COLUMBUS – House Bills 16, 81 and 287, sponsored by State Representative Rick Perales, have passed out of the House and Senate and now await the Governor’s signature.


House Bill 16 will help reduce the cost of education for Active Duty Service members and their eligible family members.


This bipartisan legislation allows active duty members of the armed forces who are not stationed in Ohio and their eligible family members to qualify for in-state tuition, as long as the student is living in the state on the first day of a term of enrollment.


“I, along with other Ohio leaders, strongly support and appreciate members of our military and their families,” said Perales. “House Bill 16 is a tangible way to show them our appreciation.”


House Bill 81 seeks to codify in the Ohio Revised Code a requirement for the Administrator of Workers’ Compensation or a self-insuring public employer to pay for services used to determine whether a person employed by a detention facility sustained an injury or occupational disease after exposure to another person’s blood or bodily fluids under specified circumstances.


“This bill ensures that our dedicated corrections officers receive the medical care they deserve,” said Perales. “Corrections officers are often spat on or, in extreme cases, attacked by the inmates they supervise. With the current opioid epidemic our state is facing, it is common for incarcerated perpetrators to ‘dry out’ and begin vomiting and splitting uncontrollably on corrections personnel attempting to provide them with care. It is wrong for us to force these public servants to pay for the same medical care that peacemakers, fire fighters and EMS workers receive for free.”


This bill was brought to Perales’s attention by Greene County Sheriff Gene Fisher, who has had several personnel classified as corrections officers experience financial hardships in paying the cost of services their peers receive free of charge.


Additional amendments to the bill include the following:



  • Increases the funeral expense benefit cap from $5,500 to $7,500 to account for inflation.



  • Prohibits an employer from requiring an applicant or employee to pay for any medical examinations that are required as a condition of employment or continued employment.



  • Prohibits a person from receiving compensation when the person has suffered a wage loss as the direct result of reasons unrelated to an allowed injury or occupational disease.



  • Allows for a claim for an additional award of compensation for a violation of a specific safety rule to be filed within one year after the injury or death or within one year after a disability due to occupational disease begins.


House Bill 287 presents Ohio with the opportunity to maintain and enhance its status of a military-friendly state through providing Medicaid waivers for military families with special needs dependents.


It also ensures that military families receive the critical supplemental support for their dependents with special needs during transition periods. Transition periods can include moving to a new duty station or when a service member ends his or her military service.


According to Colonel Mike Fotch, Commander of the 88th Medical Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, about 15 of the 150 families that PCS to and from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base each year would immediately become eligible for Medicaid support if this bill becomes law.


“Ohio should never put our service men and women in the position of having to decide between reducing medical services for their family or leaving their loved ones behind when moving stations,” said Perales. “We, as a legislature, should ensure that Ohio is competitive in every category for potential mission and base expansion opportunities, and prevent the all too common occurrence of families becoming separated due to healthcare constraints. As the primary sponsor of this bill, I thank the Senators who supported this bill.”


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For more information, contact Representative Perales’s office at (614) 644-6020 or rep73@ohiohouse.gov

 
 
 
  
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