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Weekly News 1/7/13

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, January 7, 2013
Ohio Forestry 

Weekly News 1.7.13


In this issue:

  • 2013- Chance for OFA to Raise its Legislative Profile - Being involved in the legislative process, though not fun for many of us is important nonetheless. More than ever we need to have our voices heard in the Statehouse and in Congress. OFA will be working harder this year to represent your interests among our elected officials. The OFA Board is behind efforts to raise our profile and we will do what we can to be heard. A chance for many of you to mix with your elected state representatives will take place at the OFA Annual Meeting on March 6 and 7 in Columbus. A legislative reception late afternoon on March 6 will give us a chance to meet with our legislators, especially some of the new ones, to let them know what forestry and the forest industry means to Ohio. And we can share our general concerns with our elected representatives. I hope many of you will take the time to meet and visit. The following notes contain some information on the start of the new legislative session in Ohio and Congress.          
  • New Ohio Legislative Session Welcomes Large Group of New House Members - The 130th General Assembly will start in a few days, and there will be 17 new House members of 99 seats. Three of those rejoin the chamber after a previous stint. The Senate will swear in only two new members, both of whom are familiar faces in Capitol Square. Sen.-elect Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) and Sen.-elect Joseph Uecker (R-Loveland) will have just completed terms in the House. They replace outgoing Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) and Senator Mark Wagoner (R-Ottawa Hills). The incoming House members include the Ohio Democratic Party chairman, a public school teacher, a charter school treasurer, a former reporter, a manufacturer and the usual assortment of local government officials and attorneys. They are:           
    • 2nd House District: Mark Romanchuk won election to succeed Rep. Jay Goyal (D-Mansfield), who decided to focus on the family business and continue his education rather than run for reelection. The Republican, who runs a manufacturing operation in Richland County, previously worked as a diplomat to the former Soviet Union on the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty during Ronald Reagan's presidency.            
    • 3rd House District: Tim Brown won his bid to take over the northwest Ohio seat being left vacant by Rep. Gardner. The Republican has served several terms as a Wood County commissioner and was vice president of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio for 2012. He was previously a district representative for the late Congressman Paul Gillmor.             
    • 5th House District: Democrat Nick Barborak ousted Rep. Craig Newbold (R-Columbiana) in a tough race for this eastern Ohio seat. The Columbiana County treasurer has previously served as an assistant prosecutor, law clerk and an intern in the U.S. House of Representatives.        
    • 17th House District: Mike Curtin, a former reporter and associate publisher for the Columbus Dispatch, won this newly drawn district in Franklin County. While the Democrat spent decades overing the legislature for the newspaper, the election was his first run for office.             
    • 20th House District: Heather Bishoff, a member of the Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education, won this new Franklin County seat for Democrats. The Army veteran co-owns the Bishoff Financial Group, a financial planning firm, with her husband.             
    • 24th House District: Stephanie Kunze won this newly created Franklin County district for the GOP. She currently serves on Hilliard City Council and is a member of the Franklin County Republican Party Central Committee.             
    • 29th House District: Louis Blessing III will take over the seat being vacated by his father, long-time lawmaker Rep. Lou Blessing (R-Cincinnati). The Republican is an electrical engineer for Super Systems Inc. in Sycamore Township.             
    • 39th House District: Former legislator Fred Strahorn will take over the seat after Rep. Clayton Luckie (D-Dayton) agreed not to run for reelection following a grand jury indictment for dozens of corruption charges. The Democrat previously served in the House before getting appointed to the Senate, where he was subsequently defeated by Sen. Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) in the 2010 election.             
    • 51st House District: Republican Wes Retherford will succeed Rep. Courtney Combs (R-Hamilton) in the Butler County seat. The Marine veteran works as a mortician's assistant at a Hamilton funeral home.             
    • 60th House District: John Rogers held term-limited Rep. Lorraine Fende's (D-Willowick) district for Democrats after former Rep. Dan Troy decided not to run for the seat. Mr. Rogers has long served as mayor of Mentor-on-the-Lake and more recently became a deputy county treasurer. He has also worked as an assistant county prosecutor.             
    • 65th House District: John Becker, a member of the Ohio Republican Party's Central Committee, will succeed Rep. Uecker in this Clermont County district. Over the last few years Mr. Becker has worked as a charter school treasurer and publishes a political newsletter called the Becker Report. He previously worked in the banking and insurance industries.             
    • 66th House District: Republican Doug Green will move into the seat being vacated by term-limited Rep. Danny Bubp (R-West Union). The Brown County auditor, an officer for the County Auditors' Association of Ohio, also has local government experience as the county recorder.             
    • 73rd House District: Greene County Commissioner Rick Perales defeated Rep. Jarrod Martin (R-Beavercreek) in a three-way primary after the incumbent was arrested on drunken driving charges. The Air Force veteran works as a facilities manager at the University of Dayton and previously served as mayor of Beavercreek from 2002 through 2003.             
