This Week in Public Policy - January 11 - 15, 2021

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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In Ohio

On Monday, January 11, 2021, the MOVEOhio Statewide Coalition released their platform for the next transportation budget (which must be completed by March 31, 2021). The statewide coalition identified two issues they are seeking in the next state transportation budget. The platform seeks an increase in state funding (up to $160 Million) for transit and rail funding and the creation of a dedicated funding source (state bonds or tax revenue).

On Monday, January 11, 2021, the Ohio Department of Medicaid announced a new Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) to manage the pharmacy benefit for Medicaid recipients. Gainwell Technologies was selected out of an applicant pool that include Express Scripts, RxAdvance, and Magellan Rx Management, among others. The move to a new PBM was prompted by Columbus Dispatch reports that the previous PBM program was negotiating better drug prices but keeping the difference, thus no actual savings were being experienced by taxpayers. The new program includes a Pharmacy Operational Support Vendor responsible for auditing the new PBM. This entity has not yet been selected by Medicaid.

On Monday, January 11, 2021, the first OhioRISE Advisory Council met. OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence) is a Council created to address improving services for children served by multiple state and local agencies (multi-system youth). The Council is comprised of representatives from the governor’s office, state agencies and 35 individuals representing community providers, advocates, and families. The Council has created 3 workgroups for which the membership will conduct discussions: Service Stakeholders, Eligibility and Care Coordination, and Implementation and Operations. The Services Stakeholder workgroup is scheduled to meet Tuesday, January 19th.

On Wednesday, January 13, 2021, the Ohio Senate released their calendar for the first six months of 2021. The first round of committee hearings are scheduled to begin January 26. The Senate is generally scheduled to meet every week beginning in February until Spring Break, scheduled for the weeks of April 5 and April 12. Senate Sessions will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 11:00 a.m. on Thursdays.

On Thursday, January 14, 2021, the Ohio Senate introduced two bills. Senate Bill 1 pertains to teaching financial literacy and Senate Bill 2 pertains to mental health capacity for criminal cases.

On Friday, January 15, 2021, the Ohio Senate announced the standing committees of the Ohio Senate, along with membership. Key committees affecting people with disabilities include:

Committee Members Phone
Finance Dolan (Chair), Gavaronne (Vice), Sykes (RM), Blessing, Brenner, Hottinger, Lang, Manning, Peterson, Romanchuk, Schuring, Antonio, Craig 614-466-8056
Government Oversight & Reform Roegner (Chair), McColley (Vice), Craig (RM), Hoagland, Lang, Schaffer, Thomas 614-466-4823
Health S. Huffman (Chair), Antani (Vice), Antonio (RM), Johnson, Roegner, Romanchuk, Thomas 614-466-6247
Primary and Secondary Education

Brenner (Chair), Blessing (Vice), Fedor (RM), S. Huffman, O’Brien, Rulli, Sykes


Kunze (Chair), Reineke (Vice), Antonio (RM), Antani, Blessing, Hoagland, Manning, O’Brien, Roegner, Rulli, Schaffer, Maharath, Williams

Workforce & Higher Education Johnson (Chair), Cirino (Vice), Williams (RM), McColley, Reineke, Rulli, Antonio 614-466-8082

In Washington

No updates on disability-related issues.

NEXT Week in Public Policy: January 18 - 22, 2021

In Ohio

Concerns about violent protests have prompted the governor and Columbus mayor to “close” downtown Columbus until after Wednesday’s inauguration. Citizens are being advised to steer clear of the downtown area beginning Sunday.

In Washington

No disability-related committees will be meeting. The US Senate will kick off confirmation hearings for a handful of President-elect Biden’s cabinet picks (thought HHS is not included in this batch of hearings). These hearings will occur on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021.

Upcoming Dates and Events

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021, the Ohio Home and Community Based Services Coalition will be holding an Advocacy 101 Panel. Featured speakers include Connie Nolder (CRN Consultants), Gina Wilt (Coalition for Homelessness & Housing) and Susan Kohler (Disability Rights Ohio). The panel will be conducted via video conference and will begin at 2:00 p.m.

Monday, February 1, 2021 is the Constitutional deadline for Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to deliver a budget to the Ohio General Assembly. This “budget” historically is a “blueprint” budget (Blue Book) that outlines the goals and initiatives without all of the specific language.

Facts That May Only Interest Me: In general, most golf balls have about 300-500 dimples on them. The Titleist Pro VI golf ball released in 2018 has 352 dimples on it, yet the Pro VIX has 328 dimples. The record for the most dimples on a golf ball is 1,070.  The average depth of each dimple is 0.010 inch. A variation of 0.001 inch can drastically affect the aerodynamic performance of the ball. This writer is still looking for the dimple pattern that doesn’t cause his ball to automatically fly into wooded areas and ponds.