Hottinger Legislation Affirmed by Judicial Branch, Aids Thousands of Ohioans

COLUMBUS– State Representative Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) today heralded the decision of the 10th District Court of Appeals that affirmed the constitutionality of House Bill 544.

“I am pleased that the 10th District Court of Appeals has upheld the authority of the Ohio General Assembly to set the budget for the state of Ohio,” said Hottinger. “Although I would have preferred that these funds been utilized for job creation more than 18 months ago, I am hopeful that these funds will soon be able to be used to assist in improving the health of tens of thousands of Ohio residents.”

The legislation redirected funds originally appropriated for the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation to better assist thousands of Ohioans in this time of economic turmoil.

House Bill 544, introduced by Hottinger in April of 2008, transferred the responsibilities of the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation to the Ohio Department of Health. The remaining money in its trust fund, roughly $230 million, was transferred to the state treasury to fund job creation efforts, but has been delayed in legal proceedings until this decision by the 10th District Court of Appeals on New Year’s Eve.

If this decision is not appealed, the funds, now grown to about $258 million, will be used to help balance the state budget. The American Legacy Foundation, the other party to this case, is currently determining whether or not they will appeal the case to the Ohio Supreme Court.

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