Legislative Advocacy

NAWBO March Legislative Update

Report created on March 20, 2018

Bills with activity in March:

 

HB98

CAREER INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS (DUFFEY M, BOGGS K) Regarding the presentation of career information to students.

 

Current Status:   

3/7/2018 - REPORTED OUT AS AMENDED, Senate Education, (Fourth Hearing)

 

State Bill Page:   

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-98

 

HB380

WORKERS COMP-ILLEGAL ALIENS (SEITZ B, HOUSEHOLDER L) To prohibit illegal and unauthorized aliens from receiving compensation and certain benefits under Ohio's Workers' Compensation Law.

 

Current Status:   

3/13/2018 - Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions, (First Hearing)

 

State Bill Page:   

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-380

 

HB382

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION LAW (SCHURING K) To modify terms describing payments made under the Unemployment Compensation Law, to increase the amount of wages subject to unemployment compensation premiums, to require qualifying employees to make payments to the Unemployment Compensation Insurance Fund, to allow the Director of Job and Family Services to adjust maximum weekly benefit amounts, to reduce the maximum number of benefit weeks, and to make other changes to the Unemployment Compensation Law.

 

Current Status:   

3/21/2018 - House Government Accountability and Oversight, (Twentieth Hearing)

 

State Bill Page:   

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-382

 

HB542

BUSINESS EARNINGS AND DEDUCTIONS (KELLY B) To require an employer to provide earnings and deductions statements to each of the employer's employees.

 

Current Status:   

3/13/2018 - Referred to Committee House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor

 

State Bill Page:   

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-542

 

HB545

SALES TAX AFTER PURCHASE (ARNDT S) To authorize small retailers to remit sales taxes when the retailer receives payment from the purchaser if the payment is received after the purchased item is delivered or the service is provided.

 

Current Status:   

3/13/2018 - Introduced

 

State Bill Page:   

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-545

  

HB550

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE (BOYD J, BOGGS K) To establish family and medical leave insurance benefits to provide paid leave to allow an individual to address the individual's own serious health condition, to care for a family member, or to bond with a new child and to exempt those benefits from personal income tax.

 

Current Status:   

3/13/2018 - Introduced

 

State Bill Page:   

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-550

 

HB554

PUBLIC DESIGN CONTRACTS-INDEMNITY (SEITZ B) To regulate the use of indemnity provisions in professional design contracts related to public improvements.

 

Current Status:   

3/15/2018 - Introduced

 

State Bill Page:   

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-554

 

 

Week in Review

ABORTION

The state law prohibiting abortion for women seeking the procedure because of a Down syndrome diagnosis is "unconstitutional on its face," U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black wrote in his order blocking implementation of HB214 (LaTourette-Merrin) on Wednesday. "Federal law is crystal clear: 'a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,'" Black wrote, citing U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade.

ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce unveiled an opioid tool kit Wednesday in conjunction with the Ohio Attorney General's Office that seeks to educate employers and employees on a drug-free workplace.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Attorney General Mike DeWine released the 2018 edition of Ohio Sunshine Laws: An Open Government Resource Manual on Monday, coinciding with the beginning of National Sunshine Week. The Sunshine Laws Manual summarizes Revised Code provisions and case law regarding the Ohio Public Records Act and Open Meetings Act. The 2018 edition, also referred to as the "Yellow Book," includes updates on recent open government legal decisions and law changes. The electronic edition, accessible at http://tinyurl.com/ydaukh5o , includes clickable bookmarks that allow readers to quickly jump to their topic of interest as well as hyperlinked court cases to allow readers to quickly access court decisions.

BUSINESS/CORPORATE

Secretary of State Jon Husted Thursday said 9,634 new entities filed to do business in Ohio in February, down from the 10,204 entities formed during the same month in 2017.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

During a Statehouse event on Monday, Gov. John Kasich said PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) and Daelim Industrial Company, two of Asia's largest petrochemical companies, are on the verge of inking a deal to invest between $5 billion and $10 billion to build and operate "one of the most significant projects in the history of Ohio" -- an ethane cracker complex in Belmont County -- comparing it to when the state became home to the Honda Marysville auto plant in 1982.

ECONOMY

Democratic leaders in the Ohio House and Senate said the state should "invest" in its workers by raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour in 2019 and using $0.50/hour annual increases to bring it to $15 by 2025. The minimum wage would continue to be adjusted for inflation after 2025 as well.

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

Ohio's unemployment rate fell from a revised 4.9 percent in December to 4.7 percent in January, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). The state's non-agricultural wage and salary employment increased 12,100 over the month from a revised 5,534,300 in December 2017 to 5,546,400 in January 2018, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in cooperation with ODJFS.

