As you may know, the Kasich Administration, through the Department of Commerce and OCILB, has changed regulation. Due to this, the Governor signed S.B. 78, which took effect on September 17, 2014, and H.B. 486, which OCILB will begin on January 1, 2016.
Ohio Business Compliance Incentive
H.B. 486 authorizes the Ohio Business Compliance Incentive Program, OCILB will amend the current continuing education requirements and license renewal schedule for licensees by recognizing and rewarding licensees who are compliant businesses, while not reducing or easing the standards that these businesses must comply with.
The Ohio Business Compliance Incentive Program has three primary goals:
- To recognize businesses who demonstrate a long, consistent pattern of compliance with the law and regulations;
- To reward those businesses by reducing some or all of their costs associated with compliance or reduce the amount of regular inspections; and
- To “get out of the way” of businesses so they can thrive, contribute to Ohio’s economy and continue to provide jobs to Ohioans.
Beginning January 1, 2016; H.B. 486 allows those contractors in good standing to renew every year, or every three years. Forms for license renewals beginning January 1, 2016 will allow those contractors to check ‘1-year’ or ‘3-year’ renewals. H.B. 486 also allows contractors in good standing to take 8 hours of consistent education instead of 10. If the contractor chooses ‘1-year’, he will pay $60 per license, and 8 hours will be due at the end of his renewal period. If the contractor chooses ‘3-years’, he will pay $180 per license, and 24 hours will be due at the end of his renewal period. For those holding the Electrical License, half of their hours must be in code.
Those contractors, who did not fulfill their renewal requirements in 2015, will not be eligible for this incentive program. Instead, they will have to renew at the end of 2016, and take 10 hours of continuing education. If they complete their requirements on time in 2016, their 2017 renewal will allow them to choose ‘1- year’ with 8 hours of continuing education, or ‘3-years’ with 24 hours of continuing education.
Specialty Contracting Company Changes
Senate Bill 78 addresses issues related to specialty contractors, and seeks to eliminate some of the problems facing the industry. One particular concern was the challenge posed by the “sale” of specialty licenses to unlicensed, unqualified contractors. As many of you are aware, the former law permitted unlicensed tradespeople to perform HVAC, plumbing, electrical, refrigeration, and hydronic work, so long as a licensed contractor “directed and supervised” those activities. This had the unintended consequence of enabling unscrupulous contractors to claim a supervisory relationship with an unlicensed contractor in exchange for a fee – thereby “selling their license” to the highest bidder. The Board had very few means of catching such abuse, and the end result undermined the OCILB and put Ohioans at risk.
S.B. 78 erases this abuse by removing the “direct and supervise” provision of the law while permitting license sharing between licensed contractors and their employees, thereby ensuring accountability. The bill now requires all tradespeople to be employed, paid by a W2, by the contracting company name on the license. Contractors may also employ tradespeople from a temporary agency but the contractor is accountable for the proper installation of the work.
All licensed contractors SHALL assign a contracting company name to their license. If they are employed by a non-contracting company, their license must be placed in escrow, or provide a copy of three permits obtained for each of the last three years (9 permits total). With this proof, a business entity can be assigned to a license.
The bill also clarifies the penalty powers of the Board, including the ability to require additional continuing education classes, issues fines, or makes criminal referrals.
If you have any questions regarding these two new laws, please feel free to contact Carol Ross, Executive Secretary, OCILB, at 614-644-3495.