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Appeal Filed After Judge Rules Against Reinstating $300 Checks for Jobless Ohioans

Karen Kasler
A fast food restaurant in northeast Columbus has had trouble keeping regular hours because of staffing issues. Opponents of the $300 check program say it kept workers away, but workers say there are many other factors involved.

A Franklin County judge has ruled against reinstating the $300 weekly checks for unemployed Ohioans during the pandemic that were discontinued by Gov. Mike DeWine last month. The judge said the law is clear that DeWine wasn’t obligated to continue the program for around 200,000 Ohioans. But the suit isn't over.

Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann represents the unemployed workers, and says he’s already asked the Tenth District Court of Appeals to review Judge Michael Holbrook’s ruling.

“We think he read the law wrong," Dann said. "We think the Tenth District might read it differently."

Roger Geiger with the National Federation of Independent Business Ohio pushed for the end to the $300 weekly checks, calling them an economic incentive not to come to work when jobs are going unfilled.

“The governor has the responsibility of running our unemployment system," Geiger said. "He was well within his prerogative and the court verified that.”

The US Chamber of Commerce and the NFIB filed briefs supporting the state's argument.

DeWine issued a statement after the ruling, which read in part: "We are pleased with the decision. We have heard over and over again from employers who can’t find workers to fill open positions, and this policy helps both employers and workers."

Workers have said they’re having trouble finding child care and are concerned about wages and safety.

26 states, all but one with GOP governors, ended the weekly checks program before it will expire in September.

Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.