Also released on Friday were the national unemployment figures for February which showed total non-farm payroll employment increased by 313,000, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent for the fifth consecutive month, BLS said. Employment rose in construction, retail trade, professional and business services, manufacturing, financial activities and mining.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Auditor of State Dave Yost Wednesday joined House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and other Republican legislators as they announced pending legislation to obtain additional information about the pricing practices of the state's pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) in order to understand why small pharmacies are being forced to close due to lowered reimbursements but the state's Medicaid program is faced with a more than 20 percent increase in its pharmacy program costs in the last two years. There are three PBMs operating in Ohio: Express Scripts, CVS Caremark and Optum, which is owned by UnitedHealthCare. The other four managed care organizations contract with CVS Caremark for their pharmacy needs, thus giving that PBM control of a large portion of the Medicaid pharmacy business.

A new study from the liberal think tank Urban Institute measuring the effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on poverty indicated that the U.S. Census Bureau has drastically underreported benefits received by families nationwide, and when data were modified to fit the real amount of benefits distributed, SNAP reduced poverty by 17 percent.

Gov. John Kasich Thursday signed Executive Order 2018-02K to reauthorize the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council for the third time of his administration. The council promotes independent living, including self-help, self-determination and equal access for individuals with disabilities. The council was created in 2000 by former Gov. Bob Taft. Kasich reauthorized it in 2012 and 2015.

HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS

Two reports from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) examining housing affordability in Ohio found that while the Buckeye State's rental properties were cheap relative to the rest of the nation, the poorest tenants were still struggling to find places to live. According to the group's studies "The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Renting Homes," released in March 2018, and "Out of Reach 2017," Ohio had the ninth-lowest housing wage in the nation, but there were only 42 housing units that are both affordable and available per 100 extremely-low income (ELI) households.

MARIJUANA

Cannabis companies do not need -- and would likely be harmed by -- the creation of a closed-loop payment processing system for the Medical Marijuana Control Program, industry representatives said Tuesday. "This bill has already created confusion and delay for banks contemplating providing treasury management services for the marijuana industry," Grow Ohio Pharmaceuticals Principal Mel Kurtz told the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee during testimony on HB495 (Seitz).

MEDICAID/MEDICAID REFORM

Medicaid Director Barbara Sears said Thursday that Ohio will start requiring managed care organizations (MCOs) to report details of pharmacy reimbursements later this year and pledged her agency's cooperation with efforts by Auditor Dave Yost to get similar data, as lawmakers raise concerns about the pricing practices of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). But Sears argued against moving pharmacy benefits back under direct state control, citing increased costs and diminished care coordination abilities.

PAYDAY LENDING

Attorney General Mike DeWine Friday rejected a petition for a proposed ballot issue that would amend the Ohio Constitution to regulate short-term, payday loans. Payday lending opponents submitted the petition with 2,000 signatures last month, noting a lack of action on HB123 (Koehler-Ashford), which contains similar provisions to the constitutional amendment. The constitutional amendment would cap loan interest rates at 28 percent, set a monthly lending fee cap of $20 and extend the time period borrowers can pay back the loans from two weeks to 180 days, among other provisions.

TAXATION

A Senate bill that would make a three-day sales tax holiday during each August permanent left the House Ways and Means Committee Wednesday with an amendment allowing educational service centers (ESC) to put a levy on the ballot for safety and general health. The amendment to SB226 (Bacon) had been previewed during Tuesday's meeting by Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), who said that it would apply to any district that is a member of a particular ESC.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) recognized four Ohio employers with Safety Innovation Awards at the Ohio Safety Congress and Expo for projects addressing safety concerns in the workplace. They included Navistar, Springfield; MPW Industrial Services, Hebron; Terracon Consultants Inc., Cincinnati; and Ramco Electric Motors Inc., Greenville.

Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), providing sponsor testimony Tuesday on HB380 for himself and co-sponsor Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford), came in for a barrage of questions from members of the Senate.

Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee. The bill, which Seitz said he has been working on since 2009, is based on the premise that the state's workers' comp system should not pay benefits to undocumented immigrants who have been hurt on the job.

The Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors reviewed results Thursday from the 88th Ohio Safety Congress & Expo, which drew 8,100 participants in another record-breaking year -- 700 more than in 2017.

