by J.D. Davidson


The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed technology to the forefront in the lives of Ohioans, and a policy group has released a list of more than two dozen recommendations it believes the state should enact to make it a leader in the area.

The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based think tank, developed the policy list that ranges from data sharing to reducing government red tape. All, it said, would develop economic benefits and improve the quality of life of Ohioans.

“Emerging technologies have a lot to offer Ohio – better pay, better jobs, better healthcare, better transportation, better education, better lifestyles,” said Logan Kolas, an economic policy analyst with the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and the author of the report. “Unfortunately, Ohio’s regulatory regime for cutting-edge technologies lags behind other states and state policymakers should adopt sound regulatory and tax reforms to encourage the growth of emerging technologies. In doing so, policymakers will make Ohio more competitive nationally and internationally, create jobs, attract new citizens, and improve the quality of life for families across the state.”

The report encouraged state government to create policy that would provide transparent and shared data collection across jurisdictions, reduce bureaucratic red tape and limit government regulations on businesses and entrepreneurs.

The report also outlined a list of recommendations Kolas said would improve emerging technology regulations, such as broadband access, regulatory sandboxes, telehealth, electric and autonomous vehicles, drone deployment, digital services, data privacy and visas for skilled workers.

“Opportunities to improve Ohio’s emerging technology policies abound. Other states, for example, have already built ‘regulatory sandboxes’ that allow companies to experiment with new technologies under regulatory supervision, giving regulators the chance to craft well-suited rules for broader use. Ohio has not,” Kolas wrote in the report.

The General Assembly has tackled business regulation in the state, which one study ranked as one of the top five worst states for regulations in the country. It ranked Ohio behind only California and New York as the most restrictive states.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 9 earlier this year. It reduces regulations by 30% by 2024 and creates an inventory of restrictions in an effort to give policymakers a clearer view of red tape, cap restrictions, open an online portal to give businesses easier access to rules and restrictions and allow the Ohio Legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review to ease regulation reduction requirements.

Lawmakers have support from organizations such as the National Federation of Independent Business, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and The Buckeye Institute.

That bill remains in the House Government Oversight Committee.

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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is a regional editor for The Center Square.