YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Ohio House of Representatives yesterday passed Senate Bill 311, which the Senate passed in September.
The most significant provision allows the legislature to overturn orders issued by the Department of Health or Governor DeWine when it concerns preventing the spread of COVID-19.
State Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, voted for it.
“It gives something that is absolutely needed, check and balances. It is an opportunity for the legislators, the people the constituents have put in office, to be able to advocate for them, and it creates a nice balance of power,” Cutrona said.
State Rep. Michele Lepore Hagan, D-Youngstown, didn’t vote. She stayed home after being exposed to the virus but says she would have voted no.
“I’m totally opposed to this bill because I listen to scientists, and I listen to medical professionals. This is just taking the control away from them,” she said.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has said he will veto SB 311.
“This bill would make Ohio slow to respond to a crisis. It would take tools away from this governor or future governors. It would put the lives of Ohioans in jeopardy. This bill is a disaster,” DeWine said.
Cutrona disagrees, saying the bill does not prevent them from making orders, it “just sheds light on them,” he said.
“They don’t want to listen to science. They don’t want to listen to the medical professionals, and they are taking away from the health director in the state of Ohio and the governor, so it is limiting their access to controlling this,” Hagan said.
There’s a second bill circulating through the Ohio Legislature, House Bill 621. It would allow all businesses to stay open, shutdown order or not, as long as they follow all safety procedures.
House Bill 621 passed the House Thursday and must still pass the Senate and be signed by the Governor.