Ohio General Assembly Emergency COVID-19 Legislation

On Wednesday, March 25, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed and the Ohio House quickly concurred in an omnibus amendment to House Bill (HB) 197. The emergency legislation is expected to be signed by Governor Mike DeWine on Friday, March 27.  Generally, the sweeping legislative measure is aimed at addressing important state and local mandates, codifying a host of executive orders and providing flexibility to health and human services system during the crisis.  

Among the changes included in HB 197 were the following key provisions:  

  • Extension of the state's income tax deadline to July 15
  • Change of the March 17 primary election to April 28 through mostly mail-in voting
  • Waiver of state testing and accountability requirements for the 2019-20 school year
  • Prohibits water service disconnections
  • Extends timeline for professional license renewals
  • Allows certain public entities to meet remotely
  • Allows courts to extend statutes of limitations from March 9-July 30
  • Allocates $20 million for certain ongoing state agency capital projects
  • Delays Step Up To Quality requirements
  • Codifies the governor's executive order on unemployment compensation
  • Transfer authority to use the Budget Stabilization Fund
  • Temporary authority through December 1, 2020 for the Director of Medicaid to support the health care workforce and providers during the crisis including strategies to avoid significant workforce shortages
  • Allows graduates from nursing programs to receive temporary certificates from the Board of Nursing, allowing them to join the health care workforce immediately
  • Permanent authority for certified registered nurse anesthetists to perform more duties in operative settings.

With the passage of Amended HB 197 the Ohio General Assembly does not have further sessions scheduled in the immediate future.  However, Speaker Householder signaled his intent to stay engaged and continue to work on economic recovery efforts by establishing a Coronavirus Task Force.  The aim of the task force will be to prepare Ohio's economy to restart quickly once the public health emergency resides.