News and Analysis
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
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
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
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
The International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) program is designed to help small businesses increase exports and create jobs in Ohio’s economy. The program reimburses at a 50 percent rate, capped at $12,500 per eligible approved applicant.
Popular eligible activities include but are not limited to trade shows, international advertising, and trade missions.
For more information about the IMAGE program and activities eligible for reimbursement, click here. 1/2/2019