Cutting Red Tape for Entrepreneurs
On Wednesday, Governor Mike DeWine signed SB 105 into law. This bipartisan legislation removes needless red tape and unnecessary paperwork when minority, women, and veteran entrepreneurs seek certification in Ohio. Throughout his Administration, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose participated in numerous Minority Business Roundtables across Ohio where he would often hear frustration with the unnecessary time and paperwork required to become MBE certified in multiple jurisdictions. In response, the Secretary made this bill a top priority and served as a leading advocate throughout the legislative process. Watch proponent testimony last year from Secretary LaRose to the Ohio House Economic & Workforce Committee on SB 105.
“Ohio is the destination state for job creators because we don’t let needless bureaucracy get in the way of entrepreneurship,” said Secretary LaRose. “What started with frustrations shared to me by the minority business community turned into a major bipartisan victory. I am thankful to the bill sponsors, Senators Sykes and Schuring, our legislative leaders, and Governor DeWine for having the backs of entrepreneurs.”
SB 105 is proof positive that job creators are best supported when elected officials listen and find collaborative solutions. This week Secretary LaRose sat down with business from the Lebanon Chamber to discuss further eliminating unnecessary, burdensome hurdles for small businesses, and creating a community of entrepreneurship and ideas to help strengthen the local economy.
Collaborating with Black Business Leaders
With Monday marking the last day of Black History Month, Secretary LaRose hosted a zoom call with two Ohio minority entrepreneurs, Charlynda Scales and Ambrea Mikolajczyk. Charlynda, owner of Mutt’s Sauce in Dayton, is a strong proponent of SB 105 – testifying in the legislature in October. Ambrea is the owner of ARK Construction and Restoration, a Toledo area business that helps restore homes and community buildings. ARK Construction was also featured in the Secretary’s Ohio Business Spotlight for the month of February.
The group discussed how vital it is for new business owners to take advantage of resources available, network, and always put themselves out there. The two shared their personal experiences and offered advice for new entrepreneurs looking to find the same type of success they’ve been able to achieve in Ohio.
Additional Election Funding
Wednesday, the General Assembly took swift action to provide critical emergency funding to Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections. Secretary LaRose requested the $9 million appropriation to help elections officials manage the unprecedented demands of preparing for the upcoming May 3rd primary election.
“We’re facing one of the most challenging elections in the history of our state, second only to the pandemic election of 2020,” said LaRose. “Our elections officials will work tirelessly to get this done, but they desperately need these additional resources to make it happen. They’re working triple overtime in some cases, all while dealing with supply chain issues and a very short timeframe to make sure candidates get certified, ballots get printed, and voting machines get programmed and tested.”
LaRose added that a nearly five-month delay in getting U.S. Census data to the Redistricting Commission combined with the nearly six months consumed by court delays related to ongoing litigation over district plans has put the boards of elections in a difficult but not impossible situation.
“We’re doing the best we can to carry out the General Assembly’s directive to hold a primary election on May 3rd that includes local, state and federal races. This additional funding will help the boards of elections mitigate some of the additional overhead burden they’ll face while also avoiding the significantly higher cost of a bifurcated primary. Bipartisan election officials are working to address this massive challenge, but we will never cut corners when it comes to access or security. This funding will help us deliver on that crucial mission. I want to especially thank Senate President Matt Huffman and House Speaker Bob Cupp for their leadership in getting this done.”
Once signed by Governor DeWine, the funding allocated in Senate Bill 9 will be equitably dispersed to county boards of elections at the discretion of the Secretary of State’s office. These important resources will be utilized for overtime and temporary labor, additional support by board vendors for database reprogramming and election management, as well as ballot production and printing.
On Tuesday, Secretary LaRose and the members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission passed a map for Congressional districts. The map met the constitutional requirements and complies with judicial guidelines from the Ohio Supreme Court. It was sent to the Court for approval.
The map can be found at OhioSoS.gov/Districts.
Following the passage of a congressional map, Secretary LaRose directed Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections to begin taking the necessary steps to place candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives on the May 3rd primary ballot. The order is pursuant to Wednesday’s Ohio Redistricting Commission's passage of a four-year map for Ohio Congressional districts. On Saturday, the Secretary issued a similar directive to the Boards instructing them to include candidates for the Ohio General Assembly on the primary ballot.
“I recognize the tremendous challenges facing our county boards of elections given the incredibly short timeline and the myriad preparations and procedures that must be satisfied before the May 3rd Primary Election,” said Secretary LaRose. “However, only the General Assembly can set an election date, and they have made it abundantly clear that the 2022 primary is to be held May 3rd. Accordingly, today's directive instructs our county boards to immediately begin preparing for a single primary date for all statewide, Congressional, and State House and State Senate candidates to appear on a unified ballot. While accomplishing this will be difficult, I am confident that our tested, professional county boards will do everything within their power to execute on what we have all been instructed to do."
In Case You Missed It:
This week, Secretary LaRose joined the Brandon Boxer Show on 610 WTVN. Among topics discussed, the Secretary shared his thoughts on Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Secretary LaRose is an Army veteran and currently serves in the Army Reserves as a Special Forces Green Beret. He also spent time in Ukraine in 2019 to serve as an observer of their free and fair elections.
Secretary LaRose participated once again in two fun charity events -- Celebrity Sled Hockey in Wooster and the Polar Plunge in Akron.
Celebrity Sled Hockey is a program where local officials and business leaders compete against the Wooster Wildcats, the local adaptive sled hockey team. This event helps raise money and awareness for Adaptive Sports Ohio.
The Portage Lakes Polar Plunge brings hundreds of locals together as they jump into the freezing water – all to raise money for the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.