Legislation proposed to streamline Ohio state laws, rules

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Rep. Thomas Hall, a Republican from Madison Township in southwestern Ohio, discusses his support for legislation meant to reduce state government regulations including the replacement of required in-person appointments with online meetings, on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohioans could receive state tax documents electronically, hearings over driver’s license suspensions could be done remotely, and outdated phrases such as “telefax” would be removed from state laws under legislation meant to streamline regulations in the internet age.

The concept for the bill, dubbed “Innovate the Code,” was in the works before the coronavirus pandemic, but that experience has proved the point that the changes are needed, said GOP Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

“We’ve flipped the switch and understand that there are many, many more ways we can use technology to create convenience,“ Husted said Tuesday.

He said a common complaint when he travels is why so many state government functions require people to travel to Columbus. This legislation addresses that directly, eliminating dozens of required in-person appearances, Husted said.

An artificial intelligence tool costing $500,000 reviewed state laws and then agency staff members examined the findings to see what could go, Husted said. He estimated it would save $4.4 million and 5,800 hours of labor annually. The legislation is backed by GOP Rep. Thomas Hall and GOP state Sen. Steve Wilson.

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