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Policy group targets Ohio conservatives over hiring requirement bill

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(The Center Square) – A grassroots policy group launched a $200,000 campaign aimed at conservative Ohio lawmakers who pushed forward a bill creating a labor mandate in the state’s oil and gas industry.

Americans for Prosperity-Ohio said the effort to target conservative, limited-government lawmakers who support the bill comes when Ohioans fight high energy costs and inflation.

ASP-Ohio calls House Bill 205 a big government policy.

“AFP-Ohio is engaging on one of its largest accountability plays in recent years. Too many Ohioans who voted for lawmakers based on their conservative platform and promises to reduce red tape that impinges on their livelihoods are being duped,” AFP-Ohio State Director Donovan O’Neil said. “As Democrats like Sherrod Brown and Joe Biden are enacting similar policies on a federal level that hamper our domestic energy production, some Republicans have pushed new labor mandates that will accelerate the most damaging aspects of the Bidenomics economy. It’s our hope that this campaign serves as a wake-up call for these lawmakers and their constituents are better informed on what’s going on in Columbus.”

HB205, which unanimously came out of its Republican-dominated committee and passed the House on a 64-30 vote in June, has yet to have a committee hearing in the Senate.

As previously reported by The Center Square, it would increase hiring requirements at oil refineries in the state, including a mandate that employees demonstrate fluency in English.

It would also:

• Require an apprenticeship credential to complete construction work.

• Require completion of a 30-hour safety and health hazard recognition and prevention course approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

• Require English language proficiency.

“Setting these training standards is a critical piece of protecting the health and safety of both Ohio workers and the public,” Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, said in June. “It is also critical that the construction work completed at our refineries be completed proficiently so that the refineries avoid shutdowns due to workplace incidents.”

The National Federation of Independent Business Ohio said the bill puts big government into hiring and would create a slippery slope.

Other business, industry and oil and gas groups have also opposed the bill.

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