Ohio legislative update from Rep. Scott Oelslager for May 27, 2020

(Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The House was successful in passing several pieces of legislation last week including measures to protect victims of domestic violence and to ban surprise medical bills.

Aisha’s Law: House Bill 3, known as Aisha’s Law, would change how law enforcement agencies respond to domestic violence cases and provide added protections for those in high-risk situations. House Bill 3 creates a continuum of protections for victims of domestic violence that are in extreme risk and lethal situations. House Bill 3 passed out of the House unanimously. 

Banning Surprise Medical Bills: House Bill 388, which passed out of the House unanimously, would protect patients from receiving surprise medical bills. Under the legislation, an out-of-network health care professional who provides care during an in-network procedure could elect to be paid the in-network rate by the insurance company, or could negotiate a different rate with the insurance company. If no agreement is reached, the healthcare provider may pursue arbitration with the insurance company and a third party arbiter. House Bill 388 takes the patient out of the middle of contract disputes and will help reduce overall healthcare costs.

A Temporary Tax Amnesty Program: House Bill 609 establishes a temporary tax amnesty program to forgive interest and penalties on delinquent taxes. Under the bill, Ohio’s tax commissioner would develop and administer the amnesty program from Jan. 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021. Taxes or fees that were delinquent as of the bill’s effective date would qualify for the program. This is a simple but impactful way to provide relief to individuals and businesses who are hurting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local Government Empowerment: House Bill 481 empowers local government entities by allowing them to convey certain plots of land owned by the state to outside purchasers. This allows state government jurisdictions to make their own decisions when it comes to under-utilized property in their area of the state. 

Designating Eugene “Gene” F. Kranz Day: Gene Kranz directed missions of the Gemini and Apollo programs, including the first lunar landing mission. House Bill 358 designates August 17 as “Eugene ‘Gene’ F. Kranz Day” to formally recognize the contributions Gene Kranz made to history. 

My colleagues in the Ohio House and I work hard to improve the lives of the Ohioans we represent, and I appreciate the opportunity to update you on these and other issues before us in the Legislature.