Advocates tell Ohio Senate to take action now to fix unemployment compensation

By Policy Matters Ohio

Leaders and experts from across Ohio came together to call on the state Senate to act immediately and fix problems with the state’s unemployment compensation (UC) system. See video of the call here. The Ohio House weeks ago approved House Bill 614, which among other things would create a committee to report on the UC system. Yet HB 614 hasn’t yet received a hearing in the Senate. Research Director Zach Schiller of Policy Matters Ohio said, “Ohio policymakers must listen to the voices of our hundreds of thousands of unemployed.”   

Cindy Lang, Tatyana Atkinson, and Katie Krupp, leaders from the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC), described how thousands of Ohioans are suffering every day from the overburdened UC system, overdue mortgages, and concerns about being forced to return to work as COVID-19 cases spike.  

“The House passed HB 614 on a 90-0 vote. It should have been taken up by the Senate immediately,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “The time to act is now.” As someone on the front lines of fighting hunger in Ohio, Hamler-Fugitt sees firsthand how problems accessing unemployment compensation have led to increased lines at food pantries.

“If the state Senate doesn’t act, we call on Governor DeWine to name the Unemployment Modernization and Improvement Council that HB 614 would create, and ask it to make recommendations in 90 days,” Schiller said.

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