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Busy lame-duck legislative session results in new laws for children services

Several bills impacting children services issues received attention during the recent “lame-duck session,” the time between an election and when the next General Assembly term begins. In Ohio, lame-duck occurs in November/December of even-numbered years.

First, a quick overview of relevant bills and what happened in the 2018 lame-duck legislative session. Bills marked with a * are covered in more detail below. Some of these bills PCSAO had been following closely, while others included last-minute relevant amendments that passed in the lame-duck session.


HB137, Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting (Kent)

The purpose of this bill is to make municipal and county peace officers mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. This bill expanded the types of peace officers authorized to receive reports of child abuse and neglect. PCSAO position: Support

  • HB 137 passed the House November 2017
  • Second Senate hearing April 2018
  • Passed by Senate December 2018 and sent to Governor
  • Governor signed Dec. 19, 2018
  • Effective March 20, 2019

HB 283, Consent to Adoption (Rezabek)

This bill was developed in partnership with Rep. Rezabek, the Ohio Judicial Conference and PCSAO to clarify court jurisdiction for certain adoptions involving abused, neglected, or dependent children. PCSAO position: Support

  • HB 283 passed the House December 2017
  • Third Senate hearing November 2018
  • Bill did not advance due to active opposition from Ohio Right to Life
  • Bill died in 132nd General Assembly; prospects for 133rd General Assembly are slim

HB 420, Month Designation – Ohio Adoption Awareness (Boyd, Sykes)

The purpose of the bill as introduced is to designate the month of November as Ohio Adoption Awareness Month. The bill became a vehicle for other priorities during lame duck, including addressing concerns regarding the Ohio Department of Medicaid’s Rule 5170-1-17.8, provider screening and application fee. The bill was amended to clarify that a Medicaid provider of behavioral health services can employ a person who does not meet the background check requirements if the person holds a valid health professional license or a valid peer recovery supporter certificate, or is in the process of obtaining such a license or certificate. However, the provider cannot submit any Medicaid claims for services provided by the individual. PCSAO position: Support

  • HB 420 was introduced on Nov. 21, 2017
  • The House Community and Family Advancement Committee held first and second hearings in February and March 2018
  • The House passed the bill Nov. 15, 2018
  • The Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee held first and second hearings and reported the bill out as amended on Dec. 19, 2018
  • The Senate passed the bill on Dec. 19, 2018, and sent the bill to the Governor
  • Governor signed Jan. 4, 2019.
  • Effective April 4, 2019

HB 541, Health Services Volunteers (LaTourette, Patterson)

This bill authorizes expansion of volunteer health services provided by professionals licensed in other states, makes changes in laws administered by the State Board of Pharmacy, and modifies the language regarding the kinship caregiver child care program earmark. The bill was amended to include provisions to make the kinship child care program more accessible to kinship caregivers. PCSAO position: Support

  • HB 541 was introduced March 6, 2018, and then was amended, and substitute bill was accepted March 21, 2018
  • Passed by House June 20, 2018
  • Bill was amended in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in November 2018 to include changes to the kinship child care program
  • Passed by Senate December 2018 and sent to Governor
  • Governor signed Dec. 21, 2018
  • Effective March 21, 2019