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Weekly News 1.30.12

Posted By John Dorka, Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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 Forestry?”

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).

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