Stay Informed on News and Policy

Every Monday -- News from GCP

Activity accelerates to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio

In this week’s “GCP Insight” interview, Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) Senior Vice President of Advocacy Marty McGann discusses the acceleration of activity around efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio.

He notes that polling has found that from two-thirds to three-quarters of the Ohio public support some version of medical marijuana.

Two groups are moving forward to try to get a medical marijuana proposal on the November ballot. Meanwhile, leaders in the Ohio House of Representatives last week introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana and create a Marijuana Control Commission.

Click to watch the video
to learn more about recent developments around this issue and find out what the GCP is doing to ensure that employers’ rights are protected if medical marijuana is legalized in our state.

The ”GCP Insight” video series, hosted by Lesic and Camper Vice President Steve Luttner, focuses on topics of interest to the Greater Cleveland business community.

Update on state legislation banning local hiring requirements

Efforts to ban local hiring requirements continued last week in Columbus with SB 152 receiving its fifth hearing in the House State Government Committee.

If passed, SB 152 would prohibit local governments from requiring a contractor to employ a certain number of residents within a geographic area for a construction project or improvement.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership has opposed this legislation since its inception as it would end the City of Cleveland’s Fannie Lewis law, which requires 20 percent of the workforce for major public infrastructure projects to be City of Cleveland residents.

The state ban also would hamper efforts in the city where Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) are in place. CBAs are an important tool to help train and recruit a diverse workforce as well as create opportunities for Cleveland residents to directly benefit from the major construction projects happening across the city.

“Easing government regulatory burden on businesses is an important public policy priority for us and our members," said GCP Senior Vice President of Advocacy Marty McGann.

“But, for more than a decade, local hiring has been an important tool for the private and public sectors to create economic opportunity for everyone in this city. We have found a balance that works, and our members and leadership want to protect that.”

The GCP will continue advocacy efforts on this legislation and keep members informed.

To learn more about GCP’s advocacy work, click to read the testimony provided to the House State Government Committee and a letter from members of the GCP and the Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

GCP Annual Meeting rewind: “A brokered convention” prediction

With the 2016 Republican National Convention starting three months from today (it runs from July 18-21), it’s interesting to recall remarks made by the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s 2015 Annual Meeting keynote speaker Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” that this could be a “brokered convention.”

Speaking to an audience of more than 1,200 business leaders last June, Todd observed it’s “inevitable” that after the primaries are over, “no Republican candidate will have a majority of delegates necessary” to win the nomination.

It could be “an unscripted” convention, he said. “That’s pretty exciting for those of us in the media.”

Here’s what he said. Click to watch the video.

Good news for Hopkins travelers: More nonstop flights added

Frontier Airlines and American Airlines announced last week that they are adding more nonstop flights at Hopkins International Airport.

“We continue to see growth,” said Greater Cleveland Partnership President and CEO Joe Roman who noted that, due to the use of larger planes, the number of seats filled on current departures from CLE is almost the same as before the closure of the United Hub.

New nonstop Frontier Airlines flights from CLE are:
  • Los Angeles . (LAX) Tue/Thu/Sun 2:15pm departure
  • San Francisco (SFO) Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 2:05pm departure
  • Portland (PDX) is Tue/Thu/Sun 4:25pm departure
  • Philadelphia (PHL) Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 6:00pm departure
  • Phoenix (PHX) Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 4:15pm departure
American Airlines added an early-morning (6:26 a.m.) departure nonstop to Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C. in response to the needs of business travelers who now can arrive in time for an 8 a.m. meeting and be back in Cleveland in time for dinner.

“We try to represent that business demand,” said Roman. “If we can show airlines that employers need to get their people someplace, that gives them a reason to add new flights.”

The GCP Air Service Demand Task Force, chaired by Lee Thomas, continues to work with CLE and City of Cleveland officials to help ensure that important nonstop markets are served.

GCP applauds state for supporting key capital projects

Last week, state leaders introduced Ohio’s state capital bill legislation that assists a wide range of projects that will continue the momentum in the City of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio after the Republican National Convention in July. More than $23.6 million was included for economic development and arts projects in the Cleveland area.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP worked with its board leadership to identify key projects that would maximize the economic development potential for our region. Core themes that guided the development of the GCP’s recommended list included education, access to the lakefront, and connecting key development assets in Cuyahoga County.

“We worked with our leadership to develop a list of key economic development and arts projects that we believe are advancing the growth and attraction of our region,” said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman.

“We are grateful that Governor Kasich and our legislative leaders have affirmed this by recommending state funding for many of these projects, as well as several others of importance from Cuyahoga County.”

Key projects in the legislation include:
  • Lakefront Pedestrian Bridge – $3.5 million
  • Wendy Park Bridge - $1 million
  • Restoring Irish Town Bend - $2.5 million
  • Flats East Bank Development - $2 million
  • Reshaping the Cleveland Museum of Natural History - $3.3 million
  • Health Education Campus (Case Western Reserve University/Cuyahoga Community College) - $1M
  • Rock Hall Experience Project - $1M
  • Playhouse Square District Improvement - $1M
  • Transforming Vital Services / Salvation Army $350K
The legislation is expected to move swiftly through the Ohio General Assembly.

