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Rep. Sweeney, House Dems outline priorities as Assembly returns to consider emergency legislation amid coronavirus outbreak

Says bills will help Ohio families, businesses impacted by public health, economic crises
March 23, 2020
Bride Rose Sweeney News

State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today joined Democratic colleagues to outline several key priorities as lawmakers return to the Statehouse this week to take up emergency measures to address the public health and economic crises facing the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ohio deserves a General Assembly that steps up to the plate in times of crisis,” said Rep. Sweeney. “I am eager to return to Columbus and pass urgent, bipartisan legislation that protects the health and safety of all Ohioans, preserves the integrity of our elections, and uses the full measure of the state’s power and resources to provide our constituents with much-needed relief and certainty during this pandemic.”

House Democrats have identified several key priorities they say will benefit working people, families and Ohio businesses, both in the short-term and long-term, including:

  • Expanding unemployment benefits and paid sick leave to more Ohioans;
  • Providing tax relief to families and small businesses;
  • Making COVID-19 medical expenses free, expanding telehealth access and allowing for longer supplies of medications to be prescribed;
  • Waiving required testing for K-12 students and halting expansion of EdChoice;
  • Protecting Medicaid and TANF benefits from interruption;
  • Enabling government bodies to meet remotely;
  • Extending absentee voting for Ohio Primary to April 28;
  • Prohibiting evictions and foreclosures to ensure Ohioans can stay in their homes;
  • Preventing gas, water and electricity service interruptions for Ohio households;
  • Allowing appropriate insurance coverage for businesses and individuals.

House Dems are evaluating all possible revenue streams for these proposals, including tapping into the state’s rainy day fund, which is near-capacity, as well as General Revenue funds and federal assistance. 

In addition, Dems plan to discuss utilizing state emergency dollars during a meeting of the state Controlling Board Monday, and intend to work with JobsOhio to identify ways in which that agency can assist in the support of state and local economies.