News and Analysis
The OMA board of directors this week held its end-of-the-year meeting virtually. In addition to approving the association’s 2021 budget, board members elected Dale Laws, vice president, Findlay operations, Whirlpool Corporation, as the OMA’s first vice president. Lissa Barry, president and CEO of Delta Systems Inc., was elected to serve on the OMA’s executive committee.
OMA Chairman Jane Neal, senior vice president of AMG Vanadium LLC, and other board members concluded the meeting by reflecting on the service of President Eric Burkland, who is retiring on Dec. 31 after leading the association for more than three decades. 12/8/2020
On Dec. 9, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted addressed industry leaders at the OMA’s 2020 Ohio Food Manufacturers Policy Council — held virtually this year due to the pandemic. The event was chaired by Jennifer Sweeney of the Campbell Soup Company.
The lieutenant governor told attendees that the DeWine administration is trying to balance three things at once: protecting health, protecting the economy, and coordinating the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines — with a goal of getting at least 70% of adults vaccinated. Public health expert Martin Tremmel warned that the number of COVID-19 cases could continue to rise throughout February. OMA General Counsel Chris Slagle of Bricker & Eckler noted that food manufacturers are expected to be prioritized in the second phase of Ohio’s vaccination plan.
Other presenters included representatives from Tyson Foods, JobsOhio, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio EPA.
The production of food and beverages contributes nearly $12 billion annually to Ohio’s economy, making it the state’s third-largest manufacturing sector. Ohio has approximately 1,300 food and beverage manufacturers, which employ more than 61,100 Ohioans. 12/9/2020
The General Assembly started this week with a massive to-do list — one that included more than 20 different committee meetings for more than 100 bill hearings with little time remaining in the lame duck session. But a COVID-19 outbreak, in which at least four House members have tested positive, led to the cancellation of Wednesday’s (Dec. 9) House session and Thursday’s (Dec. 10) Senate session.
The Plain Dealer reported that “several other House members” said they’re awaiting COVID-19 test results. Multiple House committees canceled scheduled hearings this week, “though it wasn’t immediately clear how many of those were due to the coronavirus.”
So now lawmakers have just a few days remaining in the lame duck session to hold floor votes on several pending bills. Members can view the House schedule and Senate schedule for the most up-to-date information. 12/10/2020
It’s official. On Jan. 4, Ohio Senate Republicans will enter the 134th General Assembly with a 25-8 majority. It was announced this week that incumbent Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) defeated Democratic challenger Crystal Lett following a recount. Kunze led Lett by only 41 votes in the unofficial election night count but picked up about 70 additional votes at certification. 12/8/2020
It was announced this week that Ohio’s U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge — who represents portions of Cleveland and Akron, as well as suburban areas — has been selected to join the incoming Biden administration as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Politico reports that confirmation of Fudge would give U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a 220-seat majority — just a five-seat edge over Republicans, and a two-vote cushion to get bills through the chamber. It would be the smallest House majority since 2001 — and the smallest Democratic majority since 1893. Politico.com notes that there will be a special election to fill Fudge’s seat as well as a Democratic seat in Louisiana, likely adding two more seats (eventually) to Pelosi’s narrow majority. 12/9/2020
Last Friday, Dec. 4, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services released its latest leading economic indicators report. According to the report, if the October employment rebound continues throughout 2020 at a similar pace, total employment statewide is predicted to increase at an annual rate of 0.27% for the next six months in Ohio.
The following metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) are predicted to see job growth over the next half year:
- Columbus at 0.24%;
- Cincinnati at 0.30%;
- Cleveland-Elyria at 0.48%; and
- Dayton at 1.14%.
Meanwhile, three MSAs are predicted to see negative jobs growth: Youngstown-Warren-Boardman (-1.16%), Akron (-0.26%); and Canton-Massillon (-0.19%). The Toledo MSA is predicted to stay flat. 12/7/2020
Polling aggregation website FiveThirtyEight.com reported this week that four weeks after Election Day, we still don’t have complete election results from around the country. However, here’s what we do know when it comes to control of the federal government in early 2021:
- It appears Joe Biden will win 306 electoral votes and President Trump will win 232.
- The U.S. Senate will have at least 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats, with the two Georgia seats to be decided in a runoff election Jan. 5.
- U.S. House Democrats will have at least 222 seats and Republicans will have at least 211. (Republicans are currently leading the two uncalled races — one in New York and one in Iowa — by a combined 18 votes. Both races rank among the closest federal elections in U.S. history.)
Meanwhile, Ohio certified its election results Friday, Nov. 27. 12/1/2020
Next Wednesday, Dec. 9, the annual OMA Food and Beverage Manufacturers’ Policy Council meeting will be held virtually from 10 a.m. to noon. This year, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted will be our special guest presenter to help members understand Ohio’s COVID-19 vaccination plan and other state priorities.
Other presenters will include representatives from Tyson Foods, JobsOhio, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio EPA. There is no charge for this manufacturers-only event. Register here or email Rob Brundrett with questions. 12/3/2020
This week, the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus re-elected Sen. Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) as minority leader for the upcoming 134th General Assembly. Also re-elected was Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) as assistant minority leader. Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) was elected minority whip, while Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) was elected assistant minority whip. 12/2/2020
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy this week said she is “committed” to running in the 2022 race for the state’s chief justice seat while fellow Justice Pat DeWine, Gov. Mike DeWine’s son, is also considering a run for the seat. As reported by Cleveland.com, although Ohio Supreme Court seats are officially non-partisan, candidates must run in a partisan primary, which would pit the two Republicans against one another. 12/3/2020