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Ohio Senate Approves Jones’ Bill to Increase Oversight of State Rotary Accounts

COLUMBUS—Seeking to ensure that the charitable donations of Ohioans go towards their intended purposes, the Ohio Senate today passed Senate Bill 185, legislation sponsored by Senator Shannon Jones (R- Springboro) that would increase the oversight and transparency of state rotary accounts.

Jones introduced SB 185 last year following the discovery that the Strickland Administration had diverted a total of $2.7 million from the Save Our Sight Fund and the Second Chance Trust Fund to balance the budget. These funds are comprised of voluntary donations meant to help children fight blindness and promote organ donation. Although the money was eventually returned, Jones believes the incident highlights the need for more transparency in the way these types of funds are used.

“When Ohioans generously donate their money to these types of accounts, they expect that their money will be used to help those in need – not taken by government officials to fix a budget hole,” Jones said. “I was appalled by the Governor’s attempt to raid these accounts, and SB 185 will remove the temptation for this type of activity to occur in the future and ensure the public is more aware about how rotary accounts are being used.”

While state General Revenue Funds consist mainly of tax receipts, rotary accounts are used by state agencies and departments to collect fees from items such as professional license or certification renewals and may also contain voluntary charitable contributions.

Under SB 185, transfers from non-General Revenue funds, including those made of charitable donations, would be prohibited. In addition, the director of the Office of Budget and Management would be required to give 90-days notice to the Governor, legislative leaders and members of the press prior to making any non-charitable cash transfers to the General Revenue Fund.

SB 185 was approved by a 31-0 vote. The bill now moves to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.
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