An Ohio legislative update from Rep. Scott Oelslager

(Photo by Carol Highsmith, courtesy of the Library of Congress)

The House was successful in passing a number of pieces of legislation in the last several weeks including measures to modify the requirements to obtain a CPA certificate and to revise the occupational licensing restrictions applicable to individuals convicted of criminal offenses.

My colleagues in the Ohio House and I work hard to improve the lives of the Ohioans we represent, and I appreciate the opportunity to update you on these and other issues before us in the Legislature.

Modifying Certified Public Accountant Qualifications: House Bill 442 would allow students in Ohio to sit for the Certified Public Accountancy exam after completing 120 semester hours of the required 150 hours of coursework, including 30 hours of specified accounting classes and 245 hours of non-accounting business classes. This student-friendly measure passed out of the House unanimously.

Granting Apiary Owners Immunity for Bee Stings: House Bill 496 provides a defense where the plaintiff alleges a specific bee owned by a specific person caused them harm. This limitation of liability does not apply to intentional tortious conduct or acts of omission constituting gross negligence. This grants apiary owners immunity for bee sting personal injury lawsuits.

Transition of Duties of Fiscal Officers and Treasurers: House Bill 450 would allow for a layer of protection for outgoing and incoming local government fiscal officers, as well as provide more transparency of local governments to taxpayers. House Bill 450 creates a Certificate of Transition, which will provide local government fiscal officers a checklist to ensure a smooth exchange of information between outgoing and incoming fiscal officers. House Bill 450 passed out of the House unanimously.

Boosting Penalties for Theft in Office: Senate Bill 10 creates a second-degree felony charge for an official who steals more than $150,000 and a first-degree charge for an officeholder who takes more than $750,000. The House amended the bill to include language extending the state’s long arm statute. Senate Bill 10 passed out of the House unanimously.

Revising Drainage Laws: House Bill 340 updates, clarifies, and synchronizes Ohio’s decades old landowner petition process for accomplishing necessary and adequate drainage of agricultural and other lands. The primary goals of the legislation is to align two chapters of the Ohio Revised Code, and to provide more clarity when the projects cover multiple counties. Additionally, the bill updates terminology which is outdated and enhances readability. House Bill 340 passed out of the House unanimously.

The Advanced Nuclear Technology Helping Energize Mankind Act: House Bill 104 establishes the Ohio Nuclear Development Authority, which will serve as an information resource for Ohio and federal agencies regarding advanced-nuclear-research reactors and isotope technologies; and to make Ohio a leader regarding new-type advanced-nuclear-research reactors, isotopes, and high-level nuclear waste reduction and storage.

The Fresh Start Act: House Bill 263 would enact the Fresh Start Act, which would ease occupational licensing restrictions for individuals with criminal convictions. Nearly one in five jobs in Ohio require licensure. House Bill 263 eliminates blanket bans and prohibits boards from looking back more than five years for non-violent and non-sex offenses.