COLUMBUS – State Representatives Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) and Jason Stephens (R- Kitts Hill) today introduced a bill that would allow for the continuation of businesses during a pandemic.
The Continuation of Commerce Act protects businesses and license holders through the following:
- Prevents a licensing authority from taking disciplinary action against a license holder for operating a business or practicing an occupational activity in which the license holder is lawfully permitted to engage
- Provides oversight to local health board pandemic orders and increases government transparency by subjecting review to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR)
- Ensures businesses have a fair and expeditious process within the court system if ordered to close by local health boards
“Business should never have to go through the stress and uncertainty that they have gone through these past two months,” said Abrams. “The Continuation of Commerce Act creates a process for businesses to operate within their judgement during a pandemic.”
The bill shares similar language to Senate Bill 1, passed out of the House earlier this month. Senate Bill 1 increases legislative oversight to state health department pandemic orders. Similarly to Senate Bill 1, the Continuation of Commerce Act empowers business owners to make decisions in the best interest of their business.
“There’s a fundamental principle in our society that requires checks and balances. We are guaranteed certain freedoms, but with the way the laws are currently written, we don’t have some of those freedoms when it comes to a health emergency. That needs to change,” said Stephens.
As a result of the coronavirus, businesses across Ohio were forced to shut down and cease their normal operations. The Continuation of Commerce Act ensures the continued operation of businesses as the economy begins to recuperate.
The bill is expected to have its first hearing in the House State and Local Committee this week.