Smith: GOP Packs Workers' Comp Budget With Attacks On Workers
Firefighters see new barrier to care, workers pick up tab for reckless corporations, worker benefits cut
May 17, 2017
 
[ Kent Smith Home | Kent Smith Press ]
 
 

State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today voted “no” on the Republican-led charge to restrict worker’s access to healthcare and benefits through the state’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget bill, House Bill 27. The bill passed the House Insurance Committee and the House Finance Committee on a party-line vote Tuesday.


GOP lawmakers undertook a significant rewrite of what is typically a noncontroversial budget bill to include benefit restrictions on firefighters with cancer, a loophole for big corporations who hire undocumented workers, and a legal nod to the state’s largest failing online charter school and GOP campaign fundraiser, ECOT.


New restrictions also halve the amount of time workers currently have to file a claim, something Democrats say could economically destabilizes thousands of Ohio families.


“It’s clear that GOP leadership were having second thoughts about House Bill 27 as they broke with standard House procedures to get the bill passed,” said Smith. “Instead of rushing an important budget bill through the process, Republican leaders should be working diligently to secure the paychecks of Ohio’s working people.”


Though Democratic lawmakers were able to push GOP lawmakers in committee to remove greater restrictions on benefit coverage for firefighters with cancer and their families, majority party lawmakers maintained barriers to coverage for firefighters by requiring firefighters and their families to prove their specific type of cancer does not stem from causes other than exposure to toxic fumes, carcinogens and hazardous chemicals.


The new restrictions on BWC coverage for firefighters with cancer weakens the legislature’s bipartisan “Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act,” legislation signed into law in January that ensures benefit coverage for firefighters who develop cancer in the line of duty.


Democratic lawmakers offered amendments to preserve the Palumbo Act, extend post-traumatic stress disorder coverage to first responders, remove the ECOT language, and hold corporations that hire undocumented workers accountable. All were defeated along party lines.

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

Rep. Kent Smith Statement As U.S. Supreme Court Rules Workers Cannot Be Fired For LGBTQ Status

 

State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) issued a statement following Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling which held LGBTQ workers are protected from workplace discrimination under federal law.



 
 

The Five Fronts Of The COVID-19 Battle In Ohio

 

As a Member of the Ohio General Assembly, I know that Ohioans are facing a variety of challenges from this ever-changing public health crisis.  But using the simple lessons of the “how to eat an elephant” story (one bite at a time), let me offer the five different areas of public policy challenges and what my colleagues and I will be working on in the early stages of this struggle.



 
 

Why We Are Doing What We Are Doing And What You Should Do. - A COVID-19 Update From State Representative Kent Smith

 

The new Coronavirus has spread rapidly across the globe.  In less than two months, it has reached over 135 countries and infected more than 160,000 individuals.  Diseases do not stop at state or international borders.  It has come to Ohio and it is a public health emergency.  We dare not underestimate it.



 
 

Rep. Kent Smith Urges House Bill 9 Conference Committee To Restore Local Control To East Cleveland, Youngstown Schools

 

State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today sent a letter to the members of the House Bill (HB) 9 Conference Committee urging them to include in the bill language to remove East Cleveland and Youngstown schools from state control. The Senate-passed version of the bill had included a provision to restore local control only to Lorain schools.