Legislative Watch – May 29, 2024

OEA Testifies in Support of Voucher Accountability

On Tuesday, May 21, 2024, OEA President Scott DiMauro testified in support of a bill that would bring much-needed accountability to voucher programs in Ohio. House Bill 407, jointly sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Bill Seitz (R- Cincinnati), would help to level the playing field between public and private schools. This is especially important given that there is now universal eligibility for EdChoice vouchers in Ohio.

HB 407 would require increased financial reporting; require schools to have a policy for how they make admission decisions; require students on an EdChoice voucher to take the same state tests; and require the Department of Education and Workforce to issue a similar report card for private schools that have 20% or more of its students on vouchers. OEA supports these changes.

Click here to read President DiMauro’s testimony as a proponent of HB 407.

GPO-WEP UPDATE: Sign Up to Attend Field Hearing on Social Security Fairness Act

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown has announced a field hearing on the Social Security Fairness Act (S. 597) before the Senate Committee on Finance Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy. This is vital legislation Senator Brown has sponsored that would fully repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). These provisions of federal law unfairly punish public service by reducing the earned Social Security benefits of retirees who collect a public pension in states like Ohio.

The hearing will be held on Friday, June 7, 2024, at the Columbus Firefighters IAFF Local 67 Union Hall (379 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215). The hearing is scheduled from 10:00 A.M. to Noon. OEA is strongly encouraging members to attend the hearing, click the link below to sign up.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown Field Hearing on GPO/WEP · Ohio Education Association (mobilize.us)

OEA is also asking members to submit testimony in support of the legislation to repeal GPO and WEP to the subcommittee. Any individual or organization wanting to present their views for inclusion in the hearing record should submit in a Word document, a single-spaced statement. No other file type will be accepted for inclusion. Title and date of the hearing, and the full name and address of the individual or organization must appear on the first page of the statement. Statements must be received no later than two weeks following the conclusion of the hearing.

Statements can be emailed to:
Please also send your remarks to OEA Government Relations by cc’ing govtsrv@ohea.org when you submit your remarks to the subcommittee.

Statements could also be mailed (not faxed) to:
Senate Committee on Finance
Attn. Editorial and Document Section
Rm. SD-219
Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510-6200

The NEA website has additional resources on the issue. Click here to view NEA’s toolkit on GPO and WEP.

Federal Nutrition (SNAP) Funding At Risk

Congress is currently working to renew the Farm Bill, which authorizes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. The House Agriculture Committee passed a harmful bill last week that would cut $30 billion dollars from SNAP over the next 10 years. This would impact every SNAP recipient in every state across the country, including children and some of our own members who rely on SNAP. This cut also threatens to impact the newly launched Summer EBT program, which helps families buy extra groceries when school is out.

We need your help in telling Congress to oppose these cuts and work towards a Farm Bill that protects SNAP and those experiencing food insecurity. While it is likely that the Senate version of the bill will be an improvement, we need to keep the pressure on to demonstrate the importance of this program to your members and their students.

Please urge members of Congress to protect and strengthen funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by taking action here.

For an archive of past Legislative Watch releases, visit the Legislative Watch archive.