130th Ohio General Assembly
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H. B. No. 142  As Introduced
As Introduced

129th General Assembly
Regular Session
2011-2012
H. B. No. 142


Representative Lundy 

Cosponsors: Representatives Murray, Yuko, Hagan, R., Antonio, Celeste, Ramos 



A BILL
To create "ListenFirst" panels, to repeal Sections 1, 2, and 3 of this act, and to declare an emergency.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. A ListenFirst panel shall conduct a series of six town hall meetings on each of the following major policy issues:
(A) Collective bargaining law.
(B) Public employee pension systems.
(C) Privatization of the Ohio Turnpike.
(D) Privatization of corrections services.
The President and Minority Leader of the Senate and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, acting together, may identify additional major policy issues. A ListenFirst panel shall conduct a series of six town hall meetings on any such major policy issue thus identified.
The town hall meetings conducted by the ListenFirst panels are to create a framework for positive and productive dialogue between citizens and government, and to ensure that the opinions of citizens are heard and given full and fair consideration before decisions are made on major policy issues and the public policy choices they entail.
The Director of Administrative Services shall give reasonable advance notice of town hall meetings in the Register of Ohio and by other media that are reasonably likely to inform persons who would be interested in the major policy issues that are the subject of the meetings. Such a notice shall inform interested persons where and when the meetings will be held and shall identify the major policy issue that will be the subject of the meetings.
There shall be a total of six townhall meetings devoted to each major policy issue for which a ListenFirst panel is convened. Meeting series may be conducted simultaneously.
The chairperson of each ListenFirst panel shall coordinate and facilitate ongoing meetings of interested parties regarding the panel's policy issue. The meetings shall occur between the dates of the first and last town hall meeting for that policy issue.
Within thirty days after the conclusion of the six town hall meetings on a particular policy issue, the ListenFirst panel conducting the meetings shall prepare a report summarizing the public comments made at the meetings. The panel shall transmit a copy of its report to the Governor, the President and Minority Leader of the Senate, and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, who shall review the report and consider its recommendations for public policy. The panel shall also transmit copies of its report to the news media.
Section 2. The first ListenFirst panel shall be appointed not later than thirty days after the effective date of this act, and the panel shall conduct the first town hall meeting not later than sixty days after the effective date of this act.
Section 3. A separate ListenFirst panel shall be appointed for each major policy issue identified under this act.
A ListenFirst panel consists of the Governor or the Governor's designee and members appointed as follows:
(A) The President and Minority Leader of the Senate each shall appoint a member of the Senate.
(B) The Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives each shall appoint a member of the House of Representatives.
(C) The President and Minority Leader of the Senate shall jointly appoint a representative of business who does not hold any public office, and a representative of organized labor who does not hold any public office.
(D) The Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives shall jointly appoint a representative of business who does not hold any public office, and a representative of organized labor who does not hold any public office.
(E) The Governor shall appoint an individual who holds office in a city government, and an individual who holds office in a county government.
(F) The President and Minority Leader of the Senate jointly shall appoint a member of the public who does not hold any public office.
(G) The Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives jointly shall appoint a member of the public who does not hold any public office.
A member may be appointed to one or several ListenFirst panels. But, in making appointments to a ListenFirst panel, the appointing authorities may appoint only individuals who are knowledgeable in the major policy issue concerning which the panel is to conduct a series of six town hall meetings. A member serves at the pleasure of the member's appointing authority.
In making appointments to a ListenFirst panel, an appointing authority may not appoint an individual if the individual's service on the panel would create a conflict of interest.
A ListenFirst panel shall select a chairperson from among its members. The chairperson shall moderate the town hall meetings conducted by the panel, and shall ensure that the panel prepares its report completely and accurately.
A member of a ListenFirst panel is not entitled to compensation for the member's services, but is entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses the member incurs in performing the member's duties as a member of the panel.
The Director of Administrative Services shall provide suitable meeting space in which a ListenFirst panel can comfortably conduct its town hall meeting. The director shall provide a ListenFirst panel with equipment necessary for successful and efficient conduct of its town hall meeting and preparation of its report. The director shall assign professional, technical, and clerical employees of the Department of Administrative Services to a ListenFirst panel as are necessary to assist the panel in successfully and efficiently performing its duties.
Section 4.  That Sections 1, 2, and 3 of this act are repealed effective January 1, 2015.
Section 5. This act is an emergency measure that is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety. Ohio faces urgent fiscal crises. Addressing these crises requires difficult public policy choices to be made. And citizen comment on those choices is essential if they are to be intelligently and fairly made. Therefore this act goes into immediate effect.
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