Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced a new plan that, when complete in January 2025, will eliminate nearly one-third of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC). This represents the removal of more than 5 million words and over 20,000 pages from Ohio’s regulatory system.
Sampling of support for proposed regulatory reform
Think tanks, business groups, and higher education organizations were quick to praise the initiative for streamlining the code, making it easier to navigate and reducing red tape.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University: “Since the introduction of comprehensive regulatory reform legislation in 2019, Ohio has made steady progress, moving from the 3rd to 5th most regulated state. Gov. DeWine, Lt. Gov. Husted, and Ohio legislators should be commended for acknowledging the hurdles that red tape creates and then acting accordingly to reduce those barriers and increase opportunities for ordinary Ohioans. Reducing regulatory word count will accelerate Ohio’s pace of reform while making it easier for individuals and businesses to understand how regulatory accumulation affects them.”
Jack Hershey, President & CEO, Ohio Association of Community Colleges: “The Ohio Association of Community Colleges applauds Lt. Governor Husted and the Ohio Common Sense Initiative’s proposal to streamline Ohio’s administrative code by eliminating duplicative administrative burdens on Ohio’s 23 community colleges.
Our community colleges are among the most agile higher education institutions in the state and yet they are often burdened with unnecessary bureaucratic requirements. By streamlining the rulemaking process for our colleges, Ohio will join our neighboring states that do not have the same bureaucratic requirements while still ensuring transparency and accountability…”
Ryan Augsburger, President of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association: “Ohio’s manufacturers support the efforts of the DeWine-Husted administration to update the Ohio Administrative Code. Removing unnecessary language and making Ohio’s regulatory language easier to understand – and comply with – is an important step to making the Buckeye State even more competitive. The OMA applauds Governor DeWine and his team for their commitment to improving Ohio’s business climate.”
Adam Sharp, Executive Vice President of the Ohio Farm Bureau: “Getting rid of needless government regulations and red tape whenever possible is something that Ohio Farm Bureau members firmly believe in. Updating the Ohio Administrative Code is good government and we appreciate Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted for taking the steps to create a rulebook that is less cumbersome to navigate and easier for Ohioans and Ohio businesses to comprehend.”
Roger Geiger, NFIB State Executive Director: “When Governor DeWine signed Senate Bill 9, he placed Ohio on the path toward much needed regulatory reform. It calls for certain state agencies to reduce regulations by 30% by Jan. 30, 2025. This is a common sense approach that would continue to guarantee the public’s public safety and welfare while easing the burden on Ohio’s small businesses. The cost of compliance for regulations on small businesses is 20% higher than for large corporations.
“Small businesses usually cannot afford teams of compliance officers to ensure they follow every little rule and regulation. That burden usually falls to the owners themselves, the people who flip on the lights in the morning and lock up at night. Our small business members appreciate the governor’s commitment to easing their burden by updating the Ohio Administrative Code so that it is clearer and easier for them to understand. “
How will Regulatory Reform be accomplished?
Under the direction of Lt. Governor Husted, Ohio’s Common Sense Initiative (CSI) was tasked with identifying sections of the OAC that are no longer used, duplicative or unnecessary that could be removed.
Remove rules for Lottery Game no longer used. Approximately 10 percent of the words in the OAC involve procedures for specific Ohio lottery games. Many of these games are no longer played in Ohio.
Remove duplication of Higher Education Policy in OAC. Ohio law already requires public institutions of higher education to publish their policies on their websites. Ohio is the only state – compared to surrounding states – that requires each public institution to also individually adopt the entire contents of their policies as regulations in the OAC. As a result, Ohio has over 2.3 million words in the OAC that are duplicative. CSI plans to eliminate these duplicative rules through language in the state budget this year.
Rewrite Building Codes to identify differences between states. Rather than referencing national requirements, Ohio is unique in that national building and fire code standards are copied word for word in the OAC. The result is approximately 1.5 million words in the state’s plumbing, fire, residential, building, and mechanical codes, more than any of Ohio’s neighboring states. By referencing national codes and rewriting state codes to only identify the differences between Ohio and other states, the size of the OAC can be significantly reduced. This will make it easier for businesses to identify Ohio-specific building and fire code requirements. These changes will be enacted through the ordinary rule process to ensure that Ohio businesses have the opportunity to share their feedback.
New Virtual Tool tracks added regulations. Finally, CSI created a tool on its website that tracks legislation that requires the adoption of new rules. The purpose of this tool is to reduce regulatory burden by helping Ohioans, legislators, and business groups to readily identify recent legislation that requires the creation of new regulations. The tracker is currently available at CSI.Ohio.Gov.