COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Dozens of advocates, ranging from daycare owners and parents to students to formerly incarcerated residents, made their voices heard at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday, telling lawmakers what they want to see in the state’s $96 billion budget.   

Advocates like Jeanna Kenney of Building Freedom Ohio said she is pushing for things like changes to systems for Ohio’s formerly incarcerated.

“Once somebody’s done their time, they come home, they should be able to live and get the job that they want,” Kenney said.

Building Freedom Ohio hopes the budget puts an end to some of what they call “collateral sanctions,” which is when, for example, a formerly incarcerated person cannot get a job or house because they have to check a box saying they’re a former felon.

“If you’re felony impacted or coming home after being in prison for a long time, you deserve to have the same type of opportunities we do,” Kenney said. “If they are changed.”

Right now, the budget puts $21 million toward the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, specifically for criminal justice services.

“Mental health is a big issue,” Kenney said. “Especially for those coming out of the incarceration system.”

Gov. Mike DeWine said previously that providing mental health resources for formerly incarcerated people is imperative.

Advocates also gathered to ask lawmakers to consider Medicaid reimbursements for doula services.

“For a Medicaid reimbursement rate, we are at least asking for $1,000 per birth, for all of the things doulas do client to client, that is the minimum we are asking for,” Executive Director of the Blaq Birth Circle Jamaica Gilliam said.

There is bipartisan doula legislation moving through the Statehouse and Gilliam said that gives her hope that they can accomplish their goals.

“If it’s not an absolute no, it can be an absolute yes,” Gilliam said.

The Ohio Senate is accepting amendments to the budget this week, before adopting and passing its version and sending it back to the House. The budget is due July 1.