GCP/COSE offer support for Small Claims Court legislation

Small claims courts provide business owners and companies with a venue to contain legal costs, save time and effort that could be better spent managing their businesses and utilize a more informal, expeditious means to pursue claims for smaller sums of money.

Recognizing the importance of these courts, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and COSE, its small business division, is supporting HB 387—legislation that would raise the maximum allowable limit of the monetary jurisdiction of small claims courts .The bill is sponsored by State Rep. Louis Terhar (R-30) and State Rep. Jonathan Dever (R-28).

The small claims division was established by the Ohio General Assembly in 1967 and. under current law. each county and municipal court is required to establish a small claims division.

A small claims division has jurisdiction in civil actions for the recovery of taxes and money only, for amounts not exceeding $3,000, not including interest and cost. HB 387 would increase the maximum dollar amount to $6,000.

Ohio has not had an increase in the monetary limit small claims courts have jurisdiction over in nearly 20 years. Adjusting the maximum level small claims courts have jurisdiction over will allow for additional businesses to participate in a process that previously was not available.

In short, this bill would provide the business community with greater opportunity to utilize a useful tool to recover losses and debts when it does not make good economic sense to go through a higher court due to the costs of attorneys’ fees, etc.

HB 387 is a step in the right direction. And, as the bill shifts to the Ohio Senate, GCP/COSE will continue working with policymakers to foster a strong, vibrant business community in Ohio.

Read the GCP/COSE letter of support for HB 387 here.

Learn about connecting inclusion to your business strateties

The Commission on Economic Inclusion’s Best Practice Repository provides a central location for resources and research on effective diversity and inclusion management in the workplace.

It includes valuable information for employers of all sizes whether they are just launching a D& I program, are considered Best-in-Class or are somewhere in between.

The Repository’s contents are available to all employees of Greater Cleveland Partnership members. Click here to access this month’s featured article, “How to Combat Unconscious Bias.”

Share your expertise at the 2016 Small Business Convention

Are you an expert in your industry?

You’re invited to share your knowledge, ideas and experience with small business professionals at COSE’s 2016 Small Business Convention (SBC) Oct. 13-14 at Public Auditorium and Conference Center in downtown Cleveland.

The SBC is the premier event for small business owners, entrepreneurs and community leaders of the Midwest. You will be presenting at a 60-minute workshop with the goal of helping small business owners learn how to improve their business strategies.

Click to access the submission platform to submit your proposal.

Practical tools to increase employee engagement

Northeast Ohio business leaders will come together for a for a half-day event on Wednesday, May 18 at Case Western Reserve University to learn how high-performing leaders and organizations are creating exceptional employee engagement.

This event, hosted by BVU, will provide perspective and tools to increase your employee engagement. According to Gallup, upwards of 70 percent of employees in our workforce are not engaged (i.e. doing just enough to get by). This has a major impact on culture, productivity and customer service.

National and local leaders from Unilever, Cleveland Clinic, Fathom and The Sherwin-Williams Company, who have demonstrated excellence with engagement programs for their employees, will describe their initiatives and the takeaways from each.

Attendees will be presented with tools they can use immediately in their work through a facilitated workshop.

Greater Cleveland Partnership members will receive a 25 percent discount off the registration fee by using the code PURPOSE when registering. Click here for more information.

Port accepts $1 million grant to support sediment facility expansion

Last week, the Board of Directors of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority met and approved acceptance of a $1 million Ohio Healthy Lake Erie Fund (OHLEF) grant.

The Board also approved using those funds for capital improvements at the Confined Disposal Facility (“CDF”) 12 to increase Port efforts to maximize its useful lifespan and provide a viable alternative to open lake dumping of Cuyahoga River dredge sediment.

In 2015, the Port began implementing its “Plan B” for extending CDF 12’s useful life. The plan consists of using water flow to sort sediment and vertically stack it onsite, enabling “harvest” of useful, non-harmful material.

These efforts and other Port innovations will result in decades of additional space at the CDF to store sediment that can’t be safely used, while keeping it out of the open waters of Lake Erie.

During initial operation in 2015, Plan B processed 62,000 cubic yards of sediment that will be used in construction projects. This year’s goal is to raise that figure to 205,000 cubic yards.

To pay for the additional infrastructure, the Port sought and was awarded the OHLEF funds, which promote innovative initiatives to reduce sediments and nutrients from entering Lake Erie. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) administers the grant.

The Board also awarded a contract to Mark Hayes Construction, Inc. to make the necessary capital improvements to the sediment management facility.

“We greatly appreciate the ongoing support of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources through this important grant,” said Port President and CEO Will Friedman.

“The Port will continue its efforts as a dedicated steward of the health of our water, wildlife, and economy. Our work on CDF 12 will keep Cleveland Harbor open for business and Lake Erie safe from contamination.”

Above photo: A truck gathers sediment for beneficial reuse at the Port of Cleveland’s Confined Disposal Facility-12.