Ohio House Panel Holds First Hearing on Chamber Priority Legislation

The legislative process is underway for one of the Ohio Chamber’s top priority bills as it received its first hearing in committee on October 16. The legislation – HB 352 – will reform Ohio’s confusing and burdensome workforce discrimination laws so they better align with federal law and the laws of other states.

At its first hearing, Rep. Jon Cross and Rep. George Lang, who are joint sponsoring the Chamber’s priority legislation, gave testimony in front of the House Civil Justice Committee.

The sponsors highlighted the major provisions of the bill and explained to committee members why this legislation can positively impact Ohio’s business and legal climate. For a more detailed look at the provisions of HB 352, you can read my previous blog.

Discussions on HB 352 at the statehouse are happening at a time when reform to our state’s civil justice system is needed because, according to a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey of attorneys, Ohio ranks as the 15th worst lawsuit environment in the nation.

Ohio’s low ranking can in part be attributed to our workforce discrimination laws that expose employers here to prolonged liability and increased legal costs while also placing supervisors at risk of being brought into a lawsuit for no fault of their own.

This burdensome legal environment causes Ohio’s business climate to suffer because 89 percent of respondents in that same U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey said companies determine where to locate and operate based upon a state’s civil justice system.

The passage of HB 352 will be an important step in the right direction for Ohio because our workplace discrimination laws would no longer have a negative impact on our state’s business and legal climate. The Ohio Chamber and members from our employment law committee will testify as proponents of HB 352 at an upcoming committee to further urge the House Civil Justice Committee to favorably report the bill to the House floor.