The Ohio House of Representatives has passed four bills that would provide $2 billion novel in coronavirus relief; the bills now go to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.
Funding for the bills — House Bills 167-170 — was included in the federal CARES Act, which passed in March 2020, and the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, which passed in December 2020.
The bills include the following:
$465 million in rental and utility assistance
$150 million for a small business grant relief program
$10 million for grants to new businesses
$4.7 million for county and independent fairs
$112.2 million for childcare providers
$20 million for entertainment venues for loss of revenue due to cancelled events or performances
$100 million in grants to Ohio’s bars and restaurants
$25 million in grants to Ohio’s lodging industry
$683.1 million for public schools
$154.8 million for private schools
$19 million for educational service centers, joint vocational schools, and Ohio’s county boards of developmental disabilities
$8 million for the Adjutant General to support the Ohio National Guard response
“As we continue to work our way out of this pandemic, we understand that so many parts of our communities have been so heavily impacted due to COVID-19 and these bills are a step in the right direction to uplifting our state and all Ohioans,” Rep. Jamie Callender, R-Concord Township said in a statement.
Callender and Rep. Kent Smith, D-Euclid, in November introduced the Save Our Stages Act to support the performing arts community in the state. That legislation was incorporated in the package passed by the House on April 15.
“Today our efforts finally paid off as our legislation was included in HB 168 — which passed unanimously,” Smith said in a statement following the passage of the relief package. “Considering the bipartisan nature of the Save Our Stages Act from the beginning, I am disappointed that it took so long for today's legislation to pass. But I also know it is needed now more than ever because the music industry is a huge industry, in excess of $7 billion annually across the nation. Ten years ago, Cleveland State released its Remixed study which indicated that the NE Ohio music sector was responsible for over 6,000 jobs and $840 million in economic activity.”
Rep. Daniel P. Troy, D-Willowick, said on the House floor April 15 said he was happy to see that funds for outdoor venues were included as part of HB 168.
“You know we all missed a lot of this in 2020,” Troy said. “A lot of our community festivals did not happen, things like Ohio’s largest Ohio made wine festival (Vintage Ohio Wine Festival) that happens in my county, Lake County, at our Lake Farmpark...I think this bill does a lot of things to address the hardship that took place with this.”