Ohio Legislative News
group of 28 Ohio legislators has written a letter to Division of Wildlife Chief
Scott Zody opposing the proposed deer hunting rules for the 2013-2014 deer gun
season. The group believes that the rules are too stringent. In the
letter, the bi-partisan group of legislators challenged the scientific basis
for the decisions. Among some of the proposed changes were the
elimination of urban deer hunting zones, the late December gun hunting weekend,
and the special muzzleloader hunts in southeast Ohio. Of significance,
the group of legislators includes both the majority and minority leaders of the
House and Senate and members of the bipartisan Sportsmen’s Caucus. More
members may also join in the opposition. The rules must first be ratified
by the Ohio Wildlife Council which they have not yet done.
House continues to work on revisions to the State Budget Bill (HB 59). Here is a synopsis of GOP amendments to the bill if you are interested in looking at it. It
covers a wide range of issues. A few that might be of interest to you:
1850- Creates the Commercial Activity Tax Review Commission
1596-1 – Authorizes County Commissioners to create a Lake Facilities Authority
to provide for watershed remediation
1868 – Creates the Workforce Training Pilot Program for the Economically
Disadvantaged and provides $8 million per year for that purpose
1995 – Earmarks $500,000 in FY 14 for a pilot program at Central Ohio Technical
College for heavy machinery training
Democrats offered a list of
amendments to the budget bill, only one of which was approved. The
provision would create a Legislative Study Committee on Clean Ohio
Funding. Clean Ohio Funding is a bond program that pays for conservation,
agricultural easements, and trails and brownfield revitalization.
Administration is pushing its tax package proposal to the Senate as the budget
is moved to that chamber after making it through the House. The House had
substantially changed the proposal, eliminating the sales tax overhaul and
reducing the personal income tax reduction from a proposed 20% drop to a
permanent 7%. The small business income tax cut was removed; however,
Senator Faber indicated the Senate may give the proposal another look.
along party lines, the House voted against increasing the expanded eligibility
for Medicaid. Chairman Amstutz indicated that although the measure was
not approved in the House budget, he indicated a willingness to continue
talking about the program beyond the budget discussions. To that end, the
House included an amendment to the Budget Bill for the legislature asking the
Kasich Administration to assist in exploring other Medicaid expansion
options. The House
budget plan increases spending $393 million over the Kasich budget
proposal, but with $2.1 billion less in federal money.
amended budget bill has moved over to the Senate and will be worked on there.
recent Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters showed that by a margin of 63% - 30%,
they believe the economic benefits of drilling for oil outweigh environmental
Congressional Proposal: Legislation to
Require USFS to Actively Manage its Forest Land for Timber Production
Cong. Doc Hastings (R-WA) has drafted legislation to increase timber production
on National Forest lands. The Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities
Act is intended to maintain healthy forests and increase the timber supply
coming from federal lands, which currently supply only 2% of production.
Cong. Hastings is the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
The legislation is being promoted by the National Association of Home Builders
(NAHB). You can read a brief
news release on the Woodworking Network website. The bill has not yet
Wood Biomass Energy Database Upgraded and
The Woodworking Network has a news
release indicating that the Woody Biomass Energy Database, created in 2010
under a joint venture between the USDA Forest Service and the US Endowment for
Forestry and Communities, was recently updated to include a broader array of
institutions such as schools and government offices. The database is
searchable and can be accessed by anyone wanting to get information on woody
biomass users throughout the country. You can visit www.wood2energy.org to
view the database. Right now, a search of Ohio only shows one facility in
the database, the Chillicothe VA Medical Center.
American Tree Farm System (ATFS) Asks for
Support for Forest Health Programs
In what it is bidding as the Free
the Trees Campaign, ATFS is asking those interested in protecting our
forests to contact their Congressional representatives to support forest health
program funding. You can easily send an email to your Congressman by
visiting the website and filling out your personal information. An
electronic letter will be automatically sent to Washington on your
behalf. I will add that given the nature of security risks with
Congressional communications today, electronic messages are much more efficient
and timely than hand written letters. Today, it takes weeks for hand
written letters to make it through security checks. Emails are sent and
received immediately. Take a moment to weigh in.
