I have received this update from John Tyler, the Legislative Aid to Representative Ramos:
Currently, activity in the House is focused on assessing and addressing the Governor’s proposed state budget. That said, we are still reaching out to interested parties with the beer bill language as well as seeking an opportunity to address this issue within the state budget bill.
Things are still moving forward, albeit slowly. Once the state budget work has been completed within the House (early guesses point towards mid to late April), there may be greater opportunity to bring this issue forward. A lot of this comes down to internal timing, and trying to make sure that when we bring this forward there is an opportunity for it to receive attention and not be lost in the legislative workload that comes with the biennial budget bill.
This is not surprising as John Tyler had previously stated that the state’s budget was going to be the focus of the early part of the year. I will keep checking to see if they make any progress. It appears this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, as I’m sure is the case with any legislative bill.
In the meantime, the petition to raise the ABV has been growing over the last month. If you haven’t signed it, please take a few moments and check it out.
I would also like to say thanks to Rick at The Ohio Beer Blog for his help in raising awareness with this article:
The revised bill is waiting to be submitted by Representative Ramos. Once the bill is submitted and approved it will receive a dedicated House Bill Number. This can take 1-3 months. As soon as the bill receives a number it will be posted here. It must be revised and resubmitted due to a new General Assembly taking over on January 1st, 2013.
Ohio currently has a 12% ABV cap on all salable beer. If a beer is over the 12% limit is not able to be sold or brewed in the state of Ohio.
Prohibition set the ABV at 0%. It was moved to 6% after prohibition was lifted. In 2002 the limit was moved from 6% to 12%. Ohio Senator Jimmy Stewart (R) introduced a bill in 2011 to raise the allowable ABV to 18%. It made it to the House floor where it was passed by largely due to the popularity of the at-the-time caffeine infused malt liquor known as 4 Lokos.
Senator Jimmy Stewart’s term ended and the bill was picked up by current bill sponsor Representative Dan Ramos (D). The bill was known has House Bill 356 and was submitted to the 129th General Assembly and would raise the allowable ABV to 21%. The bill picked up a little momentum but the end of 2012 also signified the end of the 129th General Assembly. A change of General Assembly wipes all in-progress bills off the record and requires them to be resubmitted.
Dan Ramos plans on resubmitting the bill to raise the allowable beer ABV over 12%. The bill will likely be revised but will be similar to House Bill 356. It can take 1-3 months for the bill to be resubmitted. It will receive a new House Bill number and start the process of becoming law.
After the bill is formally submitted, a State Government and Elections Committee (sub-committee) will be assigned to the bill. This committee will have a chairman that is in charge of overseeing the bill. In the 129th General Assembly the Chairman over House Bill 356 was Representative Ron Maag and he is likely to be the chairman when the bill is reintroduced.
Most bills are guaranteed at least one hearing although it is common for multiple hearings to take place. The chairman then takes the bill to a committee vote. If the committee approves it goes to the Speaker of the House. It will be at the digression of the Speaker to decide if and when the bill goes to a vote. If the bill makes it past the house it will then be passed on to the senate and if approved there will go to the governor to be signed into law.
How to make a difference:
When the bill goes to the sub-committee the names of those on the committee will released. It is important to contact these committee members with the concerns of those in favor of the bill. This can be done via e-mail, letters, or phone calls. Letting the representatives and senators know there are people in their district that care can go a long way to getting the bill passed through.
Signing the petition below can be helpful as well as it shows a united front by those in support of the Bill.