The Ohio Patriot Plan - Final Effort
Monday, May 03, 2004
You have faxed and emailed the Ohio legislative with great success, but now we need to make one final push. Because of many of you, the Ohio Patriot Plan (this is the official legal link, I put the plan, in regular person language, in the extended section) has made it through the various roadblocks and obstacles in the legislative process. Because of you, the Plan has a shot at getting enacted.
It's game time.
The Ohio Patriot Plan is coming up for a vote in the next day or two. LTC (ret.) Steve Lynch has this information to get the ball rolling and ensure that Ohio takes care of its military overseas!
The Ohio Patriot Plan is coming up for vote before the Ohio House of Representatives State Government Committee - THIS WEEK. It is very important that supporters e-mail each member of the committee soon (hopefully today (5/3) or tomorrow) to voice their support. The list of committee members follows my signature block.So if you live in Ohio or know anyone in Ohio (send this to them), you can make the difference in getting this important legislation passed.
The Committee heard testimony from a number of supporters in March, and the bill has been going through revisions since then. If the State Government Committee votes in favor of the bill this week, then it could be voted on by the Ohio General Assembly this spring, and hopefully become law by summer.
For those who have e-mailed committee members before, a second e-mail now would be very helpful, particularly from supporters currently serving overseas or who have family members serving overseas.
Thank you for your support and service.
Steve Lynch, Lt Col, USAF (retired)
Ohio House of Representatives
State Government Committee
Chairman Jim Carmichael, [email protected]
Vice Chairman Kevin DeWine, [email protected]
Representative Stephen Buehrer, [email protected]
Representative Gary Cates, District [email protected]
Representative Patricia Clancy, District [email protected]
Representative Larry Flowers, [email protected]
Representative Jon Peterson, [email protected]
Representative Jim Trakas, [email protected]
Representative Annie Key, [email protected]
Representative Sylvester Patton, [email protected]
Representative Dan Stewart, [email protected]
I've put the Ohio Patriot Plan in the Extended Section for those who want to read the entire plan.
The Ohio Patriot Plan
The “Patriot Plan” is modeled after New York legislation of the same name which was passed this past August and signed by Governor George Pataki, and provides a comprehensive package of new benefits and enhanced protections for Ohio military personnel and their families. At the request of Mr. Steven Lynch, an attorney representing members of the US Coast Guard, and former member of the Air Force, the legislation is being drafted by the Legislative Service Commission under the Primary Sponsorship of Representative Peter Ujvagi.
The provisions of the Plan include:
- Protection against Military Status Discrimination: Expands the protections of the Human Rights Law to military personnel to ensure that they are not discriminated against in housing, employment, public accommodations or credit applications.
- Termination of Vehicle Leases: Permits military personnel to terminate without penalty a car lease if he or she is called to active duty.
- Interest Rate Cap on Installment Loans: Caps rates of interest on installment loans at 6 percent while the individual is on state active duty.
- Health Insurance Benefits: Directs the Insurance Department to protect the rights of military personnel to continue, suspend or convert health insurance benefits during periods of active duty. Also requires the Governor’s Office of Veterans Affairs to make health provider information concerning military-related illnesses, such as Gulf War Syndrome and Hepatitis C, available to military personnel and their families via a website.
- Educational Military Leave of Absence and Tuition Relief: Requires colleges and universities to provide educational military leave of absence for students called to active duty. The provisions require that the institution restore the student to his/her previous educational status upon return from military service without loss of credits earned, scholarships or grants or other feed paid prior to commencement of military duty. In addition, colleges and universities would be required to provide a tuition refund or credit to students who are forced to suspend their studies because of military leave of absence before or on the institutional date of withdrawal. Also includes an enforcement mechanism providing an opportunity for students to file civil claims if the institution does not comply.
- Electronic Transfer of Paychecks: Provides that paychecks of public employees activated for foreign deployment will be made by electronic transfer of funds (direct deposit) unless such employee opts to not have such payments made in such manner.
- Patriot Discount Program: Establishes a voluntary, state sponsored program for merchants who agree to provide reduced price discounts for merchandise and services for all military personnel. To be managed by the Governor’s Office of Veterans Affairs.
- School Stability: Children of overseas deployed parents will be permitted to remain in the same school, without disruption for the period of deployment.
- Evictions: Prohibits evictions of a financially dependant family member in residence with a soldier during period of active duty military service. The service member must be listed on the lease.
- Termination of Cellular Contracts: A soldier deployed overseas may terminate a cellular telephone contract without penalty.
- Utility Disconnection: Utilities may not be disconnected from the residence of a financially dependant family member in residence with a soldier during a period of active duty military service. The service member must be listed on the lease or provide proof of residency.
Any provisions concerning the termination of legal and binding contracts would be effective only on contracts signed after the effective date of the legislation signed by the Governor of the State of Ohio, but before the date of deployment notification.
Additionally there are programs already in place to support service members and their families under Ohio Law.
- State Family Liaison Officers: the Adjutant General oversees a Family Support Office.
- War Orphans Scholarship Program: the State funds through the General Revenue Fund a scholarship program to provide college tuition waivers to the children of soldiers killed in the line of active military duty. (Rep. Ujvagi has also introduced HB 359 expanding the War Orphans Scholarship Program to extend tuition waivers to spouses of soldiers killed in combat after May 7, 1975.)
- Waive License Fee Renewals: the State of Ohio currently waives teaching license fees for licenses that lapse during deployment and extends EMT and First Responder certifications that expire during deployment. Professional licenses and continuing education requirements are also extended during deployment.
- Property Taxes: In June 2003 the House passed Sub SB 47, a Senate initiative to extend the time National Guard members and armed forces reservists called to active duty have to pay their property taxes.