COVID-19 State Updates: May 26, 2020
The Ohio House introduced its version of a capital re-appropriations bill, HB 670. The House Finance Committee will hold its first hearing on HB 670 on Wednesday with sponsor testimony provided by Representative Derek Merrin.
The Ohio Senate is expected to introduce its own version of a re-appropriations bill. The Senate Finance Committee will meet on Wednesday to hold its first hearing on the legislation that has not yet been introduced. The Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kim Murnieks will present and Finance Chair Matt Dolan will provide sponsor testimony during the hearing.
The capital re-appropriations bills will each have emergency clauses attached to ensure that there is not a lapse in funding for existing capital projects at the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
As a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor Mike DeWine announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020, which ends on June 30.
These budget reductions, in addition to identifying areas of savings, are necessary to ensure Ohio fulfills its constitutional requirement of maintaining a balanced state budget each year.
The budget reductions for the Ohio Development Services Agency (DAS) will preclude their ability to award funding to any of the applications submitted for the Industry Sector Partnership Program in the current fiscal year. At this time, all applications submitted for funding will be retained. If funding is available for the program next fiscal year, DAS will proceed with scoring the applications currently received and awarding grant funds in accordance with the program guidelines.
Last week, Lt. Governor Husted announced several new sector opening dates in Ohio:
On May 26, miniature golf, batting cages, and bowling alleys may resume operations if they can meet required safety protocols.
On May 26, skills training for all sports, including contact sports, may resume if required safety protocols can be met. Tournaments, games, and competitions for contact sports are still prohibited.
On June 1, catering and banquet centers may reopen if they can meet required safety protocols. Protocols include six feet between tables, no congregating, and a crowd size of no more than 300 people.
Full guidelines to ensure that these sectors operate in the safest manner possible are/will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Last week, Governor DeWine announced initial findings from his Minority Health Strike Force.
The Minority Health Strike Force’s preliminary report will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov and final recommendations will be issued on June 11.
Examples of these recommendations include: establishing culturally appropriate and accessible COVID-19 exposure notification services for communities of color; expanding testing capacity and access for minorities and high-risk populations; using data to prioritize resources in the communities that have the highest need; developing and launching a statewide, culturally-sensitive outreach campaign that educates African Americans and communities of color on COVID-19, health disparities, and social determinants of health.
A new position will be created within the Ohio Department of Health dedicated to social determinants of health and opportunity. This person’s work will build on several existing efforts to respond to health inequity by working directly with local communities on their specific long-term health needs and Ohio’s response to COVID-19.