The Ohio Solution for Getting the Country Back to Work | Citizens Against Government Waste

The Ohio Solution for Getting the Country Back to Work

The WasteWatcher

The Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 673, which will reduce regulatory barriers to help the state recover and reopen from the coronavirus pandemic, on June 15, 2020.  The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Roemer (R-Richfield), said, “It is so important that we move to support many of the most impacted individuals across our state such as teachers, nurses, cosmetologists, barbers and pharmacists” and the bill takes “the first steps down that path."

On June 3, The Buckeye Institute submitted testimony to the House State and Local Government Committee.  The testimony included suggestions from the organization’s commonsense policy proposals for the pandemic like cutting red tape to allow pharmacists to test for common illnesses and COVID19, and prescribe medication, like Florida and other states have done.  Other suggestions included increasing telehealth access, eliminating unnecessary budget commitments, and extending recognition of out-of-state medical licenses to doctors, nurses, and physicians.

The legislation will help students by temporarily waiving some of the requirements or extending the time needed for state certification in healthcare, education, and other industries which have been negatively impacted by statewide closures of businesses.  The pandemic has forestalled their ability to achieve the required hours in healthcare facilities, schools, or on-the-job training programs.    

Other provisions of HB 673 will enable more access to healthcare and healthcare training.  Prospective nurses currently assisting the healthcare workforce under a temporary license will have the hours they are working count toward the required certified clinical hours necessary to qualify for the Ohio Board of Nursing examination for full licensing.  Until this legislation becomes law, there is currently no indication whether hours worked under a temporary license will be counted toward certified hours.  The bill will also help nursing students get back on track by requiring the Department of Higher Education to increase the speed and capacity of classes.  This bill also expands current law to enable pharmacists who provide flu shots to individuals age seven or older also test for COVID-19 and antibodies. 

When schools in Ohio closed in March 2020, student teachers were unable to complete the in-school hours and other requirements necessary to achieve a full teaching certificate from the state Board of Education.  This bill temporarily suspends requirements for student teachers by providing more flexibility for them to complete their required hours during the 2020-2021 school year, as well as providing relief for licensed education professionals in completing their annual certification requirements necessary to retain their licenses.

Small businesses, like salons and barbershops that have certain state licensing requirements have also struggled to continue operations.  HB 673 would temporarily suspend professional development hours and eliminate the temporary event salon license, reducing the cost of getting back to work.  The temporary salon license would allow barbers and cosmetologists to cut hair at any location without obtaining an additional permit, including in an individual client’s home. 

It is vital to reduce regulatory barriers during the coronavirus pandemic to students, licensed professionals, and healthcare workers.  More states need to consider practical free-market solutions like those included in HB 673 to recover from the pandemic.  The recovery from the pandemic will be much better for Ohioans if the Senate passes the bill quickly and it is signed into law.