The Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee has set a hearing for 1:30 p.m. Monday on the construction reform plan, which Senate Republicans want to include in HB318 (Sykes) as a way to curb future budgetary costs.
Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) is promising five votes from his caucus for Gov. Strickland’s proposed delay of the final year of a planned income tax cut in exchange for proposals such as sentencing and construction reform being added to HB318.
Witnesses who have been invited to speak at Monday’s hearing include: E. Gordon Gee, president of the Ohio State University; Bruce Johnson, president of the Inter-University Council of Ohio; Eric Fingerhut, chancellor of the Board of Regents; Hugh Quill, the director of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, and Jeffrey Appelbaum, the facilitator of the Ohio Construction Reform Panel.
Opposition groups are already urging separate hearings on the construction reform proposal. Ohioans for Fair and Open Bidding, which includes groups such as the National Electrical Contractors Association, Ohio Conference (NECA-Ohio), the Mechanical Contractors Association of Ohio and the Ohio State Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, issued a statement saying the issue does not need to be rushed.
“We believe in reform, but let’s do it sensibly and in the open,” said Ronald Becker, president of NECA-Ohio.
The Mechanical Contractors Association of Ohio also shot a letter to Senate Finance Chairman John Carey asking for the chance to testify on the reform proposals as well. “While the individuals scheduled to appear certainly have experience overseeing state construction projects, we believe that it would be vitally important to the committee to also hear testimony from individuals who actually have the hands-on experience of constructing a building,” Valerie Dahlberg, the group’s executive director said in the letter.