News from the Appalachian Hardwood Center at
You can read the latest
newsletter from the Appalachian Hardwood Center at West Virginia
University. If you visit the website, you can download
the latest version of the West Virginia Forest Products Directory.
Kentucky Power Seeks Approval for Biomass
Kentucky Power, an operating unit of AEP, issued a news
release last week indicating it is seeking approval for a 20-year biomass
agreement to produce power from sawdust, bark, wood chips, tip wood, and
low-quality logs. The company has filed an application with the Kentucky
Public Service Commission for the renewable fuels agreement. The
agreement would be for the purchase of 58 MW of electricity from biomass at a
yet-to-be-built facility in Perry County, KY, approximately 10 miles from
New US Geological Survey Species Database
Billing it as the only system of its kind, the US Geological Survey
(USGA) announced it has created the Biodiversity Information Serving our
Nation (BISON) web-based federal database for finding species in the US and its
territories. The system organizes more than 100 million records of mapped
occurrences of species and allows display in different formats for users.
Notes from the Hardwood Leader
following are notes gleaned from the May issue of the Hardwood Leader, produced
exports for the first two months of 2013 were 11% higher than the same period
in 2012, with Red oak up 26%, fueled by Chinese purchases. Exports are
expected to continue strong. Feb. 2013 shipments of 114 million board
feet is the highest Feb. shipments on record. China shipments hit a
one-month record of 50 million BF.
quarter hardwood markets were strong due to rising domestic and international
demand, which tightened supplies and increased prices.
demand has been positive over the last year, but builders were less optimistic
in March as a result of rising construction costs and a tight credit
market. Some feel it will take a long time before the housing market
Obama Administration is intent upon increasing home mortgages by lowering,
eligibility standards for potential borrowers. There is concern that
doing so will set the stage for another housing bubble.
activity over the next several months should be brisk due to rising prices of
key species. Cherry sales are expected to improve with an improving
Lynch reports that hourly wages in Mexico are 20% below those in China.
Ten years ago, the wages were 188% higher. As a result of the changes,
Mexico will absorb a larger share of US secondary wood products and will
increase imports of US hardwoods for years to come.
US inflation rate is on par to reach 1.5% this year following a 0.2% decline in
residential furniture factory shipments in January 2013 were 10% higher than a
year ago. In addition, American Express is reporting that Americans
planning to do home improvement in 2013 expect to pay a little more than $1000
on new furniture, a 60% increase from last year.
adjusted single family housing starts dipped in March 5% but unadjusted starts
were up for the 4th consecutive month.
Conference Board says 5.6% of consumers will purchase a home in the next 6
months. This is the second highest since 1964.
National Association of Home Builders forecasts a bump of 23% single-family
home construction in 2013.
Chief Economist for Freddie Mac says the 30-Year fixed mortgage rates
will remain below 4% for 2013.
spite of record low labor participation rates in March, the job market has
improved for working-aged people since hitting bottom in 2010. Employment
for working age people (18-64) grew by 119,000/month through March 2013 while
the population grew by 90,000/month.
Leader is reporting that hardwood strip flooring prices have been in recovery
for more than a year. North American flooring producers will remain busy
for the next few months, but aggressive purchasing will ease with increased
and Wood Products Export Conference, April 25, 2013, OSU South Centers,
Endeavor Center, Piketon, OH (see flyer here)
Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp, June 9-14, 2013; FFA
Camp Muskingum, Carroll County. We received an interesting comment from a
past camper. Kristy Tucker attended camp during the summers from
1994-1998. She later became a Counselor in Training (1999-2001) and then a
counselor/instructor (2002-2003) and program director (2004-2005). She
attended Hocking College in forestry and received her degree, married and then
went to Idaho with her husband to get their BS in Forestry. Today she is
a practicing forester. Kristy and her husband Brad are sponsoring a
camper this year, and said that if it had not been for camp, she would never
have become a forester.
Grading Short Course, June 10-13, 2013, Yoder Lumber Company, Millersburg,
OH (Buckhorn Mill); register
Summer Meeting, July 24-25, 2013, Christopher Conference Center,
Lumberman’s Outing Golf and Clay Shoot, September 11, 2013.
Bunyan Show, October 4-6, 2013, Guernsey County Fairgrounds.