Posted By Gayla Fleming,
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
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May 20, 2013 Issue
Ohio Legislative and Policy News
Rebates Give Schools a Boost - With the BWC announcing that it is
proposing a nearly $1 billion rebate in BWC insurance premiums, school
districts would receive benefits from those rebates. It was announced
that nearly 3,000 school districts and local governments would receive nearly
$113 million in rebates.
Expects "Staggering” Increase in Utica Shale Oil and Gas Production in Future - ODNR Director Jim Zehringer held a press conference last week to talk about
recent Utica Shale oil and gas production and predicted a huge increase in
production in the next few years. He said that from 2011 to 2012 oil and
gas production from the Utica formation nearly doubled Ohio’s production of oil
and gas in one year, but from far fewer number of wells. Based on the
current production, Utica shale wells which will make up less than 1% of the
state’s 51,000 wells will outstrip conventional wells in 2 years.
Director Zehringer said that at the end of 2012, there were 215 wells drilled
with 67 producing. By 2015, ODNR expects to issue permits for 2,215
horizontal wells, with more than 1,000 in production. The Director
indicated a large number of the wells have "wet” gas, which makes them more
Expansion Not Expected to be Picked up by Senate - It appears that the
Ohio Senate may follow the same path as the House and not consider Medicaid
expansion in the current budget. House leadership indicated it wanted to
consider Medicaid reform and possible expansion as stand-alone legislation
later in the year. The Senate appears to be following the same path.
In the meantime, various interest groups on both sides of the Medicaid issue
continue to hit the legislature with reports and information for and against
reasons to expand.
Federal Policy and Legislation
Bill Passed in House and Senate Committees - Last week the House and
Senate Agriculture Committees passed the Farm Bill, although in separate
versions. Both appeared to be friendly to forest landowners and included
provisions to encourage forestry on private forest lands. Both bills will
go to the full House and Senate chambers for debate. The American Forest
Foundation put together a side-by-side comparison of both versions which is here for viewing. Both versions are very similar in terms of forestry
programs, with some variation in funding authorizations. Of note, both
versions included Forest Products Fairness Act language, which adds a
definition of "forest products” as a bio-based product and creates
opportunities for funding innovation programs for forest products. In
Ohio, Cong. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) who is on the committee voted against
passage due to objection to several issues, one which affects dairy farmers and
the other dealing with the commodity title. Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty
(D-Blacklick) was opposed to cuts to the Food Stamp Program.
Species Act (ESA) to be Reviewed in House. Last week, the House
Natural Resources Committee created the Endangered Species Act Working Group
which will review the ESA from all angles to see if it should be updated.
Over the years, the ESA has caused hundreds of lawsuits with millions of
dollars of lawsuit payments from the federal government, many of which go to
pay legal fee of plaintiffs, which the law prescribes. Many feel that far
too much focus is put on lawsuits and not nearly enough effort on habitat
considerations and actions. The Working Group will hold hearings and
forums to find answers to a number of issues including is the ESA achieving its
goals, the role of state and local governments in recovery efforts, does the
law really protect species while ensuring protection of private property and
water rights, among others. There is a regionally broad group of 13
Representatives on the Working Group but none are from Ohio.
Along the line of the
BWC premium rebates mentioned above, CCI, the third-party administrator for the
OFA Group Safety Program, issued a news release with the
announcement of the $1 billion rebate, with detail on how the rebate and
additional $900 million in credits will be distributed. Interestingly,
according to the article, BWC had the option to offer reduced premium rates as
opposed to paying "dividends” but elected the option that would prevent the
roller coaster of premium rates that the system experienced in the past.
The payments and credits are a one-time event based on good investment returns
to the system. Please note also that RiskControl 360, partner to CCI with
safety training, issued a two-page safety article on distracted driving.
The article focuses on the dangers of texting and cell phone use while driving,
but also covers any other "distracted driving” activity including eating,
reading, use of GPS, videos, and other technical devices. The article
contains some suggested management actions to take to reduce the risks and
Documenting the Value of Paper
American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) printed this paper titled Documenting the Value of Paper: Literature Review.
The paper and research were done to document the value of paper for customers
and member companies and for anyone who wants to better understand the still
valuable role of paper in an increasingly digital era. As the paper
points out, it provides a valuable learning tool, the product is sustainable,
it is effective and secure, and offers a permanent record. Here are a
some key findings you can read in this report:
studies show grade school students have better comprehension and performed
better on tests that those using digital learning tools;
often use different learning strategies, and paper is superior to electronic
text in supporting those strategies.;
students prefer paper-based reading materials to electronic for learning;
materials are superior to e-texts supporting active reading strategies such as
highlighting, bookmarking, and note-taking;
"on-screen” is fundamentally different than reading on paper, with less actual
reading time and more scanning and browsing and lower comprehension;
resources are perceived as more authoritative than electronic resources;
newspapers remain more popular than digital newspapers with readers and promote
use and prefer print more than electronic advertising to become aware of
do not like on-line behavioral marketing;
advertising is the leading advertising medium cited by purchasers for making
resources are more effective than electronic resources at driving QR code
respond more to print, TV, and radio than on-line advertising;
prefer paper to over digital for official documents;
associate paper with achievement;
prefer bills and statements in paper format;
has the characteristics consumers use to determine if a product is
environmentally friendly and responsible: biodegradable, recyclable, and
percent of recycled material;
assessment studies show the difference in environmental impact between paper
and electronic text is small.
Forbes Magazine Recommends Competition in
Forestry Certification Programs Recently, Forbes
had an editorial that talked about Forestry Certification Programs and the
editors believe that these voluntary certification programs should be governed
by competition among the systems and no single system should be preferred over
another. It believes that policies and programs that lead to restrictions
on selection of certifications are not good and should not be promoted.
To this end, several states have recently passed legislation prohibiting the
use of any building standards or codes that restrict openness among certification
Here is the June Newsletter from the East Central Ohio Forestry Association.
The newsletter has information on the recent annual meeting, upcoming events,
and various points on wildlife and invasive species. The ECOFA has been
very supportive of the OFA Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp and due to a
very successful auction at the annual banquet, the group will provide camp
sponsorships for 8 students to attend camp. The OFA Foundation, which
sponsors the camp, extends a thanks to this group and others for the great
support to get students to camp.
Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp, June 9-14, 2013; FFA
Camp Muskingum, Carroll County; http://www.ohioforest.org/?page=ForestryCamp.
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.
Quotes of the Week
very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference
– they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” George
family tree always produces nuts.” Anonymous
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