Columbus, OH – Ohio Governor Ted Strickland today signed House Bill 519, the implementing language for the casino constitutional amendment that won voter approval last November.  The governor also signed House Bill 5 and Senate Bills 204, 187 and 183 today.

House Bill 519

State Representatives Kenny Yuko and Todd Book sponsored House Bill 519, which creates the Ohio Casino Control Commission and establishes casino gaming laws under the recently-passed amendment to the Ohio Constitution.

The governor released the following statement on the legislation:

“This legislation establishes a regulatory structure to protect the interests of Ohioans and make sure that casinos are operated with high levels of integrity, while maintaining local control and decision-making authority.  I believe it will facilitate the creation of Ohio jobs and economic opportunity in our communities.  As we implement the provisions in this bill, ensuring the inclusion of minority businesses and workers must be a priority if Ohio is to take full advantage of the economic benefits of this new industry.

“However, I am disappointed that this bill also creates a new income tax deduction for gambling losses on bets placed at casinos, horse races, bingo halls and other forums, both in state and out of state. This new tax deduction represents a policy shift for the state of Ohio, which has never before used its income tax laws to subsidize losses incurred from gambling. The Ohio Department of Taxation estimates that this tax deduction will reduce the state budget by $60 million to $80 million per budget cycle starting in fiscal year 2014.

“At a time of economic challenge, it is deeply irresponsible to deprive our state of needed resources that could be used to help meet the many needs which exist within our communities.  I question the judgment of those who promoted this special interest legislation.  If I had the authority to exercise a line-item veto on this provision of the bill, I would have.  I will be working diligently to reverse this fiscally irresponsible and misguided decision in budget discussions next year.  Subsidizing gambling losses is not a wise use of our taxpayer’s limited resources.”

House Bill 5

State Representatives Dan Dodd and Mark Okey sponsored HB 5, which allows individuals elected or appointed to an elective office to establish a transition fund to receive donations and to pay costs incurred for transition activities and inaugural celebrations.  The bill sets forth guidelines for how transition funds may be used and regulates who may contribute to an elected or appointed official’s transition fund.  The bill also permits boards of election that are conducting a Congressional special election on or before August 4, 2010 to use a limited number of polling places, and declares an emergency due to the high cost of special election.

Senate Bill 204

State Senator Mark Wagoner sponsored SB 204, which updates Ohio’s motor vehicle dealership laws by providing termination assistance to dealers in the event a manufacturer ceases to operate, discontinues a product line or otherwise acts in a way that results in the franchise being devalued in both non-bankruptcy and bankruptcy scenarios. The bill also grants flexibility to dealers to efficiently utilize their facilities and prohibits unreasonable facility requirements or upgrades in addition to requiring timely reimbursements to dealers for sales incentives and warranty-related payments made by the dealer.

Senate Bill 183

State Senator Tim Shaffer sponsored SB 183, which makes changes to the laws regulating ownership of architecture firms by narrowing the grandfather exemption in Ohio’s Architects Law.

Senate Bill 187

State Senator Bill Seitz sponsored SB 187, which establishes requirements that govern the formation and operation of “planned communities.” The bill also defines what comprises a “planned community” and requires it to be administered by an owners’ association through a board of directors while establishing rules for board of directors meetings.