Governor pushes road repairs, children’s health, nature
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine used his first State of the State speech to push for an 18-cent increase in the state’s gas tax, more focus on children’s health issues like lead paint exposure and trauma related to parents’ drug abuse, and improved water quality. Among other highlights, the governor:
— Proposed a new “H2-Ohio Fund” to invest in “the long-term health and protection of Lake Erie and other Ohio bodies of water.
— Announced the creation of a “Narcotics Intelligence Center” to provide local law enforcement with enhanced intelligence and high-tech analysis.
— Proposed annual substance abuse prevention education each year from kindergarten to 12th grade.
— Promised more money for local communities to combat the opioid epidemic, including increased treatment and a new fund to leverage public and private resources to boost public health awareness and prevention strategies.
— Proposed guaranteed tuition for Ohio public universities that doesn’t increase during students’ four years in college.
— Announced an increase in the number of specialty court dockets that work to help criminal defendants with substance abuse problems receive treatment and stay out of jail or prison.
— Proposed an increase in state funding for children service agencies to deal with the soaring number of children in state custody in part because of the opioid epidemic.
— Announced additional investment in career-tech centers and two-year community colleges to boost workforce development and worker re-training.