This Week in Public Policy - February 25 - March 1, 2019

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.

To subscribe to these weekly updates, send an email to Paul Jarvis at paul.jarvis@dodd.ohio.gov.

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In Ohio

On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee held SPONSOR TESTIMONY on Senate Bill 25 (Medicaid Work/Education Requirements). The bill would implement work and education requirements for individuals who are eligible for Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act’s Expansion Group (known as Group 8 in Ohio). Senator Matt Huffman’s testimony can be found here.

On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, the House Ways and Means Committee held PROPONENT TESTIMONY on House Bill 60 (Sales Tax Exemption on Diapers). The bill would eliminate the sales tax on child and adult diapers. The committee received oral and written testimony in support of the bill from 9 organizations:

On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, the Senate Ways and Means Committee held SPONSOR Testimony on Senate Bill 36 (Federally Subsidized Rental Property Valuation). The bill would require the amount of taxes collected on a rental property be based on the market value of the property and not on the value of the property that is calculated on the amount of actual rent that is collected. This means that properties that rent to individuals with federal subsidies such as a HUD Voucher will be required to pay higher taxes. Senator Matt Huffman stated in sponsor testimony that he introduced the bill because the Board of Tax Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Logan County overvalued a rental property that provides below market rents to individuals as a requirement of a federal subsidy, which caused the county to have to pay back the rental property $55,000 in overpaid taxes.

On Thursday, February 28, 2019, the House Aging and Long-Term Care Committee will meet to adopt committee rules. The hearing will take place at 11:00 a.m. in Room 122 of the Ohio Statehouse.

In Washington

On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, the House Education and Labor Committee, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing entitled, “Classrooms in Crisis: Examining the Inappropriate Uses of Seclusion and Restraint Practices.” Four witnesses were present to testify. Dr. George Sugai referenced the “Keeping All Students Safe Act” in his testimony, though legislation has not been introduced yet this session. He provided information an background on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Renee Smith, a parent from Coventry, Connecticut, shared her son’s story of restraint and seclusion with the committee and the difficult journey they undertook to get their school to implement PBIS rather than restrain and seclude their son. Jacqueline Nowicki, director of Education, Workforce and Income Security at the Government Accountability Office provided the committee with a report that GAO conducted that showed approximately 61,000 students were restrained or secluded in the 2013-2014 school year. Allison Sutton, a special education teacher in the Wichita Public Schools, told the committee there is little training on the topic of seclusion and restraint, best practices and parental notification and documentation.

NEXT Week in Public Policy - March 4 - 9, 2019

In Ohio

On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Governor Mike DeWine will give his first State of the State Address to a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly. State of the States are an opportunity for the Governor to report on the status of Ohio’s state government and to outline priorities the Governor will be focusing on in the coming year. The State of the State will begin at 12:00 p.m. in the House of Representatives Chamber. The event requires a ticket to enter but will be streamed live on the Ohio Channel.

On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, more than 500 Ohioans with disabilities, family members, county board staff, direct support providers, and professionals in the field of developmental disabilities will kick off Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month at the Ohio Statehouse. Scheduled to speak are self advocates Travis Dresbach and Dara Walburn. Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Treasurer of State Robert Sprague, Director of DD Jeff Davis, Director of OOD Kevin Miller, and Disability Cocoon Founder Dustin Wright will also be featured speakers. Master of Ceremonies will be Shari Cooper. This event required registration an is full, but will also be streamed on the Ohio Channel beginning at 10:00 a.m.

On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, the Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold PROPONENT Testimony on Senate Bill 36 (Federally Subsidized Rental Property Valuation). The bill would require the amount of taxes collected on a rental property be based on the market value of the property and not on the value of the property that is calculated on the amount of actual rent that is collected. This means that properties that rent to individuals with federal subsidies such as a HUD Voucher will be required to pay higher taxes. This hearing will take place in the South Hearing Room of the Ohio Senate Building at 4:00 p.m.

In Washington

On Thursday, March 7, 2019, the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing entitled, “Stakeholder Perspectives: Affordable Housing Production.” Scheduled to testify are: Mr. Scott Farmer, executive director of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency; Ms. Ellen Hoffman, federal policy director of the National Housing Trust; and Mr. Anthony Scott, CEO of Durham Housing Authority. The hearing will take place at 10:30 a.m. in 2358-A Rayburn House Office Building. Live Streams of the hearing may be obtained by visiting the committee’s website at the time of the hearing.