2015 Summer Ohio Beer Law Update

From the desk of Tim Brown and  State Representative Dan Ramos

June 11, 2015

Friends, I am writing you today to update you with the status of House Bill 68, which I introduced earlier this year.  Known from last General Assembly as House Bill 391, HB68 would raise the maximum allowable ABV to 21%.

Earlier last week, I met with Representative Tim Brown (R-Bowling Green), who Chairs the House Committee on Government Accountability & Oversight.  Chairman Brown was aware of the Bill, and assured me that it will receive testimony in his Committee.

Last Tuesday, I delivered Sponsor Testimony to the Committee, wherein I argued in support of the bill as well as took questions from the Committee.  Committee members in both Parties were friendly to the Bill and, while Chairman Brown has ultimate discretion over when the bill will be heard again, he has suggested the bill will be allowed a second hearing for Proponent Testimony, where supporters of the Bill are welcomed to speak about it.  I am optimistic about the Bill receiving further testimony within a few weeks.

My office has been in touch with many of you in the past.  I know that many of you are frustrated with the slow process of passing this bill.  I want you to know that I am too.  In the past, previous iterations of the Beer Bill have been held up because of arbitrary decisions by members of House Leadership.  With a number of those names and faces changed in this General Assembly, I have received positive support from members of Leadership and other Representatives on House Bill 68.

I am reaching out for your assistance in providing Proponent Testimony for House Bill 68.  Proponent Testimony will likely occur Tuesday, June 23rd at 1:30PM in State House Room 114.  Gathering in-person testimony from businesses and organizations affiliated with the industry will assist me in making the case for H.B.68.  Proponent testimony entails a small speech, usually less than 5 minutes in length, for the Committee on why you support the Bill.  I have already contacted several of you for your support from last General Assembly.  If you, or someone you know affiliated with the industry, would like to become a public proponent of this legislation please contact my office.  Should you have any questions or need assistance in this regard, my legislative aide, Eric Fischer (Eric.Fischer@OhioHouse.gov), would be happy to work with you during the process.

If you do not represent a business or affiliated member organization, I would still urge you to reach out and contact your State Representative as well as Chairman Dovilla’s office directly to voice your support for H.B. 68 and ask that it be given timely consideration before the committee. You can find the contact for your State Representative by clicking here and entering your zip code in the bottom left corner of the website.  You can contact the committee Chairperson via the following:

The Honorable Tim Brown
77 S. High St., 13th Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

P: 614-466-8104
E: Rep03@OhioHouse.gov

As I mentioned, I am very optimistic about House Bill 68 moving further this General Assembly.  The Bill has bi-partisan support, with six Democrats and six Republicans already co-sponsoring.  I believe this legislation represents an important investment in Ohio small businesses to ease our beer regulations with other states’, and it is important for me to pass H.B. 68 this year.  As always, if I can be of any further service to you, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Cheers, \
Dan Ramos

State Representative

56th Ohio House District

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Summer Update 2014

From the desk of State Representative Dan Ramos

The House is currently in summer recess and no committee hearings are scheduled.

There are 6 “if needed” session dates scheduled in September (16th-18th, 23rd-25th). These dates will be decided upon by the Speaker of the House as to whether or not we meet at that time. Following those dates, the House is scheduled to resume its activities November 12th, 2014 for a 6-week session before the start of the new year. If the bill is not considered and adopted before December 31st, it will need to be reintroduced in the 131st General Assembly next year. At that time, we would again circulate it for sponsors and upon introduction the legislation would receive a new bill number.

We have not received any communication from the Chair’s office as to their plans to call the legislation forward for consideration.

I’ll do my best to keep you and all those who have inquired up-to-date when we hear more.

