The Ohio State House is abuzz with activity during the late spring and early summer. Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Legislature are required by the Ohio Constitution to pass and sign the Ohio operating budget, House Bill 59 (H.B. 59) for fiscal years 2014-2015 before midnight on July 1st. The Ohio House of Representatives has passed their version of the budget, and committees of the Ohio Senate are reviewing the provisions of H.B. 59.
Among the provisions in the bill is the creation of the “Lake Facilities Authority”, a governing body that may be created by county commissioners to oversee improvement or remediation of an impacted watershed. The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) continues to actively engage Ohio legislators and regulators to ensure solutions to Ohio’s water quality issues do not unfairly burden Ohio’s farm families.
OSA has also partnered with the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association to comment on proposed regulatory authority brought forth by members of Governor Kasich’s cabinet. Directors of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Protection have been working with agricultural leaders to come up with legislative recommendations to help remedy water quality problems in Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys. Members of the OSA Board of Trustees will be visiting Ohio legislators on June 19th to discuss OSA legislative priorities for the 130th General Assembly.
OSA is also working in partnership with the Ohio Soybean Council to ensure that all Ohio soybean growers are aware of the steps that need to be taken to do our part by ensuring responsible nutrient stewardship.
Along with the heavy activity in the Ohio Statehouse, Capitol Hill is heating up too. The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are putting together their respective Farm Bill proposals during the middle of May. Also, the U.S. Senate considered the Water Resources Development Act during May. The bill is critical to the streamlining activities of improving the locks and dams on U.S. rivers.
OSA leaders will be travelling to Washington in July to meet with the Ohio delegation regarding a vast array of issues including Farm Bill, trade policy, and biodiesel production.