Ohio Public Law Update; Continuing Disclosure Filings; Recent Legislation and Decisions of Interest

    View Author Winter 2005

    Continuing Disclosure Filings

    There is now available a no-cost central electronic service for filing information required by continuing disclosure agreements given under Rule 15c2-12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Governmental issuers of bonds are obligated under those agreements to submit certain financial and operating information annually to each nationally recognized municipal securities information repository (NRMSIR) designated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and to any applicable state information depository (SID). In Ohio there is a SID, currently the Ohio Municipal Advisory Council.

    Various municipal securities industry groups concerned about inefficiencies in the process for submitting and retrieving information from NRMSIRs prompted the development of a centralized, Internet-based electronic filing system: www.DisclosureUSA.org. This website functions as a "central post office" to receive information filings from governmental bond issuers and to submit these filings to each NRMSIR and the SID. The SEC issued a letter concluding that filing with DisclosureUSA, in lieu of separate filings with each NRMSIR and the SID, satisfies Rule 15c2-12. This centralized filing may be used for annual information, audited financial statements, special event notices and other documents. If this information is filed with DisclosureUSA, there is no need for separate filings to be made with each NRMSIR or the SID.

    There is no charge for using this service if the filing is submitted electronically. DisclosureUSA will also provide confirmation of the date and time that it transmits the filing it receives to each NRMSIR and the SID. There is an optional electronic "tickler" system that may be used to receive notice of upcoming filing deadlines.

    Although filing through this website is currently voluntary, SSD lawyers will be working with our clients to begin using this service. We expect that use of a centralized website will become mandatory in the future.

    Recent Legislation of Interest

    Capital Budget Bill - House Bill No. 16
    On February 3, 2005, Governor Taft signed the capital budget bill, most of the provisions of which are effective May 6, 2005. The Bill appropriates $40,000,000 of additional funds for the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund and $10,000,000 for the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund, the brownfield programs administered by the Ohio Department of Development. The Bill also establishes a tax lien for an obligation to make minimum service payments in lieu of taxes under tax increment financing programs if those minimum payments finance public infrastructure improvements or housing renovations. The Bill further removes the authority of a city designed as an urban cluster in a rural statistical area to establish a city Enterprise Zone, which termination does not apply to any Enterprise Zone certified prior to the effective date of the Bill.

    Bond Financing - House Bill 431
    This Bill, effective July 1, 2005, makes Sections 9.98 to 9.983 of the Revised Code applicable to bonds issued under Chapter 133 of the Revised Code in order to provide additional structuring options with respect to such bonds.

    Liens for Economic Development Programs - Senate Bill No. 165
    Effective March 23, 2005, this Bill permits the creation of a mortgage lien for various incentive programs, including for any Chapter 165 and 166 loans (and any other loan made under Article VIII, Section 13 of the Ohio Constitution). Further, it permits the establishment of a lien for reimbursements owed under certain tax abatement and tax increment financing programs.

    Recent Decisions of Interest

    Public officer's notes are not accessible as public records where they were kept for his own convenience to recall events and were not kept as official records or accessed by other public officials. State ex rel. Cranford v. Cleveland, 103 Ohio State 3d 196

    Precirculation petition which was not properly attested by petitioners (no cursive signatures) did not strictly comply with requirements of R.C. 731.32 and therefore writ to place same on the ballot was denied. State ex rel. Steele v. Morrissey, 103 Ohio State 3d 355

    General Assembly's passage of appropriations bill, which also amended R.C. 3318.31(B) to exempt certain public employees from collective bargaining process, violated one-subject rule, Ohio Const., Art. II, Sec. 15(D). State ex rel. Ohio Civ. Serv. Employees Assn., AFSCME, Local 11, AFL CIO v. State Emp. Relations Bd., 104 Ohio State 3d 122

    Public Records Act may be used to obtain public records relating to a pending civil action after expiration of discovery deadline. Gilbert v. Summit Cty., 104 Ohio State 3d 660

    Prior to releasing any information in its possession pursuant to the Public Records Act, a court has a duty to redact any information about an individual the release of which would violate the individual's constitutionally protected right of privacy and any information that is made confidential by law; any such information maintained in an electronic format must likewise be redacted to the same extent; and no authority to pass cost of any such redaction on to anyone requesting to inspect the court's records. 2004 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 2004-045

    R.C. 3313.13 prohibits an assistant county prosecuting attorney from serving as a member of the board of education of a city school district. 2004 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 2004-049

    A municipality has no authority to enact a regulation requiring a specialty contractor licensed under R.C. Chapter 4740 to pass a municipal examination or to furnish references before acting as a specialty contractor in his licensed trade on a construction project within the municipality. 2005 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 2005-005