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Rep. Lightbody, 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
Mary Lightbody News

State Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) 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.

“These are highly unusual times and I feel a duty to my constituents to be as thoughtful and proactive as I can be to assist those who are suffering from economic hardships and emotional turmoil. As a community of dedicated leaders, the Ohio House Democrats have been in close communication with each other and with individuals and businesses, both large and small, in our districts,” said Rep. Lightbody.

“We will be working this week to pass legislation to address a number of critical issues, to identify resources we have in the state and coming from the federal government, and to help us all get through this emergency health situation. Please follow the new restrictions on our movements, and stay safe and well through these times. I am fully confident that we will come through these times stronger as a community, as a state, and as a nation.”

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.