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Some Ohio Republicans wanted to tie votes for Congressional map to a deal on anti-vaccine mandate bill

More signs supporting anti vax bill.jpg
Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Supporters of a bill that would ban all mandatory vaccines, from childhood inoculations to the COVID vaccine, demonstrated outside the Statehouse in August 2021, as a hearing on the bill was set to begin inside the building.

A quarter of the Ohio House Republican caucus has signed on to bills that would ban mandates for COVID vaccines and other inoculations, including childhood shots.

The Ohio House is set to take up the Republican-drawn Congressional map this afternoon, which some experts say will result in 12 districts for the GOP and 3 for Democrats. But there were apparently some members of the majority who wanted to attach another controversial proposal to the map plan.

House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) has shelved a bill to ban all mandatory vaccines and a measure to broaden COVID vaccine exemptions to anyone who wants one. That second bill came up twice but was stopped before a vote both times because of strong opposition from business groups and health care systems.

But a group of Republicans continues to push for those bills.

Fellow conservative Republican Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) has signed onto a resolution urging Congress to oppose COVID vaccine mandates but not the other bills. But he's been an outspoken critic of COVID shutdowns and mask policies.

Cross said Wednesday morning he was aware of efforts to tie support for the map to a promise to push the vaccine exemptions bill, but he’s opposed.

“The vaccine mandate is an important issue to our caucus. I don’t think we should be mixing the two. We shouldn’t be horsetrading one for the other," Cross said. "If we have a strong consensus of our caucus to move forward on a bill like 435 (the vaccine exemptions bill), then we should handle that separately and just as importantly as the Congressional map."

And Cross said the map isn’t just a political issue but an economic one, saying Ohio needs to enact policies that grow its population.

As of November 17, 14 Republicans have signed a petition to force a vote on the mandatory vaccine ban:

  • Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester)
  • Nino Vitale (R-Urbana)
  • Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster)
  • Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton)
  • Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta)
  • Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville)
  • Bill Dean (R-Xenia)
  • Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason)
  • Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Township)
  • Rod Creech (R-West Alexandria)
  • Jena Powell (R-Arcanum)
  • Tom Brinkman (R-Cincinnati)
  • Thomas Hall (R-Middletown)
  • Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander)
HB 248 no mandatory vaccines bill discharge petition Nov 17 2021.jpg
Karen Kasler
The discharge petition for House Bill 248, the bill to ban all mandatory vaccines including childhood shots, was signed by 14 Republicans as of November 17, 2021.

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