This Week in Public Policy: September 27 - October 1, 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 Tuesday, September 28, 2021, the House Civil Justice Committee held Sponsor Testimony on House Bill 352 (Custody/Visitation – Can’t Use Disability to Deny/Reduce). Representative Sharon Ray and former Representative Erica Crawley gave joint sponsor testimony, say the bill would require adherence to the Americans with Disabilities Act in cases of custody, guardianship, visitation and the like. Ranking member Tavia Galonski stated during questioning that she herself had dealt with several cases as a magistrate.

On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, the Senate Health Committee will held Proponent 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. Nearly 30 witnesses offered supporting testimony, including the National MS Society, Ohio Association for Behavior Analysis, Ohio Council of Behavioral Health Providers and the Ohio Physical Therapy Association.

On Thursday, September 30, 2021, the House Families, Aging and Human Services Committee held All Testimony on Senate Bill 58 (Esther’s Law – Cameras in Long Term Care Facilities). The bill would allow individuals to install cameras to monitor a family member in a long-term-care facility. The committee received written and in-person testimony from proponents and interested parties. One witness asked the committee to amend the bill to include assisted living facilities and to make the form for obtaining a camera consistent across all facilities.

In Washington

On Thursday, the US House and Senate adopted HR 5305, a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded through December 3, 2021. Issues that remain outstanding include a need to raise the debt limit, the $1 Trillion Infrastructure Package and the $3.5 Trillion Build Back Better Plan. It was reported on Friday that Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia would only support a reconciliation package up to $1.5 Trillion. Manchin is the vote needed to get to 50 for passage, placing in doubt the passage of any Build Back Better programs.

NEXT Week in Public Policy: October 4 - 8, 2021

In Ohio

On Wednesday, October 6, 2021, the Senate Health Committee will hold SPONSOR Testimony on House Bill 281 (Derogatory Language). The bill would remove terms considered derogatory to individuals with disabilities and mental illness. The hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the North Hearing Room of the Ohio Senate Building.

In Washington

On Thursday, October 7, 2021, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Subcommittee on Communication, Media, and Broadband will hold a hearing to examine the state of telehealth, focusing on removing barriers to access and improving patient outcomes. The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. in Room 263 of the Russell Senate Office Building.

Facts That May Only Interest Me

Cheerios were made possible by a physicist working for General Mills that developed a machine that puffed oats. The original cereal was called Cheerioats, but Quaker Oats threaten to sue for trademark infringement in 1945, so the name was changed to Cheerios. The first variation of Cheerios wasn’t Honey Nut Cheerios, but rather Cinnamon Nut Cheerios. Introduced in 1973, the “flanker” cereal was only offered a few years and discontinued. Honey Nut Cheerios was first offered in 1979. In 2006, the recipe for Honey Nut Cheerios was altered to remove nuts, replacing almonds with artificial flavoring. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration threatened Cheerios to stop making the claim that the cereal could lower cholesterol by 4% in 6 weeks or else apply for the cereal to be approved as a drug. General Mills responded the FDA had already approved statements related to consumption of soluble fiber as reducing cholesterol.