Riedel Shares Ohio Statehouse Updates

Rep. Craig Riedel spoke to St. Marys Rotarians on Wednesday with an update on legislation he is working on at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
Managing Editor

State Rep. Craig Riedel updated St. Marys Rotarians earlier this week on what he is working on at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus as he enters the first year of his second team as a state representative in the 82nd District.

Riedel informed Rotarians that he was seeking re-election for a third term as a representative, but mainly focused on the issues he is addressing at the state level. 

One of the bills he is co-sponsoring with Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, is House Bill 78. 

The legislation would allow political subdivisions, special districts and state institutions of higher education the choice to apply the prevailing wage law to public improvement projects. 

Prevailing wage law is the requirement to pay labor workers the wage and benefits of the area in which they are working and it can drive up the cost of local capital projects.

“Rep. Manchester and I introduced this bill because we believe in free and open competitive markets,” Riedel said. “This bill does not eliminate prevailing wage, but rather makes it permissive. It gives local government entities the ability to decide for themselves whether they want to use prevailing wage on a job by job basis.”

Under current law, prevailing wage mandates begin at $250,000 for local capital projects, which can cause communities to suffer from additional costs to either the taxpayer or force a project to not be completed because of the increased costs. HB 78 increases the threshold for new construction projects from $250,000 to $500,000 with the intent to capture many new construction projects and eliminate restrictions.

Riedel added that larger counties in the state, such as Lucas, Franklin or Cuyahoga, would most likely use prevailing wage on just about every project, but in rural Ohio, city officials and county commissioners are more likely not going to use prevailing wage.

“The whole idea behind it is to stretch out those tax dollars, because prevailing wages could be doubled what the market rate is in this part of Ohio so it will allow our county governments and municipalities to stretch out those tax dollars,” Riedel added.

Riedel also added that he and Rep. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin, are working on unemployment compensation reform, stating that Ohio’s system has been broken for 40 years in regards to how the state funds and pays out unemployment benefits. 

In the recession that hit the country in 2009-2010, Riedel said the state had to borrow $3.5 billion from the federal government — money that had to be paid back, along with additional fees and penalties.

“The employers in Ohio were the ones who had to pick up the tab for all of that and we have to fix the formula,” Riedel said. “The last thing we want to do is borrow from the federal government. We want to avoid having to pay those fees and penalties.”

Reidel hopes that the bill will be introduced in the next two to
three weeks, saying that it would be a big uplift.

The final bill Riedel is working on with the help of Sen. Robert McColley, R-Napoleon, is regulatory reform.

“The state of Ohio is one of the most regulated states in the country,” Riedel added. “It would require every state agency in the state of Ohio to take stock and inventory of all their rules and regulations and then they have to reduce those rules and regulations by 10% over the next three years.”

Riedel added that after those three years, it would put Ohio more in the range of the rest of the states in the midwest. 

For every new rule or regulation that is introduced, state agencies would have to eliminate two.

“The whole idea behind this concept is to make Ohio more competitive with our neighboring states,” he said. “It is more difficult, especially if you are a business, to operate with all of these rules and regulations.”

Riedel concluded his speech by addressing firearms, which has been a major topic of conversations since the shootings in Dayton and El Paso in August. 

He stated that there are currently more than 20 gun bills that are in the process of being vetted and Gov. Mike DeWine recently introduced his proposal last week, which was officially submitted to the Senate on Tuesday by Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls). 

Riedel said there is a bill in the House that he has been studying thoroughly that he believes has “a lot of good stuff” that will make sure the data is uploaded to background checks system sooner and more efficiently, but predicted that there was not going to be  significant changes in Ohio when it comes to gun legislation, such as expanded background checks or red flag laws.

“A lot of times, a person who shouldn’t be buying a gun because of a arrest warrant on them or some sort of protection order on them, you would be forbidden to buy a firearm,” Riedel said. “Sometimes, that information is not being uploaded quick enough so this bill would require that information be uploaded within one day.”

The bill would also move the age that records are expunged from 23 to 28 years old. 

Riedel added that the shooter in Dayton had a criminal record as a juvenile and his records were expunged when he turned 23 and he bought his gun legally at the age of 24
or 25.

“Had that information still been in his background check system, he would have been forbidden to buy his firearm,” he said.