This Week in Public Policy: May 3 - 7, 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

The Senate Health Committee met several times this week to hear testimony on the state operating budget. On Wednesday, the committee’s focus included the budgets for the Departments of Aging and Medicaid. In addition to the directors of both agencies testifying on their budgets, the committee heard from public witnesses related to each agency’s budget requests. On Thursday, the committee held open testimony on all health and human services contained in the budget. The committee received testimony from 94 witnesses (roughly half were written-only). Several witnesses testified in support of increasing funding for direct support workforce wages and increases for Intermediate Care Facilities. Additionally, there were witnesses supporting an amendment requiring Disability Rights Ohio to submit to periodic oversight of its activities to the state. Concerns were raised by members of the committee that DRO was meeting with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities without their court-appointed guardian present. All of the testimony can be found on the committee’s website. Additionally, archived video of the committee’s hearings can be found online at

On Thursday, May 6, 2021, the Senate Oversight and Government Reform Committee accepted a SUBSTITUTE version of Senate Bill 17 (SNAP/MEDICAID Eligibility / Photo ID). In essence, substitute bill eliminated the Medicaid work/education requirements that were included in the as-introduced version. The bill also made changes to some of the requirements being imposed on the SNAP program. A comparison document of the changes can be found here. There were 11 opponents that submitted/provided testimony.

In Washington

On Thursday, April 29, 2021, US Senator Rob Portman introduced legislation to address the age cap for workers with disabilities participating in the Medicaid Buy-In Program. The bill text is not yet available, but is expected to eliminate the 65 year cap on participation in Medicaid Buy-In for Workers with Disabilities. Co-sponsoring the bill wit Senator Portman are currently Senators Bob Casey, Tim Scott and Catherine Cortez Masto. 

On Thursday, May 6, 2021, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing entitled, “Broadband Equity: Addressing Disparities in Access and Affordability.” Four witnesses testified to the subcommittee, pointing out that broadband should be considered a public utility for the purposes of expanding access and lowering the cost for low-income households.

NEXT Week in Public Policy: May 10 - 14, 2021

In Ohio

On Thursday, May 13, 2021, the Senate Finance Committee will take ALL testimony on health and human service topics contained in House Bill 110 (State Budget). Witnesses who are interested in testifying or wish to submit written-only testimony must submit a witness slip and their testimony to Chairman Dolan’s office by no later than 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 12th. The hearing will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. Witnesses planning to testify should be prepared to have their oral comments limited to 5 minutes.

On Thursday, May 13, 2021, the House Families, Aging and Human Services Committee will hold PROPONENT Testimony on House Bill 179 (Long-Term Care / Home Health Licensing). The bill would require licensing for skilled home health service and non-medical home health service providers, and provides expedited licensing inspections for residential care facilities. The hearing is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. in Hearing Room 116 of the Ohio Statehouse.

In Washington

On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, the Senate Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a hearing to examine equity in transportation infrastructure, focusing on connecting communities, removing barriers, and repairing networks across America. The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. in Room 216 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. 

On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the Fiscal Year 2022 Health and Human Services Budget. The hearing will take place at 10:30 a.m. The hearing is being conducted via Webex.

On Thursday, May 13, 2021, the House Education and Labor Committee, Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment will hold a hearing on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Reauthorization; Creating Opportunities for Youth Employment. The hearing will be conducted via Zoom.

Facts That May Only Interest Me:

Before the US Constitution was adopted, there were eight men appointed to serve one-year terms as President under the Articles of Confederation. This “president” was actually the president of Congress, as an executive branch did not yet exist. John Hanson was named the first President under the Articles of Confederation, and it is said that he hated the job. However, he completed his one-year term from November 5, 1781 to November 3, 1782. Hanson is credited with selecting the fourth Thursday in November as the day to celebrate Thanksgiving.