Building Ohio News

News from the Associated General Contractors of Ohio

Issue:  August 10, 2023

In This Issue...

  • Build Ohio Deadline Extended to 8/23
  • Voters Reject Issue 1
  • Construction Mentorship Program, Minors on Jobsites
  • Drug Free Safety Program Changes
  • Ohio EPA E-Business Webinar, Sustainability Virtual Conference
  • AGC of America News:
    • Labor Shortage Survey
    • Proposed Rules Would Expand Project Req’s Related to Species
    • White House Cherry Picks NEPA Reforms
    • Economic News
    • National Award Programs

Submission Information

Don’t miss this opportunity to show what your company can do and celebrate the construction industry!  Build Ohio recognizes the construction industry with an annual awards competition and event, the Build Ohio Celebration. The awards program is open to AGC of Ohio contractor members in good standing. Eligible projects for the awards program must be completed between August 1, 2022 and July 31, 2023 and located in Ohio. Submission categories include New Construction, Renovation, Specialty, Industrial/Heavy, and Transportation. Learn more and enter hereby August 23.


Ohioans resoundingly rejected Issue 1 during Tuesday’s special election that received national and international media coverage. As of this morning, unofficial results show 57% of voters (over 1.74 million Ohioans) voted against it. (Note that over 58,000 absentee ballots remain outstanding.) Opposition was bipartisan, with some traditionally Republican counties going against the measure.

Issue 1 would have changed to a 60% supermajority (as opposed to 50% plus one) approval for any proposed Ohio constitutional amendment, raised requirements for the citizen-initiated process by mandating that petitioners reach a quota of valid voter signatures equal to five percent of the voters in the prior gubernatorial election in all of Ohio’s 88 counties (up from the 44-county standard), and eliminated the 10-day cure period to address signature deficiencies. The proposal would have essentially eliminated citizen initiatives and given the Ohio legislature total control over what state constitutional amendments go on the ballot.

AGC of Ohio did not take a position on Issue 1, focusing only on educating members about what was being proposed and reminding them to vote. For the construction industry, passage could have been beneficial (i.e. anti-employer issues) or detrimental (i.e. bond issues, privatization of workers compensation) depending on the ballot issue.

Some interesting stats regarding the election:

  • Tuesday's Issue 1 vote saw 38% turnout for the August special election, bringing in over 3 million votes and counting.
  • Ohio hasn't seen turnout above 30% for a primary election since 2016.
  • According to available campaign finance records, both the coalition in support (Protect Our Constitution) and against (One Person One Vote) received over 80 percent of their funding from out-of-state donors. (Note that the totals will be more apparent after the next mandatory campaign finance filing.)


A late amendment added by the Senate to the biennial budget bill incorporates a construction mentorship program with an existing manufacturing mentorship program (H.B. 33, p. 1602, Sec. 4109.22). It allows any 16–17-year-old student with a driver’s license to work in a construction setting without being enrolled in a specific educational program like a career center or technical education school, so long as the employer abides by certain requirements.

During previous general assemblies, AGC and other construction advocates pushed for changes to the proposal, attempting to address potential risk and notification concerns. However, they are not included in the latest iteration, which will go into effect October 3.

AGC of Ohio has reached out to public owners and the Dept. of Commerce (which is supposed to provide guidance) about how they plan to address the mentorship program.  In the meantime, contractors need to be aware of the impending law; consult with your insurers, legal counsel and owners; decide if and how you want to manage mentees on jobsites; and address any contractual considerations.

What are the contractor responsibilities under the program?

  • Provide the minor with required training.
  • Assign the minor to a mentor who will provide direct supervision when the minor is working.
  • Encourage the minor to pursue a career-technical education program if they are not already doing so.
  • Comply with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations regarding the employment of minors.
  • Maintain records showing the company met the criteria of the program under the Ohio Revised Code. These records must be kept for two years following the employment of the minor or after the minor turns 18, whichever is later. These records must be made available to the Ohio Department of Commerce upon request.

What training do the minors need?

  • Complete a 10-hour course in construction industry safety and health hazard recognition and prevention approved by OSHA.
  • Instruction from the mentor on how to operate any tools they will use while working.
  • General safety and health hazard training for anything they might be exposed to at the workplace.
  • Training on the value of safety and management commitment.
  • Be informed of the employer’s drug-testing policy.

Participating employers are responsible for all costs associated with training. However, if the minor can produce proof they completed the required OSHA training no more than six months prior to employment, the employer is not required to pay for new OSHA training.

What are some of the potential concerns for contractors?

  • No notice requirement of minor working on jobsite to the project’s owner, other contractors on site or controlling contractor.
  • Risk, impact on bonding and insurance.
  • Federal and state requirements governing minors’ activities and tool usage in dangerous occupations like construction can differ. (Note that federal law generally trumps state law.)
  • Violating labor agreements.


The changes to the Ohio BWC Drug Free Safety Program, including annual employee and supervisor training, took effect July 1.  The BWC held a webinar in late June, and provided a summary of the changes.  Learn more on the BWC website.


NATIONAL NEWS… Information courtesy of AGC of America