Chairman Derickson, Vice-Chair Ginter, Ranking Member Howse, and members of the
Community and Family Advancement Committee, thank you for the opportunity to give proponent
testimony on House Bill 298. My Name is Michael Stegall and I serve Darke County’s citizens as
one of their elected County Commissioners.

I am here today to support House Bill 298, legislation that would establish a three-county, two year
drug testing pilot program for applicants of the Ohio Works First (OWF), because Darke
County would like to be one of the three pilot counties.

At this time I would like to thank the sponsors, Representative Tim Schaffer and Representative
Ron Maag for their hard work creating this important piece of legislation. This bill will allow
counties to do the research necessary to better understand Ohio’s drug epidemic, and to hope find
a better way to help families who struggle with addiction.

This legislation is not here to deny benefits to struggling families, but rather it is a tool to find the
families who need a helping hand and it is a way to deliver that much needed assistance. In Darke
County, as in many counties across Ohio, we have a major substance abuse problem. We also
have a major employment problem. Most employers in my county tell me that they have good
jobs available, but they cannot find the workers to pass the initial drug test. These two issues go
together hand-in-hand, and House Bill 298 is the common sense legislation to start fixing these
two problems.

Darke County began its process of requesting to be one of the three pilot counties because of the
efforts of a wonderful and dedicated person, our Job and Family Services Director, Gracie G.
Overholser. She has 28 years of experience at the local level helping people living in poverty,
struggling with employment issues, and trying to overcome addiction. She is unable to be with us
here today, but I have included her comments as part of my testimony today.

Before I read her comments, I would like to again thank the sponsors for all their hard work and
courage for introducing this legislation. And I would like to thank you for the opportunity to come
and testify today. When I conclude, I would be happy to answer any questions that the committee
may have.

Download PDF