House Dems Question Workplace Safety During Voting Session

May 13, 2020

Democrats in the Ohio House are accusing Republican leadership of failing to provide a safe workplace while they vote on bills in the Ohio Statehouse. The Democrats say House Session lacks physical distancing while most of their Republican counterparts don't wear face masks.

House Democrats expressed their dissatisfaction with House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and his decision to allow all 98 representatives to be in the House Chamber at the same time during session.

The House Democratic caucus leaders say this is an example of workers being forced to come back to work in a place that doesn't follow the proper safety measures.

"Like other Ohioans, we trust that our employer is making the best decisions for our health and safety in the midst of this global pandemic," said Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), House Minority Leader. "But unfortunately, we are learning just as many other Ohioans are as they return to work, that not all employers are taking COVID-19 seriously and are purposely putting their employees at risk."

But Householder defends their safety measures noting that everyone in the House Chamber was set six feet apart. Householder says getting all elected officials into the same room was a matter of fairness.

Watch: House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) discusses workplace safety measures

"Makes it really difficult when you have folks down the hall then you've got technical issues with the televisions sets or whatever and that's not really fair to those members because they've been chosen to be outside of the session room," says Householder.

The speaker notes other rules that have been in place since the House started allowing employees to come back to the office, which includes a staggered work schedule for House staff members and taking the temperature of employees before they can enter the office.