COLUMBUS — On March 25, State Representative J. Todd Smith of District 43 voted in favor of a cohesive bill unanimously passed by Ohio House of Representatives dealing with a variety of issues in response to the Coronavirus COVID 19 crisis.
Resolution in this bill include an elimination of K-12 state mandated testing for this year, extending absentee by mail voting for primary election until April 28, extending the tax filing deadline to July 15, and allows any expired driver’s licenses or vehicle registration to renew by Dec. 1 with no penalty.
State mandated K-12 student assessments for the 2019-2020 school year will be eliminated under this bill. Due to the administration’s order to close buildings, this was deemed necessary.
The legislature extended absentee voting by mail only for the primary election until April 28. Voters will now be able to request absentee ballot and mail it in until April 28. There will not be in person voting now, following the administration’s decision to close polling locations for the primary election.
Additionally, the bill moves tax filing day to July 15th, in compliance with the move for federal filings as well.
•Governor DeWine thanks the General Assembly for the unanimous bi-partisan support of HB 197, which passed on March 25, 2020. This bill will ensure continuity of government, extended mail-in voting for our primary, clarity for schools and students, relief to workers, and measures to make sure we are prepared to help Ohioans get back to work when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
•The Development Services Agency (DSA) has secured approval from the US Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) to extend the Winter Crisis Program from March 31 to May 1, and to extend the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) from March 31 to June 1. For more information on these utility assistance programs, please visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov.
•Essential businesses do not need a specific letter or certification to maintain operations. However, Lt. Governor Husted does recommend that businesses create their own documentation with rational for staying open and what measures they are taking to implement safe workplace practices and social distancing protocols. Additionally, attached is guidance for essential businesses and operations employers.
•Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888- 642-8203, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov.