The legislature is preparing to take up almost 30 items this week, according to Ohio Rep. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg.
One bill, on protecting first responders during the coronavirus crisis, was introduced by Ghanbari.
“The concern that I have is if a first responder is treating, or transporting, or interacting with someone who has either tested positive for the coronavirus, has a presumptive positive or has a high index of suspicion of coronavirus, that there would be a requirement from the hospital or the local department of health to reach back out to those first responders,” he said.
The bill came out of an incident last week in Lucas County, Ghanbari said.
A patient, who was a presumptive case of COVID-19, was transported to a hospital and later died, he said.
“The firefighters that transported the patient did not learn of this from the hospital or the local department of health. They learned about it through social media channels and also news reports,” Ghanbari said.
They are self-quarantining.
“We need to take up this legislation immediately,” he said.
Ghanbari was part of a roundtable of public officials that were available via conference call on Tuesday from the Wood County Commissioners’ office in Bowling Green.
The legislature, including 99 representatives and 33 senators, is expected to meet today and Thursday.
Other issues on the table include extending the state tax filing deadline, discussing public meeting protocols and addressing complaints about people not being able to apply for unemployment benefits.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people that they cannot get into the website. It is just not loading,” Ghanbari said.
They are working to open up the bandwidth, he said.
The one-week time frame is being waived, along with the requirement that the person is actively seeking employment, he said.
“Since the website is overloaded right now … applicants will be retroactively paid to the date that they were laid off,” Ghanbari said.
The legislature may deal with open meetings and whether they can be done remotely, he said.
“We are looking to grant members of a public body permissive authority to hold, attend and take public actions in public meetings by video conferencing, provided certain requirements are met,” Ghanbari said.