Highlights of GOP Gov. DeWine's proposed 2-year state budget - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Highlights of GOP Gov. DeWine's proposed 2-year state budget

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Highlights of the two-year state operating budget proposed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine include:

Allotting $550 million over the biennium - at least $55,000 per district, plus more based on need - to help schools support and encourage students through mental health counseling, mentoring, after-school programs and other efforts.

Setting aside $900 million for water-related initiatives over the next decade, including cleaning up toxic algae in Lake Erie.

Nearly doubling state funding for family and children services to $151 million a year, including $90 million annually in child-protection funding to counties and $25 million annually for serving children who require help from multiple state agencies.

Raising the minimum age for buying cigarettes, other tobacco products and alternative nicotine products from 18 to 21.

Tripling reimbursement funding to a total of $90 million annually to help counties pay for the defense of criminal suspects who can't afford lawyers.

Requiring public universities to guarantee students the same tuition rate from their freshman through senior years.

Adding $50 million more for evidence-based home visitation programs that provide free support and resources for low-income families raising young children.

Providing $30 million to help 20,000 Ohioans attain low-cost industry credentials, or "micro-degrees," in growing fields.

Designating $2.5 million next year to add 15 specialty courts - such as those helping defendants with mental illness or substance abuse problems - and $5 million in 2021 to support those courts and pay for 15 more.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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