COLUMBUS — Gov. Ted Strickland signed S.B. 131, legislation that will establish a bio-products preferred purchasing program in Ohio. Proponents hope the effort will spur growth in the state’s bio-products industry, support farmers and help attract business development and job creation to local communities.
With the governor’s signature inked Feb. 27, Ohio becomes the first state in the country with such a program in statute. Sen. Karen Gillmor, R-Tiffin, introduced the bill in June 2009.
What it does. S.B. 131, which will take effect in 90 days, creates an Ohio bio-products preferred purchasing program for state agencies and state-supported colleges and universities.
Similar to “Buy Ohio” provisions in current law, which say the state must support Ohio vendors whenever possible, S.B. 131 would require these public institutions to give purchasing preference to bio-based products when a bio-based alternative is available.
Gillmor explained that S.B. 131 would allow the state to use its considerable purchasing power to support the growth of these businesses and expand the market for other innovative products made from Ohio crops, helping to stimulate investment and jobs, enhance research opportunities at Ohio colleges and universities and provide a boost to Ohio farmers and agriculture production in Ohio.
Senate Bill 131 is modeled after the federal BioPreferred program, which includes a testing and certification process to create a list of approved bio-products. To save time and taxpayer dollars, S.B. 131 would rely on this federal list to determine what products should get preference in Ohio.
Exceptions. In addition, to ensure the program does not create an undue financial burden on state government or public higher education institutions, the bill allows for an exemption if the bio-product is not available within a reasonable period of time, fails to meet performance standards or is too costly.