(A) There is hereby created in the state treasury the "choose life" fund. The fund shall consist of the contributions that are paid to the registrar of motor vehicles by applicants who voluntarily elect to obtain "choose life" license plates pursuant to section 4503.91 of the Revised Code and any money returned to the fund under division (E)(1)(d) of this section. All investment earnings of the fund shall be credited to the fund.
(1) At least annually, the director of health shall distribute the money in the fund to any private, nonprofit organization that is eligible to receive funds under this section and that applies for funding under division (C) of this section.
(2) The director shall allocate the funds to each county in proportion to the number of "choose life" license plates issued during the preceding year to vehicles registered in each county. The director shall distribute funds allocated for a county as follows:
(a) To one or more eligible organizations located within the county;
(b) If no eligible organization located within the county applies for funding, to one or more eligible organizations located in contiguous counties;
(c) If no eligible organization located within the county or a contiguous county applies for funding, to one or more eligible organizations within any other county.
(3) The director shall ensure that any funds allocated for a county are distributed equally among eligible organizations that apply for funding within the county.
(C) Any organization seeking funds under this section annually shall apply for distribution of the funds based on the county in which the organization is located. An organization also may apply for funding in a county in which it is not located if it demonstrates that it provides services for pregnant women residing in that county. The director shall develop an application form and may determine the schedule and procedures that an organization shall follow when annually applying for funds. The application shall inform the applicant of the conditions for receiving and using funds under division (E) of this section. The application shall require evidence that the organization meets all of the following requirements:
(1) Is a private, nonprofit organization;
(2) Is committed to counseling pregnant women about the option of adoption;
(3) Provides services within the state to pregnant women who are planning to place their children for adoption, including counseling and meeting the material needs of the women;
(4) Does not charge women for any services received;
(5) Is not involved or associated with any abortion activities, including counseling for or referrals to abortion clinics, providing medical abortion-related procedures, or pro-abortion advertising;
(6) Does not discriminate in its provision of any services on the basis of race, religion, color, age, marital status, national origin, handicap, gender, or age;
(7) If the organization is applying for funding in a county in which it is not located, provides services for pregnant women residing in that county.
(D) The director shall not distribute funds to an organization that does not provide verifiable evidence of the requirements specified in the application under division (C) of this section and shall not provide additional funds to any organization that fails to comply with division (E) of this section in regard to its previous receipt of funds under this section.
(1) An organization receiving funds under this section shall do all of the following:
(a) Use not more than sixty per cent of the funds distributed to it for the material needs of pregnant women who are planning to place their children for adoption or for infants awaiting placement with adoptive parents, including clothing, housing, medical care, food, utilities, and transportation;
(b) Use not more than forty per cent of the funds distributed to it for counseling, training, or advertising;
(c) Not use any of the funds distributed to it for administrative expenses, legal expenses, or capital expenditures;
(d) Annually return to the fund created under division (A) of this section any unused money that exceeds ten per cent of the money distributed to the organization.
(2) The organization annually shall submit to the director an audited financial statement verifying its compliance with division (E)(1) of this section.
(F) The director, in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, shall adopt rules to implement this section.
It is not the intent of the general assembly that the department create a new position within the department to implement and administer this section. It is the intent of the general assembly that the implementation and administration of this section be accomplished by existing department personnel.
Amended by 131st General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 64, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2015.
Effective Date: 05-18-2005; 09-29-2005; 03-30-2006