 

Thanks again,

John Tyler|Legislative Aide

Office of Representative Dan Ramos | Assistant Minority Whip

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April 2014 Update

From the desk of State Representative Dan Ramos

At the start of this year, we were able to get the endorsement of the Ohio Craft Brewer’s Association, which we were very pleased about.  Unfortunately, we are still awaiting a first hearing on the legislation in the House Committee on Policy and Legislative Oversight, which is chaired by Rep. Dovilla.  There’s a pretty good article that ran recently on Cleveland.com summarizing the current progress, it can be found here.  In the article, the Chair’s office indicated that, with the various Mid-Biennium Review bills pending before the House, there was no target date for the first scheduled hearing. There is no procedure in place to force a hearing to be called as it is within the full discretion of the chair of each committee, who is appointed by the Speaker of the House.

Once this bill is called for a first hearing, I will send out another legislative update to those who have asked to be kept in the loop.

Thanks for your continued interest, let me know if you have any other questions.

Best,

John Tyler | Legislative Aide

Office of Representative Dan Ramos

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January 2014 Update

From the desk of State Representative Dan Ramos

Friends, I am writing you today to update you with the status of House Bill 391, which would change the law in Ohio to change the maximum allowable ABV in beer to 21%.  As you are aware, the current 12% cap faced in Ohio is inconsistent with all but one of our bordering states and inconsistent with the majority of states across the country.  This has resulted in a needless restriction on Ohio’s brewers and has forced tax dollars out-of-state as consumers continue to cross the border into Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania to purchase specialty brews not sold in Ohio.

 

Earlier this morning, H.B. 391 was assigned to the Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee in the Ohio House of Representatives.  This committee is chaired byRepresentative Mike Dovilla (R – Berea).  The next step in the legislative process will be for this legislation to receive a first hearing, during which I will go before the committee to describe the legislation and answer any questions the members of the committee may have.  This first hearing is typically referred to as “Sponsor Testimony”.  Chairman Dovilla has ultimate discretion as to when to call this bill forward for sponsor testimony and, once sponsor testimony is held, no further action is guaranteed by the legislature.

 

Many of you have reached out to my office and asked what you can do to help.  Becoming a public proponent for H.B. 391 is a crucial component in organizing support for this legislation.  I would like to provide the Chairman and members of the committee letters of support from businesses and organizations affiliated with the industry during sponsor testimony.  If you, or someone you know affiliated with the industry, would like to become a public proponent of this legislation please contact my office.  Should you have questions or need assistance in this regard, my legislative aide, John Tyler (John.Tyler@OhioHouse.gov), would be happy to work with you during the process.

 

If you do not represent a business or affiliated member organization, I would still urge you to reach out and contact your State Representative as well as Chairman Dovilla’s office directly to voice your support for H.B. 391 and ask that it be given timely consideration before the committee. You can find the contact for your State Representative by clicking here and entering your zip code in the bottom left corner of the website.  You can contact the committee Chairperson via the following:

The Honorable Mike Dovilla
77 S. High St., 13th Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

P: 614-466-4895
E: Rep07@OhioHouse.gov

 

As I mentioned in a previous e-mail, I am hopeful about the progress that can be made on this bill this General Assembly.  There are 21 total legislators in support of raising the allowable ABV in beer to 21%, with nearly equal support from both parties (12 Democrats, 9 Republicans).  This week marks the start of the 2014 legislative session and I look forward to continuing the discussion in pursuit of this goal.  As always, if I can be of any further service to you, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

 

Cheers,

Dan Ramos

State Representative

56th Ohio House District

Office: 614-466-5141

Rep56@OhioHouse.Gov

 

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Plain Dealer Article

A nice article written by Marc Bona on the Cleveland Plain Dealer website helps provide more information on the bill and some quotes from state representative Ramos.

http://www.cleveland.com/drinks/index.ssf/2013/12/beer-alcohol_limit_increase_to.html

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December Update

I have just received the following email from Representative Ramos Office.  Attached are the actual emails.

I am writing you because, in the past, you have contacted my office and expressed your interest in legislation I have been working on in Ohio to raise the allowable ABV in beer from 12% to 21%.

