This Week in Public Policy - November 26 - 30, 2018

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.

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In Ohio

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee held its FIRST HEARING, SPONSOR TESTIMONY on House Bill 572 (PERS – County Board School Employees). The bill fixes an issue created for school employees working at a county board of developmental disabilities school whereby the employees were not receiving a full year of pension service credit when employees in other public schools receive the credit.

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, the Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee held its SECOND HEARING, PROPONENT TESTIMONY on House Bill 300 (State ID Expiration Date for PWD). The bill would provide that identification cards issued to individuals with disabilities would have an expiration period of 15 years, instead of 4, making them last longer. People who support this bill can testify before the committee. Cassandra McDonald, representing the L.A.W.R.S. Foundation, provided written testimony.

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its THIRD HEARDING, ALL TESTIMONY on House Bill 271 (ADA Notification). The bill would create a process to notify a business of a potential ADA violation and provide the business an opportunity to correct the violation before an individual could file a lawsuit and recover attorney’s fees in state court. Written only testimony was provided by Jo Spargo, Chair of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Interested Party), Dan Acton, representing the Ohio Real Estate Investors Association (Proponent) and Sante Ghetti, representing the Greater Cleveland Partnership (Proponent). Chairman Bacon suggested the bill would be amended and passed on Thursday, but it was not brought up for consideration at the hearing scheduled for Thursday, November 29, 2018. It is believed that other legislation may be amended into the bill.

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, the Senate Health Human Services and Medicaid will hold its FIFTH HEARING, ALL TESTIMONY on House Bill 286 (Palliative Care Programs). The bill would create the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Council, to establish the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program, and require health care facilities to identify patients and residents who could benefit from palliative care. The bill was amended and passed out of the committee. Amendments to the bill clarified that no new Medicaid benefit would be created and also relates to the ability to transfer long-term care beds across county lines. 

In Washington

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination and the National Disability Rights Network sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos requesting the Department of Education to not re-open regulations but rather provide technical assistance related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The US Department of Education announced in June that it intends to revise the regulations related to WIOA, and many disability organizations are opposing any revisions to the regulations and instead, calling for technical assistance and guidance of existing regulations.  The proposed revisions have not been issued, but are expected in January.

On Thursday, November 29, 2018, the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (ITEM) Coalition issued a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee urging passage of HR 3730. The bill would exempt Complex Rehab Technology wheelchair accessories and components from Medicare’s Competitive Bid Program. As is pointed out in the letter, CMS has exempted these accessories from the Competitive Bid Program for power wheelchairs, but not for manual wheelchairs. The ITEM Coalition is hoping the legislation can pass before the end of the year.

Next Week in Public Policy: December 3 - 7, 2018

In Ohio

As of writing, no pertinent hearings have been scheduled for next week. It is lame duck, so there may be reasons why committee schedules are being delayed. The Senate Judiciary Committee, where HB 271 (ADA Notification) is scheduled to meet on Monday , December 3rd, but the bill is currently not on the agenda. If there are a flurry of late notices, a new update may be sent.

In Washington

No pertinent committees identified at this time.