Examining Failed Legislation from the Last Legislative Session: A Two-Part Series
Written by: Ellen Essman and Chris Hogan, Law Fellows, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program
Below is the second of our two-part series regarding bills related to agriculture that failed to pass during Ohio’s 2015-2016 legislative session.
Requirements for Humane Society Agents and House Bill 45
House Bill 45 was introduced February 10, 2015 and would have amended existing law to impose additional requirements upon those people hoping to be appointed as humane society agents. A number of changes and additions would have been implemented through the passage of HB 45. The bulk of the proposed legislation concerned training for humane society agents and filing evidence of completing that training with the county recorder. HB 45 would have required county recorders to record “[p]roof of successful completion of training by humane society agents,” as well as “notices of revocation of agents’ appointment” in the official records (emphasis added). According to the bill, proof of completion of training would have had to been signed by the CEO of the organization that provided training, the chief officer of the county humane society, and either the mayor or probate judge in the county.
House Bill 45 was referred to the Local Government Committee on February 11, 2015. No further action was taken, rendering the proposed legislation dead when the 131st General Assembly ended.
Tethering Animals and House Bill 94
House Bill 94 was introduced March 2, 2015 and would have enacted language that would have made it illegal to negligently tether an animal outside in certain situations. The bill would have imposed time limits on tethering and a prohibition on tethering animals in certain weather conditions. Furthermore, a prohibition on tethering would have been imposed if the tethers were unsafe, under a certain length, allowed the animal to touch fences or cross property lines, or were inappropriate for the animal’s size. HB 94 also would have prohibited tethering if the surrounding area was unsanitary, or if the owner of the premises was not present. Finally, the bill would have amended the current law to include punishment for violating the proposed tethering language. The bill, however, was referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and afterwards, no action was taken on it.
Animal Abusers and House Bill 177
House Bill 177 was introduced on April 28, 2015. HB 177 would have required people who either were “convicted of or pleaded guilty to” a number of animal abuse violations to submit certain information, along with a fee, to the Attorney General within 30 days of “being convicted or pleading guilty.” HB 177 also tasked the Attorney General with creating and keeping a registry of animal abuse violators.
Law enforcement officers, humane society agents, and dog wardens would have been responsible for notifying the Attorney General of animal abuse violations. Animal shelters would have been prohibited from allowing a person on the registry from adopting a dog, cat, or any animal kept in a home.
The bill was referred to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on May 5, 2015, where no further action was taken.
To read HB 177, visit this page.
Sale of Dogs and House Bill 573
House Bill 573 was introduced on May 17, 2016. This bill focused on the sale of dogs both from pet stores and from other entities. The bill would have added or changed a number of definitions in the Ohio Revised Code. Most notably, the law would have made it illegal for a pet store to “negligently…offer for sale” or otherwise “transfer” a dog unless it came from an animal rescue, an animal shelter, a humane society, a dog retailer, or a qualified breeder, all of which were defined elsewhere in the bill.
Additionally, according to HB 573, both dog retailers and pet stores would have been forbidden from selling or otherwise transferring a dog under a number of conditions. Under the bill, they could not have sold dogs less than eight weeks old, dogs that had not been inspected by a veterinarian, and dogs without a microchip, among other conditions. However, none of these requirements would have been applicable to a dog sold or otherwise “transferred from the premises where the dog was bred and reared.” Finally, the bill included language stating that it would preempt local laws regulating the sale of dogs. House Bill 573 was referred to the Finance Committee on May 23, 2016 and no further action was taken.
Invasive Species and House Bill 396
House Bill 396 was introduced on November 16, 2015. This bill dealt with restricting and prohibiting certain species in Ohio. HB 396 would have added a number of definitions to the Ohio Revised Code, including a lengthy list of “prohibited species.” Species of birds, crayfish, fish, insects, and mollusks were included in the list. Additionally, “restricted species” was defined as including the quagga mussel, the zebra mussel, and their eggs. In addition, HB 396 would have given the Chief of the Division of Wildlife, with advice from Ohio Director of Agriculture, the power to designate other restricted and prohibited species subject to a number of considerations. One of these considerations would have been whether or not the species could cause severe harm to agricultural resources. The bill would have made it illegal to possess, introduce, sell, or offer to sell restricted and prohibited species.
The bill was referred to the Agricultural and Rural Development Committee on January 20, 2016 and ultimately did not leave the Committee.
Deer Rehabilitation and House Bill 267
House Bill 267 was introduced on June 22, 2015 and would have changed the Ohio Revised Code to allow licenses to run deer sanctuaries, permits to rehabilitate deer, and training for law enforcement. During the training, law enforcement officers were supposed to learn how to determine whether they needed to humanely euthanize injured deer or transfer them to someone permitted to rehabilitate the deer.
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on October 1, 2015, and was ultimately stranded there.
Labeling Nursery Stock and House Bill 566
House Bill 566 was introduced on May 12, 2016 and would have made it illegal for a person to “recklessly label or advertise nursery stock as beneficial to pollinators” if the nursery stock had been “treated with a systemic insecticide.” It would also have been illegal for a person to “recklessly label” stock as beneficial if the stock included the U.S. EPA warnings of “pollinator protection box[es]” and “pollinator, bee, or honey bee precautionary statement[s] in the environmental hazard section of an insecticide product label” on its packaging.
The bill was referred to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on November 11, 2016 and never made it any further.
Adjusting Current Agricultural Use Value formulas: Senate Bill 246 and House Bill 398
During the 131st General Assembly, the Senate considered Senate Bill 246. SB 246 addressed how current agricultural use value, otherwise known as CAUV, is calculated. CAUV permits land to be valued at its agricultural value rather than the land’s market or “highest and best use” value. SB 246 was a companion bill. That means that a version of the bill was introduced in both the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate. The companion house bill to SB 246 was House Bill 398.
Both bills were intended to alter the current formula used to calculate CAUV values across Ohio. According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, the changes proposed by the bill would “have a uniformly downward effect on the taxable value of CAUV farmland.” Thus, the likely effect would have been a lower tax bill for farmers who are taxed on a CAUV basis.
The Senate referred its bill, SB 246, to the Senate Ways and Means Committee on December 9, 2015 and HB 398 was referred to the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee on January 20, 2016. Neither committee acted on its bill. Therefore, neither bill was passed into law during the 131st General Assembly.
To read SB 246, visit this page. The Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s analysis of SB 246 is available here. To read HB 398, visit this page. The Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s analysis of HB 398 is available here.
Nonrefundable Tax Credits for Rural Businesses and Senate Bill 209
The 131st General Assembly considered a nonrefundable tax credit for insurance companies that invest in certain rural business growth funds. According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, qualifying rural business growth funds include special purpose rural businesses that contribute capital to certain kinds of businesses with substantial operations in rural areas of Ohio.
SB 209 passed in the Ohio Senate. But, the bill did not pass the Ohio House. Therefore, the bill was not passed into law during the 131st General Assembly.