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This Week in Public Policy: September 18 - 22, 2017

In Ohio:

On Wednesday, September 20, the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 144 (State Rehabilitation Council). The bill proposes to merge the Consumer Advisory Council, the Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities and the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Commission into a single Council comprised of 15 individuals, a majority of whom would be individuals with disabilities. Testimony was offered by Michael Kirkman, executive director of Disability Rights Ohio and written testimony was submitted by Larry Benders, president and CEO of the Cleveland Sight Center. Kirkman thanked Senator Burke for working with his organization on changes to the bill, and highlighted some remaining concerns, including the requirement that the CAP appointee be a full-time employee and the fact that individuals with disabilities will not be paid for their time on the new Council, as they have been on the current Commission. Kirkman also expressed a desire to see the name changed from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Council to something else, but did not provide a replacement.

On Wednesday, September, the House Civil Justice Committee heard proponent testimony on House Bill 271 (ADA Lawsuits). The bill would require individuals to notify a business of any ADA violations and give the business an extended period of time to attempt to rectify the violation before the individual could file a lawsuit and receive compensation for attorney’s fees. Providing testimony in support of the bill were the following organizations:

The testimony was geared towards lawsuits where the plaintiffs’ attorneys were only seeking settlement, and not interested in redress or correction of the violation of the ADA. Representative Bill Seitz stated that he supported the bill, but had concerns that it would be pre-empted by federal law.

It is not known when opponent testimony or interested party testimony may be offered. It is expected either October 4th or October 11th.

On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, the House Community and Family Advancement Committee held Sponsor Testimony on House Bill 309 (Blindness – Guardianship/Adoption). The bill would prohibit a person’s blindness from being used to deny or limit custody, parenting time, visitation, adoption, or service as a guardian. Representatives Anne Gonzalez and Jeff Rezabek provided testimony, saying that they hadn’t received any constituent concerns about the issue, but rather, 14 other states have introduced and passed similar legislation.

In Washington:

The US Senate met on Tuesday, September 19th and considered two resolutions (Fall Prevention Day and Kinship Care Month). Several bills were introduced, including S. 1829 (Blumenthal) to extend the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, and S. 1835 (Collins) to provide support to states to establish “invisible” high-risk insurance pools.


NEXT Week in Public Policy: September 25 - 30, 2017

In Ohio:

On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee will receive a presentation from Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee Director Susan Ackerman about Medicaid 1115 Waivers. Medicaid 1115 Waivers allow states to implement demonstration or pilot programs to support individuals in non-traditional ways. Ackerman will cover the Healthy Ohio, Health Indiana, and Initiatives from Other States. The hearing will take place at 3:15 p.m. in the South Hearing Room of the Ohio Senate Building.

On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 144 (State Rehabilitation Council). All testimony will be allowed and the committee has scheduled a possible vote on the bill. The hearing will take place at 9:45 a.m. in the Senate Finance Hearing Room of the Ohio Senate Building.

In Washington:

On Monday, September 25, 2017, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The hearing will take place at 2:00 p.m. in Dirksen Room 215. The hearing will be streamed on the committee’s website at https://www.finance.senate.gov/hearings/hearing-to-consider-the-graham-cassidy-heller-johnson-proposal. (Note: Congress.gov has this hearing scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m., but the committee’s website has the hearing scheduled for 2:00 p.m.) As of this report, it is unclear whether the healthcare repeal and replace will move forward, as Senators John McCain and Rand Paul have confirmed that they are NO votes on the bill. Senator Susan Collins has indicated opposition, but has not stated affirmatively what her vote will be.


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