COLUMBUS -- Disabled firefighters and parents of autistic children had something to cheer about following lawmakers whirlwind end-of-year lame duck session, with movement on a couple of long-sought law changes.
In part two of a five-part series, here are 10 more bills that were signed by Gov. Kasich in recent days, most of which will take effect in about three months:
11. Firefighters: SB 27 will help ensure that full-time firefighters who have been on hazardous duty for at least half a dozen years and who are diagnosed with cancer can access workers compensation and other disability benefits as they deal with the disease.
Backers of the move say firefighters are exposed larger concentrations of carcinogens compared to other professions, and they shouldn't have to fight for benefits when they later face cancer diagnoses.
" Firefighters contract cancer at a much higher rate than most any other profession," Rep. Michael Henne (R-Clayton) said during the floor discussion of the legislation late last month. " SB 27 helps take care of them and their families when they need it the most, when they are fighting cancer."
More than 30 other states have comparable legislation in place.
12. Namesake: SB 27 was titled the Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act, in honor of the Cleveland-area firefighter who is battling brain cancer. Palumbo was at the Statehouse the day lawmakers finalized the bill and this month to watch Kasich sign the legislation into law.
13. Report: One final note on the bill: The Bureau of Workers' Compensation will prepare a report within the next two years (and updated every couple of years afterward) noting the number of presumed cancer claims that result from the law changes.
14. Autism Coverage: When HB 463 was introduced more than a year ago, it mainly focused on laws dealing with the handling of foreclosures and judicial sales of such properties.
By the time lawmakers were done with it last month, the final legislation included all sorts of other stuff, including mandates that insurance plans cover autism services.
The latter includes coverage for "screening, diagnosis and treatment" services, according to an analysis by the state's Legislative Service Commission. " The bill prohibits a health plan issuer from terminating an individual's coverage, or from refusing to deliver, execute, issue, amend, adjust, or renew coverage to an individual solely because the individual is diagnosed with or has received treatment for an autism spectrum disorder."
The legislation includes minimum coverage levels -- 20 visits to speech, language and occupational therapy for children younger than 14, 20 hours per week of clinical therapeutic intervention and 30 visits for mental or behavioral health outpatient services.
15. Joining Most of the Rest of the County: Ohio joins more than 40 other states that have autism coverage requirements, according to the advocacy group Autism Speaks.
That group also noted that state employee health plans already were required to provide coverage for autism treatments, thanks to an earlier executive order signed by the governor.
16. No More Plywood: One other thing about HB 463: The bill bans the use of plywood over windows and doors of abandoned or otherwise vacant properties. Plywood already in place can remain, however.
17. Flu Shots: SB 311 requires the Ohio Department of Health to create a fact sheet describing the health risks of influenza for older adults and the availability and effectiveness of vaccines.
Copies will be posted on the agency's website and in long-term care facilities in a place where they can be readily seen by residents, employees and visitors.
According to LSC, which cites the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "influenza is a contagious disease caused by influenza viruses. It can result in mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can lead to hospitalization or death. The elderly, young children, and individuals with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year."
18. No Prison Farm Sales, Yet: HB 471 included a bunch of land conveyances, opening the door to certain state agencies to sell at auction or otherwise transfer public property to other buyers.
But the final version of the bill did not include farmland currently owned by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, which decided earlier this year seek other job training and programming for inmates outside of farm and fieldwork.
Lawmakers will have to revisit that issue in the new general assembly.
19. Not Public Records: That same bill included language exempting military service deployment papers from perusal under the state's public records laws.
There were concerns voiced by some that such records, when included in public officials' personnel files, could be accessed by unfriendly eyes. Now, those calls to order won't become public records in such files until 15 years after their published or effective date.
20. One other Exemption: There was another public record exemption included in the final bill: documents that are part of an agricultural commodity marketing program that indicate "how an individual has voted on a referendum to establish or amend a marketing program or in an election of the members of an operating committee," according to LSC.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.