DeWine vetoes legislation limiting ODH powers

Staff file photo / R. Michael Semple Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine talks about the upward trends in coronavirus during a stop in the Mahoning Valley on Oct. 9.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine today vetoed a bill that could restrict the state’s governors and directors of the Ohio Department of Health from issuing health orders.

Proponents of the bill are expected to attempt to override DeWine’s veto of Senate Bill 311.

The bill would limit DeWine’s authority, the director of the department of health, and all future governors and directors of the department.

DeWine said he vetoed the bill because of objections from health care professionals and others, and said the bill would be “detrimental to pandemic response and public health.”

The bill would restrict broad orders, but still allow orders that apply to people who have been diagnosed with disease.

“One of the most concerning aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability of an individual to infect another person unknowingly during the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic phase of the infection. If the ability of the Ohio Department of Health to only issue executive orders related to those already diagnosed with the infection or exposed to someone who is diagnosed, we fear that there will be millions of Ohioans put at risk given the risk of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread,” said Dr. Andrew M. Thomas, Ohio State Medical Association Council member, during his testimony before the Ohio House of Representatives State and Local Government Committee.

“The notion that action cannot be taken to prevent the spread of any of these serious illnesses to those who have not been directly exposed is contradictory to public health best practices that have been scientifically tested and verified over the past 100 years,” stated representatives from the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners during Ohio House testimony.


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