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Ohio House Passes Bill That Would Limit Power Of Health Department Director

Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton gives daily briefings on the coronavirus with Gov. Mike DeWine.
Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton gives daily briefings on the coronavirus with Gov. Mike DeWine.

On a mostly party-line vote, the Ohio House has approved a bill that would limit the power and length of public health orders that Gov. Mike DeWine and Health Department director Amy Acton have been issuing on COVID-19.

Republican House members added the provision to SB 1, a bill on reducing regulations. It would make all new health department orders effective for 14 days, and then would require a supermajority of lawmakers from each chamber on a legislative panel to approve an extension.

House Speaker Larry Householder says the bill gives a voice to the Ohioans that lawmakers represent.

“I don’t see it in any way affecting what the governor trying to do," Householder said. "I commend what the governor has did so far. But I think there has to be legislative oversight.”

On Wednesday, the bill passed the Ohio House 58-37, with just two Republicans voting against. It now must go back to the Senate for agreement before DeWine could act on it.

DeWine didn’t directly threaten a veto, but issued a statement saying that "creating more uncertainty regarding public health and employee safety is the last thing we need as we work to restore consumer confidence in Ohio's economy."

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