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DeWine Warns He'll Veto Bill to Curb His Health Order Authority

Gov. Mike DeWine, at a press conference in his home in January 2021.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine
Gov. Mike DeWine listens at a press conference in his home in January 2021. The governor says he will veto Senate Bill 22, which would limit his power to issue health orders, if it reaches his desk.

Gov. Mike DeWine says while Ohio’s COVID numbers are trending in the right direction, the pandemic isn’t over. So he’s warning that he will once again veto a bill that would pull back on some of his power to issue health orders if state lawmakers send it to him.

Senate Bill 22 would "establish legislative oversight over Governor's and health orders" and could come up for a vote in a Senate committee Wednesday.

But DeWine said the bill, which would create a panel of lawmakers that could review and rescind orders from the governor or his health department.

“This is not the time for us to be cutting our authority [or] the health department’s authority back in regard to protecting the people of this state," DeWine said. "It also has long-term ramifications well beyond this governor, well beyond this health department, well beyond this pandemic.”

And DeWine, the former Ohio Attorney General, also said he thinks it has a major flaw.

“It is, in my opinion, not constitutional," DeWine said. "So I think it would just be a grave, grave mistake, and I’ve made it very clear to my friends in the legislature that if this bill would be passed I would have no choice as governor of this state to veto it.”

Medical experts opposed to the bill testified last week.

Their testimony came after business owners, people opposed to vaccines and others spoke in support of it the week before.

Last year DeWine vetoed two bills proposed by his fellow Republicans that sought to curb his authority on closing businesses and levying fines for violating health orders. More were proposed, including a measure to cancel the state of emergency declared last spring and a bill to require lawmakers' approval for health orders, but they didn't pass.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.