The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie has submitted written testimony to the Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee concerning two bills before the committee. One would allow the legislature to override executive orders issued by the Governor and the second would add more regulations to people needing public assistance. SHoWLE opposes both bills.
Makes several changes to the SNAP (aka Food Stamps) and Medicaid programs. It prohibits the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services from adapting SNAP eligibility rules for situations like having a pandemic. It also changes SNAP to a reporting system where the person getting the benifit would have to report ANY change in their income. For example, most people on SNAP work. They would have to report any extra shifts they pick up even if the income overall wouldn’t put them over a threshold.
Another bad change is requiring able body people on Medicaid to work at least 20 hours a week. A good number of people on Medicaid work so this change would hurt those, while not disabled, still shouldn’t be working. There is also a question about if a work requirement is allowed since the Biden Administration just recently rescinded all waivers for the requirement.
This bill would allow the General Assembly to rescind any executive order made by the Governor or any emergency order by any state agency such as public health orders dealing with a pandemic that come from the Ohio Department of Health.
Even if there wasn’t a constitutional question about this proposed law, SHoWLE believes that allowing the legislature to ignore science and medical experts to end public health orders is a danger to all Ohioans. The legislature has undermined the response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed at least 12,000 people in the state and almost half a million in the US. It is simply wrong to politicize the lives and safety of the citizens of Ohio.
SHoWLE believes Ohio would be in a much better position had the state continued to do the right thing in addressing the pandemic rather than giving in to the selfish and science denying members of the legislature. SB 22 will make things much worse now and in the future.
SHoWLE will continue to keep track of and respond to public laws and policies that are of interest to the group or fits our mission statement and purpose. Laws and policies that not only effect church and state issues but also social justice issues will be responded to as well.
If you feel as we do about these two bills, we ask that you contact your state Senator and let them know how you feel about SB 17 and SB 22.
*Update* SB 22 passed the committee and the Senate on 2/17. The bill now moves on to the House.
A companion to SB 22 was introduced in the Ohio House and is now in the State and Local Government Committee.
Here is the letter I sent to the committee opposing HB 90: