some of which are: robbery, kidnapping, murder, assault, child abuse, riots, burglary, domestic violence, arson, and human trafficking. S.B. 201 would also continue to allow the Attorney General to call an abatement proceeding on the nuisance property, which could eventually result in the property being deemed unavailable for use for one year. As of October 14, 2015, S.B. 201 is pending in the Civil Justice Committee.

H.B.134Foreclosure-Vacant Properties

Sponsored by Representative Cheryl Grossman (R) and Representative Michael Curtin (D)

House Bill 134, which addresses a number of issues regarding judicial foreclosure actions, is currently pending in the House Judiciary Committee. First, if a residential property appears to be vacant or abandoned, the Bill would allow the mortgage holder to bring a summary foreclosure action against the property. It would also modify the judicial sale procedure by requiring the sheriff to record the deed of a foreclosed property within a certain time period. If the deed is not recorded within a certain time period, the property will be transferred to the purchaser by the recording of the order of confirmation of sale. In regards to unoccupied property, the Bill would allow a municipal corporation to seek an order of remediation against the owner of the property. Lastly, if H.B.134 passes, it would place additional duties on the clerk of common pleas court pertaining to the notification and service of parties involved in a foreclosure action.

H.B.149Attorney’s Fees- Actual Damages

Sponsored by Representative Jonathan Dever (R) and Representative John Patterson (D)

Introduced to the House on April 13, 2015 and currently pending in the House Financial Institutions and HUD Committee, House Bill 149 relates to damages and attorney’s fees in housing discrimination cases. The Ohio Fair Housing Law currently prohibits discrimination when it comes to purchasing, selling, or renting a house. Under this Bill, if the Civil Right Commission finds that someone is engaging in unlawful housing discrimination, the Commission is permitted to require that person to pay actual damages and attorney’s fees. The current law requires the assessment of actual damages and attorney’s fees and permits the assessment of punitive damages in regards to housing discrimination claims.

H.B.226Condominium Liens

Sponsored by Representative John Rogers (D)

On May 21, 2015, House Bill 226 was introduced to the House and is now pending in the House Commerce and Labor Committee. H.B. 226 would provide that a lien filed by a condominium association against the owner’s interest in the unit has priority over other liens and encumbrances that were previously recorded, with the exception of political subdivision assessments and real estate tax liens. It would also provide that the condominium lien is a continuing lien and is subject to automatic adjustments for additional fees, costs, assessments and unpaid interest.

H.B.281Income Tax Deduction-Higher Education

Sponsored by Representative John M. Rogers (D)

Introduced to the House on July 7, 2015 and currently pending in the House Ways and Means Committee, House Bill 281 would allow recent college graduates to take a personal income tax deduction for specific out-of-pocket higher education expenses. Out-of-pocket higher education expenses would consist of: school supplies, books, tuition, fees, any type of equipment that the student would use in or for class, and room and board expenses.

H.B.330Equal Pay Certificate

Sponsored by Stephanie Howse (D) and Representative Kathleen Clyde (D)

House Bill 330 would amend multiple sections of the Revised Code regarding contractors and individuals submitting bids or proposals for state contracts and business entities applying for a grant. As introduce to the House on September 14, 2015, H.B. 330 would require contractors, individuals, and business entities to do the following: prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee who discusses their wage rate or salary with another employee, eliminate sex-based wage discrepancies and obtain an equal pay certificate. This Bill is currently pending in the House State Government Committee.