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Government/Politics

DeWine Says Communities Can Access Broadband Money In Ohio's New Budget

Office of Budget and Management Director Kim Murnieks watches as Gov. Mike DeWine (center)  speaks at the press conference announcing he'd signed the budget and vetoed 14 items. Joining him was Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and House Finance Chair Scott Oelslager.
Dan Konik
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Office of Budget and Management Director Kim Murnieks watches as Gov. Mike DeWine (center) speaks at the press conference announcing he'd signed the budget and vetoed 14 items. Joining him was Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and House Finance Chair Scott Oelslager.

The new state budget sets aside $250 million for broadband programs – that’s a restoration of what Gov. Mike DeWine had initially proposed, which the House reduced and the Senate totally eliminated. But DeWine thinks the resolution is a good one.

The Senate had not only eliminated the broadband funds, but banned municipalities from operating current and future broadband programs.

DeWine had proposed $250 million for broadband grants, but the House had reduced that to $190 million.

DeWine said there was concern that even the money were restored and the ban erased, those programs wouldn’t be able to access those funds. But he said that's been resolved.

“You heard from municipalities, they were yelling pretty loud because they basically said, 'look, this – we can’t do this,'" DeWine said. "So we think it’s usuable, we think it’s functionable, we think the legislature corrected that.”

Communities have cheered the restoration of the broadband funds and the lifting of that ban, along with advocates such as the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers, who say wider broadband access will help with telemedicine, education and other efforts.

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