On June 17, 2014, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 78, a bill making changes to Ohio's construction industry licensing law and, in particular, modifying the law regulating special construction contractors. The new law is effective September 17, 2014.

Among other things, the new law amends the definition of "contractor" to mean "any individual or contracting company that satisfies both of the following:

  1. Has responsibility for the means, method, and manner of construction, improvement, renovation, repair, or maintenance on a construction project with respect to one or more trades and who offers, identifies, advertises, or otherwise holds out or represents that the individual or contracting company is permitted or qualified to perform or have responsibility for the means, method, and manner of construction, improvement, renovation, repair, or maintenance with respect to one or more trades on a construction project;
  2. Does either of the following: (a) Performs construction, improvement, or renovation on a construction project with respect to the individual's or contracting company's trade; (b) Employs tradespersons who perform construction, improvement, or renovation on a construction project with respect to the individual's or contracting company's trades."

The new law further requires that an individual's specialty contractor license be assigned to a contracting company with whom the individual is employed. when the individual applies for a specialty contractor license, he/she must request that his/her license be assigned to a contracting company. Under prior law, such an assignment was optional.

The law continues to specify that any work a contracting company conducts under the license assigned or displayed is deemed to be conducted under the personal supervision of the individual named in the license, and any violation of a term of the license is deemed to have been committed by the individual named in the license. However, the new law eliminates the liability of each licensee of a business entity to which multiple licenses have been assigned for license violations occurring during any work conducted under any of the licenses.

It also modifies the procedure by which a license assignment becomes invalid. If a contractor who assigned a license to a contracting company ceases to be associated with the contracting company for any reason, the contractor or contracting company must immediately notify the appropriate specialty section of the date on which the association ceased. A license assignment becomes invalid: (1) 90 calendar days after the date of the contractor's death; (2) 90 calendar days after the contractor completes a change of company form; or (3) at an earlier time to which the contracting company and the contractor have agreed.

The new law also expands the reasons for which discipline may be imposed against a licensee and modifies the disciplinary actions that may be imposed.