This Week in Public Policy provides a summary of policy and legislation in Ohio and at the federal level that is of interest to people with disabilities.
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On Tuesday, May 22, the Senate Judiciary Committee held SPONSOR Testimony on House Bill 271 (ADA Violation Notice). The bill creates a process to allow reimbursement of attorney’s fees in cases where an individual has given a business a chance to correct a violation but the business refuses to do so. State Representative Jeff Rezabek provided sponsor testimony. The committee asked no questions.
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, the Senate Judiciary Committee held PROPONENT Testimony on House Bill 309 (Blindness-Guardianship and Adoption). The bill prohibits discrimination in the adoption or guardianship process due to the parent or guardian being blind. Two witnesses were present to testify and several others provided written testimony only. Richard Payne testified on behalf of the National Federal of the Blind – Ohio, and Heather Leiterman testified on behalf of herself. Both witness discussed what can happen in divorce proceedings when it comes to custody of children and there is a parent who is blind. Written testimony was also provided by Barbara Pierce, Sheri Albers and Suzanne Turner, all representing the National Federation of the Blind, either Ohio or Cleveland. The committee asked no questions.
On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the House Aging and Long Term Care Committee held ALL Testimony on House Bill 572 (PERS – County Board School Employee). The bill would fix a change in law that said that the school employees of a county board of developmental disabilities could not earn a full year credit in the Public Employees Retirement System because they only worked 9 months out of the year. Erich Bittner, representing the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, and Robert Davis, representing the Ohio Education Association, provided testimony in support of the measure. Written testimony was also provided from individuals employed in the county board system in Coshocton and Ashland counties: Lisa Stanley, Beth Tumblin, Lynette Hardesty and Tara Kehl.
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee voted to pass House Bill 332 (Organ Donation – Disabilities). The bill prohibits the consideration and discrimination of a person’s disability when determining eligibility for an organ transplant or placement on an organ or tissue waiting list. On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the Ohio Senate passed the bill by a vote of 31-0. The bill must go back to the Ohio House for concurrence of Senate amendments.
On Thursday, Governor John Kasich signed Executive Order 2018-06K: Establishing the Technology First Initiative and the Ohio Technology First Council and Expanding the Use of Supportive Technology for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. The order would require consideration of how supportive technology can be used to aid individuals with developmental disabilities. The Ohio Technology First Council will consist of 10 members:
- Director of Department of Developmental Disabilities
- Director of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities
- Representative of Autism Organization
- Representative of County Boards of DD
- Representative of I/DD Advocacy Organization
- Representative of Higher Education familiar with supportive technology research
- Two Providers of Services with significant experience with supportive technology
- One Parent or Guardian with experience
- One Person with a Developmental Disabilities with experience.
On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the US House Committee on Appropriations held a full committee markup on the FY 2019 Appropriations Bill for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. The committee adopted and passed the bill, providing $71.8 Billion in discretionary funding ($1.5 billion increase) above 2018 enacted level.
NEXT Week in Public Policy
Memorial Day Week
On Thursday, the House Aging and Long Term Care Committee will hold ALL Testimony on House Bill 572 (PERS – County Board School Employees). The bill would fix a change in law that said that the school employees of a county board of developmental disabilities could not earn a full year credit in the Public Employees Retirement System because they only worked 9 months out of the year. The hearing will take place at 3:00 p.m. in Hearing room 122 of the Ohio Statehouse. The bill is scheduled for a possible vote.
No pertinent hearings schedule next week.