This Week in Public Policy: September 13 - 17, 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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Click here to read updates from previous weeks.

In Ohio

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, the Senate Ways and Means Committee held SPONSOR Testimony on House Bill 140 (Property Tax Levies). The bill would make changes in the way a levy appears on a ballot, including identifying the amount of a tax calculated on the “appraised value” of a home instead of on the “taxable value” of a home. The bill’s sponsor testified that he believes the concerns raised by opponents are not warranted and that the bill was amended to accommodate opponents.

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, the Senate Judiciary Committee held SPONSOR Testimony on Senate Bill 202 (Guardianship/Custody – Disability Not Used). The bill would prohibit an individual’s disability from being used to consider their ability to be a guardian or to limit or deny custody, parenting time, visitation, etc. A version of this bill was considered in the Ohio House of Representatives in 2020, however, with the start of a new General Assembly, and the resignation of the bill’s sponsor to become a county commission, it was reintroduced by state Senator Bob Hackett and Nickie Antonio.

On Wednesday, September 15, 2021, the Senate Health Committee held SPONSOR Testimony on House Bill 122 (Telehealth Services). The bill expands the types of services that can be offered via telemedicine to include services offered by psychologists, audiologists and speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists and assistants, social workers, chemical dependency counselors and others.

In Washington

On Monday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a markup of the Build Back Better Plan. The committee adopted the following:

On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee did adopt language that include a 50% tax credit for qualified expenses associated with serving an individual with long-term care needs, which could include goods, services and supports for human assistance, supervision, cuing, and standby assistance, health maintenance task (such as medication management), respite care, assistive technologies and devices (including remote health monitoring), accessibility modifications of the qualified care recipient’s residence, counseling, support groups, or training relating to care for a qualified care recipient, and other items. The amount taken into account as a qualified expense for any taxable year cannot exceed $4,000.

The House is expected to consider the Build Back Better package in its entirety the week of September 27, 2021.

NEXT Week in Public Policy: September 20 - 24, 2021

In Ohio

On Thursday, September 23rd, 2021, the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee is scheduled to meet at 9:00 a.m. in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. The committee will hear testimony from Medicaid providers on their interactions with managed care plans. The committee will also receive presentations from the Ohio Department of Medicaid on budget and caseload reports and the managed care procurement process.

The House and Senate are scheduled to be in session on Wednesday. As of publication, only two house committees have scheduled hearings for next week.

In Washington

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, the Senate Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy will hold a hearing to examine policy options for improving Supplemental Security Income. This subcommittee is chaired by Ohio’s own US Senator Sherrod Brown. Scheduled to testify are Elizabeth Curda (US Government Accountability Office), Stephen Evanlista (Social Security Administration), Mia Ives-Rublee (Center for American Progress), and Kathleen Romig (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities). This hearing will be a virtual hearing and will begin at 2:45 p.m.

On Wednesday, September 22, 2021, the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, will hold a hearing to examine restoring the Voting Rights Act, focusing on combating discriminatory abuses. The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Facts That May Only Interest Me

2008 study by the University of California at San Diego estimated that Americans consumed 3.6 Zettabytes per day. A zettabyte is a million million gigabytes. Television accounted for 1.3 zettabytes and gaming accounted for 2 zettabytes. The study stated Americans consumed 1.3 trillion hours of data, averaging roughly 12 hours per person.