This Week in Public Policy, written by DD Council staff person Paul Jarvis, 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 Monday, February 10, 2020, Representative Mark Frazier introduced House Bill 498 (Tax Credit – Disability-related Expenses). The bill would create a refundable income tax credit for expenses incurred by an individual to make their home more accessible. According to the bill, only expenses to accommodate, “more accessibility or universal visitability,” would be eligible for the credit, which would be administered by the Ohio Department of Aging, and includes, but is not limited to wheelchair ramps, bathtub bars, and zero-step entrances. The credit could also be applied to expenses incurred for a “qualifying individual” for respite care, adult day care, hiring a home aide or personal care attendant, or assistive technology necessary for the care of the taxpayer or taxpayer’s spouse or dependent. The credit would be capped at $5,000 per year, and the total number of credits in a taxable year could not exceed $10 million.
On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, the House Health Committee held SPONSOR Testimony on House Concurrent Resolution 20 (Standardization of Medicaid Waivers). The Resolution urges Congress to standardize Home and Community-Based Services Waivers under Medicaid to better accommodate military families who have children with special needs. Sponsors of the bill, Representatives Haraz Ghanbari and Jeanine Boyd, testified that HCR 20 is an extension of a bill passed last year by the committee (HB 287 – HCBS Waivers for Military Families).
On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee amended and voted our House Bill 295 (Low-Speed Electric Scooters). The bill would regulate the use of electric scooters (defined as a device weighing less than 200 pounds with handlebars). The committee heard SPONSOR Testimony on Senate Bill 249 (Adult Changing Stations). The bill would enact Matthew’s Law, requiring all public buildings to have at least one rest room facility with an adult changing station. The bill also provides an income tax credit to defray the cost of installation. Senator Peggy Lehner explained the bill was brought to her by students from a Dayton-area school on behalf of their teacher, who had a son, Matthew, whom she could not take out in public because public bathrooms did not accommodate adults who had needs for a changing table.
On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, the Senate General Government and Agency Review held ALL Testimony on Senate Bill 246 (Occupational Licensing Reciprocity). The bill would require the occupational licensing authority to issue a license or government certification to an applicant who holds a license, government certification, private certification, or has satisfactory work experience in another state. A number of witnesses, testifying as interested parties, stated they would like their professions removed from the bill, including contractors, mental health and counseling professionals, and medical professionals. Some of the concerns about allowing licensed professionals from other states to freely practice in Ohio related to the difference in licensing or certification standards from one state to another, with many witnesses testifying that Ohio’s standards may be superior to some other states.
On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran publicly stated the Ohio Department of Medicaid would not be seeking to participate in the proposed demonstration program that allows states to Block Grant Medicaid.
On Monday, February 10, 2020, President Donald Trump introduced his Federal Fiscal Year 2021 Budget. As expected, the budget included cuts to many programs, including DD Act Programs. A summary of the proposal can be found here, although many congressional appropriators are already signaling the proposal is dead on arrival.
NEXT Week in Public Policy: February 17 - 21, 2020
On Wednesday, February 19, 2020, the Senate General Government and Agency Review Committee will hold ALL Testimony on Senate Bill 246 (Occupational Licensing Reciprocity). The bill would require the occupational licensing authority to issue a license or government certification to an applicant who holds a license, government certification, private certification, or has satisfactory work experience in another state. The hearing will take place at 3:15 p.m. in the North Hearing Room.
On Thursday, February 20, 2020, the House Aging and Long-Term Care Committee will hold SPONSOR Testimony on House Bill 461 (Esther’s Law – Video Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities). The bill would permit electronic monitoring of a family member’s room in a Long-Term Care Facility. The hearing will take place at 11:00 a.m. in Room 122 of the Ohio Statehouse.
Only a few hearings have been scheduled for next week, none with specific focus on disability-related issues.
Facts That May Only Interest Me: Monday is not, “President’s Day.” The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 changed the celebration of George Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February. While the third Monday in February is now almost universally accepted as President’s Day to honor both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays, federal law (5 USC 6103) actually lists Monday as, “Washington’s Birthday.” The same law had also changed Veteran’s Day to the fourth Monday in October, but that was changed back to November 11 by Congress in 1975, effective 1978.