    • 78th House District: Former Rep. Ron Hood won a newly drawn open seat in this central southeast district. The conservative Republican worked for the National Right to Work Committee after losing his run for the Senate in 2006.             
    • 82nd House District: Four-term Paulding County Commissioner Tony Burkley will take over the district from Rep. Bruce Goodwin (R-Defiance), who decided not to run for a final term. The Republican also operates a local auto parts store.             
    • 89th House District: ODP Chairman Chris Redfern won his old seat back after Rep. Dennis Murray (D-Sandusky) decided not to run for reelection at the last minute. During his previous stint in the House, Mr. Redfern served as minority leader before stepping down from leadership to take the helm of the state party in 2006. He also has experience as an Ottawa County commissioner.             
    • 99th House District: Democrat John Patterson defeated Rep. Casey Kozlowski (R-Pierpont) last month in this district in the northeastern corner of the state. The high school teacher, who taught U.S. history, served as chief negotiator for the local teachers' union and coached several athletics teams. He retired last summer.             
    • The House is scheduled to convene in full starting January 23.                    
  • Senator Keith Faber to be Ohio Senate President; Reconfigures Committees - Senator Keith Faber (R-Celina) has been selected by the Republican caucus to be the Senate President, taking over for retiring Sen. Niehuas. In one of his first orders of business, he is changing the committee structure in a fairly big way, expanding the number of standing committees, and he is creating 3 Finance subcommittees (medical, education, general government) to allow all members to participate on the committee and in particular, reviewing the state budget. The Senate standing committees will be (* designates a new or restructured panel):           
    • Agriculture             
    • Energy & Natural Resources*             
    • Public Utilities*             
    • Education             
    • Workforce & Economic Development*             
    • Transportation             
    • Local Government, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs*             
    • State Government Oversight & Reform*             
    • Criminal Justice*             
    • Civil Justice*             
    • Commerce & Labor*             
    • Ways & Means             
    • Medicaid & Human Services*             
    • Insurance & Financial Institutions*             
    • Rules             
    • Reference*             
    • Finance             
    • The Senate is scheduled to convene in full starting January 15.
  • 113th Congress Sworn-in, Includes 3 New Ohio Members - Congress convened its 113th session this week. Speaker John Boehner was again voted in as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Three Ohio newcomers include Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati), Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Blacklick), and Rep. David Joyce (R-Russell Twp.). They will join Ohio House incumbents: U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati), Jim Jordan (R-Urbana), Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green), Bill Johnson (R-Poland), Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeview), John Boehner (R-West Chester), Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), Michael Turner (R-Dayton), Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland), Patrick Tiberi (R-Galena), Tim Ryan (D-Niles), Steve Stivers (R-Columbus) and Jim Renacci (R-Alliance). US Senators were also sworn in this week, and new committee assignments were made. Ohio Senator Rob Portman will become a member of the powerful Senate Finance committee and join current member Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown. Among other assignments, Senator Portman will sit on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senator Brown will continue as a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry committee.             
  • New BWC Rules Expand Health Care Options for Injured Workers - Ohio workers injured on the job can now access a wider variety of medical providers under new BWC policies. With policies that went into affect December 11, BWC expands the list of approved health care providers to include anesthesiologist assistants, independent diagnostic sleep testing facilities, adult day care centers, and sleep laboratories. They are added to a current list of certified ambulance services, athletic trainers, chiropractic physicians, dentists, and massage therapists who are already on the list of providers who can treat injured workers through BWC’s system.
  • DOF Advertises two Invitations to Bid on Timber Marking Services - The Division of Forestry is advertising two invitations to bid for timber marking services, one on Pike and one for Tar Hollow and Richland Furnace State Forests. The Pike request is for marking approximately 1,000 MBF on 99 acres in 3 cutting sections. The Tar Hollow/Richland Furnace request is for marking approximately 753 MBF on 153 acres in 7 cutting sections. Both contracts must be completed by August 31, 2013. Bids will be opened the afternoon of January 23, 2013 at the DOF Chillicothe office. Here are the Invitations to Bid.   
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) Reportedly Hitting Ohio Foresters - The Ohio Society of American Foresters (OSAF) recently reported that more than 10 of its member Foresters contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in 2012. With reported 250 – 1200 cases a year in the US, it sounds like Ohio forest workers are incurring a high percentage of the cases. As a result, OSAF is providing information to members on the disease and its prevention and control. Obviously, RMSF is also a risk to all of our members and so I am forwarding information along to you too. Here is information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from the OSU Wexner Medical Center.   

