MARCH 2021 NEWSLETTER

Senate Bill Targets Public Benefit Programs

The Ohio Senate is considering a new bill that would significantly impact eligibility and enrollment processes for Ohio’s core social safety-net programs including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Unemployment Insurance. Senate Bill 17 contains several significant provisions, including imposing asset tests for SNAP and TANF, imposing change reporting in SNAP, implementingSNAP photo benefit cards, ending presumptive eligibility in Medicaid, aggressive unemployment collection procedures, and expanding Medicaid work requirements.

On February 24, the Ohio Senate Government Oversight and ReformCommittee heard opposition testimony to SB17. The Committee heard from 11witnesses and received written testimony from more than 40 other organizations. OPLC will continue to work with our partners to keep these proposals from being enacted.

Investments to Reduce Lead Exposure

OPLC is working with the Lead-Free Kids Coalition to support Governor MikeDeWine’s investments in lead control programs. His budget funds programs to continue the lead hazard control programs that make Ohio’s homes and communities lead safe. The Ohio Department of Health will perform lead hazard control and abatement services on hundreds of Ohio homes, conduct public outreach and education, and increase the number of lead hazard workers through the Lead Worker/Contractor Licensure Repayment Program. The budget includes $14.3 million for lead abatement. A new, statewide $3.5millionLead-Safe Housing Fund will provide competitive grants to Ohiocommunities to abate lead hazards in their housing stock, promoting revitalized, renewed communities. In addition, there is $92 million for the Ohio EPA for replacing an additional 1,500 lead service lines and more than 600failed home treatment systems across seven counties.

Council Meets to Address Issues with the Unemployment Compensation System

The Unemployment Compensation Modernization and Improvement Council, established last year in House Bill 614, is charged with creating a user-friendly unemployment compensation system and tasked with addressing the myriad of technology issues that the agency has faced since the start of the pandemic. Appointments to the Council were recently completed and include legislators and consumer and business representatives. In its first hearing, the Council heard from Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services Director KimberlyHenderson who detailed the steps the agency is currently taking, including developing a new website, adding 800 employees to handle claims, and implementing new IT systems.