As you may be aware, I first began work on this legislation during the 129th General Assembly.  The legislation was introduced on October 26th, 2011 with eight legislators agreeing to cosponsor the legislation. Ultimately, H.B. 356 only had one hearing before the State Government and Elections Committee and failed to receive additional hearings or be put to a vote before the General Assembly dissolved on December 31st, 2012. Over the course of 2013, I have been working hard to broaden support for raising the ABV limit and spreading awareness among legislators of the growing support for this measure in our state by both businesses and consumers.

With all of that in mind, I am pleased to let you know that the legislation to raise the allowable ABV has been formally re-introduced and will soon be assigned to committee. Including myself, 21 total legislators – 12 Democrats and 9 Republicans – have signed on to support increasing the allowable ABV in beer in Ohio to 21%. Of course, the legislative process moves slowly and this will likely remain a work in process for some time to come, but it is very encouraging that this legislation attracted cosponsors from all political ideologies.

This increase in cosponsors, I believe, is evidence of our state’s growing awareness of the significant economic impact the beer industry has and recognition of the great products that so many breweries within our state are producing.

In the coming weeks, this legislation will be assigned a bill number and then to a committee for consideration. Before the bill can go to a vote on the House floor the committee will need to hold public hearings and take a vote on the proposed legislation. I will continue to write with any updates as they are available. In the meantime, I would encourage you to contact your State Representative on this issue and urge their support on this matter. If you do not know who your State Representative is you can find their name and office information by visiting the following link: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/. The “Member Search” feature is located in the bottom left hand corner of the website.

Additionally, if you are a member of an industry organization or operate a business within the industry and would be willing to provide a letter establishing yourself as a proponent of this legislation please reach out to my legislative aide, John Tyler, by e-mail at John.Tyler@OhioHouse.gov or by phone at (614) 466-5141. We will be providing a list of proponents to the committee chairperson once this legislation has been assigned to a committee for consideration.

For your convenience, I have included a copy of the press release that went out upon introduction below. Feel free to circulate it among your networks as you see fit. Thank you, again, for your continued interest in this issue. If you have questions or if I can be of service to you in any way please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Cheers,

Dan Ramos

As always, please sign the petition if you haven’t already.

https://www.change.org/petitions/raise-ohio-beer-abv

Ohiobeerlaw-update

OhioBeerLaw-Update2

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Fall Session Update

The House and Senate should be back from their summer recess shortly and will begin the Fall Session.  Hopefully there can be some progress made on the bill now that the budget has been passed.  Any updates will be posted here immediately.

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June/July Update

I have received this update from John Tyler, the Legislative Aid to Representative Ramos:

“We’re still working on drafting a bill that we feel can get the broadest support possible within the House.

Since the State budget has not yet passed, we’ve been holding back on moving this particular piece of legislation forward.  The House and Senate have both passed versions of the State budget and, beginning next week, we should be moving to Conference committee in order to address the differences between the two versions.  Theoretically, the budget should be passed by June 30th, 2013 at which point the House will adjourn for summer recess.

I would anticipate that we would be moving what was H.B. 356 forward no later than the beginning of fall session.  The Speaker has not yet released the session schedule for the second half of this year; however, traditionally it begins just after Labor Day.

I’ll do my best to keep you posted when this gets legs and starts moving.”

My Take:

The state budget passed on June 30th.  Summer session is now in full tilt.  Unfortunately this means congressional sessions are  based on “need” only.  It looks like it will be a low key summer.  Hopefully in the fall we can get some momentum going again.  I will keep updates going on here as I get them.

And you can always sign the petition:

https://www.change.org/petitions/raise-ohio-beer-abv

Cheers!

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February Update

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.

My take:

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.

https://www.change.org/petitions/raise-ohio-beer-abv

I would also like to say thanks to Rick at The Ohio Beer Blog for his help in raising awareness with this article:

http://www.ohio.com/blogs/the-beer-blog/the-beer-blog-1.273124/ohio-lawmaker-plans-to-seek-higher-abv-1.366994

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January Status

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.

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