Today, the Ohio Senate passed the state’s two-year, $69 billion budget bill, House Bill 166.
“I’m pleased to say that this is the first budget I’ve voted in favor of since taking office nearly a decade ago,” said state Senator and Finance committee member Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “For years, we’ve urged our Republican colleagues to invest in public health in order to build a stronger Ohio. This budget is a commitment to the people of Ohio to do just that.”
Antonio applauded the inclusion of several public health investments she secured in the bill:
- $1 million per year for the Cleveland Lead Safe Coalition
- $2.5 million per year for infant safe spacing programs in high infant mortality areas
- Public health initiatives including resources to curb the opioid epidemic through harm reduction and syringe exchange services and increased access to Naloxone
The bipartisan budget also includes longstanding Democratic priorities. HB 166 increases funding for affordable housing programs through the Ohio Housing Trust Fund. It includes various measures aimed at supporting Ohio’s children and families, like a proposal to prevent the custody relinquishment of children with severe mental health issues and additional funding for home-living programs for low income and elderly Ohioans. It also funds the H2Ohio water quality initiative through the next two years.
House and Senate members will now meet to negotiate a final version of the bill before the state-mandated June 30 deadline.