Health order oversight bill passes, may face DeWine veto

The Ohio Senate has given final approval to SB 22, an effort by Republican legislators to “add some balance and oversight” to the health orders issued by Gov. Mike DeWine. The bill establishes a legislative committee to review and potentially reject health orders from the Governor. It passed the Senate earlier, then won approval in the Ohio House this afternoon before it went back to the Senate for final approval, which came quickly.

Debate on the bill was mostly on party lines, with a majority of Republicans in favor and Democrats against. Supporters include Rep. Rodney Creech, R- West Alexandria, who said health orders are hurting businesses and schools.

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Critics include Rep. Allison Russo, D- Columbus, who said during the House debate that the legislation would delay even non-COVID emergency health orders. Russo added that it would have negatively impacted orders issued immediately after the Memorial Day, 2019 tornadoes in Dayton.

The bill now goes to Gov. DeWine who vetoed a similar proposal last year. DeWine has talked about another veto, but recently said he was “working with the Legislature” on this one. He likely will be questioned again about it at his next briefing Thursday. Supporters of the bill are already trying to line up the votes to over-ride a Governor’s veto if it happens.