News and Analysis
At Bloomberg.com and in The Japan Times, Beijing-based technology analyst Dan Wang writes, “America can’t build anymore.” He says that while Americans dominate high-tech sectors, the U.S. today “struggles to make even relatively simple products such as swabs, masks and protective gear.”
“Learning to build again will take more than a resurgence of will,” he writes. The U.S. will need to re-establish process knowledge, skilled talent, and industrial clusters to support manufacturing. Meanwhile, U.S. policymakers and other leaders will need to treat manufacturing work, “even in low-margin goods, as fundamentally valuable,” while providing incentives “to bring production back home.” 5/11/2020
The new edition of the OMA’s Ohio Manufacturing Counts is now available digitally. The data in this publication are strong reminders that manufacturing continues to power the Buckeye State and will undoubtedly lead Ohio’s recovery in the coming months. The most current information collected by the OMA shows Ohio manufacturing is responsible for:
- Nearly 17% of Ohio’s Gross Domestic Product;
- Roughly 700,000 jobs for Ohio workers;
- An annual payroll of $43 billion, the highest total annual wages of any of Ohio’s sectors; and
- $53 billion in exported products to 211 countries and territories.
Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) this week introduced Senate Bill 308 to revise Ohio’s civil liability laws in anticipation of litigation stemming from the pandemic. Sen. Huffman said the bill is needed because litigation might cripple a business as it is set to emerge from the lockdown.
The bill consists of two parts: the first deals with health care industries and the second addresses general business by clarifying immunity would be granted to businesses that are doing something to sustain or help people during an emergency, especially if a person is infected as a result of working at that business.
Together with the Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice, the OMA has been working to develop language that would include immunity for the manufacture of PPE and related safety products. The OMA is grateful to the Senate for making this a priority. A vote could take place soon.
Meanwhile, the House is working on a similar initiative, although the Senate version appears to be more workable for manufacturers. Negotiations are ongoing. Contact the OMA’s Ryan Augsburger for more information. 5/7/2020
This week, the House voted 58-37 to approve amended legislation that, if signed into law, would curtail the state health director’s ability to issue orders limiting business operations and the movement of Ohioans.
Under the amended Senate Bill 1 — a regulatory reform bill — the health director’s orders would be limited to 14 days. Any order lasting longer than two weeks would need to be approved by the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.
It is unknown if the Senate will support this provision. A spokesman for Gov. Mike DeWine said the governor would veto the bill if it reached his desk as passed by the House. 5/7/2020
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on Senate Bill 301. Introduced by Sens. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) and Steve Wilson (R-Maineville), the bill targets panic buying and price gouging during a declared disaster or emergency.
The bill would give the attorney general permissive authority to establish per-consumer, per-transaction quantity limits on goods or services sold by suppliers in emergencies. SB 301 also provides expanded authority to investigate grossly excessive price increases as a violation of the Consumers Sales Practices Act after an emergency is declared. The legislators provided sponsor testimony and answered questions from lawmakers. The bill is expected to have more hearings in the coming weeks. 5/7/2020
Referenda on recreational marijuana, voting rights, a minimum wage hike and more have fallen victim to the pandemic. It was reported this week that because the COVID-19 crisis has made it almost impossible to collect ballot initiatives, these campaigns have effectively ended. However, some campaigns are appealing to federal courts in a final effort to get their issues on the November ballot. 5/6/2020
“The U.S. has lost its capacity to innovate and mass produce emerging hardware technologies.”
That’s the conclusion of a white paper by a leading professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan and the executive director of a manufacturing think tank. The white paper concludes that “after five decades of offshoring production,” the U.S. “may still be one of the most inventive countries,” but it is “no longer the most innovative, at least in hardware.” 5/4/2020
Even as COVID-19 restrictions force college graduations to be conducted online, Ohio graduates are at least receiving some memorable advice from notable figures. Last weekend, Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered a virtual commencement address to thousands of graduates of The Ohio State University, while Tom Hanks shared an inspiring video message with the graduating class of Wright State University. 5/4/2020
This week, Site Selection magazine reported that Ohio is ranked fifth in the publication’s 2020 Prosperity Cup state rankings, which recognizes the state and regional offices that were the most successful in attracting capital investment projects in 2019. This is a two-spot improvement for Ohio — and it comes shortly after the Buckeye State was ranked No. 1 in Site Selection’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for projects per capita. JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development arm, welcomed the news. 5/4/2020
Ohio’s delayed primary election was completed Tuesday night, April 28. You can see the unofficial results here, including results for Ohio’s House and Senate districts. (Keep in mind the official canvas will be completed three weeks after the conclusion of the election.)
Special congratulations to OMA PAC-endorsed candidates Rep. Mark Romanchuk, who is running for Ohio Senate, and Larry Holmes — the longtime chair of the OMA’s Safety & Workers’ Compensation Committee — who is running for Darke County commissioner.
With the COVID-19 stay-at-home order in place and non-competitive presidential contests, this year’s primary election saw low voter turnout, with 1.7 million Ohioans casting their ballots — about 22% of the state’s 7.7 million registered voters. That’s roughly half the number of voters who participated in the 2016 primary election.
All eyes are now on the Nov. 3 general election. 4/29/2020