COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday that he will veto a bill designed to limit the ability of his state health director to issue orders.
The bill passed the Senate in September and was approved by the House 58-30 just hours after DeWine’s veto threat.
DeWine said in his COVID-19 press briefing before the House vote that Senate Bill 311, if enacted, would severely limit the ability of the Department of Health to issue orders needed to prevent the spread of infectious disease in the future.
He gave several examples of ways the bill would fail Ohio citizens. For instance, he said, if a person came from a country with an Ebola outbreak, future leaders couldn’t ask them to quarantine until it was certain they were not directly exposed to a carrier of Ebola.
“They would be free to be in any public place — possibly spreading the disease,” DeWine said.
Ohio would also not be able to impose quarantine on people coming into the state from a hotspot.
In his worst-case scenario, DeWine laid out how it would make state officials impotent to deal with a threat from a hostile country.
DeWine went on to say that although SB 311 is well intentioned, it’s a “disaster,” and would put the lives of Ohioans in jeopardy. When he examined the ramifications of the bill, DeWine concluded that it’s not a bill that could become law.
On the advice of experts, and for moral reasons, DeWine said: “If SB 311 passes, I will veto it.”
Shelter in place orders are necessary for disasters, either man-made or natural, which call for the Governor and Department of Health to do immediate and long-term orders to save lives and reduce suffering.
The bill would hamper the ability to respond to these challenges, the Governor indicated.