December 2020 newsletter

Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee Program Begins this Month

The Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program, created by House Bill 285, begins on December 13, 2020. The program will reduce or waive reinstatement fees for certain suspensions.   All eligible drivers will receive a notice by mail and will be enrolled in the program after submitting proof of insurance. To be eligible for a complete waiver of fees on eligible suspensions, the driver must submit proof of indigence by showing participation in either SNAP, Medicaid, Ohio Works First, SSI, or Veteran’s Affairs Pension Benefits.   More information can be found on the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s website.

Legislation Introduced to Ensure Safe Nursing Home Discharges

It is critical that when nursing home residents are being discharged that they go to a setting that can meet their health care needs. Some senior service providers are seeing nursing home residents discharged to unsafe settings or without the proper equipment, medication, and health care services. Effective discharge planning and post-discharge planning is necessary to both meet federal standards and ensure that people with disabilities have the proper supports to live independently in the community. Improper discharge planning can result in re-admittance to a nursing home.  

The Ohio Poverty Law Center worked with Representatives Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) and Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) on legislation to ensure safe nursing home discharges. House Bill 792 was introduced on November 19, 2020. This legislation will help protect residents by allowing state hearing officers to consider the adequacy of a discharge transition plan and by addressing inconsistencies in the Ohio Revised Code.  

Our Work Needs Your Support

In response to the crisis, OPLC ramped up our efforts to ensure that Ohioans could stay safe in their homes, access benefits, and have the supports that they needed.

We successfully advocated for money for rent assistance. We pushed for more user-friendly changes to state and federal benefit systems and processes. We helped people keep their unemployment benefits when faced with health challenges or unsafe work environments.
We continue to advocate for equity in our health care system and our communities. We are calling for our elected leaders to declare racism a public health crisis.

In addition, we continued to push for policies that remove barriers to employment like waiving driver’s license reinstatement fees, making it easier to seal criminal records, and ensuring those with records have access to occupational licenses. Knowing that Black males have a disproportionate rate of involvement with the criminal justice system, we hope these policies will help give them a fair chance in hiring decisions.

None of this could happen without you. Your past support has allowed us to research, engage partners, and propose policy changes, build relationships with decision-makers, and tell our stories through the media. Thank you.

The challenges of the pandemic, racism, and continued policies that keep people poor are not going away. Your support will allow us to continue to work with our legal aid partners to bring the experiences and voices of their clients to policy discussions. Please, make a gift today at www.ohiopovertylawcenter.org.