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Ohio Senate rejects bill to limit powers of state health department

Posted at 8:36 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 20:37:04-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio senators rejected a measure aimed at limiting state health department powers on Wednesday.

The Senate voted 0-32 against Senate Bill 1 to reduce regulatory restrictions and requiring "approval of the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review for Department of Health orders to be effective for more than fourteen days."

The bill, which passed the House with amendments on May 6, also sought to limit the department's rule-making authority.

One branch of government isn’t supposed to have the authority to disrupt our society for this long without some form of check or balance.

— Senator Rob McColley (@Rob_McColley) May 16, 2020

Now, the bill heads back to conference to work on the amendments.

Sen. Rob McColley and Sen. Kristina Roegner sponsored SB 1 as well as SB 311, which seeks to limit the powers of the state health director to issue statewide orders and to rescind certain orders regarding COVID-19.

Earlier this month, Gov. Mike DeWine said he would veto any bill seeking to limit Health Director Amy Acton’s power.

MORE: Bill seeking to limit Acton's power is wrong, DeWine says

“The actions that we have taken under this (stay-at-home) law have been highly successful,” he said at a press conference May 7. “Highly successful. We’re in the position now where we can open up Ohio only because we took those actions.”