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DeWine vetoes bill limiting penalties for health order violations

The legislation would have allowed fines of not more than $100 for violating a local order and not more than $150 for violating a state order.
Credit: AP Photo/Paul Vernon
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine - File photo (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a bill Friday, as promised, that would have prohibited criminal penalties for violations of state or local health orders related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation, which was sponsored by state Sen. Theresa Gavarone, a Bowling Green Republican, would instead have allowed fines of not more than $100 for violating a local order and not more than $150 for violating a state order.

DeWine, a fellow Republican, spoke out against the legislation, labeling it "a tragic mistake” that would keep governments from taking bold action against the COVID-19 crisis.

Legislative Republicans argued that they didn't want to see Ohioans criminally penalized for innocent mistakes, such as failing to space restaurant tables far enough apart. Democrats said unintentional errors would not elicit fines.

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