‘Happy day’: Ohio’s governor signs $2.2B COVID relief bill

June 29, 2021 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Declaring it a “happy day,” Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation Tuesday directing about $2.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief to children’s behavioral healthcare, water and sewer infrastructure projects, local government budgets and paying off the state’s unemployment insurance loan.

“There are bill signings you’re okay with, then there are bill signings that you’re very happy with,” the Republican said at a Statehouse signing ceremony. “This is one I’m very happy about.”

The bill allocates all but $500 million of Ohio’s first payout from the American Rescue Plan Act, with decisions yet to be made on how the rest will be spent, DeWine said.

It includes $84 million for pediatric behavioral health initiative, $250 million for water and sewer infrastructure, $422 million for more than 2,000 local governments and roughly $1.5 billion to repay a federal loan that shored up the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.