News and Analysis
Before the Ohio House and Senate adjourned for summer break, lawmakers took steps to address the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) funding woes. Despite some action in both chambers, nothing is headed to the governor’s desk until at least this fall.
As reported last week, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution 4 to authorize bonding as an alternative to borrowing from the federal government when Ohio’s UI fund has been exhausted. The OMA is a proponent of the measure, but it may not be taken up in the House as Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) has told reporters that leaders are trying to determine whether this is a change that can be made statutorily — that is, without asking voters.
Also sidelined for the time being is House Bill 614 — which would create a council to review the administration of the UI system — and Senate Bill 282, which would allow employers to report that an applicant for (or a recipient of) UI benefits has failed to meet the non-monetary requirements for benefit eligibility. 6/15/2020
The pandemic has affected every aspect of business, especially supply chains. Knowing how your suppliers have been impacted is important. OMA Connections Partner Clark Schaefer Hackett has created this checklist to help guide your conversations with suppliers. 6/17/2020
Expanded use of automation will make U.S. manufacturing even more competitive, according to Amar Hanspal, CEO of Bright Machines — a San Francisco-based software and robotics company. In his column at Forbes.com, Hanspal says that by some estimates, high levels of automation play a role in only 3% of all goods produced. But COVID-19 is expediting change. According to Thomasnet.com, sourcing for automation equipment has increased 147% year-over-year and is up more than 20% compared to last quarter. 6/15/2020
Reminder: The new edition of Ohio Manufacturing Counts is now available digitally. Share it with employees, students, educators, policymakers and others to ensure that they know the importance of Ohio manufacturing. A special thanks to our sponsors — Constellation, Health Management Solutions and Vistra Energy — that supported the publication. 6/12/2020
Recently, the New York Times interviewed 511 epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists from the U.S. and Canada, asking their opinions on when they expect to resume what used to be typical activities. VisualCapitalist.com turned the Times‘ data into this infographic. Surprisingly, 6% of the surveyed epidemiologists said they do not expect to ever hug or shake hands in the post-pandemic world. More than half said the use of masks will be necessary for at least the next year. 6/20/2020
Ohio’s major business groups — including the OMA — this week endorsed both justices seeking re-election to the Supreme Court of Ohio. Justices Judith French and Sharon Kennedy are both vying for their second six-year term. Although the contests are officially non-partisan, they will determine the Court’s leanings and its impact on Ohio’s business climate. (The OMA PAC endorsed both justices late last year.)
Hannah New Service recently reported that both incumbents have a large cash-on-hand advantage compared to their challengers. Justice French reported having $398,572 on hand, while her opponent, Jennifer Brunner, reported $201,358. Justice Kennedy reported having $629,753 on hand compared to Cuyahoga County Judge John O’Donnell’s $136,020.90. 6/11/2020
Negotiations remain unresolved over a pair of bills (House Bill 606 and Senate Bill 308) that would provide businesses and health care professionals with temporary legal protections during COVID-19. As of late Thursday afternoon, lawmakers had not yet agreed to strip a harmful worker’s compensation provision from pending legislation. As a result, the timely passage of a final immunity package is uncertain. There is still time to take action. 6/11/2020
The Senate this week unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution 4, which would authorize bonding as an alternative to borrowing from the federal government when Ohio’s unemployment insurance system fund has been exhausted. The OMA is a proponent of the resolution.
During the last recession, Ohio borrowed nearly $3.4 billion. Now the state is looking to borrow $3 billion to cover unemployment benefits issued during the current pandemic. Ohio’s woefully inadequate unemployment compensation fund is one of the least solvent in the country. The OMA for years has pushed for a comprehensive overhaul of the system, including the option of a bonding mechanism. 6/11/2020
This week, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 614. The legislation, which the OMA provided testimony for this week in committee, is designed to provide a review the state’s unemployment compensation system. It would establish a board charged with making comprehensive suggestions to enhance the administrative operations, while also allowing additional avenues to provide an efficient and transparent service to employees and employers. 6/11/2020
This week, the Senate held its first hearing on Senate Bill 282. Sponsored by Sen. Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction) would create an online system in which employers could file complaints with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) to report that an applicant for (or a recipient of) unemployment benefits has failed or is failing to meet the non-monetary requirements for benefit eligibility.
As Sen. Hoagland stated in his sponsor testimony, “Through ODJFS, there is a process in which employers can report fraud, but there is currently not a means for businesses to report employment activity or other actions that are not necessarily considered fraud.” 6/11/2020