Senator Antonio Comments On Passage Of State Budget

Senator Antonio speaking on the Senate floor.

On June 20th, 2019, the Ohio Senate passed the state’s two-year, $69 billion budget bill, House Bill 166.

I’m pleased to say that this is the first budget I’ve voted in favor of since taking office nearly a decade ago. For years, we’ve urged our Republican colleagues to invest in public health in order to build a stronger Ohio. This budget is a commitment to the people of Ohio to do just that.

I applaud the inclusion of several public health investments I secured in the bill:

  • $1 million per year for the Cleveland Lead Safe Coalition
  • $2.5 million per year for infant safe spacing programs in high infant mortality areas
  • Public health initiatives including resources to curb the opioid epidemic through harm reduction and syringe exchange services and increased access to Naloxone

The bipartisan budget also includes longstanding Democratic priorities. HB 166 increases funding for affordable housing programs through the Ohio Housing Trust Fund. It includes various measures aimed at supporting Ohio’s children and families, like a proposal to prevent the custody relinquishment of children with severe mental health issues and additional funding for home-living programs for low income and elderly Ohioans. It also funds the H2Ohio water quality initiative through the next two years.

House and Senate members will now meet to negotiate a final version of the bill before the state-mandated June 30 deadline.

Nickie Antonio

State Senator Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) is honored to be serving in her first elected term in the Ohio Senate District 23, following 8 years of service in the Ohio House of Representatives, 13th House District with 5 of those years serving in leadership as Minority Whip. Antonio has also served as Lakewood City Councilmember, Executive Director of an outpatient drug/alcohol treatment program for women and teacher for children with special needs.

Antonio serves as Highest Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Transportation and Joint Medicaid Oversight Committees. She also serves on the Finance Subcommittee on Health, and Ways and Means Committees. She is also a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus—previously serving as chair—and is the State Director for the Women Legislators’ Lobby.

She has been a dedicated champion of workers’ rights, high-quality education, our local governments, equal rights for women and the LGBT community, healthcare for all and fighting the opioid crisis.

Antonio is recognized as a leader who reaches across the aisle to get things done. As a result, she has worked to pass legislation such as Ohio’s historic adoption open records law (SB 23/HB 61) and a step therapy reform law (SB 265/HB 72). During each of her four terms in office, Antonio has introduced the Ohio Fairness Act (now SB11), to provide civil rights protections for members of the  LGBT community,  as well as an end to Ohio’s use of the death penalty and an array of other bills focused on improving the lives of all Ohioans. Antonio continues to be an established expert in health policy in the General Assembly.

The first in her family to graduate from college, she holds both MPA and B.S.Ed. Degrees from Cleveland State University and was named a CSU Distinguished Alumni in 2013. She is also an alumnus and Bohnett fellow of the Kennedy School Harvard Leadership Program (2011).

Daughters Ariel and Stacey have made Antonio and wife Jean Kosmac, very proud as the girls engage in their adult life journeys.

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Volume 15, Issue 13, Posted 6:32 PM, 07.03.2019