COLUMBUS: Two Democratic state representatives want to amend the Ohio Constitution to require free, universal preschool for all 4- and 5-year-olds living in the state.

State Reps. Thomas West, D-Canton, and Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, introduced a joint resolution Thursday.

“Early investments in early education will return a lifetime of riches for our state,” West said in a prepared statement. “As we put more money into our children on the front-end, we will be saving millions on the back-end.”

The state budget for 2018-2019 allocates $66.7 million for early childhood education. The representatives noted that the state spent $1.3 billion on prisons in 2015.

If both the Ohio House and Senate pass the resolution with a three-fifths majority, the proposal would go before voters. If approved at the ballot, the language would become part of the Ohio Constitution.