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Reps. Brown, Sweeney Introduce Legislation to Give National Guard Members $1,000 Democracy Bonus

Honors Service Members After More Than a Year of Exemplary Service in Defense of a Healthy Ohio
August 18, 2021
Richard D. Brown News

COLUMBUS — State Reps. Richard D. Brown (D-Canal Winchester) and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today introduced the Democracy Bonus Act, legislation providing a one-time $1,000 dollar bonus to all Ohio National Guard and State Defense Force Members who served in any full-time role after the Governor’s declared state of emergency on March 9, 2020. 

“We all owe a debt of gratitude to these citizen soldiers for their numerous, extended deployments, putting their everyday lives on hold to keep our society moving over the last year and a half,” said Rep. Sweeney. “As the pandemic rages on and they may be called upon once again to serve at a moment’s notice, this bonus is the least we can do to recognize the dignity of their work.”

Funded with federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars, the bonus will be awarded to the over 2,700 service members who participated in Operation Steady Resolve, distributing food at foodbanks, aiding in vaccination efforts, battling the virus in prisons, and assisting at long-term care facilities, among other important COVID-mitigating tasks. Furthermore, the legislation encompasses all those who served full-time at home and abroad, continuing to carry out their regular duties while shouldering the heavy burden of being deployed during the pandemic. 

“Ohio’s men and women in uniform stepped up in places like nursing homes and prisons at moments when the virus was ravaging the civilian workforce. They placed themselves in harm’s way to ensure that these facilities continued to operate,” said Rep. Brown.  “As we continue to debate how to best utilize federal ARPA dollars, it is imperative that we include both those citizen-soldiers who met critical needs in our society and the many reservists called up to fulfill the Guard’s continuing missions at home and abroad.”

The legislation currently awaits referral to a House Committee and further consideration.