Representative Cross Supports Coronavirus-Response Bill

COLUMBUS – Today, the Ohio General Assembly passed historic legislation aimed at responding to and fixing a variety of issues that have been affected due to the coronavirus outbreak. State Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) supported the measure, which included Cross’s sponsored House Bill 224 that will allow Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) to be utilized more by health care facilities throughout the state.

“I am proud to support this emergency legislation that keeps Ohioans strong and safe by protecting their lives and jobs,” said Cross. “Simultaneously, this bill will help keep our businesses, education, health care, and government functioning in order to reboot Ohio’s economy.”

The emergency legislation passed under House Bill 197, which addressed many issues including:

– Testing & Accountability – Eliminates state-mandated K-12 student assessments for the 2019-20 school year. It eliminates Ohio’s school district and school building report cards for the 2019-20 school year, prohibits ODE from assigning letter grades to buildings or districts, prohibits rankings based on report card data and creates “safe harbor” for schools and districts to ensure data from the 2019-20 school year will have no effect in determining sanctions or penalties. The proposal directs ODE to seek a waiver from federal testing requirements.

– EdChoice Scholarship – The bill freezes the 2019-20 performance-based EdChoice building eligibility list at 517 buildings for the 2020-21 school year. The legislation allows siblings of current voucher students to participate. Under continuing law, the EdChoice application portal will open for 60 days beginning April 1, 2020, to process income-based EdChoice vouchers, renewals of existing performance-based vouchers, and new students attending the 517 buildings already on the list. The bill prohibits expansion of the building list to 1,227 buildings.

– 2020 Primary Election – The primary election in-person voting was cancelled due to the public health crisis. Ohioans that were eligible to vote on March 17, 2020, will be able to cast their ballot by mail on or before April 28, 2020. Those Ohioans that cast their ballot early will have their vote count. The Ohio Secretary of State will mail all voters a postcard informing them on how they will be able to request their ballot by mail from their local county Board of Elections. The board will send them their ballot and a postage paid return envelope.

– Tax Year 2019 and 2020 Changes – Ohio’s tax filing deadline will be the same as the federal filing deadline, July 15.

Additionally, House Bill 197 included Cross’s sponsored House Bill 224 that would clarify Ohio’s CRNA scope of practice by allowing facilities and medical staff to use CRNAs in all phases of anesthesia care in a way that will be the most efficient and cost effective for patients.

“It is vital to help our health care professionals during this time, including CRNAs’ ability to work at their full-scale of practice when needed in the frontlines of this health crisis,” said Cross. “I am relieved that this legislation I have worked on this last year has now been passed at a time that it is crucial for our state.”

Cross indicated that House Bill 197 was about striking a balance.

“We must balance to save lives and keep Ohio open for business as we all face this crisis together.”

The legislation also addressed other areas of concern including unemployment compensation, health care workforce support, child care access, and more.