SB 1 REGULATIONS (McColley, R., Roegner, K.) This bill would require each state agency to reduce the regulatory restrictions contained in its rules by 30% by 2022, according to a schedule and criteria set forth in the bill. It also prohibits an agency from adopting new regulatory restrictions that would increase the percentage of restrictions in the agency’s rules and requires an agency that does not achieve a reduction in regulatory restrictions according to the required schedule to eliminate two restrictions before enacting a new rule containing a restriction. It allows the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) to lessen an agency’s required reduction in regulatory restrictions if the agency fails to meet a reduction goal and show cause why the agency’s required reduction should be lessened. Effective January 1, 2023, it limits the total number of regulatory restrictions that may be in effect in Ohio. The bill passed in the Senate May 8 and has been referred to the House State and Local Government Committee, where a first hearing occurred June 12.
HB 2 CREDENTIAL PROGRAMS (Cross, J., Lepore-Hagen, M.) This legislation introduced May 13 would provide $35 million in state funding in FY 2020 and FY 2021 for its programs, with funding allocated as follows:
TechCred Program — $12.3 million a year to reimburse employers and individuals for training to receive a micro-credential, at the rate of $500-$2000 per credential;
Industry Sector Partnerships Program — $2.5 million a year to support regional partnerships across the state, including a grant program to develop the partnerships and promote their mission.
The Bill was assigned to the House Economic & Workforce Development where several hearings occurred. An amendment was submitted June 5 that moved the TechCred application and due date to better align with education standards, better defined regional sector partnerships, removed audit authority from the bill, included race and gender demographic information gathering requirements, and barred employers with recent minimum wage violations. The revised bill passed in the House June 12 and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where a third hearing with all testimony occurred October 8.
Ohio Wins $7.5M Federal Grant for Automated Vehicle Project in Rural Areas: The U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded an Ohio team $7.5 million for a research project to develop and deploy automated vehicles to rural roads and highways. The project will test the safe integration of automated driving systems and examine the economic effects of the technology. Partners in the team include DriveOhio (the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) autonomous and connected vehicle initiative), the Transportation Research Center (TRC), Ohio State University, Ohio University and the University of Cincinnati, who will contribute an additional $10.3 million, bringing the total size of the project to nearly $18 million. The grant was made possible through DOT’s Automated Driving System Demonstration grant program, which supports projects that are meant to generate data to inform rulemaking and encourage collaboration on automated driving systems. The project was apparently one of more than 70 nationwide competing for $60 million in grants.
Davis-Besse Nuclear Plant to Receive $9M Research Funding: On September 13, the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor was awarded a $9 million research grant by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Advanced Reactor Development Pathway Program. The competitively awarded project will include the installation of an electrolysis unit at the plant, creating a pilot program to showcase a light water reactor hybrid energy system. In addition to the more than $9 million in federal funds, non-DOE partners will chip in about $2.3 million to support the project. The award is among $15.2 million awarded recently by the federal government to foster advanced nuclear technology efforts.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Crop Production Report released in early August confirmed that Ohio farmers planted nearly 20% fewer acres in 2019 (compared to 2018) due to record-setting rains earlier this year. Ohio saw the third highest level of prevented acreage compared with other states, behind only South Dakota (3.86 million) and Illinois (1.5 million). 54 Ohio counties have been granted disaster designations by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue due to rain, flooding or other weather conditions.