Policy Matters opposes barriers to basic supports, arbitrary cuts to regulations
Posted February 24, 2021 in Press Releases
SB 17 would cut food aid, Medicaid and unemployment compensation; SB 9 would arbitrarily scrap regulations
Policy Matters Ohio provided written testimony against two pieces of legislation moving in the Ohio Senate today. Both would undermine the ability of the state government to fully serve all Ohioans, no matter where they live or how much money they have.
Policy Matters Researcher Will Petrik testified against Senate Bill 17 before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. The legislation would make it harder for Ohioans to access Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) due to burdensome reporting requirements and photo IDs for people who use food aid. The bill includes asset tests that would bar someone from receiving support if they own a car or their home. It would penalize Ohioans who receive unemployment compensation if the state accidentally overpays them.
“We all deserve to get enough to eat and get the medical care we need. SB 17 takes that away from people,” Petrik said. “This bill treats Ohioans with disdain and disrespect. Rather than limiting access to food and health care during a pandemic and a recession, we should be stabilizing children, families and communities.”
Petrik shared maps with the committee that showed the percentage of their constituents who use Medicaid for health care and SNAP to afford food. View the legislative district maps here.
The bill would hit Black Ohioans, already disproportionately harmed by the pandemic and recession, especially hard. “This is a result of years of segregation, discrimination and policy choices that excluded Black Ohioans from building wealth and financial security and from education and housing opportunities,” Petrik testified. “This bill would prevent millions of federal dollars from flowing to Ohio communities at a time when this spending is critical for the basic dignity of all Ohioans and to help our economy recover.”
Research Director Zach Schiller testified before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee against Senate Bill 9. SB 9 would arbitrarily require state agencies to eliminate words that are “regulatory restrictions,” such as “shall,” “must,” “may not,” “prohibit” and “require.” If passed, the bill would call for the elimination of 46,523 restrictions in the Ohio Administrative Code. While the bill calls for a 30% reduction, that actually represents a 60% cut in those that can be changed without a state or federal law change, based on a report from the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.
“Some of these regulations ensure that we have clean water to drink and air that is fit to breathe,” Schiller said. “Others ensure that we have sanitary restaurants and public swimming pools, that hospitals are certified or accredited, and that nursing homes are licensed. Some protect investments of taxpayer funds. Regulations are necessary to a civil society and a stable economy.”
“A blanket idea that the words ‘shall’ and ‘prohibit’ are somehow bad words; that requiring businesses and residents alike to follow certain rules is bad for business — these are outlandish notions that have no place in legislation,” he said. The arbitrary reduction proposed in the bill of supposedly offensive words “does not get at whether such rules are accomplishing a useful purpose.”