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Stay informed with OAJ's bimonthly e-newsletter containing information from the Ohio Statehouse, OAJ head quarters and newspapers from around the state. Look for the newsletter in your inbox on Thursday mornings every other week.

Constitutional amendment on November ballot
The Drug and Criminal Justice Policies Initiative has enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot.  It would amend the Ohio Constitution by reducing to a misdemeanor any offense related to drug possession and use.   A second Constitutional amendment came close but does not have enough signatures, so proponents are gathering more to qualify for the November ballot. Called the Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Amendment, this ballot measure is designed to improve patient care at dialysis clinics.

OAJ is reviewing the issues before taking a position, but generally OAJ believes these matters should be handled in law, not in the Ohio Constitution.

Click here to link to Ballotpedia: Ohio Issue 1 (2018)

Distracted driving legislation signed
If distracted driving is found to be a contributing factor to a moving violation, an additional $100 fine will be added to the penalty for the violation.  The legislation was signed by the Governor and will become effective about October 29, 2018.  OAJ supported the bill. 

Click here to link to HB 95

Registration is open & the lineup is live!
Registration for the 2018 Winter Convention is open! This year's lineup features speakers from all over the country, including John Morgan from Florida, Steven Gursten from Michigan, and Amy Keller from Chicago. Don't wait, register today

Save $30 when you register today
There are only 2 weeks left to save $30 on registration for the 2018 Trucking Seminar. This year's lineup features all female speakers, a first of its kind for this type of CLE. Topics include bus crashes, loading/docking injuries, distracted driving, and much more. Don't miss out and reserve your spot today!


OAJ legislative advocacy – an update
Here are some of the bills on which OAJ is advocating in order to protect your clients’ 7th Amendment rights.

The Ohio General Assembly recessed at the end of June and is not scheduled to reconvene until September and then only for one day.   The real work will take place after the November general election when the legislature reconvenes for lame duck session.

Cap on damages (HB 20): excludes victims of rape and sexual assault from $250,000 cap on non-economic damages.  Still sits in House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee

Punitive damages (SB 280): expands the exemption from punitive or exemplary damages limitations from felonies involving purposeful or knowing conduct to felonies for a strict liability offense.  Pending in Senate Judiciary Committee

SOL for contracts (HB 694): shortens the statute of limitations for written and oral contracts from 8 and 6 years, respectively, to 3 years.  Pending in House Civil Justice Committee

Medical negligence (HB 7): adds to current apology statute by making a physician’s confession of error or fault inadmissible; establishes a new 180-day discovery period during which time the statute of limitations is tolled, and more.  Passed House; pending referral to Senate committee

Medical Records (HB 172): patients given the option to request basic medical record or request all medical data.  Pending in House Health Committee

Minors in school bus accidents (HB 8): prohibits the release of police reports about minors injured in school bus crashes.  Signed by Governor.  Effective September 28, 2018.

Legal materials (SB 139): specifies requirements for state agencies that publish official electronic versions of legal materials, such as the Ohio Constitution, the Revised Code, and administrative rules.  Signed by Governor.  Effective September 28, 2018.

Undocumented workers (HB 380): prohibits illegal and unauthorized aliens from receiving workers’ compensation.  Passed House; pending in Senate Insurance & Financial Institutions Committee

Group self-insurance (HB 459): allows groups of employers to become self-insuring employer for workers’ compensation.  Pending in House Insurance Committee

Rename BWC (HB 269): replaces title of BWC with the Office of Safety and Rehabilitation and reduces PTD benefits for some retirees.  Pending in House Insurance Committee

PTSD (HB 161, SB 118):  makes police, firefighters, and EMTs diagnosed with PTSD arising from employment without an accompanying physical injury eligible for workers’ compensation.  Pending in House Insurance Committee and Senate Insurance & Financial Institutions Committee, respectively

Cyber security safe harbor (SB 220):  provides an affirmative defense for corporations that “reasonably comply” with certain cyber security frameworks.  SB 220 has passed the Ohio General Assembly and now awaits action by Governor Kasich.  OAJ has urged the Governor to veto the bill. 

Notary commissions (SB 263): consolidates commissioning of public notaries under the Secretary of State’s office, rather than be managed by county courts; requires applicants to submit a background check, participate in training course, and pass a test; attorneys must take some education.  Passed Senate; pending in House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee

ADA compliance (HB 271): makes it entirely optional for an aggrieved party to send a notice to a property owner of an alleged accessibility law violation in advance of filing a civil action.  Passed House; pending in Senate Judiciary Committee

Anti-discrimination (HB 2): amends Ohio’s anti-discrimination in employment laws, but does not harm plaintiff’s ability to pursue a claim for discrimination or harassment.  Reported by House committee and now awaits vote by full House

If you have questions or comments on legislation, please contact John Van Doorn, OAJ’s Director of Government Affairs.

Supreme Court sends WC class-action to Court of Claims
A class-action lawsuit filed against the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) seeking the return of administrative fees collected by JP Morgan Chase was improperly filed and must be pursued in the Ohio Court of Claims, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in Cirino v. BWC (Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-2665).  The BWC was paying compensation using debit cards issued by JP Morgan Chase, which charged a $5 fee for the card’s use.  Plaintiffs contend the BWC must reimburse claimants for the fee. 

Click here to link to CNO story: Lawsuit Over Workers’ Compensation Fees Must Move to Court of Claims

Time is running out to register!
We are less than a week away from our webinar series with David Ball! The series is July 24th-27th and each webinar will run from 3:00pm-4:30pm. Click here for more information and to register. You can sign up for individual days or purchase the 4-day bundle package.

2018 Trucking Seminar: Education for the Less Common Trucking Cases
Join OAJ for a day of CLE learning from respected attorneys and experts. Hit the ground running on your next trucking case! Register here.

Save the date
Mark your calendars! The 2018 Winter Convention is October 24th-26th at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown. Stay tuned for more information coming soon.