Last month concluded the two-year legislative term of the Ohio Legislature. Final work was completed mid-December, known as “lame-duck.” Priority pieces of legislation from both the House, Senate and Governor’s office were passed in these final days. The legislature tackled a wide-range of items, from distributing ARPA funding and voting law reform, to drilling gas on public lands. Any legislation that did not get passed and signed by the Governor is now dead and must be re-introduced this year to start the committee process back up again.
We are pleased to report we found success in lame-duck with one of your top priorities, preemption of the ban of pesticide use on private property. As you are well aware, an out of state group called Beyond Pesticide has been advocating to local governments to ban the use of pesticides. They have a model municipal resolution on their website that advocates local governments adopt a ban for the use of pesticide on local government property, such as metro park ball fields for example. A plan was put together to stop this movement.
Working with your organization, we established a legislative advocacy plan to ask for an amendment to be accepted that would preempt local governments from regulating or banning the sale, purchase, storage, distribution, use, or application of a registered pesticide on private property and private property open to the public (golf courses). This would give all authority to future proposals beyond pesticide proposed to be done at the state level through the legislature, and not individual local governments.
We proposed the amendment and met with several key legislators in both the Ohio House and Senate to identify if such an amendment was possible. Throughout talks in the Spring, Summer and into Fall we had many positive conversations and garnered widespread support within the Republican Statehouse. During the final days of lame-duck, our efforts paid off! Representative Kyle Koehler (Springfield) was the sponsor of House Bill 507, which had several clean up items to Ohio’s agricultural law. Rep. Koehler supported putting our amendment into his bill. Chairman Tim Schaffer (Licking) of the Senate Agricultural committee spearheaded getting the amendment included in HB 507 before passing the bill out of committee. Eventually the full Senate and House both voted on and passed the bill with the amendment included. The last step was Governor DeWine signing the legislation into law.
Because of other changes included in HB 507, most notably provisions to allow drilling on public lands, environmental groups were putting a lot of pressure on the Governor to veto the bill entirely. We want to work providing the Governor’s team on why this bill and our language were vital to the lawncare industry and your business. We were pleased the Governor finally signed HB 507 into law in early January. This new law will go into effect in early Spring.
It was a great overall team effort from members within your organization to the outside lobbying groups working on your behalf and we look forward to working on many other important issues with you this coming year.
Special Thanks to our Lobby Team!