There was good and there was bad in what ended up as Substitute H.B. 490, but after eight months in the Ohio General Assembly, the bill is dead.
The bill was an omnibus measure originally a part of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s Mid Biennium Review. It contained several hundred pages dealing with matters under the jurisdiction of both the Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The bill included a prohibition on spreading manure on frozen, snow-covered or saturated ground in the western basin of Lake Erie, movement of the Ag Pollution Abatement Program from ODNR to ODAg and some tightening of regulation on the handling wastewater from fracking operations.
It also included, as an unexpected – some would say unwanted – gift from outgoing House Speaker William Batchelder a provision which would have allowed telecommunications companies in Ohio to pull the plug on landline phone service offerings for customers. The Ohio Farmers Union has been urging rural residents to call their state senators to demand that provision be taken out.
Senate President Keith Faber said today that HB 490 had become too weighed down with amendments. He said that while the House had eight months to work with the bill, the Senate has had only a week and could not do it justice in lame duck.
For now, it’s all over for HB 490 – but there’s always next year for many of the bill’s original provisions.