DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– The deadline to register for the state’s first million-dollar vaccine lottery is Sunday at midnight. Governor DeWine says it successfully increased vaccination rates, but a state representative from the Miami Valley plans to propose legislation this week to end the lottery.
Every hour that goes by, StateRepresentative Jena Powell says she wants to pull the plug on the whole lottery. She believes spending millions of taxpayers money could put the state in a dangerous position recovering from the pandemic. But, DeWine believes the lottery will strengthen Ohio’s future.
“I have to look at the whole picture and I know you’ve had a difficult year but we can’t make the future more difficult and that’s what we’re looking at with this piece of legislation,” said Powell.
Powell plans to finalize proposed legislation early this week to end DeWine’s vax-a-million lottery. If approved, her legislation could reallocate funds elsewhere or reduce the amount of future vax-a-million winners. Other alternatives she proposed is focusing on small business grants to ensure more survive the pandemic restraints but also children’s mental health services. She believes Ohioans shouldn’t be bribed.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” said Powell. “The vaccine lottery is a frivolous use of taxpayer dollars. They have the ability to take the vaccine if they want but we shouldn’t be putting $5-million of taxpayer money to a vaccine lottery.”
On Friday, DeWine says since his announcement the state has seen a 45-percent increase in vaccination rates. He says the 12-to-15 year old group has seen the biggest increase yet.
“We’ve seen a dramatic change in the number of people getting vaccinated in Ohio,” said DeWine.
Additionally, the state is averaging fewer than 100 cases per 100-thousand people. The last time that occurred was 11 months ago.
“Our ticket out of this pandemic is through vaccinations,” said DeWine. “We’re happy where we are but still a ways to go, and very happy with the increase we’ve seen since announcing the vax-a-million.”
Powell says she will finalize her legislation and propose it early this week. The first lottery winner will be drawn Monday and announced Wednesday night.