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Ohio Statehouse Update: Week in Review — February 24, 2012


1. PUCO revokes AEP-Ohio electric security plan agreement

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) on February 23, 2012 reversed its course and disapproved AEP-Ohio’s electric security plan (ESP) that it had previously approved in December. The Commission announced plans to revisit the ESP earlier in the month citing hundreds of complaints from General Service 2 customers, primarily small businesses, school districts and local governments that were faced with substantial increases in electric bills.

The Commission has ordered AEP to return its rates to levels similar to those in place in December 2011. These rates will remain in place until a new rate plan is adopted.

“Our decision effectively hits the reset button on AEP’s electric security plan, allows us to start over from the beginning, ensure that we have a complete picture of any proposal, and balance the interests of all customers and the utility,” stated Chairman Todd Snitchler.

AEP has 30 days to amend or withdraw its application filed on January 27, 2011. The PUCO has reopened intervention in the case to allow any party to participate in the proceedings and will issue a procedural schedule for the case when AEP responds.

2. Governor approves seven bills

Governor Kasich signed seven bills into law on Tuesday, February 21, 2012. The following Acts will each become effective on
May 21, 2012:

  • House Bill 14: Sponsored by Representative Barbara Sears (R- Sylvania), the Act removes pit bulls from the definition of “vicious dog” in state law, establishes a process by which dog owners may appeal the dangerous designation, and requires the owner of a dangerous dog to obtain a registration certificate.
  • House Bill 32: Sponsored by Representative Ron Amstutz (R- Wooster), the Act exempts certain plans and measurements relating to household or small flow on-site sewage treatment systems from the Professional Engineers and Surveyors Law, and authorizes the use of the enforcement provisions of the Household and Small Flow On-site Sewage Treatment Systems Law to enforce existing rules governing household sewage disposal systems until those rules are superseded by rules that are required to be adopted under that Law.
  • House Bill 185: Sponsored by former Representative John Carey (R- Wellston), the Act designates the third week of July as “Ohio Aggregates and Industrial Minerals Awareness Week.”
  • House Bill 212: Sponsored by Representative Cheryl Grossman (R- Grove City), the Act extends to legal custodians the exemption from certain adoptive placement requirements.
  • House Bill 215: Sponsored by Representative Mike Dovilla (R- Berea), the Act designates the fifteenth day of June as “Elder Abuse Awareness Day.”
  • House Bill 267: Sponsored by former Representative Todd McKenney (R- Akron), the Act adopts the Revised Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act and revises the merger and consolidation provisions of the Nonprofit Corporation Law.
  • House Bill 268: Sponsored by Representative Matt Szollosi (D- Oregon), the Act modernizes the language of and removes obsolete provisions from the jury service law.

3. Third Frontier Commission meets

The Third Frontier Commission met this week and approved funding for Ohio’s New Entrepreneurs Fund (ONE Fund). The ONE Fund is a mentorship-driven program focusing on the professional development of young entrepreneurs to commercialize new technologies and link promising new ventures with early-stage investment capital.

The Commission approved four awards totaling $760,000 to the following:

  • Innov8 LLC of Cincinnati was awarded $160,000 and will focus on information technology in health care.
  • Main Street Ventures of Cincinnati was approved for $200,000 and will focus on consumer marketing.
  • Shaker LaunchHouse of Shaker Heights was awarded $200,000 and will focus on business and healthcare software and web-based technology companies.
  • The Ohio State University’s 10xelerator was approved for $200,000 and will focus on information technology.

The Commission is scheduled to hold its next meeting on March 14, 2012.

For more information, please contact:

Michael Caputo
(non-attorney professional)

Rebecca M. Kuhns
(non-attorney professional)

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© 2012 McDonald Hopkins LLC All Rights Reserved. This Alert is designed to provide current information for our clients, friends and their advisors regarding important legal developments. The foregoing discussion is general information rather than specific legal advice. Because it is necessary to apply legal principles to specific facts, always consult your legal advisor before using this discussion as a basis for a specific action.