Ohio lawmakers move to restrict power of Gov. Dewine’s health orders

Gov. DeWine visited Toledo Express Airport on Tuesday to discuss the surging COVID-19 numbers...
Gov. DeWine visited Toledo Express Airport on Tuesday to discuss the surging COVID-19 numbers locally.
Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 5:38 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The debate over health orders, advisories and restrictions is hitting the Ohio Statehouse. For months, legislators have discussed who should have the final say on health orders linked to the pandemic that have been issued by the Director of Public Health and the Governor.

This past week, SB311, passed in the Ohio House. The bill allows the legislature to overrule any advisory or order that restricts people during the pandemic, essentially stripping Governor Mike Dewine and ODH of power.

State Representative Derek Merrin, one of the co-sponsors of the bill says the move is meant to make sure more than two people have a voice and restores checks and balances.

“This is the United States of America. I believe in freedom. We are going through a very difficult time in Ohio and the United States but that doesn’t mean that we forget our civil liberties and we don’t lose our freedoms. We have to have a balance of taking precautions but letting people make their own individual choices,” says Merrin.

State Representative Lisa Sobecki voted against SB311 and say she supports the Governor and the tough choices he is making to keep Ohioans safe. Sobecki feels as if the bill was rushed and is asking the Ohio Statehouse to set an example and lead. She says in addition to practicing CDC guidelines, she feels as if voting on bills and legislative work should be done remotely due to the pandemic and rising numbers. Sobecki is urging people to not let their guard down ahead of the holidays.

“This is not the time that we get tired. This is the time that we getting fighting, this is the time we put our mask on, this is the time that we socially distance and this is the time that and that we don’t congregate,” says Rep. Sobecki.

The bill is heading to Governor Dewine. He vows to veto the bill, a move Republican state lawmakers plan to fight.

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