  • Lumber Surges to Highest Since April 2005 as Home Prices Climb - Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that lumber futures jumped to the highest level in 7 years, based October price information. The property value price index rose 4.3% above the same period in 2011. Another Forbes article briefly discusses the 2013 Wood Forecast. Housing demand is expected to increase but wood for residential repair and remodeling are expected to improve a little. Industrial usage will have a slight rebound. Overseas demand is not expected to rebound. Questions about the 2013 US economy remain. Interestingly the author indicates that industry should be prepared for the risk of stronger-than-expected demand which has its own risks.        

  • Fiscal Cliff Aftermath - No doubt you’re tired of the endless Fiscal Cliff turmoil and discussion. Unfortunately, it still appears that much has been "kicked down the road.” Here are a few post "cliff notes” relating to forestry and the forest products industry as a result of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012:          
    • Farm Bill. The current bill was extended for one year. As a result, none of the changes affecting forestry have been implemented. The House may work on the next Farm Bill some time in late February.             
    • Estate Tax. Estate tax levels are "permanently” set at $5 million and $10 million for couples and an increase to a tax rate of 40% from 35%. Exemption levels will be annually adjusted for inflation.             
    • Capital Gains Tax. Capital Gains tax rate stays at 15% for individuals with incomes less than $400,000 (couples $450,000). Above that income level, it goes to 20%.             
    • Forest Programs Spending Cuts Delay. The deal put a 2-month delay on scheduled spending cuts from the sequestration on forest programs like Forest Stewardship and Forest Health.
  • Exporter Forum, OSU Fisher Business College and SBA - There will be an Exporter Forum on Thursday, January 10, from 7:30 – 9:00 am at the OSU Fisher College of Business, Mason Hall. The topic of discussion will cover international legal considerations presented by David Wilson of Kegler Brown an expert on the legal aspects of exporting. You can get more information and register for the event at the Fisher College of Business website. More exporting information on training and opportunities can be by contacting Alex Kohls, Senior Area Manager, SBA (, 614-633-6372.         

  • Maryland Promotes Wood as a Fuel - Here is an article from the Baltimore Sun that talks about the policy approach Maryland has taken towards promoting wood as a renewable energy fuel. The Maryland Energy Administration is offering $400 rebates to homeowners who install a new, cleaner burning wood stove and $600 rebates for installing pellet stoves. The article goes on to mention American Wood Fibers (an OFA member) as the nation’s largest supplier of wood shavings and other wood byproducts and a producer of wood pellets.           
  • Ohio Firms Win Workers Comp Suit Over High Premiums- It was reported last week a Cuyahoga County judge has ruled that more than 270,000 Ohio employers are due restitution over excessively high workers compensation premiums as a result of a case filed in 2007. The case was filed for return of $1.3 billion but the judge ordered a recalculation of the amount and it is expected to be less than the original. The suit was filed over claims that group insurance programs, such as the one that the OFA participates in, charge discounted premiums and companies outside the programs are charged excessive rates to offset the discounts. There is no confirmed information on future actions, but the BWC has initially stated that it intends to appeal the decision. Here is an article on the Cleveland Plain Dealer on the suit.    
  • Lisa Jackson Resigns as US EPA Director - After nearly four years as Director of the US EPA, Lisa Jackson is stepping down, and gave no particular reason for leaving. She had a tumultuous administration, marked by major battles over EPA efforts to heighten regulations on a number of fronts, a number of which directly impacted the forest products industry. The most noted issues dealt with increased emissions controls on large boilers and pollution concerns affecting "global warming.” Here is a Fox News article on Director Jackson resigning.
  • USDA Seeking Comment on Establishing a New Paper and Paper-based Packaging Promotion, Research, and Information Order - The USDA is moving ahead with seeking public comment on a framework to establish a Research and Promotion Program for paper and packaging products similar to those that it has for more than 20 other agricultural industry commodities. The program will authorize a payment from paper and packaging producers above a certain production threshold to create a fund that will be used for promotion and research of paper products. The program will have oversight from a 12-member board comprised of participating industry members. In the past, this has been referred to as the "Softwood Check-off Program.” The formal request for public comment will come in a future edition of the Federal Register and will allow 60 days for public comment. Here is a press release from AF&PA commending USDA on moving ahead with the order for public comment.
  • Ohio Population Growth Among the Smallest in the Country - The population of Ohio grew only 1.6% from 2000 to 2012, the third lowest in the country, behind only Rhode Island and Michigan, according to the Dayton Daily News article. That amounts to just over 180,000 people for a total population of 11,544,225 people. The extremely slow growth is the reason Ohio lost 2 Congressional seats. Except for Michigan, all of Ohio’s neighbors showed a significantly higher percentage of population growth, with West Virginia the next lowest to Ohio but showing half again as much growth at 2.7%.
  • Kitchen Remodeling Survey Reveals Homeowner Design Preferences: Style, Function, Storage - A survey completed by MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc. says that more Americans are cooking at home and there is renewed interest in kitchen remodeling. An increasing number of homeowners are feeling confident in the economy to start kitchen remodeling for improve functionality, refresh out-of-date space, and increase storage. You can read a brief summary of the survey results on the MasterBrand website. Interestingly, oak is the most preferred wood type, followed by maple, cherry and laminate. Light stains remain preferred over dark stains.
  • USFS Publication: Federal Income Tax on Timber; A Quick Guide for Woodland Owners - OFA just received a supply of the publication Federal Income Tax on Timber, A Quick Guide for Woodland Owners, Fourth Edition, 2012 (publication FS-1007) written by Linda Wang, PhD, National Timber Tax Specialist. The summary indicates that the publication is targeted to woodland owners, loggers, and consulting foresters who need a basic understanding of the federal income tax rules as they relate to timber sales. I will be glad to forward OFA members a copy as my supply lasts. A search of the USFS website to see if this can be ordered on-line produced nothing.

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).


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