Friday, May 27, 2005

Dormatory Fire Safety Legislation

Yesterday morning’s Enquirer notes four bills introduced in Congress spurred by the deaths last month of three Miami University students in a house fire off-campus.

H.R 128 would “establish a demonstration incentive program within the Dept. of Education to
promote installation of fire sprinkler systems in student housing & dormitories.”

S.B. 512 and H.R. 1131 together propose tax incentives for the installation on sprinkler systems

H.R. 2637 seeks to provide for disclosure of fire safety standards and measures with respect to campus

H.Res. 15 seeks to name September as Campus Fire Safety Month.

“More than 75 college or university students have been killed in housing fires since the year 2000,” the article quotes the Center for Campus Fire Safety; Ohio leading the way with 12. Indiana has had seven, and Kentucky two.

Street Gang Legislation

An article posted on the Post’s portion of yesterday morning reported the City’s earmarking of $1.2 million to combat street crime and increase the visibility of police presence in troubled areas (Ordinance 0197-2005).

Related articles nationally a couple of weeks ago centered on federal legislation sponsored by Virginia Rep. J. Randy Forbes, that represented a comprehensive anti-gang bill that “would turn many gang-related violent offenses into federal crimes punishable by mandatory sentences of at least 10 years, expand the range of crimes carrying the death penalty, and enabling U.S. prosecutors to try 16- and 17-year-old gang members as about is federal courts.” It would also authorize increased federal funding to support federal, state and local law enforcement efforts against gangs, and coordinate agencies’ efforts to share information & jointly investigate them.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Multijurisdictional Law Practice

The Florida has become the 20th. state to enact multijurisdictional practice rule changes since the ABA endorsed its own model back in 2002, according to the May 18th. Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, published by ABA/BNA.

Indiana is among the other 19 states having followed this trend, but Ohio and Kentucky have not.

Additional information on the ABA’s position on multijurisdictional practice is available on their website, including tables on the various states’ implementation of the model rule, and state implementation of ABA recommendations regarding MJP.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pending Legislation

Some new bills pending, in case you missed them in the OSBA Report:

H.B 205 and H.B. 210 pertain to freezing taxes on primary residences owned & occupied
by persons 65 years of age or older.

H.B. 212 and S.B. 136 concern accelerating the effective date of county sales taxes.

H.B. 214 seeks to remove clerks of courts from procedures regarding the filing by
private persons of affidavits alleging a person committed a criminal offense.

H.B. 216 deals with the removal of life support systems from adult patients in
permanently unconscious states.

H.B. 219 is on the consolidation of local government services in attempts to reduce

H.B. 220 would permit debtors domiciled in Ohio to exempt the same property from
bankruptcy judgments that are exempted under federal bankruptcy law.

S.B. 137 will increase the penalty for failing to report child abuse or neglect incidents
from a fourth degree misdemeanor to one of the first degree.

Health Insurance legislation

Legislation introduced in the House on May 12th. by Rep. John Shadegg, being called the “Health Care Choice Act of 2005,” would enable people to buy health insurance from any state in the union regardless of where they live, as long as the insurer meets the regulatory requirements of its home state.

Insurance statutes are in Chapter 39 of the Ohio Revised Code; Title 25 Chapter 304 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes, and Title 27 of the Indiana Code. has reported that Texas has the highest percentage of adults without health insurance in the country, according to a study released last month by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an organization which seeks to promote health insurance coverage for all Americans. Minnesota has the lowest rate.

Here in Ohio, Senate Bill 68, introduced Feb. 17th., would establish universal health care coverage for all Ohio residents.

Individual Retirement Planning bill

Also on the Federal front, in response to “Americans continuing to put saving money at the bottom of their ‘to-do lists’,” Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper is set to introduce legislation being referred to as the “Negative Options Savings Plan.”

Americans are saving only 0.1% of their disposable income, one of the lowest rates since the Dept. of Commerce began keeping records back in 1959. “That’s a recipe for future hardship,” Cooper is quoted as saying in the May 20th. Cincinnati Business Courier. “The old-fashion virtues of thrift and economy are gone,” Cooper said, “So if saving isn’t a concern and high debt loads are the norm, maybe it’s time to rethink the way the government encourages saving.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Megan's Law

An article posted this morning on looks at statutory track records of three states in “Meagan’s Law” considerations and some of the problems involved in getting them passed. One of the examples used in the article is Ohio S.B. 17, introduced Jan. 25, 2005, and now in the House of Representatives.

