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Legislative Lowdown: Update for Nov. 23

Below is a Legislative Update of last week's General Assembly action on education related bills created by Executive Director Ann Brennan.
 The lame duck session resumes on December 1, 2020.

OSPA Legislative Update: Week of 11-17-20
The Ohio General Assembly took action on several education bills last week. Here is an update:

House passed bills:

SB 89 (Sen. M. Huffman): Career technical education provisions and new K-12 voucher (Ed choice scholarship) requirements.
Delivered to the Governor for signature 11-21-20.
The LSC analysis can be found here:

HB 310 (Rep. Greenspan): Anti-hazing and bullying bill (Rep. Greenspan)
Requires specific disciplinary action and school policies for students who participate in hazing and or bullying.
Passed House 11-19-20
The LSC analysis can be found here:

House concurred in Senate amendments:

HB 123 (Rep. Nathan Manning): With regard to school security and youth suicide awareness education and training.
Concurrence 11-19-20, sent to the Governor for signature.
The LSC analysis can be found here:

Senate passed bills:

HB 404: COVID-19 Omnibus Extension Bill: This bill was originally introduced to allow boards of trustees in universities to meet virtually until July 1, 2021. It was amended in
the Senate to include several amendments related to temporary authorization for changing certain laws and rules related to COVID-19.
Those amendments would:

 Extend the temporary authorization for members of a public body to hold and attend meetings virtually until July 1, 2021.
 Require any unspent Coronavirus Relief Fund money that cannot be redistributed locally to be paid to the state treasury.
 Extend to July 1, 2021, the ability of a school or entity to exempt participants in summer food service programs from regulation as food processing establishments.
 Extend to July 1, 2021, the temporary penalty waiver for retired state employees who are reemployed by certain agencies.
 Extend certain state agency deadlines until July 1, 2021.
 Extend the extension of deadlines for licenses that would have expired until July 1, 2021.
 Extend education-related provisions involving College Credit Plus, school employee evaluations, diagnostic assessments, community school transportation and kindergarten
and first grade health screenings.
The amendment also included an emergency clause.
Before it was approved on the floor, Democrats unsuccessfully sought to attach three amendments to the bill.
They would have allowed the state superintendent to extend or waive deadlines, waived the requirement for those receiving unemployment benefits to seek work, and provide
schools with flexibility on the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and graduation requirements.
Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) said those issues need to be addressed to provide schools with more certainty amid the pandemic and added they may be addressed
through legislation in the Senate Education Committee Bills pending in Senate Education Committee

SB 358 (Sen .Fedor Sen. N. Manning) TO make changes to education law for the 2020-2021 school year in response to implications from COVID-19 and to declare an
emergency. (Continued- Substitute bill amended)
The amendments to the original bill include language regarding: flexibility for exam screenings; value-added data for teacher evaluations; deadline reinstatements; testing;
ACT/SAT administration; community school transportation; EdChoice; and electronic meetings.
Sen. Nathan Manning (R-N. Ridgeville) won support for an amendment that he said creates an option for schools currently under an Academic Distress Commission to exit
that program. It would create a committee comprised of House and Senate education committee chairs and a governor's appointee that could hold a hearing and make
recommendations to the state superintendent, he said. 
Some of the bill’s provisions have been included in HB 404. Senator Lehner indicated this bill could be approved in committee in December.

HB 436 (Rep. Baldridge) Dyslexia: Requires screening and intervention and teacher training regarding students with possible dyslexia. (Continued)
Kevin Miller director of governmental relations for BASA, testified on behalf of the major statewide school official associations and suggested several changes.
He said the groups "feel that HB436 can impact positive change for Ohio's school districts and the students they serve by being less prescriptive, allowing the Ohio
Department of Education to work with the dyslexia advisory committee to define standards for school districts as needs and programming evolve."
The groups proposed:
--Increasing the number of education practitioners on the advisory committee as noted in this testimony with no requirement for committee members to be certified;
--Directing ODE to develop professional development programming but not designating the required hours of professional development in legislation;
--Including the necessity of "multi-sensory" structured literacy programming;
--Removing required ratios of certified teachers; instead, direct ODE to create a structure that provides for certification training through the state's Educational Service
--Designating that screening take place January 1 of students; kindergarten year to January 1 of students; first grade year, providing for local control in deciding the best
time to screen students.
Chair Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) said a substitute draft incorporates 90% of what the groups asked for.
Sen. Bill Coley (R-Liberty Twp.) questioned the time required to screen students as well as the potential cost, saying a fiscal analysis was "deceptive at best." He also remarked
that the groups supporting the bill are often complaining to lawmakers about "unfunded mandates."
Given the extra time that would be required to screen students, the lawmaker asked, "Does this bill eliminate any hours of testing that are currently going on?"

Mr. Miller responded that the bill doesn't take away any existing testing.
"You're right, we are going to spend more time screening these students" but early assessments will pay off in the long run for student achievement and back-end
educational costs, he said.
The Ohio Occupational Therapy Association and the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics provided supportive testimony on the measure.
OSPA communicated our support for BASA’s testimony and support of the amendments.

(parts excerpted from Gongwer News Service coverage)

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