News and Analysis
Manufacturers Marketplace — a collaboration of the National Association of Manufacturers and state manufacturing associations, including the OMA — is a searchable database intended to help U.S. manufacturers find and do business with one another in this era of supply chain disruption. Manufacturers Marketplace is available for free to all OMA members until June 30 using code “COVID-19.” It will continue to be free as long as your company uses the platform and updates your profile. Contact the Marketplace’s David Smart to learn more. 6/1/2020
This week, the Ohio House completed action on House Bill 606 — legislation granting civil immunity to businesses during COVID-19 — and sent the measure to the Senate. Passed on an 83-9 vote, the immunity bill bars civil action related to deaths, injuries or losses tied to transmission of COVID-19 in cases without reckless or intentional conduct. The latest version of HB 606 includes manufacturers making pandemic-related protective equipment. The OMA supports the bill overall.
House negotiators had to win Democratic votes in order to obtain a supermajority, needed to trigger the bill’s emergency clause and provide immediate effectiveness upon enactment. Before approving the measure, the chamber accepted a floor amendment that classifies COVID-19 as an occupational disease that qualifies first responders, food workers and corrections officers for workers’ compensation benefits. (See story below.)
Across the Rotunda, the Senate is nearing completion on a similar legislation, Senate Bill 308. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) this week reviewed an updated version of the legislation. Further negotiations are to be expected in the next week to reconcile the versions. Supportive manufacturers can add their voice to the debate by sending a letter of support to your state legislators. 5/28/2020
The OMA has called for passage of immunity legislation for Ohio businesses during COVID-19. (See above story.) On Thursday, May 28, a surprise floor amendment was added to House Bill 606 to designate that COVID-related injuries experienced by employees would be presumed to have been caused by the virus being contracted at the workplace — and therefore compensable under an employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
The amendment, offered by Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), applies to all sorts of food industries, including food and beverage manufacturers. OMA members in the food and beverage industry are invited to participate in a special conference call later today (Friday, May 29) to assess the amendment. Please contact OMA staff to be included in the call. 5/29/2020
Federal Appeals Court Temporarily Halts Judge’s E-Signature Ruling Impacting Statewide Ballot IssuesMay 29, 2020
Last week, a U.S. district court judge dealt a blow to Ohio business interests by issuing an unprecedented ruling to allow electronic signature collections (instead of in-person signatures) for several pending ballot measures, while extending the signature deadlines. This would provide a lifeline to out-of-state interest groups seeking to change the Ohio Constitution to legalize marijuana, impose a $13/hour minimum wage, allow for same-day voter registration, among other actions.
Here is what has developed since the judge’s controversial ruling:
- On May 21, Attorney General Dave Yost and Secretary of State Frank LaRose appealed the judge’s decision, correctly pointing out that the existing petition requirements are “set in Ohio Constitution and decisions on changing them belong to the General Assembly and the people.”
- The OMA, which has long fought against efforts to erode the petition process and validity of ballot security, led an effort to file an amicus (friend of the court) brief with five other statewide business groups to support the state’s appeal.
- On May 26, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stayed the judge’s ruling, providing a short-term legal victory for Ohio’s business community. The order blocks the lower court decision only while the appeals court continues its review of the case, which has been expedited.
The OMA will continue to follow this development and members will be fully briefed at the OMA’s June 3 Government Affairs Committee meeting. 5/27/2020
Whether the cause is uncertain demand, shipping disruptions, non-operational suppliers or volatile costs, supply chain disruptions have become standard — and waiting for a near-term return to true “normalcy” is a failing strategy. OMA Connections Partner Crowe has published this insight offering key strategies for business success in the next few months. 5/27/2020
This week, Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus) and Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) announced the introduction of House Bill 672, called the Worker Protection Act. The bill would allow Ohioans on unemployment to retain their jobless benefits if they are recalled or offered their jobs back. The bill is aimed at workers who are considered high risk under the following conditions: their employer does not comply with state safety guidelines, they are the primary caregiver, and their child care is not operating — or if they have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive diagnosis. OMA staff will continue to monitor this bill and similar legislation that could impact manufacturing employers. 5/28/2020
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has released its supply chain policy recommendations to help federal policymakers find ways to boost long-term economic growth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. NAM is also launching a major national advertising campaign on the importance of investing in U.S. supply chains without closing off critical global supplies. 5/27/2020
“Globalization is like fire: It can cook your food, keep you warm or burn your house down.”
That’s according to John Manzella, a nationally syndicated columnist on global business and economic trends, who this month offered his insight at SiteSelection.com. Despite predictions that global trade will see large declines this year — and that U.S.-China trade will further deteriorate long term — Manzella says globalization is evolving, not dying. Advances in technology and automation, along with booming markets in Asia, Latin America and Mexico, point to continued globalization.
“The key to future U.S. economic growth and job creation lies in our ability to innovate new products … and deliver them to the world’s consumers,” Manzella concludes. 5/27/2020
The OMA continues to lobby to provide immunity to manufacturers and other businesses from frivolous lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. This week the Senate unveiled another version of Senate Bill 308, while the House accepted another version of House Bill 606. Both chamber committees are primed to vote the bill as soon as next week. Here is a comparison of the changes to the House versions.
The OMA testified before the House Civil Justice Committee on Tuesday in support of House Bill 606. The OMA asked the panel to support enhancements outlined by the Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice (OACJ) on behalf of the broad business community. The OMA is a leading member of this Alliance. The plaintiffs’ bar is working to dilute the bill. 5/21/2020
The OMA joined forces with the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) this week to express concerns with House Bill 380 (Jon Cross, R-Kenton, Bride Rose Sweeney, D-Cleveland). The legislation imposes restrictions on construction contracts most notably dictating 30-day prompt payment terms.
“OHA and OMA believe private entities should be free to negotiate contractual terms without government interference. This legislation erodes the ability of our members to negotiate freely and runs counter to free market and “freedom of contract” principles. All commercial construction contracts agreed to by our members are negotiated by sophisticated parties, including the payment and interest terms.” Read the letter. 5/21/2020