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DeWine signs huge spending bill, doesn't veto lines opposed by Ohio affordable housing advocates

DeWine on signing HB 45.JPEG
Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Flanked by their wives Tina and Fran, who are with them as they get ready for the weekend's inaugural activities, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Gov. Mike DeWine take questions about House Bill 45, which DeWine signed on January 6, 2023.

Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a huge bill that spends $6 billion in some state money but mostly federal pandemic relief and assistance. It sends funds to communities around Ohio, K-12 schools, law enforcement, and health care and mental health facilities.

But it also includes some provisions that upset advocates for affordable housing.

Two provisions added to House Bill 45 at the end of the lame duck session had developers, activists and even the Ohio Chamber of Commerce saying they’d would create problems for Ohio’s limited affordable housing opportunities. DeWine said he will deal with the issue comprehensively in his budget later this month but didn’t veto those lines in this bill, though he could have.

“I think there's a trust question here. You know, we were able to achieve in this budget things that quite candidly, were not a priority of the General Assembly, but they were vitally important to the future of the state of Ohio," DeWine said.

Advocates for low-income and unhoused Ohioans also urged a veto, saying the limits on emergency assistance to renters in the bill make the money almost unusable.

The bill also includes changes to the Step Up To Quality program the state uses to rate child care facilities, removing the requirement for some of them to participate in the program. Republican Senate President Matt Huffman had pushed for those changes in a bill that DeWine vetoed last year. But this time DeWine said he thinks it's a good system, though some in the legislature don't.

DeWine noted that there are two other bills from the lame duck session that are still awaiting action. He wouldn’t hint what he’ll do with the voter photo ID and ballot drop limiting bill, or the one that would speed up permitting for oil and gas drilling in state parks. He's hinted in the past that he will sign the latter one.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.