News and Analysis
This week, Rob Brundrett, the OMA’s managing director of public policy services, testified in support of the Development Services Agency’s (DSA) budget request, which would help ensure the competitiveness of Ohio manufacturers and their employees.
Referencing a letter of support from 13 manufacturing sector partnerships from across Ohio, Brundrett told House members that the OMA supports DSA’s funding request for the Industry Sector Partnership Grant program, as well as for Ohio TechCred and Ohio’s Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs). “These three state-supported services … are making a real difference in the training requirements of our citizens,” he said.
The OMA also provided written comments in support of the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC). 3/4/2021
This week, the OMA Government Affairs Committee met virtually for its first meeting of 2021. Members were briefed on the latest Statehouse developments, regulatory activity, and new legislation in the areas of energy, environment, taxes, and legal reform. Guests included Aaron Crooks, Gov. Mike DeWine’s deputy director for legislative affairs, who discussed the administration’s budget priorities.
Chaired by Scott Corbitt, region vice president for Anheuser-Busch, the meeting also featured updates on COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution as presented by Kevin Orr, director of government relations for Pfizer, and Ray Drake, vice president of state government affairs for UPS. The committee will meet next on June 15. 3/3/2021
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Kimberly Henderson will step down this month from her position. Henderson was recently married and will be relocating to North Carolina. Matt Damschroder, director of the Department of Administrative Services, will be the interim ODJFS director. Priorities for the next director will be fixing the state’s overwhelmed unemployment compensation system and addressing fraudulent claims. 3/1/2021
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is bringing added oversight to ensure compliance with the new trade rules. Accurate documentation is required, audits are coming, and fines and penalties await those who don’t comply. OMA Connections Partner Plante Moran has published this guidance to help companies make USMCA compliance more manageable. 3/2/2021
Bob Paduchik, a long-time player in Ohio politics, has been elected the new chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. In the past, Paduchik has presented to the OMA board and Government Affairs Committee. Endorsed by former President Trump, Paduchik replaces Jane Timken, who resigned last month to launch her bid to replace U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who is not seeking re-election. 3/1/2021
New reports show U.S. manufacturing activity increased to a three-year high last month, but soaring costs for inputs amid labor shortages continue to be areas of concern. The U.S. Manufacturing Outlook Index published by OMA Connections Partner RSM increased for the seventh consecutive month. Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose to 60.8 in February, up from 58.7 in January — the highest level since February 2018. Private manufacturing construction spending grew 4.9% to $65.6 billion in January. 3/2/2021
This week, the Ohio House unanimously passed Senate Bill 13. This OMA-supported legislation would reduce the statute of limitations for oral and written contracts. Under SB 13, the statute of limitations for written contracts would be reduced from the current eight years to six; for oral contracts, it would be reduced from six years to four. SB 13 now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature or veto. 2/25/2021
As state lawmakers work on the new biennial budget, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) wants a fix by June 30 for Ohio’s unemployment compensation system. According to Gongwer News Service, the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund — which at last check was borrowing an average of nearly $7 million a day to pay benefits — owes the federal government more than $1.4 billion, due in large part to government restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
To address the insolvency of the trust fund, lawmakers must conduct “a serious examination of the premiums that employers pay into the fund and the benefits unemployed workers receive,” Huffman said. 2/25/2021
President Biden this week signed an executive order calling for a 100-day review of U.S. supply chains for large-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals, and semiconductors to identify vulnerabilities that might impact key sectors of the economy. The new order will include reviews for defense, public health, IT, energy, transportation, and food production — and is intended to lead to policy ideas that will both increase domestic production for critical inputs and stabilize relationships with international partners to ensure reliable trade.
The National Association of Manufacturers said it shared the administration’s goal of increasing manufacturing investment in the U.S. 2/25/2021
A report in the Financial Times (subscription) says China could cripple America’s defense industry by limiting the export of rare earth minerals needed to manufacture F-35 fighter jets and other vital weaponry.
According to the publication, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has proposed controls on the production and export of 17 rare earth minerals, of which China controls about 80% of global supply. Another report says China is considering a ban on the export of rare earth minerals as part of its sanctions on individual companies due to arms sales to Taiwan. 2/22/2021