Columbus - 
State Senator Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) announced that the Ohio Senate passed legislation yesterday she introduced that would change state law to permit manufacturers of nonbeverage food items to purchase the alcohol needed for their products wholesale in bulk rather than in individual containers. Manning introduced Senate Bill 73 after hearing about the situation at Custom Culinary, a manufacturer of sauces, gravies and other products for foodservice and food processing customers located in Avon. When making a product that contains alcohol, the company under current law must purchase the beer or wine needed from a retail store in the same small containers sold to the public, and then have employees open each container individually and pour the contents into a large vat before it can be added to the sauce or soup. This not only increases the ingredient costs for Custom Culinary's products, it also means higher labor costs. "Ohio's current laws are putting Custom Culinary and similar manufacturers in Ohio at a disadvantage compared to other states, making it difficult for them to compete and create jobs in our state," Manning said. "The reforms contained in Senate Bill 73 will level the playing field for these businesses, and is just one example of how by working together we can ensure Ohio's regulatory environment is conducive to the needs of our growing manufacturers and other companies." The Senate also approved Senate Bill 9 during yesterday's session, which would eliminate the requirement that all Ohio school districts provide all-day kindergarten for their students and allow individual school districts that decide to offer full-day kindergarten to continue to charge tuition to the parents who elect to have their child remain at the school for the second part of the day. The all-day kindergarten provision was originally mandated by then-Governor Ted Strickland and implemented as a part of the state budget passed in 2009 and was scheduled to go into effect for the 2011-2012 school year. Manning introduced Senate Bill 9 after concerns were raised about the additional costs to schools for both classroom space and personnel in order to comply with the requirement, especially given the uncertainty surrounding the state budget. "In these economic times, government should not be placing more unfunded mandates on our schools," Manning said. "Senate Bill 9 puts school districts back in charge of deciding whether or not they want to offer all-day kindergarten, giving them flexibility on how to spend their limited resources to the maximum benefit of their students." Both Senate Bill 73 and Senate Bill 9 now move to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.
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