Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday that his annual State of the State (SOS) will be postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak in the state.
DeWine released a joint statement with Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford):
“Over the past several weeks, Ohio has taken unprecedented steps in response to the global coronavirus crisis — all aimed at keeping our fellow citizens safe. The world’s leading medical experts recommend the continued practice of “social distancing” to slow the spread of the virus and ‘flatten the curve’ to prevent overwhelming our healthcare facilities.
“We have taken steps to ensure that the business of our state is carried out in a safe and careful manner to protect our many public servants, their families, and anyone with whom they come into contact. In keeping with those ongoing goals, we will not bring together the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Governor’s Cabinet, and the entire General Assembly in the same place at the same time for the State of the State Address until a later date, after the State of Emergency has concluded.
DeWine is expected to give the SOS at some during the General Assembly’s legislative session because Ohio’s constitution requires the governor an update once a session.
The week, the Ohio legislators resumed work and passed emergency coronavirus legislation to help out Ohioans who are impacted by the Chinese virus.
In House Bill 197, legislators extended absentee ballot primary voting till April 28; allowed high school seniors to graduate early; ended school testing for this school year; and eased unemployment insurance regulations.
“The temporary changes made through this legislation will give much-needed relief to Ohio’s businesses and our workforce to support our families and our economy during this difficult time,” the statement said. “We will continue to work together throughout this crisis to serve the best interests of every Ohioan. We are in this together, and we will make it through this together.”
DeWine commended the work the Ohio legislature did on this bill Thursday.
“This bill will ensure continuity of government, extended mail-in voting for our primary, clarity for schools and students, relief to workers impacted by COVID-19, and measures to make sure we are prepared to help Ohioans get back to work when this pandemic subsides,” he said. “I applaud the collaborative work on this bill and look forward to signing it soon.”
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