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OMA Government Affairs Committee Reviews Recent Statehouse Activity

June 5, 2020

This week, the OMA Government Affairs Committee met virtually for its second meeting of 2020. Members were briefed on the OMA’s legislative activity since the start of the COVID-19 emergency. A key focus of the meeting was civil liability immunity legislation (House Bill 606 and Senate Bill 308) for businesses, which is currently moving through the Ohio Legislature. Members raised numerous concerns about a provision in the House-approved bill that classifies COVID-19 as an occupational disease. (See story above.)

OMA members also heard updates on matters affecting Ohio’s ballot initiatives, unemployment compensation, workforce development, and energy laws, as well as a report from OMA General Counsel Chris Slagle of Bricker & Eckler. The committee will meet again Aug. 26. (Note: This is a change from the originally published date.) 6/3/2020

Governor Announces Orders To Re-Open Certain Facilities

June 5, 2020

Gov. Mike DeWine has announced new health orders to allow entertainment facilities to re-open beginning Wednesday, June 10. This includes aquariums, art galleries, country clubs, ice skating rinks, indoor family entertainment centers, indoor sports facilities, laser tag facilities, indoor movie theaters, museums, outdoor playgrounds, public recreation centers, roller skating rinks, social clubs, trampoline parks, and zoos. Day camps and residential camps may open at any time. 6/4/2020

Gown Production Marks Another Ohio Manufacturing Success in the Fight Against COVID-19

June 5, 2020

Last week, the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19 announced that Ohio firms have worked together to produce 750,000 isolation gowns to protect frontline health care workers and first responders. Isolation gowns, typically available through overseas sources, have been in short supply since the start of the pandemic. 6/1/2020

Ohio State Coalition Develops, Delivers 3D-Printed Swabs for COVID-19 Testing

June 5, 2020

The Ohio State University’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) this week reported on yet another Ohio success story in the fight against the coronavirus. In this article, CDME highlights the university’s efforts to boost production of Ohio-made 3D-printed swabs used in COVID-19 test kits.6/3/2020

West Chester’s AstraZeneca Plant Retools to Help Lead COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

June 5, 2020

It was reported this week that the White House is working with seven pharmaceutical companies as part of its “Warp Speed” coronavirus vaccine program. Some of that work is being done here in Ohio as the AstraZeneca plant in West Chester is working quickly to produce its own vaccine. The West Chester plant is being retrofitted for scaled-up production, according to Cincinnati.com. 6/4/2020

OMA Supports Bonding Potential Unemployment Compensation Debt

June 5, 2020

This week, the OMA provided proponent testimony on Senate Joint Resolution 4. The resolution proposes to enact Section 18 of Article VIII of the Ohio Constitution, which would allow the General Assembly to ask Ohioans in the Nov. 3, 2020 General Election to approve obligations to repay a loan from the federal government to the Ohio unemployment compensation fund.

While not a silver bullet in solving Ohio’s unemployment insurance insolvency woes, the resolution would provide a second option for Ohio to repay the federal government. Bonding would only be used if it proves to be the most cost effective option for employers. 6/4/2020

Revised Legislation to Enhance Ohio’s Unemployment Comp System

June 5, 2020

This week, the House Ways and Means Committee accepted Substitute House Bill 614. The new sub bill provides substance to the ongoing hearings regarding the administration of Ohio’s unemployment compensation system. The bill would create the Unemployment Compensation Modernization and Improvement Council, which would devise a plan to improve Ohio’s unemployment system. 6/4/2020

ISM: Manufacturing Contracted at a Slower Rate in May

June 5, 2020

This week, a report on U.S. manufacturing showed a slight improvement for the sector. Reports note that the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) latest data showed that among the six largest manufacturing sub-sectors, food, beverage and tobacco products showed expansion. Sub-sectors that continued to contract at strong levels included transportation equipment, petroleum and coal products, and fabricated metal. 6/1/2020

U.S. Commercial Service to Host Virtual Trade Show for Auto Industry

June 5, 2020

The U.S. Commercial Service — part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration — is hosting a virtual trade show for the automotive industry from June 29 through July 17. This online event aims to connect U.S. exporters with pre-screened international buyers and potential partners recruited by U.S. officials from around the world. More details are available here, or email Darren Srebnick or call (614) 273-5157. 6/4/2020

Policy Ideas to Grow American Manufacturing

June 5, 2020

As policymakers at both the state and federal level explore ways to enhance America’s manufacturing potential, Indiana University has published this easy-to-read summary of public policy ideas drawn from other nations, individual states, and Congress. Among them: develop a national strategy, subsidize advanced technology, enhance financing of innovation, further refine the tax code, invest in workforce skill development, and fund competitiveness programs. 6/3/2020