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Gov. Kasich Signs Credit Card Reform Legislation Into Law
Columbus – Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 312 into law Thursday, establishing new safeguards to combat credit card abuse at Ohio’s local governments.
The legislation requires all forms of local government to enact credit policies specifying how the cards can be used and who is authorized to use them. The Ohio House of Representatives passed the bill unanimously on June 27.
“Credit card misuse is one of the most prevalent causes of misspending by Ohio’s local governments,” Auditor Dave Yost said. “This legislation will help protect Ohio’s tax dollars by requiring public officials to address many of the weaknesses at the root of the problem.”
HB 312, sponsored by State Reps. Kirk Schuring (Canton) and Dave Greenspan (Westlake), was introduced in July 2017 following the release of Credit Card Dangers: Local Governments At Risk Of Theft, which showed more than $1.2 million in public funds have been stolen or misspent at Ohio governments through credit card abuse since 2011.
The report found that some local governments may be putting taxpayer money at risk because they have not instituted basic policies to prevent dishonest employees from abusing government credit cards.
Almost half of those responding to a survey conducted by the Auditor of State’s office said they did not have a list of allowable credit-card expenses to guide government employees who use the cards, increasing the chances of misspending.
The legislation also bans the use of debit cards, except for certain law-enforcement purposes and grant-related activities, and requires credit card policies to provide guidance on credit limits, reissue periods and the number of cards in use.
Other changes include:
- A requirement for some governmental entities to have their accounts and policies reviewed regularly by a compliance officer.
- Creates reporting guidelines for governmental entities to report the benefits and rewards they have received as a result of their use of a credit card.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.
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