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After DeWine Order, Ohio Lawmaker Drops Bill Protecting At-Risk Employees

Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) at a press conference with other Ohio House Democrats in 2019.
Ohio House
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Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) at a press conference with other Ohio House Democrats in 2019.

An Ohio bill would have allowed an extension of benefits to unemployed Ohioans who are at-risk or have medical conditions that could be deadly if they contract COVID-19. The sponsor of that legislation says it's not necessary now that Gov. Mike DeWine issued an executive order.

State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) says his bill, which would have allowed Ohioans at greatest risk for dying from COVID-19 to stay home and collect unemployment longer, is no longer needed now that DeWine moved to protect those populations.

“The executive order basically says to the people of Ohio, ‘You don’t have to choose between your life and your livelihood,’” Leland says

Leland's bill also sought to provide state unemployment to working parents who lack child care.

However, the state is no longer allowing that as an excuse not to return to work. Leland says they can apply for federal pandemic unemployment assistance, which was created to cover workers not traditionally eligible for state unemployment benefits.