November 19, 2020
Law Changes Coming to Ohio in 2021
As someone who lives in Ohio, you’re likely going to want to know about upcoming law changes and new laws coming to your state. While these changes happen throughout the year, many can go into effect with the new year. With 2021 only a short time away, you may want to look into what laws are changing in Ohio.
Lawmakers work year-round to analyze issues in the state, come up with solutions, and pass bills into law to help the people in our state. We’ll look at a few law changes you should be aware of come 2021.
Education Changes in 2021
Many schools have had to transition to education from home or rotate between being home and being at school because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has affected education laws for 2021. According to Senate Bill 319, Ohio will not adjust the minimum reading test score required for third-graders to get into the fourth grade.
It’s typical for this score to increase each year. However, this is not happening because for some time in 2020, kids weren’t in school and were continuing their education from home.
The state senator behind this bill, Matt Huffman, stated that many professionals in the educational field were consulted in discussions about this subject and other areas of education. Teachers unions, superintendents, school boards, and more were part of this discussion.
The bill also states that public schools do not have to establish reading improvement plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Teachers also don’t need to give students remediation because they weren’t able to get the training necessary to do so.
This bill affects more than those in the elementary school. High schoolers with cancelled exams could have their grade determined by their grade in the class. This way, students who are expected to graduate could meet the requirements to get their diploma.
Additionally, evaluations for teachers, principals, online courses for the classroom part of bus driver training, and continuing special education are covered in this bill.
One of the biggest concerns is loss of jobs in school districts. With this bill, employees could be furloughed instead of fired, which would allow them to keep their health insurance. However, the language surrounding this part of the bill is opposed by teachers’ unions, as they say it undercuts collective bargaining rights.
More bills concerning education in the midst of the pandemic may arise in the next year.
Concealed Carry Permits
HB-614 will allow Ohio citizens will be able to apply for and renew a concealed carry permit at sheriff’s offices within the state. This change will make it easier for citizens to go through the application process or renew their licenses.
Before this change was enacted, those seeking to apply for a concealed carry permit or renewal could only do so in the county they reside in or a county that adjoined them. Between sheriff’s offices being busy and the limited time available, the time to receive the permits could be delayed.
Another outcome of this change is having sheriff’s offices looking into their application process and how they conduct business. Some permit offices are by appointment only. If there are certain offices with better service, other offices may adopt their procedures to match their service level.
Going to the permit office by appointment-only in some counties was decided on as the best course of action considering the pandemic. This reduced the amount of people waiting in the lobby and allowed the office to comply with guidelines. Other counties are still allowing walk-ins.
For those worried about overcrowding, there is a provision in the bill that allows the sheriff to set a day for county residents only. It’s also important to note that this law change happened because of the pandemic creating a backup. These changes expire June 30, 2021. If someone’s license will expire between March 9, 2020 and June 30, 2021, the license can be extended by 90 days or until June 30, 2021.
One city in Ohio recently voted on whether or not to implement a green-energy plan. Columbus passed Issue 1, which will mean Columbus’ power will come from renewable resources by 2023. Energy sources like wind and solar farms will provide the city with power. This billion-dollar proposal could set an example for other cities in Ohio and lead others into looking at renewable sources of energy in a larger scale.
While all the details are not completely finalized, there will be public hearings to go over how AEP Energy, the vendor that will supply the energy, plans to meet this goal. This also allows the public to understand what’s going on. There may also be smaller-scale projects to help residents go green, like using solar panels on their homes.
It is important to note there is an opt-out for businesses and residents if they do not wish to be part of this plan. They can then choose their power provider.
Bey & Associates stays current with the law changes and we aim to help as many Ohio citizens do the same. Our lawyers understand the importance of knowing which laws are being amended and what new laws are being enacted. Contact us today if you have any questions about state laws.