State Representative Casey Kozlowski (R-Pierpont) and State Representative Ron Young (R-Painesville) have announced that two of their jointly sponsored bills have passed from their respective committees in the Legislature, both with unanimous support from members on both sides of the aisle.

House Bill 243, which originally passed from the Ohio House in June and recently passed unanimously from the Senate Insurance Committee, strives to lighten burdensome, bureaucratic permit restrictions on economic development. It eliminates two restrictions on the A-3a liquor permit, which would allow more distillers to obtain the permit and thereby expand business opportunities and tourism in Ohio. According to current law, an A-3a permit can only be obtained in counties with at least 800,000 residents and may be issued to only one micro-distiller in that county—limiting permit holders to just three statewide.

Reps Kozlowski and Young’s legislation removes the 800,000 county population requirements and allows micro-distillers to acquire this permit and begin operations as boutique producers in other areas of Ohio.

“In a time when jobs are scarce and the population of Ohio has declined, the evolution of business expansion is essential to entice individuals to take root in this state and prosper,” Kozlowski said. “This bill would allow for the expansion of business for distillers in Ohio, as well as benefit the tourism industry for people who visit distilleries and wineries for taste tests and want to purchase the product on location. Because of population requirements, A-3a permits only benefit Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties. When we create laws that hinder business, we are limiting entrepreneurs and their ideas, jobs, investments and the economic growth this state needs.”

“We have an opportunity to help many of the businesses in our communities succeed while also increasing revenue from tourism. As lawmakers, we need to constantly seek ways to make Ohio marketable and make our state economy more attractive. House Bill 243 is another step toward this goal,” Young said.

Additionally, House Concurrent Resolution 22 passed from the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and will urge Congress to pass the “Short Sea Shipping Act of 2011” — a resolution sponsored by Congressman Steve LaTourette — which is a vital job-creating bill that will not only impact the Great Lakes region but the state of Ohio as a whole.

The “Short Sea Shipping Act of 2011,” or the federal H.R. 1533, would provide the necessary incentives for the further development of the United States shipping industry, which would also create jobs in the trucking industry, relieve traffic congestion on highways, and reduce greenhouse emissions.

Specifically, it would exempt from the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) any commercial cargo that is loaded at a port in the United States mainland and unloaded at another port in the United States mainland after transport solely by coastal or river route or unloaded at a port in Canada located in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System. Likewise, the bill’s exemption would apply to commercial cargo that is loaded at a port in Canada located in the Great Lakes Seaway System and unloaded at a port in the United States mainland.

“By enacting this resolution and urging the passage of House Resolution 1533, we would be giving cargo shippers an incentive to move cargo via marine mode,” said Kozlowski. “This legislation would also enhance our short sea shipping industry, create jobs, reduce highway congestion and improve the flow of commerce. I am pleased that it passed from House committee today with support from both sides of the aisle. This legislation will open the doors for Ohio businesses, and help Ashtabula and Conneaut ports.”

“House Resolution 1533 will directly benefit communities like Fairport Harbor, which will see new job growth borne from this revitalized short sea shipping. In the process, this will hopefully take away some of the highway congestion from shipping over land,” Young said. “From a macro perspective, this legislation is designed to help refocus the Great Lakes region on the virtues of intermodal shipping. As compared to land transportation, shipping via waterways is much more cost-effective, requires much less infrastructure development and maintenance, burns less fuel per ton, and is thus more environmentally friendly.”

Having passed from House committee, H.C.R. 22 now awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives.


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