Submitted by: 

Rachel G. Winder, Government Relations Manager

Benesch Law

NAWBO Columbus Applauds Rep. Anne Gonzales

NAWBO COLUMBUS APPLAUDS REPRESENTATIVE ANNE GONZALES (R-WESTERVILLE) FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF LEGISLATION CREATING THE OHIO WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESS ENTERPRISE PROGRAM

The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Columbus, Ohio Chapter, the largest chapter in the country, applauds Rep. Anne Gonzales for the introduction this week of Ohio House Bill 492 which would create the Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program in Ohio.

According to the 2016 “State of Women-Owned Businesses Report” commissioned by American Express, an estimated 11.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States employ nearly 9 million people and generate more than $1.7 trillion in revenues.

Women-owned businesses represent 39% of all firms; however, a report entitled “Utilization of Women-Owned Businesses in Federal Prime Contracting,” prepared by the Office of the Chief Economist in the U.S. Department of Commerce, reports that women-owned companies are 21 percent less likely than their male-owned counterparts to win government contracts and only recently received just 5 percent of eligible contracts.

In addition to the underrepresentation of women-owned firms receiving government contracts, some of Ohio’s neighboring states and many other states across the country require certification in Ohio as a women-owned firm in order to use their states’ certification programs when competing for government contracts.

House Bill 492 would create a women-owned business enterprise program that asks Ohio’s agencies to establish goals to increase awareness and access to government contracts for women-owned businesses.

Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) introduced the legislation this week. “I want to bring awareness and attention to women-owned businesses which are underrepresented in government contracting. Ohio’s lack of a certification program for women businesses is placing Ohio businesses at a disadvantage.”

The bill also allows Ohio to enter into reciprocal agreements with states who have similar certification programs. 

Ohio needs to open its door to fair competition, so Ohio companies can compete fairly here and across the country”, said NAWBO Columbus President, Catherine Lang-Cline. “We commend Rep. Gonzales for her appreciation of the impact that women-owned businesses make in Ohio and look forward to working with her and the Ohio General Assembly on this important bill.”

NAWBO Columbus is Central Ohio’s premier organization for women business owners. With members earning more than $1 billion in annual revenues and employing upwards of 1,000 people, NAWBO Columbus elevates women business owners through connections, advocacy and mentorship. We believe women business owners are vital to the economic prosperity of central Ohio and beyond. For more information on membership, upcoming networking and educational events, and more, visit nawbocolumbusohio.com. 

Legislative Update - January 2018

Statehouse Highlights for NAWBO Members

Rachel G. Winder, Public Policy Advisor, Benesch Law

The Ohio General Assembly has a limited session schedule this year since 2018 is an election year. A few committee meetings and sessions are taking place during the third of the year, but then expect them to take an extended break for Spring/holiday break with only about a few session days planned before they break again for the Primary Election and the Summer/Fall campaign season.

However, if past years are an indication, we can expect a busy “lame duck” session after the election in November through the end of the year.

Expect a few items to pass in the next few months including a roughly $2.6 billion capital appropriations proposal that will fund community services, school facilities, roads, bridges, waterways and parks. They are also debating a redistricting proposal that may be competing with a ballot initiative and issues relating to renewable energy, local government funding, telecommunications and concealed carry among others.

After successfully spearheading the effort to get “Microbusiness” included and recognized in the Ohio Revised Code, NAWBO has embarked on another important legislative initiative in an effort to create a Women Owned Business Enterprise Program in Ohio.

A Women’s Business Enterprise Program would require that state agencies develop goals to hire women-owned businesses for state contracts. This is particularly important for companies that need to be certified as a woman-owned business in their home state in order to be eligible for benefits of women-owned business certification programs in another state. The NAWBO Public Policy Committee is busy meeting with legislators and interested parties to set the foundation for success with this initiative.

Please see below other issues of interest to businesses in Ohio:

Municipal Business Income Tax Reform Update – MARCH 1, 2018 DEADLINE

The budget bill that passed last year included language that would centralize collection of municipal taxes through the Ohio Business Gateway. A group of cities and villages has filed a lawsuit against the state of Ohio over the new collection process and the constitutionality of HB 5, which provided municipal tax reform back in 2014. Businesses can still opt in to use the new

centralized filing process for 2018. You must register on or before March 1, 2018 by following the instructions here: www.tax.ohio.gov/MunicipalTax.aspx .

Workers' Compensation:

Another Rate Cut Proposed for Private Employers

The BWC proposed to its Board of Directors that private employer premium rates be cut by 12% starting July 1 – a move that would save businesses $163.5 million compared to current rates. They plan to vote February 23rd on the proposal.

