The federal version of the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act affects businesses with 100 or more employees and requires 60 days’ advance notice of layoffs (if they reach a certain level) and of company closings. In lieu of advance notice, the firm can pay 60 days’ wages and benefits on the day of discharge or cessation of operations.

Ohio legislators evidently don’t think this is stringent enough. They’re now eyeing a measure, House Bill 434, that requires 90 days’ advance warning–and 120 days if 250 or more employees are affected.

The state WARN measure also would limit a firm’s ability to pay up front and get rid of the employees or shut the place down immediately.

New York has a similar law on the books, but where Ohio goes even further is in assessing penalties, which is the real killer aspect of House Bill 434.

For violating the advance-warning requirement, a firm would be on the hook for liquidated (double) back pay for each calendar day of the violation, remuneration for all benefits plus reimbursement for any out-of-pocket medical expenses during the period, $500 a day times the number of affected employees as a civil penalty, and (natch) "reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs."

If this puppy passes, it’s hard to imagine many entrepreneurs or established companies opening shop in Ohio. In fact, many of the current businesses may opt to cross the border to friendlier climes.