House Democrats today voted in opposition to a motion to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill (SB) 22, controversial Republican legislation that would threaten the health and safety of Ohioans by curbing authority from the governor and health director during public health crises.
“This veto override is reckless, dangerous, and ill-conceived. Ohioans rely on public officials to make decisions to protect their health and safety. Unfortunately, the members of the Republican Party are fighting among themselves and leaving us all to suffer. We understand people are frustrated and fatigued with the ongoing pandemic—we are too. However, the answer to getting our economy back on track, kids back in school, and our social lives vibrant relies on our ability to respond quickly to variants and outbreaks. Now is not the time to let up on our response. If anything, it’s time to double down on masking up and signing up for the vaccine,” said Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron).
“This bill and its House companion are dangerous bills that will make us all less safe, and Ohio Republicans now have to live with the consequences,” said Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), the top Democrat on the State and Local Government Committee, which held legislative hearings on SB 22 and its companion, House Bill (HB) 90. “From the start, the process was a sham, built on misinformation and half-truths—nothing more than an effort to undermine the progress we’ve made to control the virus and get Ohio back on track. This bill will have significant repercussions not only as we continue to respond to this crisis, but as we encounter future crises as a state.”
Proponents of SB 22 made a number of false, inaccurate and misleading claims about the virus and the state’s response. Similarly, YouTube pulled down a recording of testimony from a Feb. 17 House committee hearing on HB 90, legislation that mirrors many of the same provisions of SB 22, for violating the site’s terms of service for spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
Opponents of both SB 22 and HB 90 include top state public health officials, who said the effort to roll back health orders would slow the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Statehouse researchers also called into question the constitutionality of the effort to strip executive authority from the governor.