Ohio State House Republicans on Wednesday approved a move to limit the Health Department’s emergency declaration powers.
GOP members of the House State and Local Government Committee passed an amendment to a 2019 regulatory reform bill that would limit orders from the health department, led by Dr. Amy Acton, to 14 days, Cleveland.com said.
The amendment to Senate Bill 1 says an order could only be extended if it receives approval from the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, a 10-member panel split among House and Senate members from both parties. If the group declines to approve the emergency order or act on it, it would be ended.
Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said he would consider any action the House approves, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
He told reporters he’s open to reviewing and revising the statutes that give DeWine and Acton the authority, but he also praised the governor’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying it put Ohio’s economy in better position than other Midwest states to quickly rebound.
Gov. Mike DeWine said Republicans were creating uncertainty and they should work on other things.
He tweeted, “My administration is focused on the important things we need to do to help businesses responsibly reopen while protecting Ohioans’ health and safety,” DeWine stated. “This week alone, this included increasing coronavirus testing and tracing, balancing Ohio’s budget, and working on plans to move Ohio’s economy forward. Ohioans need their legislators focused on these important issues. Creating more uncertainty regarding public health and employee safety is the last thing we need as we work to restore consumer confidence in Ohio’s economy.”
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 6, 2020
The House amendment also makes clear that any Ohioan may seek a court order requiring the governor or state health director to comply with the committee oversight requirement, Fox 19 reported.
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