By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Attorney and Director, Agricultural & Resource Law Program
While Ohio’s “budget bill” is important for funding our agencies and programs, it always contain many provisions that aren’t at all related to the state’s budget. The budget bill provides an opportunity for legislators to throw in interests of all sorts, which tends to add challenges to reaching consensus. Though many worried about having the current budget approved in time, Ohio lawmakers did pass the two-year budget bill, H.B. 33, just ahead of its deadline on June 30.
We’ve been digging through the bill’s 6,000+ pages of budget and non-budget provisions and the Governor’s 44-item veto. Some of the provisions are proposals we’ve seen in other legislation that made their way into the budget bill. Not included in the final package were Senate-approved changes to the Current Agricultural Use Valuation law that would have adjusted reappraisals in 2023, 2024, and 2025. Here’s a summary of items we found of relevance to Ohio agriculture, not including the agency funding allocations. We also summarize three vetoes by the Governor that pulled items from the budget bill.
Township zoning referenda – ORC 519.12 and 519.25
There is now a higher requirement for the number of signatures needed on a petition to subject a township zoning amendment to referendum by placing it on the ballot for a public vote. The bill increased the number of signatures from 8% to 15% of the total vote cast in the township for all candidates for governor in the most recent general election for governor.
Legume inoculators – ORC 907.27 and 907.32
The bill eliminated Ohio’s annual Legume Inoculator’s License requirement for businesses and individuals that apply inoculants to seed. All other requirements for legume inoculants remain unchanged.
Agricultural commodity handlers–Grain Indemnity Fund – ORC 926.18
Ohio’s agricultural commodity handlers law provides reimbursement to a grain depositor if there is a bankruptcy or failure of the grain elevator. The bill revises several parts of the law that provide a depositor with 100% coverage of a grain deposit when there’s a failure:
If a commodity handler’s license is suspended and the handler failed to pay for the commodities by the date suspension occurred, the new law increases the number of days by which the commodities had to be priced prior to the suspension– from 30 to 45 days.
If a commodity handler’s license is suspended and there is a deferred payment agreement between the depositor and the handler, the new law:
Requires that the deferred payment agreement must be signed by both parties.
Increases the number of days by which the commodities had to be priced prior to the suspension — from 90 to 365 days; and
Increases the number of days by which payment for the commodity must be made pursuant to the deferred payment agreement — from 90 days to 365 days following the date of delivery.
Requiring 100% coverage when commodities were delivered and marketed under a delayed price agreement up to two years prior to a handler’s license suspension. The delivery date marked on the receipt tickets determine the two-year period. The bill also states that the Grain Indemnity Fund has no liability if the delayed price agreement was entered into more than two years prior to the commodity handler’s license suspension.
Two circumstances for 100% of loss coverage from the Grain Indemnity Fund remain unchanged by the bill: when the commodities were stored under a bailment agreement and when payment was tendered but subsequently denied. For all other losses, the new law will reduce the fund payment to 75% of the loss. Current law covers 100% of the first $10,000 of the loss and 80% of the remaining dollar value of that loss. Continue reading