by Todd DeFeo
The House Finance Committee will consider a trio of bills when it meets this week, including a measure to allocate $350 million of federal dollars to communities across the state.
The hearing comes as state lawmakers resume business – even if in a limited capacity – amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lawmakers will consider Senate Bill 310, which the state Senate unanimously passed last week. The bill authorizes the distribution of $350 million of federal dollars allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for expenses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The re-opening of Ohio’s economy requires many moving parts. An important part is assuring local governments have the resources to maintain safe and crucial operations,” state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, said in a news release. “Senate Bill 310 directs much-needed funds to counties and local governments for the reimbursement and expenditures of significant medical, public health and safety operations as they battle this pandemic on the front lines.”
The funding would be distributed based on Local Government Fund revenues allocated in 2019. It excludes Ohio’s six jurisdictions with populations of more than 500,000 residents – Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery and Summit counties and the city of Columbus – as they qualify for a direct payment from the CARES Act.
“Items such as costs of testing, acquisition of personal protective equipment, disinfectants, technology upgrades, overtime costs for safety and health officials are some of the allowable uses of the CARES Act dollars,” Dolan added.
Meanwhile, the committee could vote on House Bill 282, which would allow charitable organizations that currently offer instant bingo to provide the game using an electronic “instant bingo device.” The proposal requires that devices interface with a state system to track, monitor and remotely deactivate the devices.
The committee also plans to consider House Bill 388, a measure that aims to protect Ohioans from surprise billing.
The bill includes a provision requiring insurers to reimburse out-of-network providers for so-called “unanticipated” out-of-network care administered at an in-network facility. It also mandates providers to disclose information about the cost of out-of-network services.
Committee members could see a revised version of the bill during Wednesday’s hearing.
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