DeWine on veto override: “We can end this pandemic” before SB 22 goes into effect

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — During his weekly COVID-19 address Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke about the veto override of Senate Bill 22.

The General Assembly voted Wednesday to override his veto of the bill that could restrict a governor’s ability to issue health orders.

DeWine said that before the bill goes into effect in June, “I believe we can end (the pandemic).”

However, DeWine said he was worried the bill would negatively affect future pandemics and public emergencies.

“The problems with this bill did not come from what will have to do with me and this pandemic,” DeWine said. “I have a deep concern and believe this will not be the only crisis and pandemic we will face.”

“In calls I’ve made (to the General Assembly) there were members who acknowledge to me — told me they would vote to override my veto — but acknowledged the problems with the bill.”

However, DeWine called for unity in the face of political division.

“I believe that we move on,” he said. “It’s time for us to come together. We all want to see this virus gone, so let’s work together for however long it’s going to take, and encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”

DeWine said he will do everything he can to make the vaccines “available to every single Ohioan.”

DeWine had argued that his health orders during the pandemic were necessary and that the bill would hinder a future governor facing a different public emergency. Those in the Assembly said the pandemic has exposed a disparity in the state’s system of checks and balances.

“Senate Bill 22 jeopardizes the safety of every Ohioan,” DeWine said Tuesday in a statement announcing the veto. “It goes well beyond the issues that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 22 strikes at the heart of local health departments’ ability to move quickly to protect the public from the most serious emergencies Ohio could face.”

Multiple local health departments reached out to the Assembly expressing support of the veto. They documented how the bill would slow down or block local officials from ordering businesses to close or requiring residents to quarantine or isolate without a medical diagnosis.

The override is the first of DeWine’s term since taking office in 2019.

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