Rep. Blair, 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
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COLUMBUS—State Rep. Gil Blair (D-Weahersfield) 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.

“Federal, state, and local leaders are working together to combat the outbreak of COVID-19,” said Rep. Blair. “We must make resources available to first responders, businesses, and residences for immediate economic support for local governments, businesses, and residences facing never before seen challenges.

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.

Rep. Blair has also called for the Local Government Fund to be restored to pre-Kasich levels due to anticipated reductions in sales tax and property taxes for local governments.  

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. 



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