Legislative Watch – February 6, 2024

Contact Your Member of Congress About the Need to Repeal GPO/WEP
Federal legislation is needed to repeal the unjust Social Security offsets that unfairly punish public service workers in states like Ohio. The Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) are provisions of federal law that reduce the earned Social Security, spousal, and survivor benefits of those who also collect a public pension from states that do not pay into Social Security. Because Ohio is a non-Social Security state, many teachers, education support professionals and other public servants are adversely impacted by GPO/WEP.
The Social Security Fairness Act (House Resolution 82 and Senate Resolution 597) proposes to fully repeal GPO/WEP. NEA and OEA strongly support the legislation.  U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is a primary sponsor of S. 597 and has submitted a bill to repeal GPO/WEP during the last several sessions of Congress.
HR 82 has overwhelming bi-partisan support with over 304 co-sponsors (more than half of Congress). However, action is needed to progress the bill forward. Specifically, we are calling on the House Ways and Means Committee to hold a “mark-up” session for the bill. This is an important next step.
Ohio has two members of this vital committee: Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-2nd District) and Mike Carey (R- 15th District). We encourage OEA members in those districts to contact their representative and urge them to call for a mark-up of HR 82. To look up your congressional district, please click here.
To contact U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup, please dial 202-225-3164 

To contact U.S. Representative Mike Carey, please dial 202-225-2015 

OEA members in other districts can express their support for the bill by using the NEA action alert click here

For more information about the impact of GPO and WEP, please click here.

Ohio General Assembly Overrides Governor’s Veto of HB (House Bill) 68 

Last month, the Ohio General Assembly voted to override Governor DeWine’s veto of House Bill (HB) 68.  OEA is opposed to HB 68, and supported Governor DeWine’s veto and opposed the veto override of HB 68 by the Ohio General Assembly. HB 68 creates unnecessary regulations that limit student participation in high school and collegiate athletic teams. The bill would discriminate against some students by establishing an absolute prohibition on transgender female participation on teams designated only for female participants. OEA has long stood for policies that are inclusive of students regardless of race, class, gender, or identity. 
The proposed regulations in HB 68 conflict with existing policies adopted by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). Current OHSAA policy allows transgender female participation on a female-designated sports team under certain conditions but does not have an absolute bar on participation for these students. The NCAA policy calls for transgender student-athlete participation policies to be determined by the national governing body of each sport. OEA recommended that the State defer to the governing bodies of student athletics and not enact laws that contain unnecessary regulations that limit student participation. 

The Ohio House voted to override Governor DeWine’s veto of HB 68 by a vote of 65-28; the Ohio Senate did the same by a vote of 24-8.  Copies of the OEA’s letter urging the Ohio General Assembly to not override Governor DeWine’s veto of HB 68 may be found HERE (Ohio Senate) and HERE (Ohio House).

For an archive of past Legislative Watch releases, visit the Legislative Watch archive.