Unfinished business: News from Policy Matters
Posted December 16, 2017 in eNews
Unemployment debate unfinished: State lawmakers delayed action on the latest attempt to change Ohio’s unemployment compensation system. This bill is better than its predecessors, but would still take away too much in unemployment benefits. Prior to the delay, Zach Schiller and Hannah Halbert said Ohioans need more information about how the bill would work and asked the sponsor to share his proposed amendments with the public.
Keep up the pressure: Last week the U.S. Senate passed the GOP tax bill that rewards the wealthy and corporations and repeals the health insurance mandate. Yesterday it passed through conference committee between the two houses. The result would be deep cuts to programs that many of us depend on and 13 million people without health care. It won’t help jobs either, as Amy Hanauer made clear on public radio. With news that some Republican senators are having second thoughts, we could still stop this thing! Keep calling your senators and representatives!
Focus on foreclosures: The worst of the crisis is over, but a new report by Intern Hannah Lebovits shows Ohio still struggles with foreclosures. We’re far above pre-housing crisis levels of the 1990s and need smart policies to turn the tide.
Full of hot air: In 2014, the Ohio legislature passed a bill that effectively stopped new wind turbines from being built by adding stringent zoning restrictions. Policy Matters Intern Brook Sabin says there’s hope: Three pieces of legislation could help get the industry moving again.
A bad trade off: Trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement have not benefited workers in Ohio or abroad, but good programs can offset some of the harm. Between 2001 and 2015, 124,000 Ohio workers received federal assistance after losing their jobs due to trade agreements with other nations. During that time, almost the same number of workers lost their jobs to the trade deficit with China alone. Hannah Halbert writes that federal trade assistance isn’t reaching enough Ohioans and should be expanded. But even more importantly, the U.S. must negotiate trade deals that put workers first.
Keep your government hands off my Medicaid! Now this protest chant actually makes sense, as the Trump administration prepares to allow states to restrict access to Medicaid. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services signaled it will permit states to impose work requirements and erect other barriers that may strip many Ohioans of Medicaid access, according to Katie Fallon’s latest blog. Most Medicaid enrollees already work and studies have shown that work requirements don’t help participants in other programs climb out of poverty. Seems like just another attack on health care to us.
Eye on Columbus: Policy Matters staff submitted testimony on several important matters in the last two weeks. Kalitha Williams testified in support of a bill that that would eliminate fees for freezing and unfreezing credit reports for Ohio consumers. Wendy Patton opposed amendments to a bill that could hurt municipal budgets.
In the community: Daniel Ortiz (pictured above) joined For Ohio’s Future outside Rep. Bob Gibb’s Canton office to call on him to oppose the GOP tax bill. Amy Hanauer (also shown above) spoke at a similar event outside Rep. David Joyce’s Painesville office. Mike Shields appeared on America’s Workforce Radio to discuss his efforts to stop a bill that would bar undocumented workers from receiving workers’ compensation. Kalitha Williams attended the Consumer Federation of America conference in Washington D.C. There she also met with congressional staffers to discuss ways to improve consumer protections.