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Bill Limiting Governor's Pandemic Authority Passes Senate, Moves To House

Feb 18, 2021

A small committee of legislators could overrule the Ohio governor’s health orders under a bill approved Wednesday by the state Senate that marks the latest effort by GOP lawmakers to restrict the governor’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

A Senate bill introduced last month by lawmakers would establish “checks and balances” on fellow GOP Gov. Mike DeWine’s ability to issue and keep in place executive action during an emergency, including the current coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Bill 22 made it's way through the third and final committee hearing Wednesday morning, and passed the Senate in the afternoon 25-8, along strict party lines.  

Amended in committee, the bill would create a six member panel drawn equally from House and Senate, to review public health orders and advise the General Assembly.  Lawmakers could overturn a public order or state of emergency after 11 days with a concurrent resolution.  The governor would then be barred from acting for 30 to 60 days.

The bill now goes to the Ohio House.

DeWine, who vetoed a similar bill in December, pledged to do the same with this bill, calling it “unconstitutional.”