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Icelandair Announces Year-Round Service out of CLE

Iceland is the latest location to recognize just how much Cleveland rocks. Less than a year ago Icelandair was the first global airline to select Cleveland as a base, and has recently announced that it will continue its service from Cleveland-Hopkins Airport on a year-round schedule. 

Read more.

Congress Continues Support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Despite Administration proposals that have attempted to end the program, both the House and the Senate have now passed appropriation bills that continue funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) at $300 million over the federal fiscal year. The House and Senate-approved Interior bills, which includes funding for the GLRI, now heads to conference committee. Since both chambers recommended the same level of funding for the GLRI, the program is certain to be funded at that level.
 
“GCP is grateful for the work of the Ohio delegation and other leaders in maintaining support for such an important program that helps to bolster the quality of our Great Lakes,” says Marty McGann, GCP’s Senior Vice President of Advocacy. “We’ve joined with other key partners across the Great Lakes region to advocate for the continuation of the GLRI and look forward to working with our elected leaders to ensure its long-term success.”
 

DFAS Jobs Protected in National Defense Authorization Act

The House and Senate recently completed work on the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. GCP began closely following the legislation when a House proposal—known as the “Fourth Estate”—was introduced and recommended cuts to defense support agencies, including the Defense, Finance and Accounting Services. Northeast Ohio is home to DFAS Cleveland, which employs more than 2,000 workers in the region. GCP was last active in a potential threat to DFAS in 2005 during a Base Realignment and Closure process that proposed to close the location. Business leadership and GCP collectively advocated to reverse the decision by the Department of Defense in order to keep the location open.
 
In a letter, GCP’s President & CEO Joe Roman thanked key members of the Ohio delegation for their efforts to support DFAS Cleveland in the FY 2019 NDAA. He wrote, “Ensuring the NDAA did not include language that could have potentially jeopardized DFAS jobs in Ohio was critical. Supporting this asset is not only vital to our nation’s security, it is also an important component of economic growth for Ohio.”
 
The NDAA now heads to the President for his signature.
 

GCP Supports Federal Public Transit Programs at Congressional Briefing

On behalf of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition—a group that GCP co-founded—Alesha Washington, GCP’s Vice President of Government Advocacy, presented at a congressional briefing hosted by Transportation for America on the importance of federal support for the country’s public transit programs. The panel included local elected officials, business executives, and transit leaders from across the country highlighting the importance of programs like the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) on the entire transit supply chain to nearly 40 congressional staff in Washington, D.C. 
 
Research produced by Transportation America found that there are more than 2,700 transit component manufacturers across the country that supply the infrastructure for the country’s public transit system; more than half of those manufacturers are in the Great Lakes states. The CIG program is the federal government’s primary funding for major transit capital investments, including heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars, and bus rapid transit. Without it, many projects would not have the full support they would need to be successful. The HealthLine, launched in 2008 by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, is one such transit project supported by the CIG program that continues to yield a high return on investment in Northeast Ohio.

GCP Insight: BlockLand

As you have likely heard, Cleveland leaders are organizing around a new initiative to transform and enhance our regional economy through blockchain technology.  This effort, referred to as BlockLand, is focused on how to reposition Cleveland on the cutting edge of technological advancement. So, what exactly is blockchain?  Click here to watch an interview with Brian Ray, professor of law and director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Governor Signs Cyber Legislation Supported by GCP, Blockchain Language Included

Senate Bill 220—legislation that would provide a legal safe harbor opportunity for covered entities that willingly implement a specified cybersecurity program—was signed into law by the Governor on Friday, August 3. GCP was in strong support of the legislation because it provides an incentive to encourage businesses to achieve a higher level of cybersecurity. The initiative is not a mandate.  

Over the course of the last year, GCP and our members have had encouraging dialogue, resulting in the introduction of this legislation. 

Language was also included in the bill that generally states: 
• "A record or contract that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be … an electronic record.”
• “A signature that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be … an electronic signature.”

 “We have increasingly identified cybersecurity as a critical issue and significant challenge,” said Tim Opsitnick, VP & General Counsel at Technology Concepts & Design, Inc. “We applaud this legislation because it is a voluntary action that recognizes the difficulty businesses have in protecting their ventures, their workforce, and those with whom they do business.  In addition, provisions in the bill clearly begin to signal Ohio is “open for business” with blockchain technologies.” 

Tim Opsitnick serves as Vice Chair of the Greater Cleveland Partnership Government Affairs Council and Chair of the COSE Small Business Caucus.