Governor Signs Ban On Shutdowns Of Houses Of Worship, Moving Of Election Dates

Sep 18, 2020

Gov. Mike DeWine has signed into law a ban on closures of houses of worship and on moving the date of an election – though he and other public officials have said those things technically have never happened in Ohio.

DeWine quietly signed House Bill 272 without any comment Wednesday.

But he’s noted several times that while houses of worship were encouraged to go online and masks are required for those who are not celebrants, religious services were never banned or shut down.

“I have a great respect for the First Amendment, great respect for freedom of religion. While we have urged churches to have, for people be very, very careful, we never closed them," DeWine said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The ban on closing houses of worship and moving an election date were added to a bill on court jurisdiction.

It was pushed through by Republicans after in-person voting was called off just hours before the March 17 primary, with voting by mail extended to April 28 – but that was confusing for many voters.

All House Democrats voted against this bill – two Senate Democrats voted for it, and two Senate Republicans voted no.