March 7, 2023
Ohio Chamber Convenes Local Chambers and Businesses for Chamber Day
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce hosted a robust day of panel discussions and advocacy meetings as part of its Chamber Day – a free event to convene local chambers and members around Ohio. From the Youngtown-Warren to Sylvania, from Highland County to Brown County, chamber leaders across the state converged in Columbus along with many local business members. 

The morning discussions featured a panel on the biennial budget, featuring Senate Finance Chairman Matt Dolan, House Finance Chairman Jay Edwards, and their respective ranking members Sen. Nickie Antonio and Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney. The legislators debriefed the group on the state’s economic climate and their respective budget priorities. Following the panel, Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens provided a keynote address on the House’s priority bills and how local chambers can best engage throughout the legislative process. After a boxed lunch provided by the Ohio Chamber, the crowd heard a panel discussion on political updates and grassroots organizing moderated by Columbus Dispatch Political Reporter Anna Staver.

The afternoon consisted of 10 different groups of attendees assigned to meet with assorted state representatives and state senators. In between meetings, attendees visited the Ohio House gallery to witness deliberations over the state transportation budget, and the Ohio Senate floor to see debate over Senate Bill 1, which overhauls the Ohio Department of Education and State Board of Education. 

At the conclusion of the afternoon, attendees met at the Athletic Club of Columbus where they were able to enjoy drinks, food, and bowling on behalf of the Ohio Chamber as a well-earned reward for such a long day of engagement. In all, it was an exciting day of hearing from pivotal government and political leaders, witnessing significant legislative activity, and conducting one-on-one visits with elected officials to share real stories of what Ohio’s business community is doing in their districts.
House Passes Senate Bill 10
On March 1 the House passed Senate Bill 10. Senate Bill 10 creates conformity with the federal tax code by incorporating changes from two pieces of federal legislation adopted late in 2022. Senate Bill 10 contains an emergency clause and will go into effect as soon as the governor signs the measure.
Transportation Budget Finalized
The Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday finalized a $12.6 billion, two-year transportation budget on a 74-21 vote. The measure, House Bill 23, represents the largest investment in highway infrastructure in state history. Of the several provisions within the transportation budget, significant areas include:

  • $2.2 billion for paving projects, $717 million for bridges, $360 million for dedicated safety upgrades, and $1.5 billion for large, capacity-adding projects such as reconfiguring urban interstates.

  • Creation of what is being called the “Rural Highway Fund”, consisting of $1 billion in new money focused solely on projects adding capacity or reducing commute times to employment centers in counties without a municipality over 65,000 residents.

  • Funding of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project, a critical supply chain route for the United States and spanning from the Western Hills Viaduct in Ohio to the Dixie Highway in Kentucky. 

  • $14 million to establish the Ohio Workforce Mobility Partnership Program, allowing one or more regional transit authorities (RTA) to work together to provide service for the workforce between the territories and supporting the employment needs of economically significant employment centers.

  • Reduction of the registration fee a plug-in hybrid vehicle from $200 to $100 effective January 1, 2024.

  • Finding faster ways to connect areas of the state by funding the Strategic Transportation and Development Analysis to study links between Columbus and Sandusky and Columbus and Toledo.

  • In response to the East Palestine derailment situation, a requirement that a train must have a two-person crew related solely for safety.

  • Requiring the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and the Environmental Protection Agency to create and submit a report to the General Assembly within 90 days of the effective date on the transportation of hazardous materials and waste in the state.

  • Allowing for the permanent registration of noncommercial trailers.

House Bill 23 now heads to the Ohio Senate, where it will likely undergo further changes. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce will continue to monitor this bill and the other two-year operating budgets for issues of interest to the statewide business community.
U.S. Congressman Troy Balderson Visits Ohio Chamber
The Ohio Chamber hosted U.S. Congressman Troy Balderson this week. A crowd of nearly 40 members of the Ohio Chamber and Allied Business Group listened to an update of federal legislation, his priorities as a member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, and his lead on expanding telehealth access. He then opened the roundtable up for a question and answer session.
Energy and Environment Committee
The Ohio Chamber Energy & Environmental Committee met on Thursday. The group discussed recent administrative action taken by the Ohio Chamber on behalf of several Ohio Chamber member companies. The group also discussed pending legislation at the Ohio General Assembly and started a conversation for the October Energy Summit. The committee also welcomed special guest Representative Kick who chairs the Energy & Natural Resources Committee in the Ohio House. He previewed the work the committee may take this coming session and fielded a couple of questions from the group.