Gov. DeWine vetoes bill that could limit health orders

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed Ohio senate bill 22 on Tuesday. The bill sought to give the state legislature power over health orders issued by the governor or the Ohio Department of Health.

“Senate Bill 22 jeopardizes the safety of every Ohioan. It goes well beyond the issues that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic,” DeWine said in a veto message. “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.”

Health departments across the state voiced support for the governor’s veto, including the Toledo Lucas County Health Department.

“Local public health orders are crucial tools for protecting and saving lives. Timely action through an investigation of public health threats are vital to ensuring these situations do not grow in urgency or worsen,” said Eric Zgodzinski, Health Commissioner for the Toledo Lucas County said in a letter to the governor. “SB 22 will result in ineffective public health interventions pending review by officials with little or no affiliation to public health science.”

Zgodzinski went on to say if the bill is enacted, community protection will be jeopardized.

Republican State Senators Terry Johnson and Rob McColley are co-sponsors of the legislation.

Earlier this month, McColley said SB 22 is about giving Ohio residents a voice in matters of public health and restoring separation of powers.

“No matter how good the intent is, the constitution remains in effect, and the executive branch must be subject to checks and balances,” said McColley. “The amendments from the Ohio House strengthen Senate Bill 22, and I am thankful to my colleagues for passing this legislation.”

Ohio lawmakers said they plan to override the governor’s veto. The next state senate session is set for Wednesday.

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