Food banks might lose the money that House lawmakers put in their version of the budget. The Senate’s changes to the budget plan that was voted out of committee today/yesterday do not include a House provision to add 2 million dollars into the state’s food banks, and a Democratic amendment to do that was rejected. Lisa Hamler Fugitt of the Ohio Association of Food Banks says she’s disappointed that more funding for food banks was out of the Senate version of the budget, while changes to the state’s exotic animals law stayed in.
The Ohio Senate has produced a bill outlining some of the changes it is making to the proposed two year state budget. Ohio Senators have removed from the state budget a proposal forcing universities to offer in state tuition to out of state students who request the documents necessary to vote in Ohio. The Senate bill also removes spider monkeys from the list of exotic animals to be regulated by the state. But Governor Kasich’s plan to expand Medicaid expansion, which was removed in the house version of the budget, hasn’t been added back into the senate plan.
Some conservative Ohio lawmakers and some faith leaders who generally support conservative causes want to put millions of additional dollars into more preschool for at risk children, something a lot of Democrats have championed in the past, and the push is on at the Ohio Statehouse to get more money for early childhood education.
Early childhood education may get a boost in the state budget. A group of lawmakers are meeting today to discuss adding a voucher program that will help eligible children attend private preschools. The Education Finance Subcommittee will be hearing testimony from local educators, business people and community leaders. There are 130,000 children in Ohio eligible to attend government funded preschool programs. Fewer than half of them receive preschool services.