In 2010, a total of thirty-seven bills were passed by Ohio’s 128th General Assembly and subsequently signed into law by Governor Ted Strickland. Below, I have compiled a short summary of the legal highlights of the year:
Senate Bill 58: This bill makes it a crime to collect blood, urine, tissue, or other bodily substance of another without privilege or consent to do so. In addition, this bill now allows EMTs (paramedics) to withdraw blood from individuals suspected of violating state OVI laws when operating watercraft or motor vehicles.
Senate Bill 77: This bill requires that all felons who are arrested on or after July 1, 2011 to submit a DNA specimen to law enforcement. This bill also defines a number of legal terms to conform with longstanding U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
Senate Bill 210: Under this new law, the sale of certain foods and beverages to students during the school day is now restricted. By 2014, students in grades K-8 will generally be limited to drink options such as water, fruit juice and milk. Students in grades 9-12 will have the same beverage options and will also be permitted to consume caffeinated beverages. However, the beverages must fit within specific calorie limitations. In addition, this new law requires school districts to establish body mass index and weight status categories as a part of screening programs for grade school students. This information will then be provided to the Department of Education for annual reports. Parents can opt their child out of the BMI screening process.
House Bill 19: This law requires school districts to incorporate “violence within a dating relationship” into its policy prohibiting student harassment, intimidation, or bullying. In addition, it requires school districts to include dating violence prevention education in the district’s health curriculum for grades 7-12.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW
House Bill 393: This bill changed the time tables in which a landowner has to abate a nuisance after notified by township trustees. Under the old law, a landowner had seven days to abate a nuisance; now, the landowner has just four days. Other noteworthy provisions of the bill now permit for the county sheriffs’ and coroners’ offices to be located at a location other than the county seat of justice. Finally, this bill adopted the spotted salamander as the state amphibian and the bullfrog as the state frog.
House Bill 238: This bill makes changes to Ohio’s laws governing divorce procedure. Now, under R.C. 3105.171, each spouse must disclose a full and complete list of all marital property, separate property, and other assets, debts, income and expenses. If a spouse substantially and willfully fails to make the required disclosures, the court may compensate the offended spouse with an award up to three times the value of the property not disclosed by the other spouse.
House Bill 10: Among other things, this bill provides new mechanisms for parents to file for civil protection orders (aka. restraining orders) on behalf of a minor child. In addition, it provides that any protection order be sealed if it is against a minor child.
Senate Bill 232: This bill makes a number of changes to property tax liability for energy generation sources (think power plant, wind turbine, etc…). Essentially, the bill exempts new “green” generation sources from paying property tax on the generation assets. Generally, to receive this tax exemption, the energy project must have begun construction between January 1, 2009 and January 1, 2012. Another highlight of this bill is the expansion of the solar panel revolving loan program. Previously, this loan program was only available to residents of municipal corporations (cities). Now, with the expansion of the program, a participant is only required to own land within the municipality – the residency requirement has been struck.