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Broadband Expansion is a Top Senate Priority

January 29, 2021

Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) this week presented testimony in support of his Senate Bill 8, which would utilize a competitive grant pool to fund the last mile of broadband infrastructure in rural regions of the state. The OMA supports the creation of the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program, which SB 8 would establish via a public-private partnership. Grants would be available to private internet service providers to expand service to Ohioans living in traditionally underserved areas. 1/28/2021

Estimating the Economic Costs of COVID-19

January 29, 2021

While the true cost of COVID-19 is difficult to quantify, Visual Capitalist has created this infographic to help visualize the country’s pandemic-related economic losses as estimated by a Harvard University study. The study says the U.S. has lost more than $16 trillion due to lost GDP, premature death, long-term health impairment, and mental health damage. 1/25/2021

Ohio House, Senate Set to Begin Floor Action Feb. 3

January 22, 2021

The Ohio House has released its 2021 schedule, with the first if-needed session set for Feb. 3. You can see the House schedule here, as published by Gongwer News Service.

The Senate released its schedule last week. See it here, courtesy of Hannah News Service. The Senate’s first session date is also slated for Feb. 3.

OMA general counsel Bricker & Eckler has published this preview of the General Assembly’s 2021 agenda. 1/20/2021

Ohio Senate Names Committee Chairs

January 22, 2021

Hannah News Service has published this list of the Ohio Senate’s committees and committee chairs for the 134th General Assembly. While there are still 16 committees, three from the 133rd General Assembly have been dropped: the General Government and Agency Review Committee and the two finance subcommittees.

Three new committees have been added: the Small Business and Economic Opportunity Committee, the Veterans and Public Safety Committee, and the Financial Institutions and Technology Committee.

Other committees have been reconfigured: Local Government is now paired with Elections; Transportation is now its own committee, as is Health; Education is now Primary and Secondary Education; and Higher Education is now paired with Workforce. 1/19/2021

Dates Set for OMA’s 2021 Policy Committee Meetings

January 22, 2021

The OMA has finalized the 2021 meeting dates for all of its standing policy committees: energy, environment, government affairs, safety and workers’ compensation, and tax and finance. (To receive committee meeting notices and materials, go to My OMA to subscribe to the management communities that interest you.)

OMA members are always welcome to attend these meetings to gain insight and help set policy priorities for Ohio manufacturing. But we ask that you register in advance by using this web page — or call us at (800) 662-4463 or email us. Once registered, you’ll receive instructions on how to join the meeting. (All meetings will be via Zoom at least through the second quarter.) 1/21/2021

Pandemic May Put Brakes on Major Road Projects

January 22, 2021

Lower state gas tax collections due to COVID-19 will likely mean a significant pause for major new road projects in Ohio. This as the state was recently ranked No. 32 for traffic and infrastructure by Wallethub.

The Columbus Dispatch (subscription) reported this week that the Ohio Department of Transportation projects revenue reductions of about $174 million in the 2022 fiscal year and $159 million in the 2023 fiscal year. This could significantly impact Gov. Mike DeWine’s two-year spending plan, which must be presented to the General Assembly by Feb. 1. 1/20/2021

Study: Ohio a Leader in In-Bound Migration

January 22, 2021

Some good news: When it comes to attracting new residents, Ohio was No. 4 in 2020, according to data from a U-Haul study. This as work from home orders and job losses caused by the pandemic prompted many Americans to pack up and head to other states, according to CNBC.

U-Haul’s study contradicts the findings of a similar report from Atlas Van Lines that said Ohio suffered a net population loss last year based on its own migration patterns. 1/20/2021

What’s Ahead for Manufacturing in 2021?

January 22, 2021

OMA Connections Partner Plante Moran has published this summary of trends likely to impact middle-market manufacturers in 2021 and beyond. The firm writes: “We’re starting off the new year with a sense of tempered optimism.”

Meanwhile, Chad Moutray, the chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, reported this week that U.S. manufacturing production increased 0.9% in December, rising for the eighth straight month. He said manufacturing production fell 6.5% on average in 2020, but “output should rise by the same percentage in 2021.”

In Ohio, manufacturers employed approximately 668,500 individuals as of November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — a decline of roughly 30,000 jobs from a year earlier. 1/19/2021

OMA Continues to Push for Vaccination Prioritization for Manufacturers

January 15, 2021

This week, the OMA urged Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted to prioritize manufacturers in the next phase of the state’s distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

In a letter to the administration, OMA President Ryan Augsburger outlined how manufacturers have led the fight in both safety protocols and productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Augsburger urged the administration to include all manufacturers and their suppliers in Phase 2 of the state’s vaccination program.

Ohio continues to modify its rollout of the vaccines and has prioritized the state’s most vulnerable populations during the first phase (Phase 1A and Phase 1B). Phase 2 is tentatively expected to start sometime in the late winter or early spring.

For the latest information on Ohio’s vaccination plan, manufacturers should stay in touch with their local health departments and monitor the OMA’s COVID-19 updates. 1/14/2021

Ohio Senate Releases Schedule; State Office Buildings in Columbus Closed Until Thursday

January 15, 2021

The Ohio Senate has released its schedule for calendar year 2021. A summary of the Senate’s calendar, provided by Hannah News Service, is available here. The first session date is scheduled for Feb. 3.

The House continues to work on its schedule, expected to be released soon.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that the Statehouse and other downtown state office buildings will be closed from Sunday, Jan. 17 through Wednesday, Jan. 20 due to planned pre-inauguration protests. The governor said he made the decision with the support of Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima). 1/14/2021