• Mid-Biennium Review Activity
  • April 1, 2014
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • Hearings continued on a number of bills included in Governor Kasich’s Mid-Biennium Review (MBR) package this week. The House Economic Development and Regulatory Reform Committee had its first hearing on House Bill 486, the workforce development portion of the MBR.

    Among the changes included, the bill would:

    • Require the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation to establish criteria to use for evaluating the performance of state and local workforce program

      • The office would use staff from the Department of Job and Family Services, Department of Education, and the Board of Regents for establishing the criteria

    • Require the office to submit an integrated state plan for federal adult basic literacy, career-technical education, and workforce development programs to the appropriate federal agency by Dec. 31, 2014

    • Establish the Adult Career Opportunity Pilot Program, which would permit a community college or technical college to develop and offer a program of study that allows individuals who are at least 22 years old and have not received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalence to obtain a high school diploma

    • Permit the Director of Commerce, the State Fire Marshall, and the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board to adopt rules to establish compliance incentive programs

    During proponent testimony, Director of Commerce Andre Porter said his agency took a broad look at the way they license and regulate businesses in the state. Porter said that during his first year as director, one of the practices that his senior team highlighted for him was that the agency currently treats "bad actors" the same way that it treats "good actors"—or businesses that consistently comply with the law.

    “What we are proposing is a program that will continue to allow the Department of Commerce to hold businesses accountable, but will recognize and incentivize those who are consistently compliant,” said Porter.

    It is currently unclear how quickly the bill will move through the legislature. An additional hearing has been scheduled for April 1, but no votes are currently scheduled for the measure.

    House Bill 483, legislation that includes various appropriations and changes to general government policy also received hearings this week. On March 26, the House Finance Committee heard from the directors of the Departments of Developmental Disabilities, Health, Aging, and Jobs and Family Services.

    The bill includes the following policy changes:

    • Beginning July 1, 2015, requires an individual to electronically file an application and weekly claims for unemployment benefits in a manner prescribed by the Director of Job and Family Services, except in specified circumstances

    • Allows the Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to waive the assigned delinquency rate for unemployment filings if the failure to timely furnish the required wage information was a result of circumstances beyond the control of the employer or the employer's agent

    • Requires ODJFS to develop and implement a data match program with each casino facility's casino operator or management company to identify child support obligors who are subject to a final and enforceable determination of default made under a support order

    • Provides that an individual under age three may have a developmental disability if the individual has a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability (rather than an established risk) of resulting in a developmental delay

    • Requires a county board of developmental disabilities, when the superintendent position becomes vacant, to first consider obtaining the services of a superintendent of another county board of developmental disabilities

    • Provides that "adult services" available through county boards of developmental disabilities no longer expressly includes adult day care, sheltered employment, or community employment services

    • Requires the Ohio Public Health Advisory Board to review and make recommendations regarding proposed changes to policies that apply to Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program vendors

    During proponent testimony, Department of Developmental Disabilities Director John Martin said one of the agency’s signature proposals included in the bill allows the department to establish a voluntary online training and certification program to ensure providers are properly trained to work with and meet the needs of individuals with autism. He said the program will increase access to care in an area where the demand for well-qualified personnel exceeds the supply.

    Department of Jobs and Family Services Director Cynthia Dungey said a proposal to create a child support intercept program in coordination with Ohio’s casinos and racinos would result in a higher percentage of child support collections. The proposal would work in concert with existing IRS requirements, whereby casinos and racinos stop play and collect tax information when a player hits a sizable jackpot. In these cases, when the casino or racino completes the required federal tax forms, it will also conduct an electronic check to determine whether the customer owes back child support. The system would then tell the casino or racino the amount to withhold and any remainder would be awarded to the customer.

    The bill is scheduled for additional hearings on April 1 and April 2.