Legislative Watch – December 11, 2023

House Passes Resolution on GPO and WEP Repeal; Passes Bill Regarding STRS Board Elections and Student Teacher Eligibility

On Wednesday, December 6, 2023, the Ohio House voted unanimously in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 6 (HCR 6). The resolution, jointly sponsored by Representatives Angela King (R-Celina) and Phil Plummer (R-Dayton), urges Congress to repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). GPO and WEP are provisions of federal law that unfairly punish public servants by reducing their earned Social Security, spousal, and survivor benefits when they 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 and WEP. OEA and NEA continue advocacy in Congress to repeal these unfair and punitive provisions of federal law. OEA strongly supports HCR 6 and is grateful that the Ohio House is calling for this needed change. To view OEA’s floor letter on HCR 6 click here. HCR 6 passed the Ohio House with a vote of 85-0. The resolution now heads to the Senate for its consideration.

Click here to send your member of Congress a letter urging them to support GPO and WEP repeal.

Also on Wednesday, the House passed another piece of legislation dealing with retirement issues. House Bill 78, jointly sponsored by Representatives Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Joe Miller (D-Amherst), makes some adjustments to the State Teachers Retirement System. The bill would allow rehired retirees to run for a retiree seat on the STRS Board. Additionally, the bill would provide STRS membership to student teachers who hold a pre-service teacher permit and earn compensation as substitute teachers. OEA supports HB 78. To view OEA’s proponent testimony on HB 78 from the June 13, 2023, Ohio House Pensions Committee click here. The bill passed the Ohio House 89-0 and will now go to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

Please Continue your Advocacy Opposing SB 83, the Higher Education “Destruction” Act

As a reminder, Senate Bill 83 was favorably reported by the House Higher Education Committee with a narrow vote of 8 to 7. The bill was allowed to pass from committee because Representative Gayle Manning, who previously told OEA and partners that she opposed SB 83 but changed her vote to a yes vote days before the committee’s final consideration. In response to her decision, OEA sent Rep. Manning a letter expressing OEA’s disappointment with her “yes” vote on SB 83. OEA urges members to call her office to express their disappointment with her vote, urge her to publicly oppose SB 83, and ask that she vote “no” on SB 83 if it comes up for a vote before the full Ohio House. To connect with Rep. Manning’s office please call 614-644-5076.

We need to keep up our advocacy to make sure SB 83 is stopped in the Ohio House. Please send your state representative a letter urging them to oppose SB 83 by clicking here.

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