News and Analysis
Recent legislative testimony from opponents (such as the Ohio AFL-CIO) of the unemployment compensation reforms in HB 394 has, through a combination of overgeneralizations, omissions and factual inaccuracies, badly mischaracterized certain key provisions of the bill.
The OMA prepared a document to set the record straight by shedding light on what exactly HB 394 does – and does not – do. The document was delivered this week to all members of the Ohio House and to the media.
Ohio’s unemployment compensation system is in a state of crisis, which is driving up costs for the state’s job-creating businesses. The system is in dire need of reform, the kind of reform that state after state after state has undertaken, while Ohio has languished in system dysfunction.
Contact your state representatives and state senators now to urge reform now. Use the OMA Manufacturing Advocacy Center to do so.
This week marked the deadline for candidates to file to run for state and federal offices.
As expected, John Kasich filed along with eleven other Republican presidential contenders.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman will face two challengers in a GOP primary.
More than twenty Congressional hopefuls filed to replace John Boehner in the 8th Congressional District. The OMA’s Legislative District Guide calculated the district’s Republican index at 60.42% in 2014.
Three seats are up for election on the Ohio Supreme Court. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will run unopposed for her final six-year term. Republican Court of Appeals Judge Pat DeWine of Cincinnati seeks to replace retiring Justice Paul Pfeifer. DeWine will face Democrat Court of Appeals Judge Cynthia Rice of Warren in the General Election.
In the race to succeed retiring Justice Judith Lanzinger, Republican Court of Appeals Judge Pat Fischer of Cincinnati will face off against Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O’Donnell, if he defeats a primary challenge by Republican Court of Appeals Judge Colleen O’Toole. The OMA-PAC has endorsed Judge Pat Fischer.
Through OMA Public Policy Committees, OMA members review, assess, propose and/or oppose legislation and regulations. This is your way to shape the legislative and regulatory environment, and keep up.
Policy committees exist for energy, environment, government affairs, safety & workers’ compensation, and tax.
All members are welcome to join committees and participate in meetings in person or by phone, or simply monitor activity through email. Sign up at My OMA; click on ‘My Communities.’
The Ohio Senate and House are tentatively scheduled to return to full sessions Wednesday, January 20.
This week, the chambers released this joint session schedule.
With the exception of some “if-needed” days in June, the chambers are scheduled to finish work for the first half of next year by the end of May. Thanks to Gongwer News Service for the content.
House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and Secretary of State Jon Husted discussed manufacturing issues with members of the OMA board of directors this week.
Rosenberger reflected on accomplishments of the House in his first year as Speaker. He also looked ahead on issues such as taxation, unemployment compensation reform, Right to Work, tort reform, and infrastructure. He described the OMA as one of the “most important historic organizations in Ohio.”
Husted reflected on the successes of defeating the marijuana monopolies at the ballot in November, as well as passing the legislative redistricting reforms in Issue 1. He thanked the OMA and its membership for leadership in these efforts.
At its meeting this week, the OMA Political Action Committee (OMA-PAC) voted to endorse Judge Patrick F. Fischer for the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Judge Fischer was elected to the Ohio First District Court of Appeals in November 2010. He was re-elected in 2012.
The OMA-PAC board acted at this time as Judge Fischer is expected to face a primary election contest on March 15, 2016. Should he prevail in his primary, he will run on the November 2016 ballot for one of three Supreme Court seats for which there will be an election.
Judge Fischer has dedicated himself to the practice of law for nearly 30 years. An honors graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College, he has been named to Best Lawyers in America®, one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Cincinnati, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Ohio. He was routinely named to Ohio Super Lawyers®. Judge Fischer was elected President of the Ohio State Bar Association, and served as same from 2012-2013. Read more about Judge Pat Fischer.
State lawmakers in Columbus completed action on dozens of bills and resolutions before beginning the holiday recess. They return in January.
Among last minute legislative actions, Senate leaders again passed legislation to alter complex Ohio insurance subrogation law to revise the order of payments and processes in certain types of disputes, including torts.
The law change was initially enacted in the state budget in late June but could be subject to a lawsuit over the single-subject rule. Therefore this week, Senate leaders packaged the subrogation amendment with House Bill 259, which more closely deals with insurance law and might withstand a possible single-subject lawsuit challenge.
The OMA opposed the amendment in the budget and would have opposed this more recent amendment had the Senate been more transparent.
The Grace Commission appointed by House and Senate leadership had its first meeting this week. The commission is charged with reviewing all 2015 expenditures in order to identify ways to find cost savings through executive action or legislation, and to determine areas needing greater managerial accountability and administrative controls.
The commission is co-chaired by Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) and Sen. Bill Coley (R-West Chester). OMA director Dave Johnson, CEO, Summitville Tiles, Inc., and OMA President Eric Burkland were appointed to the committee by Speaker Cliff Rosenberger. Also on the committee are: Rep. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville), Sen. Dave Burke (R-Marysville), Mercer County Economic Development Director Jared Ebbing, Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer, former GOP Sen. Mark Wagoner and former GOP Rep. Lynn Wachtmann.
Earlier this month, the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association proposed its “Smart Label” initiative to provide consumers with more information about the food they eat. By using electronic technologies (e.g. on-package QR code, web search, etc.), SmartLabel will give grocery shoppers access to data on 350 quality traits ranging from allergens to genetically modified ingredients. Read more.
The New York Times connected the new voluntary label proposal to the intense lobbying of Congress for passage of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in July, the bill is now being considered in the U.S. Senate. The bill would establish a national standard for food labeling.
The OMA supports the act to prevent a patchwork of state food labeling laws. Use the easy email tools at the Manufacturing Advocacy Center to urge Senators Portman and Brown to vote for the act.
As expected, labor unions and social service agencies lined up to testify before the House Insurance Committee to oppose unemployment compensation reforms contained in HB 394.
The state’s unemployment compensation trust fund is broke. Employers are paying higher and higher penalties to the federal government for loans that the feds made to keep the Ohio system afloat.
The opponents’ solution? Make job-producing employers pay even more.
One notable proponent testified this week: the Ohio Trucking Association. The association noted that trucking firms pay high unemployment premiums despite low unemployment and a truck driver shortage of 48,000 nationally. He said truckers want to hire the unemployed.