Posted By John Dorka,
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
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Weekly News 1.29.12
- Columbus Dispatch Article on Timber Theft. This past week, the Columbus Dispatch had an article
about timber theft and the title of the article indicates that state
lawmakers may consider a stricter timber theft law. The article
highlighted a case of timber theft in Perry County.
The journalist talked to both State Rep. Ross McGregor (Springfield) and Rep. Bill Hayes
(Pataskala) who both indicated that they may be looking into existing law
and considering a change. You may recall that OFA worked with Rep.
McGregor and a number of interested parties on draft legislation a couple
years ago. Rep. McGregor did not introduce the draft at that time,
and OFA had indicated that it could not support the proposal that had been
developed. OFA is re-calling the Task Force that had met at that
time to review the current situation and discuss strategy for moving
ahead. Someone weighed in on the issue with a letter
to the editor on Saturday, 1/28/2012.
- Contact with Congressman Gibbs on Trucking Legislation. OFA contacted Congressman Gibbs office to weigh
in on our support of including weight reform legislation in the Highway
Reauthorization Bill, which is in front of the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee and is expected for "mark-up” this week.
Congressman Gibbs is Ohio’s
lone member on the T&I Committee and can have an impact on this
legislation if he chooses to support the weight reform. For those
who may be inclined, you can view the mark-up of the Highway
Reauthorization Bill through a live webcast of the committee on February 2
starting at 9 AM. You can access it here.
- AEP Distribution Rate Increase. We had reported in the last month that AEP
proposed a new Electric Security Plan (ESP) to PUCO that preliminary
information indicated could lead to significant increases in distribution
rates for small businesses in the "GS2” use rate category. PUCO
approved the plan with some modifications in December, 2011 with new rates
kicking in after the first of the year. January electric bills have
started hitting everyone and many businesses are beginning to see the
results of the new rate formula. Here is an article
from the Columbus Dispatch last week about the increased distribution
rates. OFA had worked with a small coalition of 3 other trade
associations late last year to see if we could intervene in the process to
get some consideration on the ESP as it related to our members. The
ESP was modified some but still resulted in rather significant rates for
small businesses. OFA will be involved in discussions with AEP
through the coalition this year to see if we there are still opportunities
to soften the blow of the increased distribution rates. In the
meantime, I am interested in hearing from OFA manufacturing members who
have received January bills and seen sharp increases in rates.
- Sub. House Bill 337 (Commercial Drivers Licensing)
Update. HB 337 provides a
number of changes to Ohio’s CDL licensure
program to put Ohio
into compliance with federal CDL regulations. This document is a summary of the changes that have been included. Among
the critical changes is language that disqualifies a driver’s CDL
privileges for offenses that occur in a personal vehicle. There is
also language that deals with changes in collection of driver medical
cards by Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
- Workers Compensation News. CareWorks Consultants, Inc. is hosting a
webinar on a number of dates through February for employers wanting to
learn more about the differences between traditional group rating programs
and group retrospective rating programs. The list of dates for the
webinar can be found in the attached news release from CCI. In
addition, there is a news release announcing that
registration for the 2012 Ohio Safety Congress and Expo is now open.
The event is March 27-29, 2012 at the Columbus Convention
Center. The theme for this year’s
event is Employee Wellness and Workplace Safety.
- OFA Visit to Sawmills.
Last week I had the opportunity to visit a number of sawmills and wood
facilities in the north central Ohio region including M&T Hardwoods,
Top Wood, Trico, 77 Coach, American Eagle Hardwoods, Calmutier, Miller
Lumber, Stutzman Hardwoods, and Miller Valley Hardwoods. I
particularly appreciate the assistance of OFA Board and Executive
Committee member Rob McCarthy with his arrangements on the visits.
- OFA Annual Meeting, March 23-24, 2012, Crowne Plaza
– Downtown Columbus; "Shale Formation
Drilling – What is the Impact on Ohio
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