Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted Announce Ohio Administrative Code Regulatory Reform

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted have unveiled a new strategy to streamline the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) by focusing on redundant clauses, out-of-date portions, and pointless mandates.

The strategy, which DeWine is launching with the aid of the Ohio Common Sense Initiative (CSI), makes recommendations for the removal of portions of the OAC using modern AI technologies that it identifies as unnecessary.

Husted claimed that the proposal would aid in further regulatory reform and eliminate a third of the Ohio Administrative Code. He gave the Lottery Commission as an illustration, where 240 regulations would be dropped for games that are no longer played in Ohio. There will also be a removal of other OAC sections, including those dealing with building codes and education.

“This plan will make it easier for people to comply with regulations, not harder. This is common-sense regulatory reform that will make it easier for people and businesses to comply with the law, and it will save everyone time and money,” Husted said, also noting that 2.3 million words would be removed from the OAC as a result of the proposed changes.

According to Husted, in the state administrative code, procedures for certain Ohio lottery games make up about 10 percent of the words, according to research by CSI from the previous year. Ohio is the only adjacent state to implement lottery games in this way. Over 240 of these rules for games that are no longer played in Ohio, and in some cases haven’t been for a decade, have already been removed by CSI working with the Lottery Commission. Husted said that these procedures will still be easily accessible through the Lottery Commission thanks to changes suggested in the state budget, but they won’t be included in administrative regulations anymore.

Husted continued that compared to neighboring states, Ohio is the only one that mandates that every public institution of higher learning independently adopt all of its policies as rules in the Ohio Administrative Code. Since Ohio law already compels public institutions to post these rules on their websites, there are over 2.3 million words in the OAC that are redundant. Husted said that through language in the state budget this year, CSI intends to work toward the project’s goal of eliminating these redundant regulations.

According to Husted, Ohio is unique in that the OAC copies national building and fire code standards verbatim rather than just referencing them. As a result, the state’s plumbing, fire, residential, construction, and mechanical codes contain around 1.5 million words, which is significantly larger than any of Ohio’s surrounding states. The size of the OAC can be greatly decreased, making it simpler for businesses to identify Ohio-specific building and fire code requirements by revising state rules to solely highlight the distinctions between Ohio and other states rather than copying national standards verbatim. To provide Ohio businesses a chance to provide feedback, Husted says they will implement these modifications through the usual rule process.

CSI also developed a tool for its website that records laws that demand the implementation of regulations. Husted said that by assisting Ohioans, lawmakers, and business organizations to quickly identify recent legislation that necessitates the introduction of new rules, this website aims to ultimately minimize the burden of regulations on the state’s citizens and businesses. The tracker that CSI introduced is accessible to organizations, Ohio General Assembly members and staff, as well as other people at CSI.Ohio.Gov.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) state executive director Roger Geiger, DeWine put Ohio on the path to much-needed regulatory change when he signed Senate Bill (SB) 9. By January 30, 2025, SB 9 requires specific state agencies to eliminate restrictions by 30 percent. Geiger says that this is a sensible strategy that would continue to ensure the welfare and safety of the general public while reducing the burden on Ohio’s small companies.

He continued that the median small firm spends $60,000 annually on compliance with laws and regulations. Additionally, most small firms cannot afford to hire teams of compliance officers to make sure they adhere to every single regulation. The owners, who turn on the lights in the morning and lock up at night, typically shoulder that responsibility.

“Our more than 20,000 members in Ohio 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 and easier for them to stay in compliance. NFIB looks forward to continuing to work with the DeWine-Husted administration to continue moving Ohio’s economy forward by allowing small business owners to do what they do best, create jobs and grow their businesses,” Geiger said.

DeWine anticipates the proposal to be put into action in the upcoming months with the aim of streamlining and improving the OAC’s use for both enterprises and individuals. The action is a part of the ongoing efforts by the DeWine-Husted administration to enhance Ohio’s regulatory environment and make it more favorable to economic growth.

“This kind of reduction is truly historic. It’s another example of how Ohio is leading. When site selectors are looking for the best place to open or expand a business, they look at our regulatory code. When they do that, we want them to find useful information about operating in Ohio, not tons of red tape,” DeWine said.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Mike DeWine and Jon Husted” by Mike DeWine. 



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