Senate Also Sends Bill with Important Liability Protections for Small Businesses and Schools to Governor
COLUMBUS—State Senator Louis W. Blessing III
(R-Colerain Township) announced the Senate's unanimous passage of Senate Bill 357
yesterday, providing an additional $650 million of federal CARES Act funding to local communities across Ohio for COVID-19 pandemic-related expenses.
The funding in Senate Bill 357 will be made available to counties, municipalities and townships for necessary expenses associated with the current public health emergency and will be distributed on a per capita basis. Over $22 million will be sent to counties, townships, villages, and cities across the 8th Senate District.
“Our local communities were each hit differently and have unique needs as we recover from COVID-19,” said Blessing. “The release of these funds to them quickly will help ensure that those specialized needs are met, and the dollars go where they are needed.”
Senate Bill 357 will be the third round of coronavirus relief funding for counties, municipalities and townships following the state Controlling Board’s recent authorization of $175 million and the General Assembly’s approval in June of $350 million through House Bill 481.
The legislation includes an emergency clause, making the bill effective immediately upon being signed by the governor. The bill will now be sent to the Ohio House for consideration.
The Senate also voted yesterday in favor of the conference committee report on House Bill 606
, sending the bill to the Governor for his consideration. House Bill 606 provides liability protections to businesses, schools and certain healthcare providers during declared disasters or emergencies. The legislation aims to protect against frivolous lawsuits that allege exposure to COVID-19 on the entity's premises, unless it is found that the business owner, school or provider acted with reckless or intentional misconduct to spread the virus.
The protections in House Bill 606 are temporary and would continue through September 30, 2021.