Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville)

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Senate today began hearings on legislation to reduce red tape for local school districts.
House Bill 491, sponsored by State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), would require the State Board of Education to issue substitute licenses to individuals already licensed in their profession who wish to also work as a substitute in local schools.
Currently, licensed professionals in several fields, such as nursing, physical therapists and speech-language pathologists, must go through the process of obtaining a second license just to work as a substitute. This dual licensing creates an administrative burden and limits the number of prospective substitutes for schools.
These individuals would still have to pass a background check, under the bill.
“Some districts in Southeast Ohio face challenges finding short- and long-term substitutes needed to help students,” Edwards said. “The goal of the legislation is to reduce red tape so we can help local schools secure the licensed professionals they need to serve their students.”
The bill would apply only to school speech-language pathologists, school nurses, school audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapy assistants, physical therapy assistants and school social workers.
The bill has previously been approved by the Ohio House of Representatives and is currently pending in the Ohio Senate Education Committee.