By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program
Since we’re at the end of the two-year session of the 134th General Assembly, any proposed legislation that did not pass is now dead. Some of those proposals will be reintroduced next session, but we might never see others again. The two most notable ag-related bills that died include:
Community solar – H.B. 450
Many solar developers were hoping this bill would pass, as it provides incentives for smaller scale subscription-based solar projects and solar projects on brownfield sites. Landowners considering leases with solar developers who stated they were doing community solar projects must note that, because the bill did not pass, there is currently no legal authority to construct a community solar project in Ohio.
Eminent domain — H.B. 698
This proposal would have streamlined the process for landowners challenging compensation for property taken by eminent domain, increased the burden of proof by an agency using eminent domain, and expanded attorney fee and expense rewards for property owners. It would also prohibit takings of property for recreational trails, an issue that has plagued northeast Ohio. Sponsors say they will reintroduce next session.
What packages will the new year bring?
We’ll be keeping an eye on the new Ohio General Assembly, which will likely include new committee members and leadership on both the House Agriculture and Conservation and Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committees. Our quick wish list for the next session starts with:
Revisions to the agricultural and agritourism exemptions in county and township zoning law.
Mowing date and procedural revisions to the noxious weeds law.
Updates and clarifications to the partition fence law.
Streamlining and clarification of home-based and farm-raised food licenses.
Follow the Ohio legislature at https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/.