Updated: Ohio Senate approves bill addressing coronavirus impact


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Mandatory state testing for schools would be ditched this year and Ohioans who didn’t vote in the March 17 primary would have until April 28 to cast an absentee ballot, under emergency legislation approved Wednesday by the Ohio Senate to address the impact of the coronavirus.

The bill also allows high school seniors to graduate if they were on track already, waives district and school report cards, lets school districts use distance learning to make up for missed days caused by the virus-related closure of districts state wide, and freezes the school voucher program at current levels.

Recent nursing graduates can receive a temporary certification to allow them to begin work immediately, people unable to renew drivers’ licenses won’t be penalized, and the deadline for filing state income taxes is extended until July 15, under the legislation approved the legislation unanimously.

Seven members of the 33-member body were absent after Senate President Larry Obhof told anyone not feeling well to stay away. Many lawmakers were dressed casually, as Obhof had discouraged business attire, “which is cleaned less frequently than casual clothing.”

The bill was scheduled for consideration later Wednesday by the House, which planned to divide its 99 lawmakers into eight rooms around the Statehouse to allow for social distancing.


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