Ohio Senate President’s priority legislation on regulatory reform passes moves to the House for review.
The Ohio Senate this week passed priority legislation designed to reduce the number of regulations impacting businesses in the state. Sponsored by Senators Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), Senate Bill 1, would require state agencies to establish an inventory of all regulatory restrictions in their administrative code and reduce the number of restrictions by 30 percent by 2022. The bill identifies a “regulatory restriction” as the occurrence of any of the words “shall”, “must”, “require”, “shall not”, “may not”, and “prohibit”. If an agency cannot meet this reduction schedule, the legislation requires them to rescind two existing restrictions for any new restriction. If an agency still cannot meet the reduction target, they may appeal directly to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR).
The bill has garnered support from the state’s top business advocacy groups, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and the Ohio chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, who have applauded lawmakers’ efforts to reduce unwarranted regulations in testimony on the measure. The legislation has also attracted criticism from several high-profile Republicans, as well as from left-leaning groups think tank Policy Matters Ohio, and the Ohio Consumers Council. Critics worry the initiative would gut regulations that are necessary for public welfare and safety, and point to the proposed 30 percent reduction requirement as an “arbitrary” target for cutting back regulations.
During the deliberation process, the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee incorporated an amendment that allows agencies to appeal to JCARR. The amendment also grants the Common Sense Initiative the ability to compel an agency to remove a regulatory restriction.
Following its passage in the Ohio Senate, SB1 is currently pending in the House State and Local Government Committee. The Ohio House has introduced a companion bill in House Bill 115, which is substantively similar.
The association’s government relations team remains actively engaged with lawmakers on this and other issues that impact Ohio’s petroleum and convenience industry. Watch future issues of FuelingMatters for updates as the proposal to lighten the regulatory burden on businesses makes its way through the legislature.