Gov. Mike DeWine addresses latest effort to limit his ability to issue health orders

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine isn’t saying yet that he supports a bill that would limit a governor’s ability to issue health orders in Ohio, but he said Thursday that he is warming to the latest version of the legislation.

His comments came one day after the Ohio Senate passed the bill 25-8, with every Republican voting aye. The bill would create a six-member committee of senators and representatives that would work with the administration on public health orders.

One of the final changes to the bill, from Republican Matt Dolan of Chagrin Falls, was to not give the committee the authority to override orders but to make recommendations to the General Assembly.

DeWine, who vetoed a similar measure last year, said the bill was “improved.”

“We don’t want to be in a situation where a future governor does not have the tools that she or he needs to protect the people of the state of Ohio,” DeWine said. “That would be shortsighted.”

DeWine has drawn criticism from fellow Republicans for his statewide health orders during the coronavirus pandemic, including a mask-wearing order for retail establishments and a recently lifted curfew that required bars and restaurants to stop serving at 10 p.m.

“I fully understand the General Assembly’s desire, as a branch of government, to be involved in discussion,” said DeWine, who added he is now holding regular briefings with legislators. “We want to hear from them. We want to have input from them.”

The bill next moves to the Ohio House for consideration.

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