News and Analysis
This week is National Engineers Week(R), eWeek, which was founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in 1951. eWeek is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.
Where would we be without engineers! Salute! 2/20/2019
Rep. Scott Oelslager was appointed chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee. This committee oversees the budget process during the first six months of each new General Assembly.
Other important committees for manufacturers’ issues will be chaired as follows
- Public Utilities – Rep. Jamie Callender
- Insurance – Rep. Tom Brinkman
- Ways and Means – Rep. Tim Schaffer
- Energy and Natural Resources – Rep. Nino Vitale
- Energy Generation Subcommittee – Rep. Dick Stein and Rep. Michael O’Brien
- Economic and Workforce Development – Rep. Paul Zeltwanger
- Commerce and Labor – Rep. Gayle Manning
Senator Matt Dolan was appointed chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. That committee will play a large role in developing the state budget bill over the next six months.
Other committee chairs of importance for manufacturers’ issues include:
- Agriculture and Natural Resources – Sen. Frank Hoagland
- Energy and Public Utilities – Sen. Steve Wilson
- Transportation, Commerce, and Workforce – Sen. Rob McColley
- Ways and Means – Sen. Lou Terhar
- Insurance and Financial Institutions – Sen. Bob Hackett
In response to declining state gas tax revenue and increased transportation infrastructure needs, members of Gov. DeWine’s Advisory Committee on Transportation Infrastructure concurred with hiking the gas tax and considering other revenue generators including a fee on non-motor-fuel powered vehicles.
The committee heard testimony from a variety of advocates including ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks who testified that Ohio’s transportation system is “facing an impending crisis” absent an increase in funding.
Specific recommendations are likely to be forthcoming in time for the state transportation budget which must be completed by the end of April.
Representatives of OMA member companies Eaton and Honda of America Manufacturing, participated on the advisory committee.
Look for a full report at the OMA Government Affairs Committee on March 6. 2/7/2019
Gov. DeWine appointed an Advisory Committee on Transportation Infrastructure to recommend options for maintaining and enhancing the state’s transportation infrastructure.
The House Republicans this week elected its new leadership team. Rep. Jim Butler (R-Dayton) was elected as the speaker pro tempore. Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati)is majority floor leader. Rep. Anthony DeVitis (R-Uniontown) is assistant majority floor leader. Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) is majority floor whip, and Rep. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) is assistant majority floor whip.
The Democratic leadership team consists of Rep. Emilia Strong-Sykes (D-Akron) as minority leader, Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) as assistant minority leader, Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) as minority whip, and Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) as assistant minority whip.
Meanwhile, the Senate selected a new majority floor leader in Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) Wednesday, while electing Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) to Huffman’s former post of majority whip. These changes were made following Sen. Randy Gardner’s resignation to become chancellor of the Department of Higher Education.
The powerful positions of the chairmen of finance committees were also named this week. Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton) will chair the House committee, while Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Fall) takes the position in the Senate. 2/7/2019
This week Governor DeWine announced the creation of a new committee that will study the current conditions of Ohio’s roadways and recommend options for maintaining and enhancing the state’s transportation infrastructure.
Members of the Ohio Governor’s Advisory Committee on Transportation Infrastructure are named in this news release.
Governor DeWine has asked the committee to issue its recommendations in mid-February. 1/30/2019
The Manufacturing Group of OMA Connections Partner, Schneider Downs, recently completed its 2018 Manufacturers’ Economic Survey, which yielded manufacturers’ thinking on a range of topics including workforce, tariffs, IT security, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The report is free but you will need to sign in to download it. 1/29/2019
The House Democratic caucus elected its leadership for the new biennial session. The House minority leader is Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). She succeeds Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton), who stepped down when the majority of the caucus voted for Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) as Speaker.
Other members of the new Democratic leadership are: Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), assistant minority leader; Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid), minority whip; and Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo), assistant minority whip. 1/24/2019
Governor Mike DeWine was sworn in Monday and gave his inaugural address in the historic Statehouse Rotunda.
The governor said: “It is with that eye to the future and with great optimism that I will serve as your Governor — because I truly believe that the best is yet to come!”
He pledged to seek our different ideas and opinions, to listen, to bring people together.
“But don’t mistake our willingness to listen and our openness to new ideas for a lack of vision or resolve or focus. The Bible warns us of an ‘uncertain trumpet.’ Our trumpet will give a clear and certain call, as there will be no mistaking where I am leading!” DeWine said.
The governor is focused on long-term, meaningful, positive change: “Over the next four years, I will be asking the people of Ohio and I will be asking those of you in the General Assembly to do things where the results will not be immediate — but where they will be profound, and where they will endure.” 1/17/2019
The OMA is supporting a coalition – Fix Our Roads (FOR) Ohio – to put a spotlight on Ohio’s deteriorating infrastructure and lack of remedial funding. The coalition is comprised of business groups, local governments, regional planning councils and transportation-oriented organizations.
According to FOR Ohio’s news release: “The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is scheduled to spend $1.7 billion on its capital program in FY 2020, down from a high of $2.4 billion in FY 2014. This decrease is due in large part to the expiration of Ohio’s Turnpike Bond program at the end of this fiscal year (June 30, 2019), and represents a 29 percent decrease in capital spending from FY 2014. …
“According to a recent report by TRIP, a national transportation research group, 30 percent of Ohio’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. The FHWA National Bridge Inventory, which compiles data for bridges spanning more than 20 feet, rates 1,653 of Ohio’s bridges as structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports, or other major components.”
The coalition plans to work with the DeWine administration and new General Assembly to advance potential options including phasing in increases to Ohio’s Motor Fuel User Fee (gas tax), levying an annual fee on electric-powered vehicles, studying future funding alternatives in light of evolving technology, and identifying a dedicated funding source to better support public transit. 1/16/2019