Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder announced Thursday he will create a bipartisan task force to prepare for Ohio to return to work.
“We don’t know yet when the COVID-19 situation will improve to the point that Ohio businesses can reopen and people can get back to work, but we need to prepare now for the future,” the Glenford Republican said in a release. “Right now, Ohio’s resources must be invested in our healthcare system and keeping Ohioans well, but while we are focused on today, we also have an eye focused on tomorrow. How we transition and restart Ohio’s economic engine is critical.”
The release said the task force would be comprised of legislators from around the state.
In the release, Householder also encouraged Gov. Mike DeWine to consider forming a task force of large and small employers, coupled with a few members of the House task force. He said that the Senate may choose to participate on the governor’s panel as well. This will allow for the free flow of ideas between legislators and the business community, he said.
More details will be forthcoming, Householder’s release said, adding that in this time of social distancing, the panel will utilize technology in order to communicate.
Meanwhile, a variety of bills and ideas have been floated in the Ohio House looking to mitigate economic hardship on Ohioans in the short term.
State Reps. Janine Boyd, D-Cleveland Heights, and Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs, D-Columbus, called on the General Assembly to address emergency paid sick leave for working people and families after it was not included in House Bill 179, the COVID-19 omnibus legislative package passed by the state legislature.
“What’s missing in the omnibus package is emergency paid sick leave for the people we are requiring to stay home. That is a shame. I am hearing some of my colleagues say they want people off of public assistance, so when we provide families the tools to be more self-sufficient, they need to support those measures,” Boyd said in a release.
On Wednesday, state Rep. Thomas West, D-Canton, introduced legislation to halt all debt collections until after DeWine’s state of emergency declaration expires.
“During this unprecedented crisis, Ohio families and small businesses should not have to worry about the looming threat of debts and associated fees that they simply cannot afford to pay at this time,” West said in a release.