September Newsletter

We Need Your Help!

The legislature returns this week from its summer break. There are several bills pending that will help remove barriers to employment by expanding record sealing and treatment in lieu of conviction, allowing record expungement, changing drug sentencing statutes, and overhauling Ohio’s occupational licensing system to give more opportunity to Ohioans with criminal records.

We are supporting some of these bills and working to improve others. But we need your help! We need stories of Ohioans who have missed out on employment or occupational licensing opportunities because of their criminal records. If you have any clients or contacts that have experienced these barriers, please let us know by contacting Megan O’Dell at or 614-824-2621.

Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee Initiative

HB285, the bill which expands eligibility and makes the Initiative permanent, will have sponsor testimony on Tuesday, Sept. 10.  We are encouraged that the bill was scheduled for a hearing as soon as they returned from summer break. We are reaching out to members of the House Transportation and Commerce Committee to encourage swift action on this bill.

New Report Shows that Not All Ohio Workers are Thriving

It is probably not news to you, but according to the State of Working Ohio 2019 report, released by Policy Matters Ohio, low-income Ohioans are struggling despite the longest economic expansion in history.While unemployment is extremely low at the state and national level, Ohio job growth has stalled, Ohio labor force participation is lower than it has ever been, and Ohio wages have not caught up to previous peaks.The report finds that state and federal policymakers have cut taxes for the wealthiest, leaving communities with insufficient resources to invest in the next generation, treat addiction, and address effects of climate change like floods and lake pollution. 

Additional findings include:

  • Wage troubles: Median wages have been edging up since 2011, but Ohio wages remain behind U.S. wages (an $1,100 annual deficit) and behind Ohio’s 1979 median. Nine of Ohio’s 10 most common jobs pay under $36,000 a year, too little for a family of three to afford food without aid. With full-time work, women still earn nearly $7,000 less a year than men and black Ohioans earn over $10,000 less a year than white Ohioans at the median. Black workers earn far less than they did in 1979 – $4,742 less a year adjusted for inflation – and the gap has worsened.
  • Employment paradox: Ohio’s unemployment rate – 4.5% for 2018 and 4% in June and July 2019, is almost as good as it gets (2001’s annual rate was 4%). But Ohio has never had such a large share of men who are not working and no longer looking for work and the share of women working or seeking work is also below previous peaks.
  • Slowing job growth: Ohio lost 9,000 jobs from January to July 2019 (preliminary). The state remains 28,000 jobs below levels in early 2000. Ohio lost 5,700 public sector jobs since January 2017 and manufacturing job growth weakened substantially in 2019. 
Contact OPLC for more information: 
Susan Jagers
General OPLC information, Consumer issues  

Tim Johnson
Education, Health, and Children Services  

Graham Bowman
Medicaid and Public Benefits,Family Law   

Megan O’Dell
Employment issues, Housing