Ohio Restaurant Magazine, Spring 2015 - page 4

Spring 2015 Issue
Under the Dome: A Legislative Update for ORA
The 131
General Assembly is well under
way. Both the Ohio House and Senate
finalized committee appointments, and both
caucuses held press conferences to announce
their legislative priorities. Democratic agenda
items include investing in local governments,
charter school reform, college affordability,
and access to health care. Republican priority
items are competitiveness, energy, education,
and health care.
Expanding Workers’ Compensation
SB 5 proposes to eliminate the physical
injury requirement and allow peace officers,
firefighters, and emergency medical workers
to become eligible for workers’ compensation
benefits once they have been diagnosed with
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
You might be asking yourself why this
would affect the food service industry.
BWC Administrator and CEO Steve Buehrer
testified before Senate Transportation,
Commerce and Labor saying this could
add an estimated $182 million a year
in costs to the BWC system. Also, by
removing the physical injury requirement,
it may be difficult to justify not doing the
same for others who seek treatment. We
brought this issue to the General Assembly
at our Mar. 11
Lobby Day.
Unemployment Compensation
The state of Ohio currently owes $1.34
billion to the federal government in money
that was borrowed to pay out unemployment
compensations claims. This is due to the
fact the state’s current unemployment
compensation system model is a broken.
It’s an indisputable fact that the revenue
the state receives from employer taxes is
not sufficient to pay benefits to unemployed
workers. Rep. Barbara Sears (R-Monclova
Twp.) is working on a bill to fix the system.
ORA has established a very positive working
relationship with Rep. Sears. As the
process moves forward we will update you
on progress to reform the system.
Minimum Wage
Earlier this year Senator Kenny Yuko
(D-Richmond Heights) introduced SB 25,
which would raise Ohio’s minimum wage
and expand overtime protection. Under the
bill, Ohio’s minimum wage would go from
$8.10 per hour to $10.10. SB 25 is headed
to the Senate Transportation, Commerce
and Labor Committee. Please voice your
concerns to Committee Chairwoman Gayle
Manning at
or call
her office at (614) 644-7613.
2016 – 2017 Budget
The state’s two year biennial budget (HB
64) was officially revealed and is headed
to Chairman Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and
the House Finance Committee. The budget
process has a long road ahead. ORA will be
sure to keep you updated on the budget
process as it unfolds.
Federal Update:
The U.S. Senate Committee on Health,
Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a
hearing on the definition of full-time work
found in the Affordability Care Act (ACA).
Bipartisan legislation currently under
consideration in the Senate, S. 30, known
as the Forty Hours is Full Time Act, would
change the ACA’s definition of “full-time”
from 30 to 40 hours. ORA and NRA are
working to support passage of this bill.
The National Restaurant Association
has joined dozens of other employer
groups in urging U.S. Health and Human
Services (HHS) to give employers with
51 to 99 employees until 2018 to
move their health plans to the small
group market. The Affordable Care
Act was originally structured to give
these employers—who are considered
“applicable large employers” under
the law, and thus subject to the ACA’s
employer mandate—two years to buy
insurance through the large-group
market before being forced to buy plans
in the small group market, which can
carry additional restrictions and costs.
With the ACA’s employer mandate due
to kick in for these employers in 2016,
we’re asking HHS to delay the move for
these employers to the small-group market
until 2018.
By Joe Rosato
Director of
Government Affairs,
Ohio Restaurant Association
The 131
General Assembly: What’s on
the Menu for the Restaurant Industry?
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