Policy Corner: June 2020

  1. Policy Corner:
    We are following the following issues in the statehouse:

    1. Fines and fees related to driver’s license reinstatement
      1. Legislative Win!
        1. HB 285 has passed in the Ohio House and Senate! HB 285 will make permanent the Driver's License Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program. This is an important policy for Towards Employment participants. As a result of the pilot Drivers Amnesty Program between January – July of 2019, 47 individuals that we serve would have owed a cumulative $67,770 in fees to reinstate their licenses. As a result of this program, they were eligible to save more than $30,000 through the reduction. Helping our participants get back on the road so they can get to work is critical if we want individuals to reintegrate successfully and also meet employer needs. Thank you Representative Brent and Representative Greenspan for your leadership on HB 285!
      2. State Opportunities
        1. Legislative Opportunity: Vote SB 3 out of the Senate Judiciary!
          1. SB 3 would downgrade current lower-level felony drug possession offenses, turning them into unclassified misdemeanors. In order for this bill to support individuals that Towards Employment have already served their time, the bill would need to be amended to include retroactive application. See this blog by Policy Matters Ohio that analyzes the bill.
          2. Legislative Opportunity: Expand residential broadband programs through HB 13!
            1. 1 in 6 Ohio households lack internet service. This legislation would provide  grants cities and townships to help fund projects that provide broadband to residential areas that are without broadband.
          3. Federal Opportunities
            1. At the end of March of this year, the National Skills Coalition sent a letter to Congress calling for a comprehensive national strategy to make vital investments in workforce programming as part of any response to COVID-19 and its economic impacts. See this link for the letter with their recommendations. The legislation currently under consideration, the HEROES Act, still falls far short of the investments necessary to address the unprecedented unemployment levels as well as the current and future industry demand for skilled workers. The $3 trillion bill includes only $2.75 billion in workforce funding, significantly lower than the $15 billion in funding that was called for by National Skills Coalition. See this link for their analysis.