The Ohio Senate released its amended version of the state’s operating budget – Sub. HB 166 – for the upcoming two fiscal years (2020-2021).

It includes key funding for nonprofit security needs in the wake of a sharp rise in terror attacks and attempted attacks on houses of worship, faith based institutions, cause-based nonprofits, and individuals identifiable as members of religious, racial, or ethnic minorities.

The House-passed version of HB 166 included $2.75 million per year of the biennium for “target hardening” grants to help protect vulnerable nonprofits. The Senate adds an additional $250,000 per year to that appropriation, bringing the target hardening total to $3 million per year.

The Senate bill also adds a $1.25 million per year appropriation to a matching grant program so that nonprofits such as chartered nonpublic schools and synagogues can hire armed security personnel, including school resource officers and special duty police. 

As FBI statistics and reporting by the ADL show, incidences of violent attacks on religious minorities in the US are on the rise. News media internationally record a disturbing trend in attacks on Jewish institutions and individuals. 

The Senate version also funds another key priority: the Ohio-Israel Agricultural & Cleantech Initiative maintains its current funding level of $250,000 per year over the biennium. This connects Ohio and Israel in business partnerships, commercial opportunities, technology transfer arrangements, and research and development collaborations across two critical industries.

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