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Sub. H. B. No. 66 As Reported by the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs CommitteeAs Reported by the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee
|129th General Assembly|
Representatives Beck, Adams, J., Brenner, Ruhl, Huffman, Derickson, Blessing, Dovilla, Kozlowski, Grossman, Amstutz, Combs, Stebelton, Hackett, Hottinger, Hollington, Pillich, Blair, Maag, Adams, R., Anielski, Antonio, Baker, Barnes, Boose, Bubp, Buchy, Butler, Carney, Celeste, Clyde, Coley, Duffey, Fedor, Fende, Foley, Gardner, Garland, Gonzales, Goodwin, Goyal, Hagan, C., Hall, Hayes, Henne, Johnson, Letson, Luckie, Lundy, Martin, McClain, McKenney, Mecklenborg, Milkovich, Murray, Newbold, O'Brien, Patmon, Peterson, Phillips, Ramos, Roegner, Schuring, Sears, Slaby, Sprague, Sykes, Szollosi, Thompson, Uecker, Wachtmann, Weddington, Young, Yuko Speaker Batchelder
To amend section 124.341 and to enact section 117.103
of the Revised Code to require the Auditor of
State to establish a fraud-reporting system for
residents and public employees to file anonymous
complaints of fraud and misuse of public funds by
public offices or officials.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That section 124.341 be amended and section
117.103 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 117.103. (A) The auditor of state shall establish and
maintain a system for the reporting of fraud, including misuse and
misappropriation of public money, by any public office or public
official. The system shall allow Ohio residents and the employees
of any public office to make anonymous complaints through a
toll-free telephone number, the auditor of state's web site, or
the United States mail to the auditor of state's office. The
auditor of state shall review all complaints in a timely manner.
The auditor of state shall keep a log of all complaints filed
under this section, which is a public record under section 149.43
of the Revised Code. The log shall include the date the complaint
was received, a general description of the nature of the
complaint, the name of the public office or agency with regard to
which the complaint is directed, and a general description of the
status of the review by the auditor of state. If section 149.43 of
the Revised Code or another statute provides for an applicable
exemption from the definition of public record for the information
recorded on the log, that information may be redacted.
(B)(1) A public office shall provide information about the
Ohio fraud-reporting system and the means of reporting fraud to
each new employee upon employment with the public office. Each new
employee shall confirm receipt of this information within thirty
days after beginning employment. The auditor of state shall
provide a model form on the auditor of state's web site to be
printed and used by new public employees to sign and verify their
receipt of information as required by this section. The auditor of
state shall confirm, when conducting an audit under section 117.11
of the Revised Code, that new employees have been provided
information as required by this division.
(2) On the effective date of this section, each public office
shall make all its employees aware of the fraud-reporting system
required by this section.
(3) Divisions (B)(1) and (2) of this section are satisfied if
a public office provides information about the fraud-reporting
system and the means of reporting fraud in the employee handbook
or manual for the public office. An employee shall sign and verify
the employee's receipt of such a handbook or manual.
Sec. 124.341. (A) If an employee in the classified or
unclassified civil service becomes aware in the course of
employment of a violation of state or federal statutes, rules, or
regulations or the misuse of public resources, and the employee's
supervisor or appointing authority has authority to correct the
violation or misuse, the employee may file a written report
identifying the violation or misuse with the supervisor or
appointing authority. In addition to or instead of filing a
written report with the supervisor or appointing authority, the
employee may file a written report with the office of internal
auditing created under section 126.45 of the Revised Code or file
a complaint with the auditor of state's fraud-reporting system
under section 117.103 of the Revised Code.
If the employee reasonably believes that a violation or
misuse of public resources is a criminal offense, the employee, in
addition to or instead of filing a written report or complaint
with the supervisor, appointing authority,
or the office of
internal auditing, or the auditor of state's fraud-reporting
system, may report it to a prosecuting attorney, director of law,
village solicitor, or similar chief legal officer of a municipal
corporation, to a peace officer, as defined in section 2935.01 of
the Revised Code, or, if the violation or misuse of public
resources is within the jurisdiction of the inspector general, to
the inspector general in accordance with section 121.46 of the
Revised Code. In addition to that report, if the employee
reasonably believes the violation or misuse is also a violation of
Chapter 102., section 2921.42, or section 2921.43 of the Revised
Code, the employee may report it to the appropriate ethics
(B) Except as otherwise provided in division (C) of this
section, no officer or employee in the classified or unclassified
civil service shall take any disciplinary action against an
employee in the classified or unclassified civil service for
making any report or filing a complaint as authorized by division
(A) of this section, including, without limitation, doing any of
(1) Removing or suspending the employee from employment;
(2) Withholding from the employee salary increases or
employee benefits to which the employee is otherwise entitled;
(3) Transferring or reassigning the employee;
(4) Denying the employee promotion that otherwise would have
(5) Reducing the employee in pay or position.
(C) An employee in the classified or unclassified civil
service shall make a reasonable effort to determine the accuracy
of any information reported under division (A) of this section.
The employee is subject to disciplinary action, including
suspension or removal, as determined by the employee's appointing
authority, for purposely, knowingly, or recklessly reporting false
information under division (A) of this section.
(D) If an appointing authority takes any disciplinary or
retaliatory action against a classified or unclassified employee
as a result of the employee's having filed a report or complaint
under division (A) of this section, the employee's sole and
exclusive remedy, notwithstanding any other provision of law, is
to file an appeal with the state personnel board of review within
thirty days after receiving actual notice of the appointing
authority's action. If the employee files such an appeal, the
board shall immediately notify the employee's appointing authority
and shall hear the appeal. The board may affirm or disaffirm the
action of the appointing authority or may issue any other order as
is appropriate. The order of the board is appealable in accordance
with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.
(E) As used in this section:
(1) "Purposely," "knowingly," and "recklessly" have the same
meanings as in section 2901.22 of the Revised Code.
(2) "Appropriate ethics commission" has the same meaning as
in section 102.01 of the Revised Code.
(3) "Inspector general" means the inspector general appointed
under section 121.48 of the Revised Code.
Section 2. That existing section 124.341 of the Revised Code
is hereby repealed.