Rep amends development bill to remove OK for private meetings

The Ohio Newspaper Association opposed the closed-door meeting provision.
COLUMBUS -- A state lawmaker removed language Thursday from her legislation that would have allowed municipalities and townships to negotiate economic development agreements in secret.
Arlene Setzer, a Republican from Vandalia in the Dayton area, amended House Bill 11 to delete the executive session provision, which would have covered discussions of Joint Economic Development District and cooperative economic development agreements.
The amendment, offered after Setzer was contacted by the Ohio Newspaper Association, was approved unanimously by members of the House Local and Municipal Government & amp; Urban Revitalization Committee.
Setzer's proposed bill includes a number of provisions concerning JEDDs, through which one or more municipalities and townships designate areas for development growth.
About the measure
The legislation would remove some limitations on JEDD creation, require additional published notice of hearings related to JEDD agreements and allow the appropriate legislative authorities to disapprove JEDD contracts if they fail to exclude certain levies from tax exemptions (the list includes levies that provide funding for county hospitals, libraries, parks or road repairs).
The original version of the bill included a provision allowing public boards considering JEDDs to meet in executive session to consider "negotiated terms and other matters" related to the districts.
Frank Deaner, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association, contacted Setzer after learning of the provision,
Setzer and Rep. Larry Wolpert, a Republican from Hilliard who serves as committee chairman, noted the newspaper group's concerns before amending the legislation to remove the provision.