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The Latest: Democratic lawmakers see hope in DeWine speech

March 5, 2019
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FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2019, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks during a public inauguration ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse, in Columbus, Ohio. DeWine is expected to push for an increase in Ohio’s gas tax and promote efforts to fight the opioid epidemic Tuesday, March 5 in his first State of the State speech as governor. The Republican is also expected to highlight programs he’s advocated to improve the lives of children. DeWine is bringing the event back to Columbus following the decision by his predecessor, Gov. John Kasich, to hold seven of eight speeches in cities around Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, Pool, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Gov. Mike DeWine’s first State of the State speech (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

Legislative Democrats are praising Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s State of the State speech as an invitation to bipartisanship in the closely divided state, while also casting his remarks as acknowledging failed leadership by his GOP predecessor.

House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, of Akron, characterized Tuesday’s speech as evidence “a course correction” is needed to address unfinished business left by former Republican John Kasich (KAY’-sik), who DeWine didn’t name.

Sykes said House Republicans need Democrats more than ever before to pass the upcoming budget bill that will pay for new spending priorities DeWine outlined.

Senate Democratic Leader Kenny Yuko, of suburban Cleveland, said Democrats share many of DeWine’s priorities. He said public transit will be one area Democrats fight to see fully funded from DeWine’s proposed gas-tax increase.

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2:30 p.m.

Ohio’s Republican legislative leaders are praising priorities outlined in GOP Gov. Mike DeWine’s first State of the State speech Tuesday but expressing a wait-and-see approach on how — and how much — the state might fund some of the top items.

DeWine’s proposals include an 18-cent gas-tax increase to help fix roads and bridges.

House Speaker Larry Householder says he understands more funding is needed for that. Senate President Larry Obhof, who has been more skeptical of the proposal, says lawmakers must collaborate to figure out what the need is.

DeWine also called for more investment to preserve water quality in Lake Erie and other waterways.

Obhof praised the idea. He and Householder say they’re awaiting more specifics, including how much funding might be sought for those efforts.

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1:05 p.m.

Gov. Mike DeWine has promised a new push to address health issues in Ohio including opioid overdose deaths and infant mortality.

The Republican governor announced in Tuesday’s State of the State speech the creation of a new public health fund that will use public and private dollars on treatment and prevention programs.

He says the money for local communities will support treatment and recovery programs and help children and adults suffering from mental illness and addiction.

DeWine says he’s directing his cabinet directors overseeing mental health issues, aging, human services, health and others to focus on these issues.

The governor is also calling on renewed efforts to preserve water quality in the state and in particularly Lake Erie.

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12:45 p.m.

Gov. Mike DeWine has pushed lawmakers for an increase in Ohio’s gas tax to fix what he calls the state’s crumbling roads and dangerous bridges in his first State of the State speech as governor.

The Republican says his proposal for an 18-cent increase is a “minimalist approach” that will raise just enough to fix some of the worst problems.

DeWine says he understands lawmakers may want to reduce the amount he’s seeking. But he says if Ohioans think roads are bad now, “you haven’t seen anything yet” if action isn’t taken.

DeWine has brought the event back to Columbus following the decision by his Republican predecessor, Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik), to hold seven of his eight speeches in cities around Ohio.

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5:45 a.m.

Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to push for an increase in Ohio’s gas tax and promote efforts to fight the opioid epidemic in his first State of the State speech as governor.

The Republican is also expected to highlight programs he’s advocated to improve the lives of children.

The address is scheduled for Tuesday at noon in the Ohio Statehouse.

DeWine is bringing the event back to Columbus following the decision by his Republican predecessor, Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik), to hold seven of his eight speeches in cities around Ohio.

Democrats are hoping to hear from DeWine about ways to boost the state’s economy and lower the unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, which is far above the national average of 3.9 percent.