Published Wed, May 23, 2012 3:38 pm Dateline
A wide-ranging midterm budget bill that includes startup costs related to Ohio's upcoming regulations for exotic animals is on its way to Gov. John Kasich's desk.
The bill includes $42 million for the Clean Ohio fund that preserves farmland and green spaces and another $3 million for a Lake Erie protection program.
The measure also includes $15 million for cleaning up abandoned factory sites and $13 million to fund Kasich's third grade reading guarantee.
The bill, which trims overall state spending by $13.5 million, comes halfway between the state's normal budgeting cycles.
The $500,000 for exotic animal regulation and registration follows passage of a historic crackdown on ownership of such animals in Ohio that was spurred by a suicidal owner's release of dozens of wild creatures last year.