From the State of Ohio

Ohio State House

Resources Available for Public Utility Relief

Beginning December 1, 2020, Cleveland’s Department of Public Utilities is lifting it’s moratorium on water and power shut-offs. This means utilities can be disconnected if residents are behind on
payments. Assistance programs are available!

HEAP

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded program that provides eligible Ohioans assistance with their home energy bills. CHN Housing Partners and the Council of Economic Opportunities of Greater Cleveland (CEOGC) administer HEAP in Cuyahoga County for the state of Ohio. Please call (216) 350-8008 for assistance.
HEAP Winter Crisis Program The Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program is a one-time emergency status service that helps income-eligible residents threatened with disconnection or that have been disconnected maintain their utility service. The program runs from November 1 until March 31. More information can be found here: https://ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/sit /residents/resources/heapwinter-crisis-program

CARES Act Funding

The CARES act funding packet provided $50 million to 47 Community Action Agencies, like the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland, to provide assistance with rent, mortgage, and water bills with outstanding balances from April 1, 2020. Please call (216)696-9077 for more info or visit http://www.ceogc.org/covid-19-emergency-assistance/. Residents are also encouraged to also contact Cleveland Water at (216) 664-3130 or Cleveland Public Power at (216) 664-4600 to discuss possible payment options.

JCARR Holds Rule over OPERS Health Insurance

House Bill 305: The Fair School Funding Plan House Bill 305 (HB 305), known as the Fair School Funding Plan, introduced by Speaker Cupp and Representative Patterson, seeks to change the Ohio school funding formula. The school funding formula was ruled unconstitutional in 1997 and has seen little change since. HB 305 would make, but not limited to, the following changes: Requires funding under this system to be paid directly to school districts, community schools, and
STEM schools for the students they are educating Requires direct payment of state scholarships, rather than deducting the amounts of those scholarships from students’ resident districts. Allocate base costs tied to actual needs of students, resident’s income and its property values. Increase categorical aid to include additional resources to provide increased social and emotional support for disadvantaged students. Ohio Statehouse Ensure that every economically disadvantaged four year old receives guaranteed access to pre-school for at least one year. HB 305 is currently in the House of Representatives Finance Committee, where it has received seven hearings. Senate Bill 376 was introduced in the Ohio Senate as a companion bill to HB 305.

HB 6 Update

Repeal efforts for House Bill 6 (HB 6), legislation that included a bailout out for two nuclear power plants, are underway in both the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives. There are
currently three pieces of legislation which address the repeal of House Bill 6—House Bill 746, House Bill 738, and Senate Bill 346. Senate Bill 346 (SB 346) is currently working its way through the Senate committee process. It has had four hearings in the Senate Energy and Public Utilities committee. Senate Bill 346 would repeal HB 6 in its entirety and restore Ohio’s prior laws. Senator Sandra Williams is a co-sponsor of  Senate Bill 346.

JCARR Holds Rule over OPERS Health Insurance

The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) held a proposed rule change from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) that would greatly impact OPERS retirees who are under the age of 65. Senator Sandra Williams initiated the concerns at the JCARR hearing by asking OPERS officials to clarify the filing, which would go into effect in January 2022. The rule would direct retirees who are under the age of 65 and not eligible for Medicare to purchase their health insurance not through the state retirement plan, but instead on the public marketplace with a monthly stipend between $1,000 and $1,200 and with the help of a “connector” who will assist in purchasing the right plan for the retiree. The rule was marked as “to-be-refiled” with an expected hearing at JCARR’s January 2021 meeting.

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