DeWine To Veto COVID Oversight Bill

One day after state lawmakers passed a plan to put limits on health orders from Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, DeWine promised he would veto the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.

“I’m very concerned about the future. I’m concerned about a future Governor and health departments around the state not having the tools they need to keep people safe,” DeWine said.

DeWine’s rejection of SB 22, passed with overwhelming support from fellow Republicans at the Statehouse, sets up a confrontation that likely will lead to the Ohio Supreme Court.

What happens next is the veto from the Governor, which lawmakers anticipated.

They are already working on gathering the votes needed to override the veto. From there DeWine’s next move is a lawsuit against the Legislature in the Ohio Supreme Court in hopes of having the court declare the bill unconstitutional, as DeWine claims it to be.

What’s at stake in the fight?

The winner of this confrontation will control emergency health orders such as the statewide mask mandate, rules for social distancing in businesses and limitations on mass gatherings in places like sports stadiums and concert venues. The bill has the backing of most Republicans in the Legislature, including several from the Miami Valley.

“Providing legislative oversight during a state emergency ensures the voices of our constituents and local businesses can be heard,” said Rep. Rodney Creech, R- West Alexandria.

At his briefing Thursday, DeWine said the bill put people’s lives in danger not only when it comes to COVID, but also when health orders need to be issued involving other communicable diseases like Ebola.

DeWine appears determined not to let lawmakers take control.

“I couldn’t sleep at night. I would not…I just couldn’t do this. This is about protecting the future of the state of Ohio…couldn’t let it go,” DeWine said.