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Stay informed with OAJ's bimonthly e-newsletter containing information from the Ohio Statehouse, OAJ head quarters and newspapers from around the state. Look for the newsletter in your inbox on Thursday mornings every other week.

Independent contractor truck drivers
OAJ is working to remove or amend from the House-passed transportation budget bill a section that defines independent contractor truck drivers.  The definition is added to Ohio wage and hour law, workers’ comp law, and unemployment comp law.  OAJ has alerted the Teamsters and the AFL-CIO to assist.

Click here to link to HB 62 – transportation budget bill

Scroll to line 1990 and line 2594 for wage and hour law, to line 2594 for workers’ comp law, and to line 2917 for unemployment comp law

Car sharing insurance
OAJ is working to remove a new regulation and insurance requirement for car sharing services from the House-passed transportation budget bill.  Car sharing arrangements are like Airbnb for personal autos.  OAJ needs time to analyze this and identify problems. 

Car sharing section begins on line 1827 in HB 62

First responder immunity
Rick Topper testified for OAJ in support of legislation that eliminates sovereign immunity for municipal employee’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle.  Rick explained how the bill would help protect Ohioans from uncompensated damage caused by a first responder’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle. The bill is pending in the House Civil Justice Committee.

Click here to link to HB 27

Click here to download Rick Topper’s testimony

Improving BWC website
After seeking input from membership, OAJ Section Chair Chelsea Fulton Rubin submitted suggestions to BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud on how to improve the Bureau’s website and make it more user-friendly for injured worker representatives. 

Rename BWC?
In a letter to Bureau employees, Administrator McCloud announced that an internal working group is exploring a name change for the BWC.  “Our name change doesn’t adequately reflect who we are, what we do or what we want to become,” she explained.

OAJ has strong concerns, starting with the cost of such a conversion and then how a new name might misrepresent the Bureau’s mission, which is to compensate injured workers.

Click here to download BWC name change memo

You don't want to miss this year's Annual Convention!
This year's Annual Convention is May 1st-3rd and is one you won't want to miss! We have a great lineup of speakers, informative CLE topics, and a new event on Thursday night. Click here to learn what the new event is and to register. 

March Webinars
We have several great webinars happening this month. Click here to view our webinar calendar.


New medical release authorization form
The Ohio Department of Medicaid recently finalized a regulation (OAC 5160-1-32.1) that creates a new standard authorization form for the release of medical records.  The form will simplify discovery in many areas of law, especially for workers’ compensation claims.

BWC Board approves rate cuts
As expected, the Board endorsed a 20% rate cut for private employers, the largest premium reduction in 60 years, which is expected to save employers $244 million annually.  

At the same time, the Board voted to remove OxyContin from its formulary and replace the opioid painkiller with a drug the Bureau says is harder to abuse.  Both changes are effective July 1.

Legislation of interest introduced
In the first days of this new General Assembly, several bills that OAJ supports have been introduced. 

  • Punitive Damages (SB 46) Expands the exemption from the cap on punitive damages from knowing conduct to strict liability offenses – OAJ supports
  • First responder immunity (HB 27) Eliminates sovereign immunity for municipal employee’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle – OAJ supports
  • Commercial credit reporting (HB 38Grants businesses the same rights as consumers to review their credit report and challenge allegedly inaccurate statements – OAJ supports
  • Workers’ compensation (HB 81) Provides coverage for prison guards who are exposed to inmate’s bodily fluids – OAJ supports

2019 Annual Convention: register today and save $100!
Take advantage of our early bird special when you register for the 2019 Annual Convention today! The Convention is May 1st-3rd at the Hilton in Easton. Click here to view this year's speaking lineup and register.

Last call for OAJ award and leadership nominations
Today is the last day to make nominations for OAJ awards and leadership positions. Please use the links below to make a nomination.

Click here for OAJ award nominations.

Click here for leadership nominations.

Webinar: Qualified Settlement Structures
Join Anne Lawter, a Ringler consultant, on March 13th for a webinar on Qualified Settlement Structures. Anne will discuss the relevant law, strategies for effectively using QSFs, and the process to set it up. The webinar will run from 3:00pm-4:30pm and is $25 for OAJ members. Click here to learn more and register.