(The Center Square) – Local Ohio governments can expect more financial help in dealing with COVID-19 issues after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that will send out $650 million across the state.
Late on Thursday, DeWine signed House Bill 614 into law, which among other things distributes federal Cares Act funding to counties, municipalities and townships.
Ohio has now handed out almost $1.2 billion in Cares Act funds to the state’s local governments since the beginning of the pandemic in March.
The bill received support from the County Commissioners of Ohio, Ohio Municipal League, Ohio Township Associated and Ohio Mayors Alliance.
“The County Commissioners Association of Ohio, Ohio Municipal League, Ohio Township Association and Ohio Mayors Alliance sincerely thank Gov. Mike DeWine for signing House Bill 614 into law,” the groups said in a joint statement. “Cares Act funds have made possible a wide array of local coronavirus relief efforts. Expanded testing, grants for small businesses, aid to local non-profits, support for public health and safety efforts, PPE acquisition and more are all examples of how these funds have benefited and strengthened local communities.”
The funding was folded into a bill that primarily deals with studying and reforming Ohio’s unemployment compensation system, charging the state auditor to examine and make recommendations to the claims process.
“Ohioans don’t want bigger government, they want better government,” State Auditor Keith Faber said earlier in testimony before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. “With the mandate to carry out this audit, my office will help make sure they get it.”
The new law also addresses the Facilities Establishment Fund, community projects at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, workforce education partnership, land conveyance and concealed handgun licenses.
An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.