Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 197, cosponsored by State Rep. Haraz N. Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg), into law Friday. The legislation addresses a variety of challenges and impacts to state law as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I remain focused on ensuring the safety of our citizens while working to keep our government functioning and delivering impactful solutions during this pandemic,” said Ghanbari. “I am proud to be part of strong bipartisan legislation that will help our fellow citizens here in Wood County and Ohioans across our state. I am in constant communication with constituents, local elected officials and my colleagues at the state and federal level.”
The emergency legislation passed under House Bill 197 addressed many issues, including:
- Testing & Accountability – Eliminates state-mandated K-12 student assessments for the 2019-20 school year. It eliminates Ohio’s school district and school building report cards for the 2019-20 school year, prohibits ODE from assigning letter grades to buildings or districts, prohibits rankings based on report card data and creates “safe harbor” for schools and districts to ensure data from the 2019-20 school year will have no effect in determining sanctions or penalties. The proposal directs ODE to seek a waiver from federal testing requirements.
- EdChoice Scholarship – The bill freezes the 2019-20 performance-based EdChoice building eligibility list at 517 buildings for the 2020-21 school year. The legislation allows siblings of current voucher students to participate. Under continuing law, the EdChoice application portal will open for 60 days beginning April 1, 2020, to process income-based EdChoice vouchers, renewals of existing performance-based vouchers, and new students attending the 517 buildings already on the list. The bill prohibits expansion of the building list to 1,227 buildings.
- 2020 Primary Election – The primary election in-person voting was cancelled due to the public health crisis. Ohioans that were eligible to vote on March 17, 2020, will be able to cast their ballot by mail with the postmark date on or before April 27, 2020. In-person voting will only occur on April 28 and only at boards of elections early vote centers, not at precinct polling locations. And in-person voting will only be available for individuals with disabilities who require in-person voting and those who do not have a home mailing address. Those Ohioans that cast their ballot early will have their vote count. The Ohio Secretary of State will mail all voters a postcard informing them on how they will be able to request their ballot by mail from their local county Board of Elections. The board will send them their ballot and a postage paid return envelope.
- Tax Year 2019 and 2020 Changes - Ohio’s tax filing deadline will be the same as the federal filing deadline, July 15.
The legislation also addressed other areas of concern including unemployment compensation, health care workforce support, childcare access, water access, and more.
Ohio Coronavirus resources: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov or 833.4.ASK.ODH