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New Manufacturers’ Survey: Toughest Challenge is Lack of Skilled Workers

February 1, 2019

The Manufacturing Group of OMA Connections Partner, Schneider Downs, recently completed its 2018 Manufacturers’ Economic Survey, which yielded manufacturers’ thinking on a range of topics including workforce, tariffs, IT security, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The report is free but you will need to sign in to download it. 1/29/2019

House Democrats Elect Leadership

January 25, 2019

The House Democratic caucus elected its leadership for the new biennial session. The House minority leader is Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). She succeeds Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton), who stepped down when the majority of the caucus voted for Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) as Speaker.

Other members of the new Democratic leadership are: Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), assistant minority leader; Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid), minority whip; and Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo), assistant minority whip. 1/24/2019

An Eye to the Future, With Great Optimism

January 18, 2019

Governor Mike DeWine was sworn in Monday and gave his inaugural address in the historic Statehouse Rotunda.

The governor said: “It is with that eye to the future and with great optimism that I will serve as your Governor — because I truly believe that the best is yet to come!”

He pledged to seek our different ideas and opinions, to listen, to bring people together.

“But don’t mistake our willingness to listen and our openness to new ideas for a lack of vision or resolve or focus. The Bible warns us of an ‘uncertain trumpet.’ Our trumpet will give a clear and certain call, as there will be no mistaking where I am leading!” DeWine said.

The governor is focused on long-term, meaningful, positive change: “Over the next four years, I will be asking the people of Ohio and I will be asking those of you in the General Assembly to do things where the results will not be immediate — but where they will be profound, and where they will endure.” 1/17/2019

Coalition to Address Ohio’s Critical Infrastructure Issues

January 18, 2019

The OMA is supporting a coalition – Fix Our Roads (FOR) Ohio – to put a spotlight on Ohio’s deteriorating infrastructure and lack of remedial funding. The coalition is comprised of business groups, local governments, regional planning councils and transportation-oriented organizations.

According to FOR Ohio’s news release: “The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is scheduled to spend $1.7 billion on its capital program in FY 2020, down from a high of $2.4 billion in FY 2014. This decrease is due in large part to the expiration of Ohio’s Turnpike Bond program at the end of this fiscal year (June 30, 2019), and represents a 29 percent decrease in capital spending from FY 2014. …

“According to a recent report by TRIP, a national transportation research group, 30 percent of Ohio’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. The FHWA National Bridge Inventory, which compiles data for bridges spanning more than 20 feet, rates 1,653 of Ohio’s bridges as structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports, or other major components.”

The coalition plans to work with the DeWine administration and new General Assembly to advance potential options including phasing in increases to Ohio’s Motor Fuel User Fee (gas tax), levying an annual fee on electric-powered vehicles, studying future funding alternatives in light of evolving technology, and identifying a dedicated funding source to better support public transit. 1/16/2019

Financial Assistance for Import-Impacted Manufacturers

January 18, 2019

For 35 years, the Great Lakes Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (GLTAAC) has been working with import-impacted manufacturing firms in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana through the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program (TAAF), and has helped hundreds of manufacturers compete against imports.

Manufacturers who have been impacted by imports can qualify for $75,000 in program matching funds to implement critical business improvement projects, all aimed at increasing their global competitiveness.

Call or email GLTAAC Project Manager, Scott Phillips, (734) 787-7509. 1/16/2019

DeWine Continues to Fill Out Cabinet

January 11, 2019

This week Governor-elect Mike DeWine continued to fill out his cabinet with a slew of appointments. Included in this week’s announcements:

  • State Senator Randy Gardner was tapped to lead the Department of Higher Education;
  • Former State Representative Dorothy Pelanda will head up the Department of Agriculture;
  • Attorney Stephanie McCloud will lead the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation; and
  • Longtime Ohio EPA staffer Laurie Stevenson will take over as director of that agency.

See a full list of DeWine appointments and key staff, courtesy of Hannah News Service. 1/10/2018

Householder Elected Speaker

January 11, 2019

The Ohio House of Representatives convened on Monday – as did the Senate – to administer oaths of office and elect leadership. The House speakership had been bitterly contested for more than a year with Republican Larry Householder working to wrest the gavel from incumbent Republican Speaker Ryan Smith.

In the end, Householder won back the Speaker’s gavel (52-46), even while Smith enjoyed considerably more supporters among the Republican caucus. Here is an excerpt from the House Journal that breaks down the voting. Readers may remember that Householder was the Speaker from 2001 to 2004.

Householder bested Smith by persuading 26 Democrats to support him. Labor groups were especially vocal in urging Democrats to support Householder. Utilizing minority party votes to form a majority coalition to elect a Speaker is unprecedented in modern times. 1/10/2019

Senate Elects Leaders for the 133rd General Assembly

January 11, 2019

With the opening of the 133rd General Assembly on Monday, the Senate unanimously elected its leadership posts for the next two years.

President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) was reelected as Senate President. The Senate also confirmed Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) as president pro tempore, Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) as majority floor leader and Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) as majority whip.

Huffman replaces term-limited Gayle Manning who returned to the House. Republicans will need to decide who to add to their leadership team, because on Thursday Randy Gardner was appointed Director of the Ohio Department of Higher Education by Governor-elect Mike DeWine.

The Democratic leadership team retained Sen. Kenny Yuko (R-Richmond Heights) as minority leader and Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) will serve as his number two. Sen. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) will serve as minority whip and Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) will serve as assistant minority whip. 1/10/2019

Pelanda to Head Ohio Department of Agriculture

January 11, 2019

Governor-elect Mike DeWine this week appointed Dorothy Pelanda to lead the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Pelanda is a former member of the Ohio House, where she represented Union County and parts of Marion County.

The Dept. of Agriculture regulates aspects of food production and is an important state agency to Ohio’s food and beverage manufacturers, processors and ingredient makers.

The OMA will be arranging for food sector manufacturers to visit with Director Pelanda at our OMA Food Manufacturers’ Policy Forum in March.

The regulated community has been at odds with state regulators due to proposals aimed at phosphorous nutrient discharge into watersheds. Pelanda, an attorney, will no doubt be focusing on the state’s response to water pollution beginning on day one. 1/10/2019

Marchbanks to Lead ODOT

January 11, 2019

Jack Marchbanks will become Ohio’s next Department of Transportation (ODOT) chief, having been appointed by Governor-elect Mike DeWine this week. Marchbanks, a career ODOT administrator, moves into the top job having served in a variety of senior posts within the department.

The transportation budget is expected to rocket through the General Assembly in early Spring. The state’s transportation trust fund, comprised of gas-tax monies, is forecast to run a structural deficit in near-term years.

Ohio’s manufacturers are dependent on effective movement of freight and we look forward to working with Jack. 1/10/2019