1. Congressional map finalized
The legislature approved a new map establishing Congressional district boundaries this week after spending three months in deadlock. House Bill 369 established the new map (http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/reshape/congressional/2011-12-15-statewide.pdf) and eliminated a second primary that was slated for June.
In September, Republicans passed legislation establishing Congressional boundaries for the state based on the 2010 decennial census. However, the Ohio Democratic Party had threatened to take the bill to referendum, claiming the map was drawn to favor Republicans in 12 of the 16 seats. Efforts were underway to gather the required signatures needed to take the map to the ballot.
The bill passed both chambers with bipartisan support and was signed by the Governor on December 15, 2011. The legislation included an emergency clause, allowing the map to take effect immediately. Ohio’s primary will take place on March 6, 2012.
2. Flurry of activity during final week
The following bills received consideration:
Substitute House Bill 18: Sponsored by Representative Nan Baker (R- Westlake), the bill would authorize a $500 per-employee grant for a business that occupies a facility that has been vacant for 12 months, increases its payroll by hiring new employees, and employs either 50 employees or 50% of its Ohio employees at the vacant facility. The bill passed the House and now moves to the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 48: Sponsored by Representatives Bob Mecklenborg (R- Cincinnati) and John Patrick Carney (D- Columbus), the bill makes changes to the law governing corporations including dissenting shareholders, the dissolution of a corporation, rights to indemnification or advancement of expenses, directors’ fiduciary duties, and recording of corporate mortgages. The bill now awaits approval of Senate amendments.
Substitute House Bill 225: Sponsored by Representatives Al Landis (R- Dover) and Bob Peterson (R- Sabina), the bill vests in county auditors the responsibility for reviewing and approving property tax exemption applications for some publicly-owned property and makes other changes to county governments. The legislation has passed both chambers and awaits approval by the Governor.
Substitute House Bill 275: Sponsored by Representatives Ron Young (R- Leroy) and Lynn Slaby (R- Copley Township), the legislation would allow suppliers and consumers to enter into a Right to Cure agreement if the consumer files an action against the supplier for an alleged violation of the Consumer Sales Practices Act. The bill has been approved by the House and now moves to the Senate.
Substitute House Bill 364: Sponsored by Representatives Kristina Roegner (R- Hudson) and Mike Duffey (R- Worthington), the bill establishes standards for the securitization of costs for electric distribution utilities. The legislation has cleared both chambers and awaits approval by the Governor.
Senate Bill 264: Sponsored by Senator Shannon Jones (R- Springboro), the bill revises the law governing quality incentive payments paid to nursing facilities under the Medicaid program. The bill has passed both chambers and awaits the Governor’s approval.
3. PUCO amends, approves AEP rate plan
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) this week adopted agreements that will determine electric generation and distribution rates for AEP-Ohio customers beginning January 1, 2012. Under the PUCO orders, AEP will merge its Ohio operating companies and transition to a new business model where competitive bid auctions set default generation rates.
The company filed an Electric Security Plan (ESP) agreement with the PUCO in September 2011 with support from a wide range of interests. Under the modified ESP adopted by the Commission, AEP will transition to a market-based generation rate structure over a four and a half year period between January 2012 and May 2016. AEP will sell its generation assets subject to a PUCO approved corporate separation plan.
Prior to approving the ESP, the PUCO lowered the base generation rate increases to half of what was proposed in the agreement filed three months ago. Customers will pay base generation rates of 2.27 cents/kilowatt hour (KWh) in 2012, 2.33 cents/KWh in 2013, and 2.41 cents/KWh in 2014.
Beginning in June 2015 and through May 2016, standard generation rates will be set through a series of competitive auctions in which energy suppliers will bid for the right to provide electricity to AEP customers.
4. People on the move
Three legislators were sworn into office this week:
- Lou Gentile (D- Steubenville), formerly serving in the Ohio House, was sworn in to the 30th Senate District, filling a vacant seat created when former Senator Jason Wilson was appointed to a cabinet position by Governor Kasich.
- Tony DeVitis (R- Green) was chosen by majority members to replace former Representative Todd McKenney in the 43rd House District.
- Jack Cera (D- Bellaire) was chosen to represent the 95th House District left vacant by former Representative Lou Gentile’s move to the Senate.
For more information, please contact:
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