Ohio lawmakers pass bill limiting Gov. DeWine authority, he vows veto

DeWine says he will veto Senate Bill 311

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Ohio lawmakers passed a bill Thursday blocking the state’s department of health from issuing quarantine or isolation orders.

If it becomes law, Senate Bill 311would allow the General Assembly to rescind them, including ones that try to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

This is the latest in a series of attempts this year by the legislature to cut Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration’s authority amid the pandemic.

It also comes just hours before a statewide curfew takes effect as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations occur at unprecedented rates.

All Ohioans are asked to be in their homes nightly 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following day. There are exceptions for work, to care for a loved one and other circumstances.

Gov. DeWine is vowing to veto Senate Bill 311, though some lawmakers say they hope there are enough votes to override that.

Supporters of the bill say this will allow lawmakers to have final say on orders that impact their liberties, lives and livelihoods.

“For nearly nine months, we have seen one branch of government imposing government order, after order, after order on Ohioans without consulting with the actual branch of government whose job it is to draft true legislation and actual law,” said State Rep. Scott Wiggam , R-Wayne County, who led the effort in the House.

“Sadly, as you have all witnessed, the administration is acting as two branches of government – this is not the way our democracy is enshrined. We are three co-equal branches of government, and we in this chamber are the Legislature, the branch that actively represents the needs of the people of Ohio on a day-to-day basis.”

Opponents argue it will hurt health officials’ ability to address diseases and outbreaks to try to save lives and reduce hospitalizations.

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