House Bill 27 - The Ohio House of Representatives recently voted 65-29 along party lines to approve the two year workers' compensation budget bill. HB 27 includes provisions that would 1) prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving workers' compensation benefits if hurt on the job, 2) prohibit an employer from electing to cover an undocumented immigrant, 3) grant an employer immunity for liability for damages suffered by reason of personal injury sustained or occupational disease contacted in the course of employment caused by the employer's wrongful act or omission unless the claimant establishes that the employer hired the individual knowing that the individual was not authorized to work under federal law. The bill is under consideration in the Senate, and proponent testimony will be heard this afternoon. The Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee will hear opponent testimony in the near future.
House Bill 60 - HB 60 would require the Director of Public Safety to enter into an agreement with the US Department of Homeland Security to obtain approval to issue an enhanced driver's licenses, enhanced commercial driver's licenses and enhanced ID cards. The enhanced IDs and licenses would facilitate land and sea border crossings between the U.S., and Canada and Mexico. Currently, states that issue enhanced driver's licenses include Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Washington. This legislation is currently being considered by the House Transportation and Safety Committee.
Senate Bill 115 - SB 115 would require the registration of roofing contractors. The legislation is aimed at "protecting Ohio consumers and businesses from dishonest roofers, also known as storm chasers." Under this proposal, roofing contractors would be required to register with the state, and a roofing contract totaling more than $750 would require a written contract. Additionally, consumers would be given the right to cancel storm repair agreements within three days, and conflicts of interest that occur when roofing contractors also act as adjusters would also be addressed. SB 115 was referred to the Government Oversight and Reform Committee in the Senate.
House Bill 123 - Introduced by Representatives J. Kyle Koehler (D-Springfield) and Michael Ashford (D-Toledo), HB 123 aims to specify a minimum loan amount and duration for loans made under the Small Loan diminished funding for trade apprenticeship programs and negative effects on construction market outcomes. This bill was introduced in the House in late June of 2018 where it awaits a hearing.
House Bill 138 - HB 138 would require the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to establish a toll-free phone line or website for individuals to make anonymous complaints regarding employers discriminating in the payment of wages. "As Americans, we believe in a system in which you get paid for the work you do and an equal pay hotline would help to uphold this fundamental value," said sponsor Rep. Kent Smith. HB 138 has been referred to the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee where it awaits a hearing.
House Bill 148 - HB 148 would require the statewide registration of home improvement contractors and would create the Home Improvement Board. "Home Improvement" includes the repair, replacement, remodeling, alteration, and sandblasting of any residential building or structure adjacent to a building such as a garage or deck. All contractors, subcontractors and independent contractors would be required to register with the Home Improvement Board. The Home Improvement Board would be tasked with inspecting residential buildings and maintaining all information pertaining to contractor registrations. This legislation has been referred to the House Finance Committee where it awaits a hearing.
House Bill 164 - HB 164 would require the licensing of all commercial roofing contractors. Contractors would have to satisfy the same requirements that other specialty contractors must satisfy under continuing law, including passing an examination and would require that person to assign the license to the contracting company that employs the person. The licensing board would consist of five members, one of whom is a building inspector employed by either the department of commerce or a municipal corporation, two roofing contractors without union affiliation, and two roofing contractors with established union agreements. The House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor committee has held one hearing on the bill.
House Bill 339 - HB 339 would require the licensure of residential construction contractors. Individuals could obtain a universal license or residential-only license, and would be required to take continuing education courses to maintain their license. Republican Representatives Christina Hagan and Tim Schaffer introduced the bill last week, which was referred to the Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee.
House Bill 380 - Last week, Representatives Bill Seitz and Larry Householder introduced legislation that would prohibit undocumented immigrants from collecting workers' compensation benefits if they are injured on the job. Employers would be granted immunity from liability for damages suffered by reason of personal injury sustained or occupational disease contracted in the course of employment caused by the wrongful act or omission or neglect of the employer. "The fact of the matter is they're undocumented. They're here illegally. We just feel that it's a burden on our compensation system and it's a burden on the state of Ohio," said Rep. Householder. HB 380 mirrors a provision of the House-version Workers Compensation Budget introduced early this year barring undocumented workers from collecting benefits. This provision was eventually removed by the Senate. This bill has been referred to the House Insurance Committee where it awaits a hearing.
House Bill 492 - Introduced earlier this month by Representative Anne Gonzales of Westerville, HB 492 aims to establish the women-owned business enterprise program requiring state agencies to establish women-owned business procurement goals. The legislation defines "women-owned business enterprise" as "any individual, partnership, corporation, or joint venture of any kind that is owned and controlled by women who are United States citizens and residents of this state or of a reciprocal state", and outlines goals for such businesses.
House Bill 493 - Introduced earlier this month by Representative Anne Gonzales of Westerville, HB 493 seeks to authorize the Director of Administrative Services, upon approval of the Attorney General, to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states that have a business assistance program substantially similar to Ohio's Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program and Encouraging Diversity, Growth, and Equity (EDGE) Program.
House Bill 576 - Introduced by Representative Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), HB 576 aims to boost the statewide minimum wage to $12 an hour in 2019 and increase it 50 cents each year until 2025 at which point it would reach $15. Advocates of the proposal argue that raising the minimum wage would bring hundreds of thousands of Ohioans out of poverty, namely women and racial/ethnic minority workers. Critics worry that raising wages could lead to lost jobs. HB 576 -along with its Senate companion SB 277- has been referred to Committee where it awaits a hearing.
House Bill 712 - Introduced by Representatives Ron Hood (R-Ashville) and Bill Dean (R-Xenia), HB 712 would repeal the prevailing wage law that sets a minimum wage for skilled construction work on publicly funded projects. Studies conducted by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute show that repealing such wage laws can result in diminished funding for trade apprenticeship programs and negative effects on construction market outcomes. This bill was introduced in the House in late June of 2018 where it awaits a hearing.