Driving Your Success!
Driving Your Success!

ASA Ohio – Exciting Start to the 132nd General Assembly

The 132nd General Assembly officially began in January and legislators wasted little time before introducing a flurry of legislation. While hundreds of bills will be introduced this General Assembly, none will be more important, or have a greater impact on Ohioans than the two-year state operating budget (HB 49), which was formally introduced on February 8th. Lawmakers will spend most of the first half of 2017 focusing their attention on HB 49, as it must be passed and signed into law by June 30th.

As with his previous budgets, Governor Kasich is proposing massive tax reforms in HB 49. His plan calls for a $3.1 billion reduction in the state income tax. To pay for this tax cut, he plans to increase the state’s sales tax from 5.75% to 6.25% and broaden it to apply to more services. The executive budget proposal also includes increases to cigarette, alcohol, and oil and gas severance taxes. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have been hesitant in the past to support increasing taxes in other areas to pay for another income tax cut. Kasich’s budget also continues to cover Ohio’s expanded Medicaid population, despite uncertainty about how Congress intends to replace the Affordable Care Act. However, Kasich’s plan does direct the Department of Medicaid to seek federal approval to require certain adults, with incomes above the federal poverty rate, to pay a monthly premium of about $20. This change will impact about 150,000 people on Medicaid. The executive budget also calls for investments in transportation research to develop smart highways and encourage advancements in transportation technology. HB 49 also attempts to prepare Ohio’s students for future jobs by better connecting businesses with educators. Along this same effort, the budget makes investments in pre-apprenticeship programs and encourages schools to offer internships and other work experience. According to the Kasich Administration, HB 49 will help keep Ohio’s workers competitive and align Ohio’s education and workforce preparation systems with the most in-demand occupations of today.

ASA Ohio was happy to see the state invest funding in the Air Quality Development Authority and the Motor Vehicle Repair Board in HB 49. The authority assists businesses in meeting environmental mandates by financing the purchase, construction, or installation of air quality improvement facilities and technologies. Many of our members have utilized their services in the past and received financial support to install new equipment. The Motor Vehicle Repair Board also sees a slight funding increase over the course of the biennium.

Unfortunately, funding for the incumbent workforce training voucher program was not renewed. You may recall that last session, ASA Ohio worked closely with Representative Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) and Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) to pass HB 429, which allowed automotive repair facilities to apply for funding under the program. The employer-driven program provided direct financial assistance to train workers and improve the economic competitiveness of Ohio’s employers. ASA Ohio has already been engaged with stakeholders and legislators on ways to restore this funding.

In other legislative news, the Ohio Senate is has made it a priority to develop a skilled workforce and connect them with employers in Ohio. Newly introduced legislation, SB 3, would implement many of the recommendations from Governor John Kasich’s Executive Workforce Board, which convened last year. Introduced by Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) and Senator Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville), the legislation would implement a number of innovative provisions, including:

  • Establish an optional recognized pre-apprenticeship career pathway for career technical education students.
  • Charge the Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Higher Education to work collaboratively with Ohio’s major business organizations to create a strategic plan for increasing project-based learning and develop professional development programs.
  • Connect stakeholders to provide services that include job shadowing opportunities and career exploration activities.
  • Promote an annual “Ohio In-Demand Jobs Week.”

Also of note, Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) and Rep. Tony DeVitis (R-Green) have reintroduced legislation from last session that would crack down on facilities installing unsafe tires on vehicles. Last session, we worked with the sponsors to ensure the penalties in this legislation would not apply to repair facilities that remove a wheel to make repairs unrelated to the tire. We were happy to see that safeguard was included in HB 42. This legislation is currently pending in the Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee.

It is also important to mention that the 132nd General Assembly marks Governor Kasich’s last session as governor. In fact, all statewide office holders will be replaced in the 2018 election. We are already seeing lawmakers jockeying for position to fill these seats. With so much intrigue, the 132nd General Assembly will most certainly be filled with excitement!

We have been tracking the following legislation during the 132nd General Assembly:

HB2

CIVIL RIGHTS EMPLOYMENT LAW (SEITZ B) To modify Ohio civil rights laws related to employment.

 

Current Status:   

2/14/2017 - House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor, (First Hearing)

 

HB26

TRANSPORTATION-PUBLIC SAFETY BUDGET (MCCOLLEY R) To make appropriations for programs related to transportation and public safety for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of those programs.

 

Current Status:   

2/15/2017 - House Finance, (Third Hearing)

 

HB27

WORKERS' COMPENSATION BUDGET (BRINKMAN T) To make changes to the Workers' Compensation Law, to make appropriations for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of the Bureau's programs.

 

Current Status:   

2/8/2017 - Referred to Committee House Insurance

 

HB28

INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION BUDGET (BRINKMAN T) To make appropriations for the Industrial Commission for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019, and to provide authorization and conditions for the operation of Commission programs.

 

Current Status:   

2/8/2017 - Referred to Committee House Insurance

 

HB42

VEHICLE TIRE SAFETY (SPRAGUE R, DEVITIS A) To prohibit the installation of unsafe used tires on certain motor vehicles.

 

Current Status:   

2/14/2017 - Referred to Committee House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor

 

HB49

OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) Creates FY 2018-2019 main operating budget.

 

Current Status:   

2/16/2017 - House Finance Higher Education Subcommittee, (First Hearing)

 

SB3

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT (BEAGLE B, BALDERSON T) To revise the laws governing the state's workforce development system, programs that may be offered by primary and secondary schools, certificates of qualification for employment, and the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency, and to designate the first week of May as In-Demand Jobs Week.

 

Current Status:   

2/8/2017 - Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce, (First Hearing)

 

SB38

RAISE MINIMUM WAGE (YUKO K) To raise the minimum wage; to eliminate the prohibition against political subdivisions establishing a different minimum wage; to raise the salary threshold above which certain employees are exempt from the overtime law; and to create a uniform standard to determine whether an individual performing services for an employer is an employee of that employer.

 

Current Status:   

2/7/2017 - Introduced

 

 

 

 
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