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Government & Politics

Opponents of vaccine mandates in Ohio say they are not giving up after the latest rejection

 Vaccine mandate opponents pray over Republican Rep. Jennifer Gross at Ohio Statehouse
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Vaccine mandate opponents pray over Republican Rep. Jennifer Gross at Ohio Statehouse.

Attorney General Dave Yost has rejected the latest petition summary submitted by the group that wants a ban on mandatory vaccines, either enacted by lawmakers or, if they don’t pass it, by voters. This is the fourth time Yost has rejected the group’s language. He issued this statement along with that rejection:

 Statement from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on why he rejected vaccine mandated initiated statute for the fourth time
Office of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost
/
Ohio Attorney Generals office
Statement from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on why he rejected the initiated statute for the fourth time.

This time around, Yost said the summary does not properly advise someone signing the petition of the proposed law’s character and limitations. After the third time the summary was rejected, the group backing the measure hired attorney Nick Owens to represent them. Owens says the language for this petition summary was taken directly from a bill before the legislature.

“The attorney general is not in step or not in sync with the Ohio Legislative Service Commission. Either the attorney general is right or the LSC is right. Either way but you can’t have it both ways," Owens said.

 Nick Owens, attorney for the group trying to put an initiated statute forward to ban mandatory vaccines
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Nick Owens is the attorney for the group trying to put an initiated statute forward to ban mandatory vaccines.

Opponents of mandated vaccines have spent the better part of two years fighting against mandates. Last fall, hundreds of Ohioans showed up at the Ohio Statehouse to support a bill that would have banned Ohio employers from requiring employees to get many vaccines. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester) would also have prevented venues from requiring vaccinations as a condition for entry. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and other business groups opposed the measure. In November, the Ohio House passed another bill that had to do with curfews for bars. Lawmakers attached to it some parts of the bill Gross sponsored. It is now being considered by an Ohio Senate committee.

Cases of COVID-19 have dropped in Ohio since that time. There are more therapeutics available. And the Omicron variant has proven to be milder, especially in fully vaccinated people.

 Stephanie Stock, president of Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Stephanie Stock is the president of Ohio Advocates for Medical.

Stephanie Stock, president of Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom, says her group will continue to push for the bill banning mandatory vaccines. She says her group will be exploring all of its options. She says it's still important to get some protection against discrimination for employees and people who don't want to take vaccines because there will be other viruses in the future.

"Supposedly they are bombing all kinds of things in Ukraine, and there are bio-weapons labs. We have no idea when the next virus could present itself," Stock said.

Stock says there are currently many mandates across the state, noting many hospitals have fired hundreds of employees who have not taken the COVID vaccines. And some employees, she says, were forced to take vaccines against their will to keep their jobs. "We're not going away," Stock says.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.