Instant Indiana Lobbyist
A client with operations in all 50 states discovered that a
bill that would put its company out of business in Indiana was on that state’s
General Assembly’s fast track for passage. The client asked Steve Tugend,
a Kegler attorney with in-house corporate multi-state government relations
experience, if he could help identify an Indiana lobbyist to help defeat the
legislation. Within 18 hours, Steve had utilized his contacts in that state,
interviewed 3 different lobbying firms and hired one for the client.
Six weeks later, due to the efforts of the selected
lobbyist, the bill was halted in spite of it having been passed by the Indiana
Senate and favorably reported by a committee in the Indiana House.
Developing Better Rules for Ohio SBAM Regulation
The General Assembly, in an attempt to thwart the rise of illegal casinos, authorized the Casino Control Commission to regulate skill-based amusement games. Because of the broad scope of games captured by the new law, the CCC’s rules regulated SBAMs traditionally operated within family entertainment venues patronized by children. Our client operated dozens of family entertainment centers, and the draft of new rules would have required thousands of dollars in registration fees, over-regulation and compliance issues as collateral damage.
The purpose of the law was not to regulate SBAMs used by children of tender years who were clearly not gambling. On behalf of our client, we worked with the regulators to develop better rules, appropriate exemptions and reasonable fees to address a multitude of issues to narrow the scope to the regulator’s intended target.
You’re Getting Warmer
Ohio receives Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
(LIHEAP) funding from the federal government to provide assistance to low and
moderate income families to subsidize their home energy expenses. Federal
law permits states to set aside a portion of these federal funds to weatherize
homes of low and moderate income Ohio households so their long-term energy
costs are reduced.
Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy (OPAE), a client, sought
to increase the percentage of federal LIHEAP funds that are used in Ohio for
the weatherization of homes through legislation. The team at Kegler Brown
worked with the client and the client's allies to structure a grassroots campaign and advocacy strategy
that culminated in the funding for weatherization increasing by 33 percent
after 18 months.
A major motorcycle and ATV manufacturer designed a new type
of vehicle that looks like a motorcycle, but drives like a car, and wanted to
change the type of driver’s license required to operate it. Ohio law would
have required its drivers to have a motorcycle endorsement, but, due to the way
that the vehicle functions, the manufacturer preferred that motorists need only
a standard driver’s license to be able to drive it on Ohio roads. As there
are many more Ohioans with a standard driver’s license than those possessing a
motorcycle endorsement, the sought-after change to the law would benefit the
client significantly, markedly increasing the size of the potential market for
the vehicle in Ohio.
The Kegler Brown team worked with the Ohio Bureau of Motor
Vehicles, the Governor’s Office and members of the Ohio General Assembly to
craft a legislative solution. House Bill 429 was noted because it involved
automotive-related law, had already been passed by the Ohio House and was
awaiting passage in the Ohio Senate. Prior to it being passed by the Senate, an
amendment changing Ohio’s driver’s license law was inserted into the
bill. On June of 2016, House Bill 429 was enacted by the Ohio General
Assembly and signed by the Governor.
As of today, Ohioans that wish to operate our client’s
vehicle only need to have a standard driver’s license.
Exchange of Real Property Between U.S. Army and Private Industrial Park
Kegler Brown acted as counsel to a privately owned industrial park to acquire adjoining land from the U.S. Army through a federal exchange program in which the private party obligates itself to construct a facility at another government-owned facility and then exchanges the new facility for the property it actually desired to acquire, namely the adjoining U.S. Army-owned land. Our firm was integral to the negotiations, including navigating through the maze of government requirements for the exchange that included approval of Congress.
Comprehensive Legislative Victory Achieved for National Telecommunications Provider
The Kegler Brown government affairs team began working with a large telecommunications provider to enact legislation that would take a significant administrative burden off the client regarding the collection and remittance of certain fees within Ohio. While working with legislative leaders on a solution to the first issue, a second issue arose that required us to work with state administrative agency officials to develop a solution. Both problems would have resulted in a significant cost in both time and resources to the company, but we were able to formulate a legislative solution that resulted in one of the largest victories, if not the largest, for the client across the United States.
Uniting a New Organization Around Common Policy Objectives
A disparate group of salon owners created an association believing that the legislative and regulatory environment for beauty-related industries is overly burdensome. The team at Kegler Brown worked with an organization that our firm helped to create -- the Ohio Salon Association -- to get its members to agree to a common set of policy goals and objectives. A Public Policy Agenda was written and was shared with legislators and regulators and an action plan to advocate these changes was prepared and implemented.
The Power of a Comma
Our client, Insurance Auto Auctions, had customers that were complaining that language in the law involving abandoned vehicles was ambiguous and could create a compliance trap for those seeking to dispose of vehicles in their possession that had been abandoned by their owners. The Kegler Brown government affairs team identified a legislative drafting solution and crafted an amendment that entailed the removal of a single comma from the law. Within 24 hours of drafting the solution, a fast moving bill was identified and a sponsor was recruited to offer the corrective amendment to the bill. Within 30 days, the bill and amendment were passed by the Ohio General Assembly and supported by the governor.
Fast-Track Interchange for Clermont County TID
Because of the fiscal impact of the recent recession, the Ohio Department of Transportation was forced to delay the vast majority of transportation construction projects in the state. Our client’s interchange was among those that were scheduled to be delayed for many years. Conferring with our client’s engineering and funding experts, we were able to devise a way to phase-in the job-creating project so that it would be less costly; other funding sources were also identified. We convinced the Ohio Department of Transportation to agree to these changes so that the interchange project was started earlier than originally scheduled – rather than being delayed.
Formulating a Legislative Action Plan for MORPC
Our client had a lengthy and well-developed Public Policy Agenda that set forth all of the long-term policy goals and positions of the organization. However, there were no clear action steps for the organization’s government affairs team to follow to pursue these goals. Kegler Brown convened the senior leadership of the organization and facilitated a visioning session where participants articulated their long-term hopes and dreams for the organization and then identified those steps that the organization’s lobbyists could take in the next year to move closer to these goals. As a result, the lobbyist team at Kegler Brown has developed a succinct, actionable “to-do” list that is tightly tied into the organization’s long-term goals and is being implemented.