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Gov. DeWine signs bill to prevent officials from stopping religious services

Pews will remain empty at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church even as Virginia eases...
Pews will remain empty at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church even as Virginia eases restrictions.(Source: WVIR)
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 2:15 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 272 into law which will prohibit any public official from closing places of worship in the state.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen several states encroach on Americans' First Amendment right of worship and assembly, disregarding it completely by forcing the closure of places of worship and religious institutions,” State Senator Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) said. “While I am thankful that no such order was imposed in Ohio, this amendment is a preemptive step should we ever find ourselves in this situation again. I appreciate my colleagues' support of this important protection and I thank Governor DeWine for signing it into law today.”

The provision protecting the freedom to worship was added to House Bill 272 in response to a number of “stay at home orders” throughout the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill also includes a Senate-added provision protecting in-person voting and preventing any public official from canceling or postponing an election.

The underlying legislation in the bill expands Ohio’s court jurisdictions, enabling more residents to seek justice from companies or individuals who are not based within the state.

For more information about House Bill 272, click here.

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