News and Analysis
The OMA continues to lobby to provide immunity to manufacturers and other businesses from frivolous lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. This week the Senate unveiled another version of Senate Bill 308, while the House accepted another version of House Bill 606. Both chamber committees are primed to vote the bill as soon as next week. Here is a comparison of the changes to the House versions.
The OMA testified before the House Civil Justice Committee on Tuesday in support of House Bill 606. The OMA asked the panel to support enhancements outlined by the Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice (OACJ) on behalf of the broad business community. The OMA is a leading member of this Alliance. The plaintiffs’ bar is working to dilute the bill. 5/21/2020
The OMA joined forces with the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) this week to express concerns with House Bill 380 (Jon Cross, R-Kenton, Bride Rose Sweeney, D-Cleveland). The legislation imposes restrictions on construction contracts most notably dictating 30-day prompt payment terms.
“OHA and OMA believe private entities should be free to negotiate contractual terms without government interference. This legislation erodes the ability of our members to negotiate freely and runs counter to free market and “freedom of contract” principles. All commercial construction contracts agreed to by our members are negotiated by sophisticated parties, including the payment and interest terms.” Read the letter. 5/21/2020
It seemed that general election ballot issues — including marijuana and minimum wage measures — would not be able to proceed in 2020 due to signature collection challenges related to the pandemic; however, a federal district court judge has ordered the secretary of state to allow electronic signatures from electors.
That is a significant departure from the norm and makes the collection of required signatures much easier. This is of concern as ballot issues proliferate especially by well-funded special interests. Read more about this from the Columbus Dispatch.
We will discuss the issue at OMA’s June 3 Government Affairs Committee meeting and monitor any appeal activity. 5/21/2020
The unprecedented ruling (see above story) finds unconstitutional many decades of direct democracy in Ohio governing the time, manner, process, and regulatory requirements around local and statewide ballot measures. Of significant concern are new abilities for out of state interest groups and petition gathers to gather signatures theoretically from Ohio electors without the usual and fulsome verification process that the Secretary of State and county boards of elections go through to ensure the required number of Ohio electors actually sign a petition to secure its place on the November 2020 ballot.
Initial comments from the Ohio Attorney General and Ohio Secretary of State indicate the state will appeal. The OMA has long fought against efforts to erode the process and validity of ballot security and statewide petition methods to ensure only those measures which truly and lawfully should qualify make it to a vote of the people.
The OMA will continue to closely monitor and update the members on this truly historic and unprecedented decision from the federal court. Read this memo from OMA General Counsel Chris Slagle. Again, we’ll fully cover this topic at the upcoming OMA Government Affairs Committee on June 3. 5/21/2020
This week the Senate unanimously rejected the House amendments to Senate Bill 1 and sent the bill to a conference committee. The floor debate centered on whether the legislature should limit the state health director’s orders – which are currently being used to combat COVID-19.
Originally SB 1 was aimed at regulatory reform but the House added a provision that would require orders issued by the Department of Health to go to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) after 14 days for a review prior to any renewal.
The governor said he would veto any bill restricting the Department of Health’s powers under the law. 5/21/2020
As America begins to move from response to recovery in the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers large and small are doing their part to fill gaps in the supply chain. Some are seeking suppliers closer to home as others ramp up production or retool to fill needs.
Manufacturers Marketplace — a collaboration of the National Association of Manufacturers and state manufacturing associations — is a searchable database intended to help U.S. manufacturers find and do business with one another as an ongoing solution against supply chain disruption.
Manufacturers Marketplace is available for free to OMA members until June 30 using code COVID-19. It will continue to be free as long as your company uses the platform and updates your profile. Contact the Marketplace’s David Smart to learn more. 5/18/2020
The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), in collaboration with University Hospitals and The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19, has developed a new, protective testing platform for health care workers assessing the spread of COVID-19.
Health care experts at University Hospitals and UH Ventures, their innovation and commercialization division, believe these specially designed barriers could decrease the need for valuable personal protective equipment, speed up the testing process, and better protect front line health care workers. 5/15/2020
From the Cleveland Fed: How many consumers still say they’re storing more food or increasing cash on hand? How long do most believe the pandemic will last? This interactive chart of weekly survey results gives a glimpse into what consumers are thinking and doing, dating back to March. 5/19/2020
This from the Ohio Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure Unit: Recently, disinformation campaigns through social media have produced conspiracy theories claiming the new 5G technology weakens the immune system leading to rapid spread of the virus. The disinformation campaigns are generated by violent extremists who encourage attacks on the network infrastructure.
Attacks on the 5G infrastructure began in the United Kingdom where 5G towers were set on fire. The fear and theories spread globally to the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. Here in Ohio, fliers have been found posted throughout a southeastern county stating the coronavirus is fake and the 5G towers are the real cause of deaths. Physical attacks to communication infrastructure have not occurred in Ohio at this time. 5/20/2020