On March 24, members of the Ohio House and Ohio Senate voted to override Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of Senate Bill 22 (SB 22), legislation that allow legislators to reject or modify state health orders. The vote in the Senate was 23-10 and the vote in the House was 62-35.
Supporters say that this legislation provides necessary checks and balances to executive power. Opponents think limiting a governor’s ability to issue public health orders jeopardizes the safety of every Ohioan.
At the last minute, Gov. DeWine attempted to put forth compromise language that he could support but that language failed to interest members of the majority caucuses in the House and Senate.
The legislation lets lawmakers vote to change or rescind both states of emergency and health orders like mask mandates and occupancy limits in retail establishments. It also bans local boards of health from closing schools, issuing offers for the shutdown of specific businesses, or prohibiting public gatherings. The bill takes effect in 90 days.
The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians strongly opposed SB 22 and the veto override effort.