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    Ohio House Bill 2 signed into law

    Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio House Bill (H.B.) 2 into law on Monday, May 17, 2021. H.B. 2 was drafted similarly to H.B. 13 from the last general assembly. H.B. 2 creates the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program. The grant program will be housed under the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA), which is likely to become the Ohio Department of Development again under H.B. 110, the budget bill. DSA will receive and review applications for program grants and send completed applications to the Broadband Expansion Program Authority. The Authority will consist of the Director of Development Services (DSA Director) and the Director of InnovateOhio or their designees, along with three appointed members, to serve four-year terms with reappointments permitted, with the Speaker of the House, the Senate President and the Governor making one appointment each.

    When H.B. 2 was passed out of the House Finance Committee, the committee amended the bill to include $170 million for fiscal year 2022 and another $20 million for fiscal year 2023. This funding was in addition to the $20 million for fiscal year 2021. After passing the full House, the Senate referred the bill to the Senate Financial Institutions and Technology Committee. However, the Senate members had some concern with certain appropriation sources in the bill. Therefore, the Senate stripped the bill of the additional funding in fiscal year 2022 and 2023 in committee. The Senate also added an emergency clause to the bill to expedite the rulemaking process needed for the authority to begin to award grants. The full Senate passed H.B. 2 on April 28, 2021.

    Since the Senate made changes to the bill, the House needed to concur with the Senate amendments. The House considered H.B. 2 on May 5, 2021, and concurred with the Senate amendments. The program is funded at $20 million for fiscal year 2021.  

    This is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice and does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship.

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