The topic has been receiving increased attention in the media the past week or so both nationally and here locally. We touched on some of the aspects of this topic last week, noting several other Ohio bills that were pending.

Employee Identity Theft regulations

Effective June 1, 2005, new Federal Trade Commission provisions on employee identity theft will take effect.

The new regulations, implementing §216 of the Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, are “designed to reduce the risk of consumer fraud and related harms, including identity theft, created by improper disposal of consumer information,” the standard applying to “any person who maintains or otherwise possesses consumer information for a business purpose.”

The Federal Trade Commission also has a special Identity Theft website which is a good resource containing both federal and individual state legislative links.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ohio Sexual Predator update

An article in this morning’s Enquirer shines some local light on the continuing sexual predator issue in the nation. Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis and Prosecutor Joe Deters were meeting yesterday to discuss plans to “literally map out areas around Hamilton County schools,” in an effort to facilitate enforcement of Ohio’s sexual predators law in general, and the requirement that offenders cannot live within 1,000 feet of any school facility.

Ohio’s sexual predator law is embodied in Chapter 2950 of the Revised Code, with the residency requirements being specified in § 2950.031. The residency restriction went into effect on July 31, 2003, with minor amendments taking effect April 29, 2005.

There are still four additional bills pending. H.B. 118, introduced March 8th., again amends §2950.031 adding additional landlord rights including those of evicting offenders;

H.B. 191, introduced April 12th., makes violation of the registry & notification sections a fifth-degree felony;

H.B. 217 proposes the creation of specially colored license plates for sex offenders;

and H.B. 15, which was introduced Jan. 25, 2005 and represents Ohio’s “Laura’s Law,” would establish an internet database including information for each inmate under sentence for any “designated violence- or sex-related offense,” and where an individual could send written statements regarding an inmates release, pardon, commutation, parole, or transfer.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Ohio's "Streamlined Sales & Use Tax" Update

Vendors and their interested parties who sell and ship goods across county lines, are being reminded that, effective Jan. 1st. in compliance with Ohio’s participation in the Streamlined Sales & Use Tax project, they were able to collect Ohio sales taxes based on the destination of those goods.

Effective July 1, 2005, destination-based sourcing of sales becomes mandatory. Pursuant to Ohio Dept. of Taxation Information Bulletin ST 2005-01, vendors subject to the new sourcing rules may be eligible for one-time compensation to offset some of those costs associated with their compliance efforts. To be eligible for compensation, a vendor must hold one or more regular county vendor’s license issued prior to July 1st., and have at least one permanent Ohio location. It is not available for sales made pursuant to service, deliveries, or transient vendor’s licenses.

Thirty-two states currently participate in the project which was implemented back in 2000. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a list summarizing the year and bill designation with which each of those states enacted their legislation.

Additional information & forms relative to vendors’ licenses are available from the county auditor’s office in the area being served.

Hamilton Co. Auditor @
Butler @
Warren @
Clermont @

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Practicing before the Internal Revenue Service

The April 26th issue of U.S. Law Week has an article about the Internal Revenue Service's recent practice amendments.

Amendments (T.D. 9165) to the Internal Revenue Service’s Circular 230, which “governs practice by attorneys & others before the IRS, in an effort to combat abusive practitioner behavior and improve ethical standards of professionals practicing before the IRS,” now requires that “’covered’ opinions must include all relevant facts, evaluate each significant federal tax issue, and include a conclusionary statement concerning the likelihood that the taxpayer will prevail on the merits of each tax issue presented.” The Internal Revenue Service has a press release and copies of the revised circular 230 on its website, and a copy of the amendments are included in the Federal Register

Monday, May 02, 2005

Sex Offender Registrations

If passed, Ohio's Sex Offender Registration & Notification Law (ORC 2950.01 et. seq.) will be amended by H.B. 191, making a violation of a registrant's probation to reside within 1,000 feet of any school premise a felony of the fifth degree.