News and Analysis
OMA President Ryan Augsburger, along with the CEO of The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, have sent a letter to Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) asking him to not hold a vote on House Bill 68 — legislation that would erode the right of parties to freely negotiate private construction contracts.
The letter states that “HB 68 rejects the concept of freedom of contract, which has governed the majority of private transactions in this state, and substitutes a state-sponsored version with terms and penalties much more punitive … than what exists in the marketplace.” The bill would require the government to set payment terms in construction contracts. It was voted out of committee, despite vocal opposition from the business community. 5/13/2021
Federal data released this week show that U.S. manufacturing job openings soared to 706,000 in March, a new record. According to Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, job postings have risen to “stratospheric levels.”
In March, Ohio reported 659,400 manufacturing jobs — up more than 2,000 jobs from February — but significantly lower than the 695,000 jobs in January 2020. 5/12/2021
The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with the FBI, continues to investigate last week’s cyberattack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast. CISA has published tips and advice addressing common cybersecurity concerns — including ransomware attacks. Also, OMA Connections Partner Schneider Downs has published this insight on the cyberattack. 5/13/2021
With Memorial Day just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your next Ohio adventure. TourismOhio has published its list of the top 100 things to do in Ohio this summer. From festivals to outdoor activities, the list has something for everyone. 5/12/2021
Rob Brundrett, the OMA’s managing director of public policy services, testified this week in support of the Ohio Development Services Agency’s (DSA) budget request, which would help ensure the competitiveness of the state’s manufacturers. Referencing the endorsement of 13 manufacturing sector partnerships from across Ohio, Brundrett told lawmakers that the OMA supports DSA’s funding for the Industry Sector Partnership Grant Program. He did however ask the Senate to remove a House earmark for an entity that is not a sector partnership.
Brundrett also voiced support for Ohio TechCred and Ohio’s Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs), saying, “These three state-supported services … are making a real difference in the training requirements of our citizens.”
The OMA also provided written comments in support of the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC). 5/6/2021
This week, the Ohio House Commerce and Labor Committee unanimously moved House Bill 68 out of committee despite the objections of the OMA, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, and the Ohio Hospital Association. The bill would erode the right of parties to freely negotiate contracts, and would instead require government to dictate certain payment terms to private parties in construction contracts.
The bill would also require parties to pay construction contracts within 30 days, regardless of the negotiated contract terms. If an entity failed to pay, it would be subject to exorbitant penalty and attorney’s fees.
The OMA previously testified in opposition to the bill, stressing there was no need for such a change and the bill was an about-face on free-market contracting. The OMA will continue to oppose the measure as it moves through the legislative process. 5/6/2021
Following the lead of Republican-led legislatures in other states, Ohio House Republicans have introduced their own election reform bill. House Bill 294 would make a litany of changes to Ohio’s elections laws, with provisions addressing drop boxes, voter registration, absentee voting, and voter identification. Democrats have already announced their opposition to the bill. The OMA will have a full breakdown at our next Government Affairs Committee meeting, set for June 15. 5/6/2021
The Ohio House this week voted 91-3 to concur with Senate changes made to House Bill 2, which will expand internet access to unserved areas of Ohio. The legislation has been sent to Gov. Mike DeWine, who is expected to sign it.
The bill contains an emergency clause, meaning it becomes law immediately upon the governor’s signature. The bill creates the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program to fund last-mile infrastructure. It will provide $20 million during the current fiscal year. 5/6/2021
Holding a cell phone or other electronic device while driving in Ohio would be a primary offense under House Bill 283, introduced at the Statehouse this week. The bill, which has the OMA’s support, reflects a proposal from Gov. Mike DeWine offered earlier this year. Read the AP’s summary. 5/5/2021
Ohio is No. 4 in Site Selection magazine’s 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, a comparison of state competitiveness in economic development. Released this week, the rankings are based on 10 criteria, including new and expanded facilities, capital investment, and jobs created.
This news comes weeks after Ohio won its second consecutive Governor’s Cup, also presented by Site Selection, for having the largest number of economic development projects per capita. 5/5/2021