SMALL BUSINESS TOOLKIT

What is CSI?

The Common Sense Initiative Office (CSI), led by Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, was created by order of Governor Kasich in 2011 to create a regulatory climate in Ohio that maximizes business economic potential while ensuring the health and safety of Ohio's citizens.

I want to have an impact on proposed regulations

What is a regulation?

Ohio's executive branch of government is comprised mostly of state administrative agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, and boards and commissions, such as the State Medical Board. Each agency has authority to create regulations governing the substantive areas of its jurisdiction. For example, the Department of Agriculture creates regulations impacting farmers, while the State Medical Board creates regulations impacting doctors. These regulations are created by individual rules that carry the weight of law. It is these rules that, as a whole, comprise the Ohio Administrative Code. Laws passed by the General Assembly comprise the Ohio Revised Code.

Where does CSI fit in?

The rulemaking process can have a substantial impact on business, which is why CSI was created. All agencies, boards and commissions must submit any rules that impact businesses to CSI for review.

To submit rules to CSI, an agency must first reach out to businesses impacted by the rules for feedback. Once this early stakeholder outreach phase has been completed, and the agency has made any necessary changes to its proposed rules, it will then send a notification to stakeholders, typically by email, that the rules have been filed with CSI.

This notification will contain an official public comment period allowing businesses, trade associations, other government agencies, or anyone else with thoughts or concerns about the rules to share them directly with the agency and CSI. The notification will contain a copy of the proposed rules and the Business Impact Analysis, or "BIA." The BIA contains questions posed by CSI to the agency about the proposed rules, their impact on business and the reasons why the agency believes those impacts are justified.

If necessary, CSI will have additional conversations with the agency and stakeholders to resolve any outstanding issues with the rules.

Ultimately, CSI will issue a Recommendation Memo, which analyzes all of the information submitted throughout the CSI process and includes any recommendations for the rules. After this, the agency may proceed to the next step in the rulemaking process.

How do I follow regulations that affect my business?

Your participation in the early stakeholder and CSI comment process is vital to improve upon Ohio's business-friendly regulatory climate. You can contact individual agencies and boards and commissions and request to be contacted for early stakeholder outreach and CSI rule review notifications. You can also sign-up for rule notifications through the Ohio Business Gateway or check out active rule packages on the CSI homepage.

Lt. Governor Mary Taylor gives a speechLt. Governor Mary Taylor gives a speech

I need help with a regulatory issue affecting my business

If your business is having an issue with a specific regulation, or having trouble with a state agency, CSI is here to help. CSI operates under three general tracks which allow you to have a voice in Ohio's regulatory process.

The first track is reforming the agency rulemaking process for business-impacting rules, outlined above.

The other two tracks both focus on how regulations are implemented on the ground where businesses actually experience them.

One of the ways CSI has been most effective is in helping small businesses overcome regulatory obstacles specific to their business. As a point of contact for businesses dealing with state agencies, we strive to facilitate helpful communication and explore all possible solutions to any problems. Many times these solutions save businesses time and money. There is no limit to what CSI can help with providing the issue is a result of state regulations and has an impact on business. Examples of this second track include helping small businesses obtain permits and licenses, clearing up confusion with compliance standards, and eliminating burdensome requirements that impede growth. If you are struggling to find a solution to a regulatory issue, we want to hear from you.

In another effort to make Ohio more business-friendly, the CSI Office initiated a third track to partner with agencies on proactive, often longer-term initiatives. These initiatives may or may not be regulatory in nature, but they are intended to address real issues Ohio businesses face. An effort to modernize the Ohio Business Gateway is one example of the kind of work resulting from this third track. If you have an idea for a new partnership or would like to learn more about the projects we are currently working on, please reach out to us.

"The foundation of CSI is listening to our stakeholders, which is what you should expect from your government."
- Lt. Governor Mary Taylor

I want to know if CSI really works

CSI works — plain and simple. From bringing agencies and stakeholders together during the rule review process, to helping employers solve specific regulatory issues, CSI has made Ohio a better place to do business.

Success Stories

Alcohol Requirements for Food Manufacturers

CSI learned about Custom Culinary, a business in northern Ohio that manufactures soups, sauces, and purees for national restaurant chains. Previously, Ohio's liquor law required food manufacturers to purchase alcohol in retail containers and at retail prices. Because some of their recipes use alcohol, the company was forced to purchase, uncork, sterilize, and pour, one bottle at a time, 140,000 pounds of Merlot wine for one recipe. In 2011, CSI worked with the Ohio Department of Commerce and the Ohio General Assembly to get the law changed. Now, Custom Culinary and other Ohio businesses can purchase alcohol wholesale for their recipes. In June 2012, Custom Culinary broke ground on its $5 million expansion.

Ohio Residential Building Code

CSI worked to change the Ohio Residential Building Code to make it current, while maintaining safe standards and minimizing cost increases that could have undermined the residential building industry in Ohio. The new code supports an active residential construction industry which will create jobs. The process for bringing Commerce staff together with the Ohio Home Builders Association (OHBA) to overcome historical tensions is a great example of the CSI process working through the rule review function. The OHBA estimated that the changes from the CSI process saved at least $2,000 on the construction of an average new home over the originally-proposed Code.

International Doctors

CSI brought stakeholders together to change a law that prevented Ohio's academic medical centers from attracting world class, internationally-trained medical researchers. These researchers bring millions of dollars of investments and jobs to Ohio. Previously, these doctors could stay for only three years forcing them to leave Ohio, and often locate in other states. CSI worked to draft legislation to ensure that the State Medical Board would have the authority it needs to protect the public, but also allow these special certificates to be renewed so these doctors can stay in Ohio. The Clinical Research Faculty Certificate was enacted in June 2012.

Testimonials

"The Common Sense Initiative is clearly working. Moreover, it is an outstanding example of government at its finest, working as our country's founders intended - working FOR us and not AGAINST us."

Robert P. Boehk, General Counsel
Erie Group of Companies

"What Mary Taylor and CSI have accomplished has been unbelievable. I personally have recommended several small businesses contact them concerning issues with state agencies, each with very positive results."

Tom Secor, President
Durable Corporation

"We would not be where we are today without CSI's help to get the wheels turning. The community has been very positive about our expansion, but without CSI, we would probably have given up on the whole project."

Kristen Huston, Co-Owner
Chef's Table

Lt. Gov Taylor gives a speechLt. Gov Taylor gives a speechLt. Gov Taylor gives a speech

I need to contact CSI

One major goal of CSI is to facilitate communication between state regulatory agencies and any businesses with specific concerns or questions.

If you are struggling to resolve a regulatory issue, or you are simply unsure as to how to navigate your concerns through state government, please contact us using the tools below.

Tools for contacting CSI:

Common Sense Initiative
77 S. High St., 30th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
(855) 821-8898