Marc Kovac - Statehouse potpourri: Medicaid, sweepstakes and recess

Published:

COLUMBUS -- Statehouse Democrats aren't hiding their disgust with their GOP counterparts for failing to act on Medicaid expansion.

With lawmakers on recess for the summer, they're aiming their sights toward Gov. John Kasich to do something about it.

Rep. Ronald Gerberry (D-Austintown) didn't mince words in a released statement on the matter last week.

"Cut the crap and get it done, governor -- just like your Arizona counterpart, Gov. Jan Brewer, did," he said.

While Republicans have said they will spend the summer studying the issue, with plans to act before the end of the year, Democrats and advocates for the needy want more immediate action.

And they can't understand why Kasich, the top Republican in the state, can't get lawmakers in line.

"In all my time as a public servant, I have never seen a so-called 'leader' play both sides against the middle like he's doing with Medicaid expansion," Gerberry said in his statement. "The time to move from lip service to action has long passed. Gov. Kasich needs the political courage to do the right thing: call the legislature back for session, lobby his Republican friends in the legislature for eleven votes to discharge a Republican Medicaid expansion bill, and get this done for the people of Ohio."

He added, "It is shameful that the Governor's hollow words persist on this issue. Legislators have been lobbied by expansion advocates. We know how many jobs are at stake, and we know how many Ohioans need health care."

 

Sessions

The Ohio House and Senate have scheduled their post-summer-recess session days, with a half a dozen "as-needed" days in August and September and full-fledged law-making in October, November and December.

The former may be an indication that lawmakers will return a bit earlier than anticipated to tackle Medicaid issues.

The House and Senate have as-needed days on Dec. 17 and 18, meaning they should be out of Columbus a week before Christmas.

Sweepstakes

Backers of a referendum to block a ban on sweepstakes parlors say momentum is growing for their cause.

The Committee to Protect Ohio Jobs has gained the support of a growing list of city officials around the state, including mayors from Willoughby Hills, Willowick and Kipton Village.

They are among the signees of petitions to place the issue before voters in November 2014.

Last month, Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 7 into law, banning cash payouts, limiting prize values at $10 and requiring increased registration and oversight of sweepstakes businesses.

Supporters say the law changes will shut down most of the storefronts and put an end to the unregulated gaming halls.

But business owners and others say the parlors are operating legally, and lawmakers should focus their attention on regulating them rather than putting them out of business and the people they employ out of work.

The referendum effort has until early September to collect close to 250,000 valid signatures. If successful, they'll block the Internet cafe law from taking effect until after next year's general election.

Retiring

Tom Moe, the U.S. Air Force veteran and Vietnam prisoner of war, is stepping down this month from his post as head of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.

He was named to the position by Gov. John Kasich, who frequently praises Moe's military service.

"Having Col. Moe serve on my cabinet over the past two and a half years has been an honor," the governor said in a released statement. "I'm grateful to Col. Moe for stepping out of retirement at the beginning of my administration when I asked him to lead [the Department of Veterans Services]. He is a true American hero, and we were fortunate to have him on our team as long as we did."

(Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.)

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.