Government Spotlight | January 31, 2023
January 31st, 2023
Gov. DeWine Proposes to Remove “Outdated” Regulations from the Ohio Administrative Code
Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced a plan to remove “duplicative, outdated and unnecessary regulations” from the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC), reducing its size by one-third. The proposal will eliminate more than five million words covering over 20,000 pages in the OAC, stated Lt. Husted. The review process was augmented by using an artificial intelligence (AI) tool. The DeWine administration is also adding a re-introduction of “Innovate the Code” provisions from the 134th General Assembly to the forthcoming budget. That language was previously offered in 134-SB279 (Wilson) and 134-HB524 (T. Hall).
Workforce Safety Innovation Center Offering $15M in Grant Funding
A total of $15 million in grants is being offered by the state Workforce Safety Innovation Center (WSIC), the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) announced Thursday. The grants can be used for the research and development of personal protective equipment (PPE) and personal protective technology (PPT) to enhance workplace safety, BWC said. Utilizing data from BWC claims, workforce safety innovation grants focus on new ideas that help reduce the frequency and severity of on-the-job injuries. The grant is administered with the goal of accelerating the process for innovations from proof-of-concept to the marketplace.
Intel Names New Site “Ohio One”
Intel announced that it had been approximately one year since the company announced it would invest an initial $20 billion to build two semiconductor chip factories in New Albany. As part of that anniversary, the site will be named “Ohio One.” “The name is a nod to the state’s long and storied history in manufacturing and its track record of producing firsts,” Intel explained. The company also released a one-year anniversary video. In it, Vice President and Ohio General Manager, Jim Evers discusses that Intel picked Ohio for its government cooperation and sources of talent. He added he believes Intel has lived up to its commitment to be a “great neighbor” so far.
Patricia Harris Named Next Commissioner of Taxation Department
Patricia Harris will be the next commissioner of the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT), Gov. Mike DeWine announced. Harris currently serves as the chief operating officer of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). If the nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Harris will replace Jeff McClain, who retired as ODT commissioner in 2022.
ODOT Seeking Public Input to Pay for Road and Bridge Maintenance
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is researching alternative ways to pay for road and bridge maintenance in the state and has launched a website seeking public input on the issue. According to the website, www.OhioRoadFunding.com , the state needs to look at how it currently pays for bridges and highways because the current method which draws mostly from proceeds of the state’s gas tax is not sustainable. “More Ohioans are driving high-mileage gas vehicles or hybrid or electric vehicles, which has welcomed environmental benefits but decreases the amount of gas being purchase,” ODOT states on the website, adding that it is “evaluating a variety of funding options to replace the fuel tax and stabilize transportation revenues in Ohio well into the future.” ODOT said the information it collects through its research effort will be put together in a report that will be sent to the General Assembly in late spring of this year. It will ultimately be up to lawmakers to create any new funding option.
End of Pandemic Medicaid Coverage Policy Brings Special Healthcare.gov Enrollment Period
The Biden administration will offer those removed from the Medicaid program as part of the phase-out of pandemic-era coverage policies a special, extra-long enrollment period for finding coverage through the federal marketplace.
In the major year-end federal spending bill, Congress untied Medicaid eligibility from the public health emergency (PHE) declaration. Since the outset of the pandemic in March 2020, the federal government has offered states extra Medicaid matching funds in exchange for maintaining continuous coverage, meaning enrollees cannot be removed from the program unless they request it, die, or move to a new state. The federal government has been renewing the PHE declaration every three months since that time, but the federal spending bill terminates the continuous coverage requirement at the end of March of this year. States will then have 12 months to initiate and 14 months to complete the eligibility redeterminations for Medicaid enrollees, which will be a monumental task given the sheer numbers. Ohio’s total Medicaid enrollment stood at 3.5 million as of December, compared to the pre-pandemic figure of less than 2.8 million in February 2020.
As a result, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced recently that it will offer a special enrollment period for people who lose healthcare coverage due to the end of the continuous eligibility policy. The period will last from March 31 of this year through July 31, 2024.
More information about the special enrollment period is at https://tinyurl.com/mpckw59h.
Vice President of Government Relations