Senate lawmakers consider public defender loan repayments

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio Senate committee is considering a bill that would create a student loan repayment program to help recruit and retain attorneys to serve as much needed public defenders in the state.

The proposed program is similar to those in Ohio aimed at encouraging physicians, dentists and dental hygienists to practice in underserved areas.

The program would give lawyers who become public defenders tuition loan assistance of up to $85,000 for five years of service.

The House passed the bill last year and it's now before the Senate Finance Committee.