The Journal Gazette
Thursday, February 18, 2021 1:00 am

Ohio Senate passes health order limits

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A small committee of legislators could overrule the Ohio governor's health orders under a bill the state Senate approved Wednesday that marks the latest effort by GOP lawmakers to restrict fellow Republican Gov. Mike DeWine's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

A Senate bill introduced last month by lawmakers would establish “checks and balances” on DeWine's ability to issue and keep in place executive action during an emergency, including the current coronavirus pandemic.

“As I stated before, this bill is not meant to be, in any way, an indictment of the policies that have been put in place by the administration over the course of the last 11 months,” bill co-sponsor Sen. Rob McColley said on the Senate floor. “But rather is a response.”

The bill would create a committee that would have the power to rescind executive actions taken by any governor or state health department through a concurrent resolution, which requires a simple majority from the House and Senate. The latest draft of the bill was altered Wednesday during a Senate committee on oversight to reduce the number of lawmakers making the final say on orders in the committee from 10 to 6.

Proponents of the bill believe DeWine and the state health department have issued orders during the last 11 months of the pandemic that have remained enacted for longer than necessary and, as a result, have unduly damaged small businesses and the state's economy.

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