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Weekly News 3.5.12

Posted By John Dorka, Thursday, March 8, 2012
 

Weekly News 3.5.12 

  • "Hardwood Check-Off” Presentation at the OFA Annual Meeting. Late last week I received confirmation that the presenters for the Hardwood Check-Off Presentation on March 24 at the OFA Annual Meeting will be Grace Terpstra who is working with the Hardwood Check-Off Blue Ribbon Committee and Jim Steen from Pike Lumber in Indiana. Grace is a public policy consultant with Terpstra Associates who has worked with the wood industry on a number of projects. Jim is "coming home to Ohio” where he is a graduate of Ohio State University. He has worked for Pike Lumber for 30 years.
  • BMP/Chainsaw Training Classes at Scioto Trail State Forest, March 8-9; Space Available. There is a BMP Training Class scheduled for Thursday, March 8 at Scioto Trail State Forest and a Chainsaw Level 1 class scheduled for Friday March 9 also at Scioto Trail. Space is still available for anyone wishing to receive either or both classes. If you are interested in attending, please contact OFA at 614-497-9580 and ask for Pam to get registered.
  • BWC Director Buehrer Gives Annual Report to House Insurance Committee. Last week, BWC Director Steve Buehrer reported on agency accomplishments and administrative direction in a hearing before the House Insurance Committee. Director Buehrer reported that his goal is for the agency to be "a tool for economic development and growth” in Ohio while insuring fairness to stakeholders. Some highlights of his report:
    1. He reported that BWC had been "over-funded” in recent years and the agency took an $80 million cut in the last biennial budget.
    2. There were $86 million in premium rate cuts for both private and public employers.
    3. Through the Grow Ohio Program, new businesses can save up to 50% on premium rates by entering group programs or taking 25% automatic annual reductions for 2 years.
    4. BWC started safety council rebates and created "cafeteria-style” rating plans as incentives for building risk-management plans that meet company needs.
    5. A $4 million wellness grant program was created to provide companies up to $15,000 in grant awards to start employee wellness initiatives.
    6. Fraud detection efforts were stepped-up and in 2011 there were 132 indictments and 122 convictions resulting in $54.15 million in savings to the State Insurance Fund.
    7. Concerns for improvement include the claims payment period is much too long and is among the highest in the country; 49% of claim costs are not paid after 8 years while the national average is 17% for that period. In addition, medical and indemnity costs per claim are rising much faster than other states.
    8. When asked about privatization efforts, Director Buehrer advised that it is a frequent topic of discussion within the agency, but Governor Kasich has advised him to pursue other program adjustments before looking at competition legislation.
  • Other BWC Information for "One-Claim” Participants/BWC Credit Card Security Steps. "One-Claim” Program Participants in the 2011 policy year are required to complete a 1-day class through BWC Division of Safety and Hygiene by 6/30/2012. OCP Employers from 2011 that are renewed for the 2012 policy year will be "grandfathered” in at the 40% discount for the remaining years of eligibility. The new training requirement will be to complete 3 hours of on-line classes within the 2012 policy year. Those employers that are entering OCP for the first time in the 2012 policy year must complete a 3-hour (1/2 day) classroom style class with the Division of Safety and Hygiene for the first year. In years 2 through 4, you must complete a 3-hour on-line course. The discount schedule for OCP employers is 20% year one, 15% year two, 10% year 3, and 5% year 4. Finally, BWC has taken steps to protect participants’ credit card information. Credit card payments will only be accepted through secure methods and will not accept email, fax, or instant messaging payments. After March 31, 2012, BWC will no longer use credit-card write-in options on paper forms. BWC has created a secure on-line website to accept payment.
  • Federal Highway Bill and Truck Weight News.The Federal Highway Bill has been reported out of committee earlier in February, with the bad news that truck weight reform was included only with the provision of a 3-year study to review the issue. Future funding for the bill remains the most contentious issue as Congress fights the issue along party lines. Typically a 5-year authorization bill, it appears that Congress may elect to discuss a 2-year proposal in light of the funding difficulties. If so, the concept of a 3-year weight study makes less sense and opens the door for arguing for a different approach. OTP and AgHaul may elect make a case for urging Congress to assess a host of national and international studies already completed on the truck weight issue, virtually all of which support the highway safety and maintenance risk issues of heavier trucks with additional axles. Meanwhile, the House passed Highway Bill contains a controversial component on the new requirement for Hours of Service (HOS) through FMCSA. The current provision calls for a minimum 34-hour off-duty restart which creates separation in the weekly driving periods. The 34-hour period must overlap two, 1 AM to 5 AM periods. The House-passed bill has a requirement that this rule be studied for how well it works with a report to Congress by April, 2013. If the study does not support the rule, then the administration must put a "hold” on the rule.

  • AF&PA Government Affairs Resource Committee (GARC) Notes.Attached is copy of the latest GARC Notes from AF&PA with highlights on Congressional actions affecting the wood industry. Note topics include Congressional action on bio-based manufacturing, introduction of a Clean Energy Standard by Cong. Bingaman (D-NM), Transportation and the federal highway bill including an amendment affecting Boiler MACT, and hearings on Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards.

  • Study on the Economic Impact of Ohio Shale Drilling Released. The Shale Coalition which was organized by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce commissioned a report on the economic impact of shale drilling in Ohio. The report can be viewed on line. Briefly the report predicts that employment related to drilling will create 66,000 jobs by 2014. Total production from Utica shale will increase from $1.7 billion in 2012 to $9.6 billion in 2014 and it will increase the gross state product by $4.9 billion, or a 1% increase.
  • Governor Kasich Releases Energy Reform Plan Outline. This past week at a meeting with business leaders in Cleveland, Governor Kasich released the outline of an energy reform plan for Ohio that addresses renewable energy, shale development, generation advancements and more. The full plan is expected to be released in the fall at an energy conference at OSU. The outline includes "10 Pillars of Ohio’s Energy Policy” including Shale, Generation, Electricity Transmission and Distribution, Workforce Training, CNG/Alternative Fuels, Cogeneration/Waste Heat Recovery, Energy Efficiency, Coal, Regulatory Reform, and Renewables.
  • Appleton Paper in Dayton to Lay-Off 330 workers. Appleton Paper announced a week ago that it will be changing its operation at its Dayton, Ohio plant to become a thermal paper coating facility and will start taking base paper from Domtar Corp. in Canada. As a result of this action, 330 workers out of approximately 400 workers at that facility will be let go. Here is a Dayton Daily News article talking about company plans and impact.
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle Newsletter. For those interested in knowing what is going on with ALB in Ohio and other locations around the country, you can read the March eNewsletter. The report updates Ohio activities and provides other contact information for those who want to take a closer look at the issue.

  • Annual Meeting. Registration is still open for the OFA Annual Meeting. Be sure to book your room reservations by March 9th to take advantage of the special discounted OFA rate.


This is an advertisement from Ohio Forestry Association. If you'd rather not receive information of this kind from us, please forward this e-mail to OFARemove@Offinger.comor mail your removal request to: Ohio Forestry Association, 1100-H Brandywine Blvd, Zanesville OH USA 43701-7303. You also may fax your removal request to 614-497-9581, or request removal by calling 888-38-TREES.

Ohio Forestry Association is managed by Offinger Management Company, a member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), "Charter-Accredited" Association Management Company member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and a member of the Association Management Company Institute (AMC Institute).
www.Offinger.com

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