Free Workplace Wellness Program

BWC officials announced a new, free workplace wellness program targeting workers at greater risk of on-the-job injuries, called Better You, Better Ohio! The program targets employees of businesses with 50 or fewer workers in construction, manufacturing, agriculture and other industries with high injury rates. It will be available Feb. 1.

Civil Rights Employment Law:

House Bill 2 seeks to protect Ohio employees from discrimination in the workplace while providing improved predictability, stability and administrative efficiency for Ohio employers. The bill would change to two (2) years, both the current six (6) year legal statute of limitations and the 180-day statute of limitations with respect to Ohio Civil Rights Commission complaints. It requires a complaint to first be filed in the OCRC before pursuing civil litigation. The bill was reported out of the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee in May.

You can view the legislation and supporting documents from this link: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislationsummary?id=GA132-HB-2

Employers Investing in Cybersecurity

SB 220 would provide businesses that invest in cybersecurity that meet or exceed federal NIST standards with immunity from employee or consumer lawsuits. The bill is part of AG DeWine’s CyberOhio Initiative and is a way to incentivize small business to seek a higher level of cybersecurity voluntarily.

You can view the legislation and supporting documents from this link: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislationsummary?id=GA132-SR-60

Taxing Plastic Bags

SB 210 would prohibit a municipality or township from imposing a tax or fee on auxiliary containers (plastic or paper bags, glass bottles and aluminum cans). A number of municipalities have introduced legislation that would prohibit or tax these items citing environmental concerns. Manybusinessesaresupportingthisbillandencouragingvoluntaryparticipationinenvironmental programs rather than imposing costlymandates.

You can view the legislation and supporting documents from this link: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-SB-210

Gender Disparity Task Force

HB 403 was introduced to create a taskforce to determine the extent of the pay disparity between men and women in Ohio and develop recommendations. The bill has been referred to the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. No hearings have been scheduled to date.

You can view the legislation and supporting documents from this link: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-403

Pay Day Lending Laws

HB 123 proposes to cap at 28 percent the amount of interest that can be charged on short-term consumer loans. Business groups have opposed the bill on the basis that such a cap would prevent lenders from charging enough on the unsecured, short-term loans they offer to cover their overhead costs and believe this industry addresses a market need. An organization calling themselves Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform have begun seeking signatures for a constitutional ballot initiative due to inactivity on HB 123.

You can view the legislation and supporting documents from this link: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-123

Redistricting

In the 2015 election, Ohio supported a constitutional amendment that created a bipartisan, public process for drawing State legislative districts, which prevents one party from having too much control. SJR 5 is a joint resolution pending now that proposes an amendment to the Ohio Constitution to establish standards and procedures for congressional redistricting. There has been criticism on the current process for redistricting as the cause for diminished competition and increased partisanship. A group calling themselves Fair Districts=Fair Elections is pushing potential ballot action if an agreement isn’t reached in regards to SJR5

You can view the resolution and supporting documents from this link: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HJR-5

Energy Efficiency Mandates

HB 114 would change the renewable energy standards for utilities to voluntary instead of mandatory. The bill would also allow programs and practices designed to promote energy efficiency to count toward compliance with the current standards. There are concerns that although the efficiency programs designed for businesses provide tangible benefits, the administrative costs for utilities adds a tremendous cost to electricity bills in Ohio. The bill passed the House in March and is currently receiving hearings in the Senate.

You can view the resolution and supporting documents from this link: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA132-HB-114

Business Filings

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that the state saw 117,429 new business filings in 2017, breaking the record of 105,009 set the previous year.

Please see the link below for a list of all of the bills we are monitoring for NAWBO: http://www.hannah.com/Report_Custom.aspx?sid=WMWyi3HG1gk%3d&rid=nw4C%2fPzmW6A%3d

For more information on these or any issue pending before the Ohio General Assembly, contact Rachel Winder, NAWBO Public Policy Advisor at rwinder@beneschlaw.com or 614-223-9316.

NAWBO Meets with Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate

Representatives of the NAWBO Public Policy Committee met with gubernatorial candidate Connie Pillich this week. Connie is a former state representative from the Cincinnati area. She is also a veteran of the United States Air Force. A robust conversation took place ranging from the needs of micro businesses, women’s business certification, workforce development, access to capital, and more. The primary election, where Connie will face off against other Democrat candidates, will take place on May 8, 2018, with the General Election on November 6, 2018.

L to R:  Merry Corn, Mary McCarthy, Jeanne Gokcen, Christy Farnbauch, Connie Pillich, Andrea Applegate and Rachel Winder

Legislative Advocacy Updates from WIPP