(A) There is hereby established under the authority of the director of job and family services the office of the migrant agricultural ombudsperson. The director shall appoint the ombudsperson. No person shall serve as ombudsperson who has a fiduciary or pecuniary interest in an agricultural labor camp. The ombudsperson shall have recognized ability and experience in migrant labor issues and shall speak both English and Spanish fluently. The ombudsperson shall be a member of the classified civil service and shall be subject to an annual job evaluation by the director. The ombudsperson's salary shall be established in a pay range fixed by the director.
(B) The migrant agricultural ombudsperson shall:
(1) Collect and compile available data, statistics, and information concerning migrant agricultural laborers and agricultural labor camps published by any agency of this state, any agency of the federal government, and private organizations, including, but not limited to, churches and Hispanic organizations. These data, statistics, and information are public records as defined in section 149.43 of the Revised Code.
(2) Coordinate the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information about the supply and quality of housing for migrant agricultural laborers in both licensed and unlicensed camps;
(3) Become familiar with state and federal laws and rules concerning migrant agricultural laborers and agricultural labor camps and especially with state and federal programs for which migrant agricultural laborers might qualify;
(4) Establish a toll-free telephone number that:
(a) Camp owners and farmers who employ migrant agricultural laborers may use to seek clarification of laws and rules applicable to camps and for registering complaints; and
(b) Migrant agricultural laborers may use for the purpose of obtaining information described in divisions (B)(1) and (2) of this section and for registering complaints.
(5) Refer problems, complaints, or questions brought to the ombudsperson's attention to the appropriate state or federal agency or the attorney general;
(6) Serve as an advocate for migrant agricultural laborers in social service matters;
(7) Submit an annual report to the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the members of the minority leadership of the senate and house of representatives on or before the thirtieth day of June of each year describing migrant agricultural labor conditions found by the ombudsperson's office, along with an assessment of the effect of existing law on migrant agricultural labor and labor camps and any recommendations for change. The report shall contain a compilation of the kinds of complaints received and recommendations for any changes in the laws or rules that the ombudsperson considers necessary or desirable.
(8) Develop and recommend to the general assembly definitions of "migrant agricultural laborer" and "migrant farmworker child" to be used consistently by all state agencies, including, but not limited to, boards, departments, divisions, commissions, bureaus, societies, councils, and institutions; and
(9) Conduct a peak-period census of migrant agricultural laborers in this state, by county, so that the ombudsperson can properly assess the need for housing for those laborers. The department of health shall assist the ombudsperson by providing information on the peak occupancy of agricultural labor camps and other additional information obtained through inspections of agricultural labor camps.
Effective Date: 07-01-2000