(WKBN) – It’s time to relax now for Ohio lawmakers. They finished their work for the year and gave the governor issues to consider before the year ends. On Friday, we talked with Governor Mike DeWine about Ohio’s good moments this year and what’s ahead in 2023.
The governor will be looking over legislation, including a requirement for a state-issued photo ID to vote in person. He said he will also sign a bill making distracted driving a primary offense.
“The states that have done this have seen a real reduction in that distracted driving. That’s going to save a lot of lives, so we’re happy about that,” DeWine said.
During his State of the State address, DeWine highlighted the Interstate 76/Interstate 80 corridor that had reduced crashes by 30 percent in two years by focusing on distracted driving.
On Friday, the governor also sent more funding for police body cameras. Columbiana became the 11th Mahoning Valley department to get money for starting or upgrading programs.
“Most people in law enforcement have decided this is a very, very good thing, but it’s expensive. We’ve tried to provide money for this specific purpose,” DeWine said.
The governor said he focused on jobs, education and mental health this year. Ultium Cells opening was one of his major projects. Plus, Voltage Valley is growing, and the governor is glad Youngstown State University is here as an anchor to help fill the jobs.
“So every company is different. They all have different needs. But having an education and anchor university in that community is very important,” DeWine said.
One concern has lingered far too long — the governor is concerned about the effect COVID-19 has had on school-aged children.
“Because kids were out of school, we’ve seen a drop in learning, and we have to get these kids caught up. We have to get them caught up specifically in regard to reading,” DeWine said.
He feels Ohio can celebrate a great quality of life with 75 state parks and great natural resources, and we’re in the heart of it all.
“We’re well situated. A lot of good things going on. We just need to keep pushing forward,” he said.
DeWine has some homework, too. He has to submit a budget within four weeks of the General Assembly’s opening session on Jan. 2.