This Week in Public Policy - December 3-14, 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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Click here to read previous week's updates.

Due to Council meetings last week, there was not a "This Week in Public Policy" update. This update includes that week.

In Ohio

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee amended and passed 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 Thursday, December 6, 2018, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 29-0 and on Wednesday, December 12th, the House agreed to the Senate amendments (amendments were technical in nature). The bill will be sent to the Governor.

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee voted to pass 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.

On Wednesday, December 5, 2018, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass 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. On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, the Ohio Senate voted 31-0 to approve HB 271. Because the Senate did not make any amendments to the bill, it does not need a concurrence vote in the House. The bill will be sent to the Governor.

On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, the Senate voted 23-9 to approve House Bill 119 (SNAP Program Verification). The bill would require reverification of eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and for Medicaid to occur four times per year if new information is presented that would call into question the eligibility of an individual for either program. On Thursday, December 13, 2018, the House agreed to the Senate amendments by a vote of 65-20. The bill will be sent to the Governor.

On Thursday, December 6, 2018, the Senate passed House Bill 286 (Palliative Care Programs) by a vote of 29-0. 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. On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, the House agreed to the Senate amendments with a vote of 93-0. The bill will be sent to the Governor.

In Washington

On Thursday, December 6, 2018, House Resolution 7217 was introduced. The bill cobbles together a few different bills dealing with Medicaid issues, including a 3-month extension of the Money Follows the Person Program. Other issues included in the bill pertain to excluding manual wheelchairs and accessories from competitive bidding, and language related to the cost of prescription drugs under the Medicaid program. The House has acted quickly to pass this bill (12/11/18). The Senate is expected to pass the bill before the year ends. The MFP 3-month extension is a short term resolution as the next Congress is expected to work out a longer-term solution.

On Monday, December 10, 2018, the National Council on Disability submitted a letter to the US Department of Homeland Security. There has been an effort at the federal level related to changing the rules around “public charges”. A public charge is the amount of cash benefits that a non-citizen is expected to need upon entering the United States. New rules would expand the scope of the public charge rule to include other government services that are not cash benefits. The letter can be found here.

NEXT Week in Public Policy: December 17-21, 2018

In Ohio

The House and Senate have “If Needed” sessions scheduled, but they are not expected to be in next week. The Senate has scheduled session on Thursday, December 27, 2018 in preparation to hold votes to override vetoes of the Governor.

Cabinet Watch

Governor-Elect Mike DeWine has begun to make appointments to key staff and cabinet agencies. So far, the big disability-related agencies remain to be announced. Here are Cabinet positions and named appointments, if made. The named appointments are in bold print.

  • Adjutant General – John Harris
  • Administrative Services
  • Aging
  • Agriculture
  • Budget and Management – Kimberly Murnieks
  • Commerce – Sheryl Maxfield
  • Development Services Agency
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Health
  • Higher Education
  • Insurance
  • Job and Family Services
  • Medicaid
  • Mental Health and Addiction Services
  • Natural Resources – Mary Mertz
  • Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities
  • Public Safety – Thomas Stickrath
  • Public Utilities
  • Rehab and Corrections
  • Taxation
  • Transportation
  • Veterans Services
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Youth Services

In Washington

No pertinent committees identified at this time.