COLUMBUS, Ohio — Moments after the Ohio House passed an amendment that would reduce the power of Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine responded with a statement in support of the Ohio Department of Health Director.
"My administration is focused on the important things we need to do to help businesses responsibly reopen while protecting Ohioans' health and safety," DeWine said. "This week alone, this included increasing coronavirus testing and tracing, balancing Ohio's budget, and working on plans to move Ohio's economy forward. Ohioans need their legislators focused on these important issues. 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."
On Wednesday afternoon, the Ohio House voted to pass an amended version Senate Bill 1, which would limit any stay-at-home order issued by the Ohio Department of Health to 14 days. Should the Ohio Department of Health want to extend the order, it would need to be approved by an existing bipartisan committee called the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, which consists of five representatives and five senators. That committee would then decide how long the order would be extended until, if at all.
The amended version of the bill would apply to any order after April 29, which could affect the state's current Stay At Home order, the Stay Safe Ohio order, which is currently in effect until May 29. After passing with 58 yea votes, 37 nay votes and 3 non-votes, the amendment will now go to the State Senate, with DeWine having the ability to ultimately veto it should it pass there as well. The governor's office has confirmed to 3News he would indeed veto the bill, which is currently short of the three-fifths majority needed to override that action.
In an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Ohio has been under a stay-at-home order since March 23, although exceptions have since been made for citizens to frequent businesses allowed to reopen. Earlier this week, DeWine, a Republican, said that he is ultimately the person responsible for making decisions regarding the coronavirus and how the state will go about reopening its economy.
"I'm the elected official. I'm the one who ran for office. I'm the one who makes the policy decisions," DeWine said. "The members of my cabinet, Dr. Acton included, work exceedingly, exceedingly hard, but I set the policy."