County Commissioners' Association of Ohio - 88 CCAO - Serving Ohio Counties Since 1880

Current Issues

An overview of CCAO's current top-priority issues, by subject matter.

 

130th general assembly

INDIGENT DEFENSE REFORM


States have been constitutionally mandated to provide legal representation to indigent persons.  Since the 1960s, Ohio required counties to provide indigent defense, initially reimbursing them for 50 percent of the costs incurred for providing indigent counsel.  In 1979, however, the state modified funding to appropriate a total amount for reimbursement and then proportionally reduced that rate to counties. The current amount stands at 40 percent.  

The state has also significantly decreased its general revenue fund (GRF) commitment by relying on non-GRF revenue flowing into the Indigent Defense Support Fund to pay for reimbursement. 

When the FY 16-17 biennial budget (HB 64) was introduced, that reimbursement rate remained at 40 percent.  CCAO is seeking an amendment to add an additional $12 million per year in GRF funding to achieve 50 percent reimbursement.

55 House members signed on as cosponsors of CCAO's budget amendment to restore the original partnership and provide 50 percent reimbursement.
 

 

 

CCAO also strives to transition the responsibility of indigent defense from the counties to the state. That process includes three provisions:  immediately increasing county reimbursement to 50 percent; allowing the State Public Defender Commission to establish statewide, uniform hourly rates and per-case caps for appointed counsel; and evaluating local delivery systems and basing reimbursement on system standards and accountability.

 

This proposal would require an additional $20 million in each year of the biennium.

CCAO initiatives:

Appropriate an additional $12 million per year to achieve a 50% reimbursement rate to counties.

Begin to transition the responsibility for indigent defense from counties to the  state.  

 

Next Generation 9-1-1: Work Continues

 

The  ESInet Steering Committee’s consultant L.R. Kimball has issued reports containing their recommendations for actions the State needs to take in order transition to next generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) service in Ohio.  An overview of the four reports can be found in the PowerPoint document Overview: 9-1-1 Transition Planning.  The four reports can be found below:

ESInet Technical and Operational Requirements

Public Safety Answering Point Consolidation

Funding Review

Framework for the Management of the Ohio State-level ESInet


Particularly relevant to county commissioners are L.R. Kimball’s recommendations regarding minimum standards for 9-1-1 call centers and statewide funding. 

The reports indicates that 9-1-1 call centers operating PSAPs 1-1 should be required to:
 

  • Meet minimum staffing requirements of two on duty at all times

  • Meet minimum training standards for call takers and dispatchers

  • Provide emergency medical instructions to callers (EMD) either directly or through another agency

  • Consider funding incentives for consolidation efforts that are in keeping with the State’s overall service level goals

  • Restrict access to the ESInet to primary PSAPs only in order to avoid response time lost due to transfer of 9-1-1 callers.

The report also states that a statewide fee should be applied to any device that can access 9-1-1. In order to provide the most adequate long-term funding source for 9-1-1 into the future, the fee should meet the following criteria:

  • Be technology, vendor and competitively neutral

  • Be used only for its intended purposes and should not be re-allocated at the state or local level for non-9-1-1 purposes

  • Be easy to understand and administer

  • Be fair and equitable to all individuals and devices capable of accessing the current and future 9-1-1 network

  • Be stable, and therefore not require frequent legislative adjustments

And finally, the report states the funds generated from the 9-1-1 fee should be used for:

  • Administrative & staffing costs for Ohio 9-1-1 Department

  • Capital expenditure fund for future network upgrades

  • Key network functionality procured at state level

  • PSAP costs such as: a 9-1-1 network, 9-1-1 equipment and equipment maintenance, GIS & GIS maintenance, telecommunicator training standards and certification, and emergency back-up equipment.

CCAO Supports Medicaid Expansion

The CCAO Board of Directors has formally endorsed an expansion of Medicaid eligibility.  Such a proposal would expand Medicaid coverage to all Ohioans below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level.

CCAO statement on Controlling Board action regarding Medicaid Expansion (October 21, 2013)

March 2013 Analysis - Impact of Expansion to Counties.  The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a county-level analysis of economic and other impacts of Medicaid expansion.  Click here to view the analysis.

To view the February 20, 2012 CCAO press release, click here.

To view the January 25, 2012 CCAO press release, click here.

To view the policy statement adopted by the CCAO Board of Directors on the issue, click here.

 

CCAO Involvement in Solid Waste Reform

CCAO - and particularly, the CCAO Special Committee on Solid Waste Law - is actively engaged in solid waste reform conversations being led by the Ohio EPA.

March 29, 2013 comments on EPA proposal to revise district plan cycles.  CCAO and OSWDO responded to Ohio EPA's “Proposal for Solid Waste Management District (SWMD) Plan Development Cycle Revisions.”  CCAO thanks the members of the committee for their time on this issue, and OSWDO for their leadership in preparing the draft for the committee's consideration.  The comment letter was emailed to Ohio EPA on behalf of CCAO/OSWDO.

Background Information on Ohio Solid Waste Law.  CCAO has created two documents to help promote a better understanding of key solid waste issues:

Both documents were distributed to all members of the 130th General Assembly earlier this year.

For more information on solid waste issues, please contact Brad Cole at bcole@ccao.org or (614) 221-5627.

 

Proposed Local Government Fund Redistribution

 

A stand-alone bill introduced in late 2012 would reset the county default distribution of local government funds to 30% - meaning over 70 Ohio counties would receive less than their current allocation.  In addition, counties and the largest cities within each county would have no more say over an alternative formula than the other political subdivisions within the county.  Click here to view SB 364 (Seitz).

Recent News:

December 11, 2012 - CCAO Executive Director Larry L. Long provided testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on SB 364, a bill which proposes a new statutory default formula for local government fund distributions.

Click here to view Long's 12/11/12 testimony.

Earlier in 2012, Senator Seitz worked to have the proposal amended into mid-biennium review legislation, but CCAO successfuly advocated against its inclusion.

The issue is expected to resurface again in the next General Assembly.

Additional Information
 

- June 1, 2012 Statehouse Report

- August 10, 2012 Statehouse Report

 

Click here for archived policy issues.