News and Analysis
Supreme Court Ruling Raises Manufacturers’ ConcernsDecember 21, 2022
Last week, on a 4-3 vote, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled the state’s non-economic damages caps — which limit the amount that can be awarded for claims such as “pain and suffering” in personal injury lawsuits — are unconstitutional in certain cases. Outgoing Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor (R) sided with the court’s Democrats.
Despite the sensitive nature of this case, the OMA is disappointed in the ruling because it threatens the state’s competitive legal environment for business. Read this analysis from Bricker & Eckler, the OMA’s general counsel.
According to Bricker, lower courts may start applying this decision in cases with similar facts or similarly situated plaintiffs. With no caps, non-economic damages could far exceed the state’s general $250,000 cap. And courts could utilize this decision to review additional tort reform statutes that impact the business community.
OMA staff will be working with counsel over the coming days to consider potential responses to the ruling. The OMA’s first Government Affairs Committee meeting of 2023 in March will feature a deeper dive on this development — so stay tuned for registration details. 12/20/2022
Accomplishments in Ohio’s 134th General AssemblyDecember 21, 2022
Ohio’s 134th General Assembly has come to a close. To highlight manufacturers’ key advocacy victories during the two-year session, the OMA this week shared this list of policy-related accomplishments with members of its Government Affairs Committee.
Also, in case you missed it, this two-minute video highlights OMA member involvement during 2022. 12/21/2022
Ohio Manufacturing in National Spotlight (Again!)December 21, 2022
With a nationwide readership of around 13 million, Manufacturing Dive has published a story on Ohio’s success in attracting new manufacturing jobs and investment. The article showcases Ohio’s competitive advantages, including its skilled workforce and the JobsOhio model.
“The substantial manufacturing investments being made here aren’t happening by accident,” OMA President Ryan Augsburger told the publication. “They are the result of years of reform to improve Ohio’s business climate — including in the areas of taxation, regulations, and workforce.” 12/20/2022
Another Look at Ohio’s Expanding EV IndustryDecember 21, 2022
Columbus Business First provides the latest analysis of Ohio’s rapidly developing electric vehicle industry. In this Dec. 15 article, the publication notes the Buckeye State “is battling the likes of Michigan, Indiana, and Tennessee to land investments” — and that Ohio’s state government, JobsOhio, and the OMA “are developing a statewide EV workforce strategy at all levels of education.”
Check out the OMA’s updated infographic of major EV-related investments across the state. 12/20/2022
Lame Duck Wrap-Up: OMA-Opposed Bills StallDecember 16, 2022
The Ohio legislature has concluded what appears to be its final week of voting for the 134th General Assembly. Despite a flurry of lame-duck legislative activity, the following OMA-opposed bills stalled:
- Union Hiring Mandate (House Bill 235): Would have forced defined manufacturers across Ohio to hire union workers, while creating a precedent that could have impacted other industries.
- Electricity Ratemaking Overhaul (House Bill 317): Proposed harmful changes to Ohio’s ratemaking structure that would have increased energy costs for manufacturers and other customers.
- Construction Contract Mandate (House Bill 68): Would have imposed state-mandated payment terms in private contracts.
The good news: These bills will die with the final adjournment of the current General Assembly. (Both chambers have scheduled Wednesday, Dec. 21 as an “if needed” session day as their last possible day to meet.)
The bad news: All three bills will likely be reintroduced in the 135th General Assembly, which convenes Jan. 3 and will continue through December 2024. 12/15/2022
Legislature Passes Several Noteworthy Lame Duck BillsDecember 16, 2022
Several pieces of legislation were passed in the final days (and hours) of the 134th General Assembly’s post-election session. The following are among the most noteworthy bills sent to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature or veto:
- $6 Billion Spending From Federal COVID-19 Funds – House Bill 45: Includes billions of dollars from multiple federal COVID-19 relief packages, with most of the funding directed toward K-12 education, social services, and health care, as explained by this summary.
- Unemployment Insurance Reform – Senate Bill 302: Makes several changes to curb unemployment fraud.
- Election Reform – House Bill 458: Requires a photo ID to vote, limits ballot drop boxes, and eliminates early in-person voting the Monday before Election Day.
- Work Hours for Teens – Senate Bill 251: Allows 14- and 15-year-olds to work until 9 p.m. year-round with their parents’ consent.
- Expanded Natural Gas Production – House Bill 507: Qualifies natural gas as green energy and allows state agencies to lease land to develop oil and gas.
- Criminal Justice Reform, Distracted Driving Penalties – Senate Bill 288 – Would make it easier to expunge criminal records and shorten prison sentences, while allowing law enforcement to pull over drivers for holding or using a cellphone.
Among the notable measures that did not pass was a proposal to restructure Ohio’s K-12 education system, as well as House Joint Resolution 6, which would have raised the voter-approval threshold for state constitutional amendments to 60%. 12/15/2022
OMA Opposes Water, Sewer Ratemaking BillDecember 16, 2022
The OMA on Dec. 13 testified before the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee to oppose House Bill 364, which would increase costs and weaken consumer protections by changing Ohio’s ratemaking law — this time, for water and sewer services.
HB 364 would expand the scope of what utilities can recover from captive customers for new infrastructure, thereby increasing manufacturers’ water and sewer costs. It would also extend until 2036 the amount of time that surcharges can be collected from customers. (At the 35:25 mark of this recording, you can watch Kim Bojko, the OMA’s energy counsel, present the OMA’s testimony.)
Ultimately, HB 364 was passed by the full legislature. It has been sent to the governor for his signature or veto. 12/15/2022
DeWine to Appoint New Supreme Court Justice SoonDecember 16, 2022
Gov. Mike DeWine has said he plans to announce his appointment for the open seat on the Supreme Court of Ohio by the end of the year. According to reports, those thought to be under consideration for the appointment are Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Shanahan, Ohio Solicitor General Ben Flowers, and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor — a Republican who often sided with the court’s Democrats — is term-limited due to Ohio’s age restriction for judges. Last month, voters elected Republican Justice Sharon Kennedy as the next chief justice. Assuming DeWine selects a Republican to fill Kennedy’s vacant seat, the GOP will maintain its 4-3 majority. 12/14/2022
DeWine-Husted Inaugural Gala Set for Jan. 7December 16, 2022
Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted have announced they will hold their 2023 inauguration ceremonies Friday, Jan. 6, through Monday, Jan. 9. The governor’s inaugural gala will be held on Saturday, Jan. 7, in Columbus.
For members interested in supporting the inaugural activities, there are three main sponsorship levels. Email the DeWine-Husted campaign office or call (614) 456-2042 for more information. 12/15/2022
OMA Board Examines Reshoring, Legislative ThreatsDecember 9, 2022
On Dec. 6, the OMA board of directors held its Q4 meeting at the OMA’s headquarters in Columbus. Besides being briefed on OMA operations, directors were updated on post-election threats in the General Assembly, including House Bill 235 (union hiring mandate) and House Bill 317 (“House Bill 6 rerun“). The OMA is actively opposing both bills.
OMA President Ryan Augsburger shared this year-in-review, which highlights OMA member involvement.
Directors also heard from American Nitrile CEO Jacob Block and Engineering Manager Alex Mallison, who shared their reshoring story. The Grove City startup is America’s only large-scale manufacturer of nitrile gloves, which are used as PPE in health care and manufacturing. 12/6/2022
American Nitrile CEO Jacob Block and Engineering Manager Alex Mallison shared their Ohio-made reshoring story at the Dec. 6 OMA board meeting.