News and Analysis
Shakespeare wrote, “The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.”
Those words came to mind when we heard about a group of Ohioans who are trying to make the best of the situation, even as they tune in to Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily COVID-19 updates. Some devotees of the governor’s 2 p.m. press briefings refer to them as “Wine with DeWine” time; a few have gone so far as to don themed T-shirts. Further proof that those who can smile for others’ sake are the strongest among us. 3/25/2020
This week, OMA President Eric Burkland sent two separate letters to the DeWine-Husted administration to address separate concerns raised by OMA members in the midst of state actions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The first letter requested the administration’s support in designating all Ohio manufacturing facilities, supply chains and their employees as “essential infrastructure” and “essential businesses.” The letter comes as there have been many well-intentioned actions in other parts of the country that have adversely impacted the supply chain.
The second letter suggested clarification to the Ohio Department of Health’s recent restaurant closure order as it relates to consumption of food in on-site cafeterias and breakrooms within manufacturing facilities. 3/19/2020
Ohio’s General Assembly will return to Columbus next week to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Its unclear if they will meet in person or virtually. As many as three potential session days are scheduled for next week, according to a report by Gongwer News Service.
It is not clear what the legislative response package will contain, but OMA staff is monitoring developments closely and working to include provisions to support manufacturing.
Gov. DeWine plans to release his legislative wish list soon. He has already requested several legislative action items, including allowing online meetings by local government; suspending mortgage payments; providing a grace period to renew driver licenses due to the closure of most BMVs. Attorney General Dave Yost plans to seek a new anti-price gouging law. 3/19/2020
Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, OMA staff will be working remotely, but will still be available to help meet your needs. This includes OMA Workers’ Compensation Services. Here is a list of staff emails and phone numbers.
We will re-evaluate our office policy in the coming days and will keep all OMA members informed of changes. In the meantime, if there is anything OMA staff can do for you, let us know. 3/18/2020
The OMA’s Food and Beverage Manufacturers’ Policy Council (also known as OMA Food Day) — which had been set for May 20 — has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. We are exploring opportunities to reschedule this event when conditions permit. 3/17/2020
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), which has regulatory authority over truckers and other commercial carriers, has suspended “hours-of-service” restrictions on the movement of motor vehicle fuel in the state during Ohio’s COVID-19 state of emergency. The hours-of-service waiver expires at 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 27, 2020.
According to Hannah News Service, PUCO Transportation Director John Williams said the temporary move does not alter a motor carrier’s duty to monitor its drivers; maintain records of duty status; and ensure drivers are not ill, fatigued, impaired or otherwise unable to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely — in addition to other state and federal requirements. 3/19/2020
The Supreme Court of Ohio this week said it was expediting an Ohio Democratic Party lawsuit against Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose after he set a new primary date for June 2. (Note: The later date does not signal a new election; it’s simply an extended date for the previously scheduled March 17 primary. If you or your employees have already voted, either in person or via absentee ballot, you do not need to — and cannot — vote again.)
The Democrats’ lawsuit seeks to make LaRose direct county boards of elections to accept and process absentee ballot applications until April 25, and to accept and count all valid absentee ballots postmarked on or before April 28. 3/19/2020
OMA Connections Partner RSM is launching a weekly webcast series on issues related to the coronavirus — to share insights for business leaders on issues such as:
- The economic impact from this pandemic;
- How to prepare for the future; and
- How to mitigate risk.
RSM’s webcasts will be about 30 to 45 minutes, available every Wednesday at 1 p.m. EDT. The first webcast addressing key actions for businesses to take was held this week. Future webcasts will be April 1 and April 8. Sign up here. 3/19/2020
The OMA continues to collect member concerns and ideas for possible actions that state policymakers can consider to help Ohio manufacturers during the COVID-19 outbreak and after. If you have suggestions or comments that you want the OMA to convey to the DeWine administration, email Jamie Karl. 3/18/2020
Ohio’s primary election is only days away, this year falling on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Due to coronavirus concerns, there have been many voting-related questions. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose reports that he’s working with Ohio’s 88 county board of elections and health officials to promote a safe and healthy voting environment. (Get the latest election updates here.)
Employers can provide non-partisan resources to employees — as long as communications are unbiased — so you may wish to share the following information:
- The deadline to request an absentee ballot is three days before the election (Saturday, Mach 14, for the primary). If mailed, absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted.
- Most Ohio counties provide early voting at their board of elections office, including 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, March 14) and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 15.
- The Secretary of State’s office is keeping a running tab of relocated voting locations.
- Before voting, you can study a sample ballot based on your specific location.