January-June 2014: Top 3 Policy Victories for Ohio’s Business Community

After much anticipation during the last several months on issues such as the MBR bills, House Bill 5, and Senate Bill 58/Senate Bill 310, the 130th General Assembly put the pedal to the metal on a variety of issues before breaking for the summer, passing 19 bills on second to last day and 11 bills on the last day of regular sessions. While some bills have been shelved until the fall, three important bills were recently passed that particularly benefit Ohio’s business community and continue to work to strengthen and grow our economy.

Senate Bill 310

SB 310, while surrounded by media-fed controversy, is a necessary step to finding a better path forward with Ohio’s energy portfolio by setting up a reasonable and common sense approach to reviewing and determining the actual impact of Ohio’s energy mandates. Pending Governor Kasich’s approval, SB 310 will freeze the current energy mandates at their current benchmark levels while a study committee conducts an independent cost-benefit analysis, identifies an evidence-based standard for reviewing mandates going forward, and recommends changes for subsequent legislation.

Bottom line: SB 310 ensures that Ohio businesses and ratepayers are protected from energy spike costs while current energy mandates are examined.

Senate Bill 3

When an existing government agency rule comes up for review, “no-change” rules (rules the agency determines need no changes made to them after review) would not undergo a Business Impact Analysis as new rules do. Yet, some rules have been on the books for decades and their economic impact on businesses has never been evaluated—meaning, some rules may result in undue burdens and costs on businesses. However, SB 3 ensures that all rules up for review undergo analysis to help ensure a business friendly regulatory environment.

House Bill 493              

Along with another base rate reduction set to take effect next month, reforms to Ohio’s workers’ compensation system contained in HB 493 will result in better services and savings for businesses. In particular, the Bureau will switch to a prospective payment system, which will align it with standard insurance industry practice. Employers in good standing will see their premiums less influenced by late-paying or high-injury employers. Because the BWC has saved wisely, businesses will not be double-billed, but will be credited during this transition. The Ohio Chamber will work to ensure that our members are properly informed of deadlines and information regarding these important reforms.