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Advocates Say Overturning Health Orders Could Cost Ohio Federal Funding

loading food into cars at Mid-Ohio Food Bank
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
Ohio National Guard personnel help load food into cars at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank just before Thanksgiving 2020. Now that a law that permits state lawmakers to do away with Gov. Mike DeWine's health orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, critics say federal funding, including money that supports the SNAP food program, could be at stake.

Critics of the law that will allow state lawmakers to overturn Gov. Mike DeWine’s health orders say that could be costly when it comes to federal funding. Lawmakers overrode DeWine’s veto of that measure this week.

Analysts who've looked into the CARES Act and other federal pandemic relief actions say money in those measures could be at risk if state lawmakers rescind DeWine’s state of emergency order when the law takes effect in June.

John Corlett at the policy analysis group the Center for Community Solutions said there would be a big impact in the SNAP or food stamp program. 

“If the legislature were to end the emergency order, the public health order emergency, that would mean that Ohio would no longer be able to provide about $90 million a month in federal food assistance to about a half a million Ohio households," Corlett said.

Corlett said that could lead to more food insecurity, when food banks are already serving 150,000 more Ohioans a month compared with last year.

An analysis by the Congressional Research Service shows some emergency federal assistance and an employee tax credit for businesses could also be lost if the order is overturned.

Lawmakers have said the law doesn't require them to overturn a health order. But DeWine is clearly expecting it. DeWine has said when the state has 50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, he'll lift his orders, including the mask mandate he issued in July.

At his Thursday press conference, DeWine said the state could reach that goal in 89 days. "I say 89 days because this bill doesn't go into effect for 89 days," he said.

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.