New Buckeye Institute Report Outlines How Ohio Can Become a Leader in Emerging Technologies

Aug 25, 2021

Columbus, OH – On Wednesday, The Buckeye Institute released a new policy report, Policy Solutions for More Innovation: A Policy Primer for Emerging Technology in Ohio, which outlines guiding principles and 25 actionable policy recommendations (see list below or download the handout) that policymakers should adopt to ensure that Ohio can take full advantage of the economic benefits and the improvements to quality of life that come with advances in technology.

“Emerging technologies have a lot to offer Ohio—better pay, better jobs, better healthcare, better transportation, better education, better lifestyles,” said Logan Kolas, an economic policy analyst with the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and the author of the report. “Unfortunately, Ohio’s regulatory regime for cutting-edge technologies lags behind other states and state policymakers should adopt sound regulatory and tax reforms to encourage the growth of emerging technologies. In doing so, policymakers will make Ohio more competitive nationally and internationally, create jobs, attract new citizens, and improve the quality of life for families across the state.”

In the report, Buckeye offers three sound policy principles that policymakers should pursue: 1) transparent and shared data collection across jurisdictions; 2) government coordination to reduce bureaucratic red tape; and 3) limited regulatory burdens on businesses and technology entrepreneurs. Kolas notes that following these guiding principles will “make Ohio a prosperous home for businesses and consumers.”

The report also features a list of specific actionable policy recommendations that Ohio should adopt to improve emerging technology regulations that impact regulatory sandboxes, broadband access, telehealth, autonomous and electric vehicles, drone deployment, digital services, data privacy, and appropriate visas for skilled workers (see 25 Reforms to Build a Better Ohio).

Policy Solutions for More Innovation: A Policy Primer for Emerging Technology in Ohio, is the second in a series of papers that offer policy recommendations to spur innovation, attract new businesses, and make Ohio more prosperous, the first paper was Policy Solutions for More Innovation: Build a Regulatory Sandbox for Financial Technology Innovators.

# # #

25 Actionable Policy Recommendations to Build a Better Ohio

Transparency and Breaking Down Data Silos

1.    Breakdown data silos by creating or adjusting a state-level platform to more effectively display local data.
2.    Within the new or adjusted Ohio database, list all taxpayer-funded technology-related projects, expected project durations, and amounts of Ohio taxpayer funding.

Local, State, and Federal Harmonization

3.    Use the Ohio Supreme Court’s interpretation of the home rule amendment to enact uniform statewide law on technology policy.

Regulatory Sandboxes

4.    Create regulatory sandboxes for financial technology, autonomous and electric vehicles, and emerging drone technology.
5.    Create a regulatory sandbox for all industries.

Broadband, Internet Access and the Digital Divide

6.    Place guardrails on government-owned and controlled networks to avoid wasting taxpayer money on low-quality broadband that is difficult to upgrade.
7.    Pass a “dig once” policy so that high-speed fiber-optic cable can be laid during other construction activity.
8.    Re-examine pole attachment procedure laws and regulations that cause excessive delays, increase project costs, and hinder internet access.
9.    Fees associated with Ohio’s right-of-way rules should be transparently implemented and reserved for significant violations.
10.    Consider the New Albany Company recommendation to deposit right-of-way fees into a fund used to provide more Ohioans with internet access.
11.    Use fixed wireless technology equipped to service towers along roads and bridges to provide rural Ohio areas with internet access.
12.    Continue testing and funding Starlink or other satellite technology to bridge the digital divide.


13.    Allow Ohioans to use telehealth technology to get second opinions and consult with medical experts across state lines.
14.    Make recent telehealth reforms permanent.

Autonomous and Electric Vehicles

15.    Eliminate anticompetitive regulations that hinder car sales to consumers.
16.    Do not subsidize electric vehicle charging stations with public funds.
17.    Commission another academic study on electric vehicle charger placement and capacity.
18.    Tie charging station funding at state attractions to time spent at those locations to ensure efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars.

Drone Deployment

19.    Disentangle “uncontrolled airspace” disputes by enacting an avigation easement law that allows commercial drones to fly over certain properties.
20.    Reform or clarify airspace lease laws so aerial drones may fly over local roads.
21.    Apply existing laws—such as Peeping Tom laws that protect privacy and prevent spying—to emerging technologies, such as drones, to avoid regulatory overlap and unneeded restraints on innovation.

Digital Service Taxes

22.    Avoid levying digital service taxes and instead reform the tax code in accordance with The Buckeye Institute’s principles of tax reform.

Data Privacy

23.    Reassess penalties for breaching or leaking government records.
24.    To reduce compliance costs and litigation risk, coordinate data privacy legislation with other states to limit private rights of action and instead vest enforcement power in state attorneys general.

State-Based Visas for the Heartland

25.    Coordinate with Washington to increase skilled-labor immigration through state-based visas.

# # #