Author: AIA Ohio

Kasich Signs Capital Budget

Gov. John Kasich signed the $2.63 billion bricks-and-mortar measure (HB 529) during a ceremony at Twin Valley Behavioral Health Hospital in Columbus. The governor pointed to efforts to stabilize the state’s budget situation over the past several years, which he said allowed for the continued investments in Ohio-owned facilities and local projects. The legislation covering Fiscal Years 2019-20 building improvements includes mostly debt-backed investments in education, mental health facilities and community projects across the state. “We still restrain our spending enough and our debt levels are low enough that we can afford this,” he said. “If our debt level got up too high, we wouldn’t be able to do these things.” Gov. Kasich signed the capital budget a little over a month after it was introduced. The legislation, traditionally agreed upon before its introduction, cleared both chambers quickly with overwhelming bipartisan support. This budget covers capital appropriations and reappropriations through June 30, 2020. In education and higher education, the budget includes $625 for repairs, renovations and new K-12 education facilities and $400 million for projects at Ohio’s colleges and universities. The administration’s emphasis in education funding was on forward-looking infrastructure, including technology, not new building construction, Gov. Kasich said. “We’re not keen on the universities building new buildings,” he said. “Buildings are 20th Century.” The budget includes $100 million for the Clean Ohio Fund, which will help promote green...

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Indemnity Provisions in Professional Design Contracts (HB554)

HB554 was introduced March 15.  It would enact section 153.81 of the Revised Code to provide limitations of indemnification on public contracts with professional design firms.  An architect or engineer only would have to indemnify the public agency “for the proportionate share of the tortious conduct.”  Historically, design professionals face exposure of unlimited indemnification for design claims, which require defense even if found ultimately not liable. In addition, insurance is available only for the limited design work, when claims often go beyond. Complicating the issue, once a design professional retires, the “claims-made” insurance is not available, exposing the retiree to unlimited, uninsured liability. The legislation is assigned to the House Civil Justice Committee and is pending its first sponsor...

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Groups Push Bill To Periodically Examine Occupational Licensing Requirements

Ohio’s occupational licensing requirements are burdensome and cost state residents hundreds of dollars each year, members of a Senate panel were told Wednesday. Proponents testified in favor of a measure, SB 255, to establish sunset provisions for occupational licenses and provide alternatives to licensing. Micah Derry, state director of the Ohio chapter of Americans for Prosperity, told members of the Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee that Ohio licenses 40 lower-income occupations and has the 20th most burdensome licensing laws in the country. On average, according to Mr. Derry, the licensing process entails 350 days of training and $188 in fees. “Often times these requirements do not come about due to consumers complaining to lawmakers about poor or unsafe service. Rather they are lobbied for by the very industry that wants to be licensed,” he said. “This is so those practicing in the occupation can restrict competition by restricting new entrants into the occupation and as a result, raise prices on consumers. Additionally, trade schools and the associations representing the industries advocate for these licenses because the legislation mandates training and continuing education which guarantees a revenue stream.” Mr. Derry said licensing requirements cost Ohio households an additional $775 per year. Under the measure, all licensing boards would be sunset every five years unless reauthorized by lawmakers. Mr. Derry said that provision will create more transparency and accountability. “The time...

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Senate Passes Capital Budget

Senators on Wednesday signed off on the capital appropriations bill, sending it to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. The $2.63 billion spending measure HB 529 received no changes since its introduction last month. It doubles past financial commitments for behavioral and mental health infrastructure and prioritizes projects addressing the opioid epidemic, according to sponsors. It also includes $600 million for school facilities, $514 million for local infrastructure projects, $483 million for public colleges and universities and $150 million in community projects. An additional $222 million is allocated for health and human services, developmental disabilities, mental health, addiction treatment and women’s health initiative facilities over the next two years. Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-N. Canton) said the measure “provides a strong major investment in our schools, our community and our economy.” He highlighted that $2.22 billion of the funding is supported by General Revenue Fund-backed debt obligations, with the remainder supported by non-GRF-backed bonds and cash funds. The bill also includes reappropriations for unfinished, previously authorized projects. “Consistent with the legislature’s focus on strategic spending and pro-economic growth, HB529 represents a manageable and affordable legislation that remains within our current and future budget capacity,” he added. “More importantly, this bill keeps Ohio well under the constitutional 5% limitation on debt service as a percent of revenue.” The budget passed 32-1 with Sen. Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) objecting. It passed the House earlier this month in a...

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Proponents Testify for Interior Design Licensing Bill (HB504)

The Ohio House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee heard from proponents today asking for passage of HB 504, the Interior Design Licensing Bill. Rebekah Matheny, an interior design assistant professor at Ohio State University (OSU), offered proponent testimony, saying the bill establishes permissive certification of Ohio’s education and qualified interior design profession. She noted that OSU’s program is one of six in Ohio accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) and described the requirements for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination to show the parallels between interior design and architecture. The bill is “critical” in its acknowledgement of what is encompassed in the practice of interior design, she said, and recognizes the professional and educational credentials needed to practice. As an educator, she said that “too often” graduating students move to states where the profession is recognized in statute, and while Ohio does have renowned interior designers, it is suffering the unintended consequences of an “older, overly broad and under-inclusive” statute that does not reflect changes in the profession. Rep. Kelly asked about the current requirements to practice interior design, and Matheny said there aren’t any currently. Chair Young asked for more information on what interior designers do, saying he had a limited idea before studying the bill, and Matheny detailed how she would consider fire ratings, wall materials, methods of egress and other issues,...

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