Ohio House passes bill to curb Gov. DeWine’s ability to close businesses during pandemic

This latest vote comes as a new retail curfew is set to go into effect on Thursday.
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 4:40 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - The Ohio House of Representatives have voted in a sweeping majority to pass a bill aimed at curbing the governor’s administration’s ability to close down businesses deemed “non-essential” during the coronavirus pandemic. House Bill 621, dubbed the Business Fairness Act, passed the first chamber of the General Assembly with a 75-11 vote. It will now need to go before the Senate.

“All businesses are essential and deserve a chance to fairly compete during the pandemic,” said Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton in a press release. “It is unfair large retail chains are able to keep their doors open while small businesses are getting crushed.”

Governor DeWine’s administration has come under fire from several members of his own party over the course of the pandemic, many of whom believe the major shutdowns enacted by the governor and the Ohio Department of Health represent an overreach of power. Some members even called for his ouster earlier this year, though that campaign never received majority support.

This latest vote comes as a new retail curfew is set to go into effect on Thursday, forcing all retail businesses in the state to close between the hours of 10 PM and 5 AM.

The governor has said he plans to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

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