Ohio House Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) spoke with America’s Work Force Radio Podcast on June 15 about legislation in the Ohio House that aims to protect individuals, healthcare workers and businesses as they reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rep. Patton first spoke about House Bill 679, the Telemedicine Expansion Act. This act would allow psychologists, physical therapists, dietitians and social workers to practice telemedicine. He explained how important this is amid the COVID-19 pandemic as some are scared to leave their houses and be close to others. Next, Rep. Patton spoke about H.B. 680, which enhances voter access. With 2020 being a major election year, people are seeking to expand the accessibility of voting. He said people were against mail-in voting because of voter security and the possibility of voter fraud. He debunked the argument by saying people who mail in a ballot still have to provide their name, address, social security number and signature to be matched with the signature on file for their registry.
Rep. Patton then discussed H.B. 606 which seeks to protect healthcare workers, individuals and businesses as they open back up. This piece of legislation would require businesses to follow updated safety policies and standards, enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This act would require companies to adhere to social distancing standards, provide workers with personal protective equipment and necessary disinfectants and enforce punishment if they do not follow the safety procedures. He said these temporary emergency standards are vital for the protection of everyone as the economy opens back up.
Andrew Tinkham, Senior Outreach and Education Program Specialist at the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel spoke about protecting utility consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained how utility companies are extending payment plans so people are able to afford them as people are getting back to their regular schedules and pay checks. Tinkham also explained how during the COVID-19 pandemic, door-to-door utility marketing was prohibited to keep people safe from possible exposure, and also prevented customers from getting scammed or pressured into signing ridiculous contracts that would hurt them and cause overspending.