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Hello, 

I hope you are staying safe and warm during the winter months. For the new General Assembly, I was once again named Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. This committee provides the opportunity to work closely with members of the Senate, House and Governor’s administration to develop a balanced budget, responsibly investing the tax dollars Ohioans send to the state. 

During the pandemic, I will continue to support and make crucial one-time investments in the hardest-hit industries. I am hopeful we can accomplish this in the next coming months.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact my office by phone at (614) 466-8056 or by e-mail at Dolan@OhioSenate.gov.

Sincerely,
 
State Senator Matt Dolan
24th Senate District 
www.ohiosenate.gov/Dolan
Due to the number of unemployment claims filed during the COVID-19 pandemic, some Ohioans have unfortunately had their identities used to obtain fraudulent unemployment claims in both traditional state unemployment and federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs. One way victims have discovered identity theft is by receiving an IRS 1099-G form for unemployment benefits that were never received. In response, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Families Services (ODJFS) established a way to report identity theft. If you believe your identity was stolen and used to file a fraudulent unemployment claim, please refer to the resources below.
 
For individuals:

For identity theft resources for individuals, please click here.
To report individual identity theft to ODJFS, please complete this secure online form.
Additionally, you can call the newly established unemployment identity theft hotline at (833) 658-0394. Staff is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, Monday through Friday.
  
Please note, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation, once ODJFS verifies the ID theft claim, a corrected 1099-G form should be sent to you, and you should keep the corrected form for your records. For tax filing purposes, the Ohio Department of Taxation has issued the following guidance:
 
"Generally, you should not include unemployment benefits you did not apply for as income on your federal and state income tax returns. You do not need to have a determination from ODJFS on your ID theft claim or a corrected 1099-G to file your federal and state income tax returns. However, you should continue to pursue a corrected 1099-G from ODJFS after your returns are filed to avoid a future audit by the IRS or Ohio Department of Taxation."
 
For employers:

For identity theft resources for employers, please click here.
To report identity theft to ODJFS for an employer on behalf of employees, please complete this secure online form.
 
To protect your identity from future fraud, I encourage you to review the available resources from the Ohio Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission.
Who can get a vaccine?
 
January 19th marked the beginning of the second phase, Phase 1B, which included adults 65 years or older, and people with severe congenital, developmental or early-onset medical disorders. Also included were Ohio’s K-12 school employees. 

Additionally, Ohioans born with, or developed in childhood, severe conditions that put them at a greater risk of COVID-19 complications or death were added to Phase 1B regardless of age. For a complete list of conditions and more information on Phase 1B, please click here.

Where can I get a vaccine?

The Ohio Department of Health created a vaccine provider location tool that is searchable by ZIP code or county. Please be aware each provider manages its own schedules and appointments. Refer to a provider’s website to make appropriate arrangements.

Eligible Cuyahoga County residents can join a waitlist to be notified when slots are available. If you would like to join the waitlist, you may fill out this form to provide your contact information.
  
After you fill out the form, you will receive two notifications when clinics open up:

A voicemail message telling you to check your email for a link to register
An email message containing a link that allows you to register for the next open clinic
After you click on the link to register, you will receive a second email message that will have the date and time of your appointment.

For more Cuyahoga County vaccine information, click here.
 
You can follow updates about the vaccine’s availability for subsequent groups on the Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus vaccine page. You can also call the department at 833-427-5634 toll-free.
The Ohio Department of Heath is hosting a series of virtual town halls to answer Ohioan’s questions on the COVID-19 vaccine. Hear from medical experts, community leaders, public health professionals, front line workers and people who have been vaccinated.

Monday, Feb. 22, 6:30 p.m. – African American Ohioans
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m. – Hispanic/Latino Ohioans
Monday, March 1, 6:30 p.m. – Asian American and Pacific Islander Ohioans
Tuesday, March 2, 6:30 p.m. – Rural Ohioans

Watch the town halls live or on-demand after the event:
 
Watch later on TV:

Watch later on the Ohio Channel. Find your local channel and the date and time it will air by checking with your PBS station or television provider.
With a new General Assembly comes a new state operating budget process. To start the process in my office, I hosted virtual meetings with local leaders of the 24th Senate District. I first met with mayors and township trustees. We discussed improving and upholding the crucial relationship between the state and local governments, the Governor’s economic recovery package and what is needed to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayors in the district requested the state provide flexibility to locals when possible to recover from the pandemic both operationally and economically.

I then met with the K-12 superintendents who lead the 19 local school districts in the 24th Senate District. One of their priorities was developing a school funding formula during the budget process. We also discussed what is needed to help schools maintain COVID-19 safe classrooms, flexibility on state testing and the challenges of hybrid learning.
 
I look forward to continuing discussions with leaders in my district as the state operating budget moves through the legislative process.
February is Black History Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Black Americans across the county. All month, the Ohio History Connection hosted online educational programming highlighting the Civil Rights Movement, notable Black Ohioans and Black arts and culture.
 
Additionally, the Ohio Statehouse hosted virtual programming every Tuesday during February to tell the stories of Black Americans through dramatic performances. I hope you were able to take advantage of these inspiring resources, if not, you can watch past performances here.
In an increasingly technical world, access to reliable, high-speed broadband internet is essential. The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified this clear need, many of our neighbors have transitioned to working, learning and receiving healthcare remotely.

The Senate recently passed Senate Bill 8, which I co-sponsored, to create the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program to help fill the gap in internet access and connectivity. The bill invests $20 million to help broadband providers complete residential broadband projects in underserved communities across Ohio.

While the program established in SB 8 aims to improve access to underserved Ohioans in rural areas, the Governor’s economic recovery package in the state’s operating budget includes funding to connect broadband services to families in Ohio's major cities with low connectivity.
February 11th marked the National 2-1-1 Day sponsored by United Ways across the country. 2-1-1 is a free, confidential helpline that connects people to essential health and human services, accessible 24/7. By dialing 2-1-1, you are connected to local helpline professionals who can provide guidance and information on a variety of services, including unemployment services, utility assistance, counseling services and drug and alcohol treatment.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic caused many uncertainties and unanswered questions when it comes to food security, housing, transportation and many more. The United Way of Greater Cleveland served as a vital resource during the pandemic, assisting more than 137,000 people through their 2-1-1 helpline with 91% of callers identifying that their needs were met.

If you need assistance, please call 2-1-1 or access 2-1-1 online to speak with a live, trained service professional.
This General Assembly, I once again sponsored legislation to make August 31st “Ohio Overdose Awareness Day.” Senate Bill 30 unanimously passed the Senate on February 24th. The goal of this legislation is to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic in Ohio and remember the lives lost by requiring all state flags at public institutions to be displayed at half-staff every August 31st.

While I recognize we are navigating a global health crisis with COVID-19, the lasting impact and complicated issues associated with opioids are still heavily present in both our state and country. Fortunately, a constituent from Berea emailed me advocating for Ohio to match the International Overdose Awareness Day of August 31st.

During my time in the state General Assembly, we have made significant investments to support Ohioans struggling with substance use and mental health disorders by expanding recovery housing, investing in wrap-around services for K-12 students and increasing county crisis stabilization services.

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder, you can learn more about treatment providers and support by visiting FindTreatment.gov.
 
 
Senator Matt Dolan represents Ohio’s 24th Senate District, which contains a portion of Cuyahoga county. Learn more at www.OhioSenate.gov/Dolan. To download a high-resolution photo of Senator Dolan for your use, click here.