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Bill Allowing Limits To State Health Orders Heads To Ohio House Floor

The Ohio Channel
Rep. Marilyn John (R-Shelby) at the House State and Local Government Committee.

The Ohio House has voted along party lines to approve a bill that would limit states of emergency issued by the governor and allow legislators to rescind health orders. That sends it to the House floor.

Supporters of the bill, SB22, say DeWine's health orders are hurting small businesses and quality of life. They also say the case ratio DeWine has set to lift all health orders is unachievable.  

Rep. Marilyn John (R-Shelby) says COVID-19 hospitalizations are dropping in her district and around the state and says businesses can't wait for the state to reach DeWine's goal.

"The governor has said that we are open but you can't have lunch on a Monday afternoon because the restrictions will not allow the restaurants to open, the businesses to open fully, and then they can't make enough profit margin to pay their employees," says John who says SB22 allows legislators to represent their constituents in the decision making process of how to handle future orders.

There are no capacity limits on Ohio restaurants, but they must maintain social distancing.

The bill would make a state of emergency issued by the governor of Ohio expire after 90 days. The Ohio General Assembly would be able to revoke that state of emergency after being in effect for 30 days. Health orders created under that state of emergency could be rescinded by the legislature after 11 days.

Supporters of the bill say it creates a system of checks and balances between the legislative and executive branch. Opponents including most Democratic legislators and DeWine say it limits the governor's authority when decisive action is needed.   

DeWine says the 50 cases per 100,000 people threshold is possible given the current downward trend since December. 

DeWine had threatened to veto the bill, saying it's not just about his power but the authority of future governors to handle emergencies.

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