Ohio Senate passes bill providing $650M in pandemic relief

COLUMBUS — State Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, has announced the Senate’s unanimous passage of Senate Bill 357, providing for the distribution of an additional $650 million of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding to local communities across Ohio for coronavirus pandemic-related expenses.

The funding in Senate Bill 357 will be made available to counties, municipalities and townships for necessary expenses associated with the current public health emergency and will be distributed on a per capita basis.

Nearly $40 million will be sent to counties, townships, villages and cities across the 2nd Senate District, represented by Gavarone.

“As someone who served in local government prior to joining the legislature, I understand the struggles COVID-19 has created for counties, townships, villages and cities,” Gavarone said. “I was proud to co-sponsor this legislation that will send considerable financial resources to communities across my district.”

Senate Bill 357 will be the third round of coronavirus relief funding for counties, municipalities and townships following the state Controlling Board’s recent authorization of $175 million and the General Assembly’s approval in June of $350 million through House Bill 481.

This funding excludes Ohio’s six jurisdictions with populations over 500,000 because they already qualify for direct payments from the CARES Act; this includes the city of Columbus, and Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery and Summit county governments. Municipalities and townships within these counties, however, are still eligible for the funding appropriated in this legislation.

The legislation includes an emergency clause, making the bill effective immediately upon being signed by the governor. The bill will now be sent to the Ohio House for consideration.