October 11, 2021 Monday Message from the McDonald Hopkins Public Law Team

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Monday, October 11, 2021

To our friends, clients and colleagues in local and regional government, local and higher education, and the nonprofit sector, welcome to our latest Monday Message from the Public Law Group at McDonald Hopkins. In today’s email, assembled by attorneys Teresa Metcalf Beasley and Kevin Butler, you’ll find insights into areas of law we’re watching on your behalf.

In today’s edition:

  • Ohio COVID immunity has now expired: What’s next for Ohio’s individuals and entities
  • Application deadline looms for state’s Transformational Mixed-Use Development tax credit
  • Treasurer pushes Ohio Gains initiative to decrease borrowing costs for hospitals, universities and farmers
  • Sign up today for our free Public Law in Practice webinar on avoiding construction pitfalls

Ohio COVID immunity has now expired: what’s next for Ohio’s individuals and entities

In September 2020 we wrote about the General Assembly’s passage of H.B. 606, which had by then been debated for months and was designed to provide broad immunity from civil judgments related to the transmission of COVID-19. Once passed and signed into law, H.B. 606 shielded Ohio individuals and entities from allegations of negligence giving rise to the spread of the coronavirus if those allegations arose between March 9, 2020 and September 30, 2021.

That September 30 sunset date has now come and gone and the General Assembly has not renewed the civil immunity protections within H.B. 606 – which gives rise to the specter of additional coronavirus-related litigation in the state. While a new bill, H.B. 424, has been introduced and would create permanent immunity for COVID-related litigation, that bill has not been referred to committee and may not move through the legislature.

The upshot? Beginning this month all Ohio individuals, for-profit or nonprofit entities, estates, trusts, schools, higher-ed institutions, government entities and religious entities must stay even more vigilant if they’re going to thwart claims brought by persons based on exposure to, transmission of or contraction of a coronavirus. Contact Kevin Butler or any of us for assistance with questions about COVID-related liability.

Application deadline looms for state’s Transformational Mixed-Use Development tax credit

Developers interested in taking advantage of Ohio’s $100 million Transformational Mixed-Use Development Program, which provides a pool of tax credits for larger-scale new construction or vacant-building renovations, must apply at the Ohio Department of Development’s website by October 29. Projects that are designed to provide a “major economic impact on the site and the surrounding area” will be eligible for consideration. Click here for more details and contact any of us in the Public Law group, which contributes to the firm’s robust public and project finance practice, if we can be of assistance.

Treasurer pushes Ohio Gains initiative to decrease borrowing costs for hospitals, universities and farmers

Ohio Treasurer of State Robert Sprague is in the process of implementing a set of new and innovative tools – branded as Ohio Gains – that will soon be rolled out with legislation introduced by State Sens. Michael Rulli and Jerry Cirino. The proposed legislation will help farmers and agricultural businesses that participate in Sprague’s Ag-LINK linked deposit program and will also help to reduce financing costs for Ohio’s hospitals and Ohio’s public universities.

The Treasurer’s Ag-LINK program currently allows Ohio farmers and agricultural business owners to obtain low-interest loans with an annual cap of $150,000. The proposed legislation would eliminate the $150,000 annual cap, which would encourage more businesses to participate in the program to help drive down their costs of doing business.

Through Ohio Gains, when an Ohio health care institution or other large entity plans to issue a variable-rate demand obligation to finance capital projects, the Treasurer’s office would be able to utilize its strong liquidity position to help lower the overall borrowing costs. Ohio’s four-year public universities would also benefit from Ohio Gains, which would allow universities to leverage their state share of instruction, known as SSI, to enhance their credit rating and provide savings when issuing debt.

We’ll keep you apprised as Ohio Gains moves through the legislative process for the benefit of health care institutions, public four-year universities and Ohio farmers and agricultural businesses. Read more on the Treasurer’s proposals here.

Sign up today for our free Public Law in Practice webinar on avoiding construction pitfalls

On Thursday, October 28 at noon, we continue our Public Law in Practice series of free webinars exploring topics of interest to the readers of the Monday Message, some offering continuing education credit. In our fourth installment, our Public Law partners Amanda Gordon and Margaret O’Bryon will be joined by Owen Quinn, an attorney in the firm's Construction group, to deliver sound guidance on what to do when you’re about to enter into or you are managing construction contracts. Hear from them on everything from managing labor and union negotiations and mitigating workers’ comp issues to dealing with supply chain hiccups and writing around indemnification clauses – often thorny issues in public contracts. Stay ahead of the conversation by registering here. Application for 1.0 hour of Ohio CLE credit is pending.

Feel free to contact any member of the McDonald Hopkins Public Law team if you have questions or need assistance on any of the matters we’ve covered above or with your legal needs in general.

Teresa Metcalf Beasley
Chair, Public Law

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This Publication is designed to provide current information for our clients, friends and their advisors regarding important legal developments. The foregoing discussion is general information rather than specific legal advice. Because it is necessary to apply legal principles to specific facts, always consult your legal advisor before using this discussion as a basis for a specific action.

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