Today, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed the state’s two-year, $69 billion budget bill, House Bill 166.
“This budget bill is one that provides a positive blueprint for Ohio’s future,” said state Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Avondale). “While I do have objections to various provisions in the bill, I believe the overall content is a step in the right direction towards investing in and protecting our most vulnerable citizens.”
Thomas applauded the inclusion of several investments he secured in the bill:
- $37 million for the kinship caregiver program, which will help keep children with their families rather than in foster care
- $18 million to services for children with severe mental health issues who utilize multiple state services, known as multi-system youth, in an effort to prevent custody relinquishment
- $4.25 million for increased security at vulnerable houses of worship, schools and community centers
- $350,000 for the People Working Cooperatively’s Whole Home Innovation Center
- $300,000 for the Cincinnati Zoo’s educational programming benefitting at-risk students
- $425,000 for Produce Perks, a Cincinnati-based, SNAP-matching program
- Including places of worship as locations that can obtain and administer naloxone without a license
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 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.