Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, has made no bones about the fact that masks, distancing, testing and tracing (a mantra driven deeply into the minds of Ohioans over the past eight months) will be the norm until there is a vaccine – with a significant uptake.
On Tuesday The Ohio Star asked the governor if it was his position to mandate vaccines and immunity certificates in order for buckeyes to return to normal life. The Star also asked if he intended to use backdoor mandates to force compliance with his wish for Ohioans to vaccinate.
DeWine said the state would not mandate vaccines. However, the Ohio CEO was mum on the second part of the question.
The Star circled back with the Governor on Thursday, October 22 during the twice-weekly COVID briefing. The complete Q & A is in the video below.
The question asked was:
Will you allow others to mandate vaccines –
For example, allowing businesses to require employees to vaccinate in order to work, or prospective customers?
Will you allow schools to press for vaccines for kids despite Ohio’s existing exemptions for kids in k-12 since many of them are currently not honoring mask exemptions?
Governor DeWine said that the law regarding exemptions for kids is on the books and he does not believe that will change.
However, with respect to backdoor mandates, he said he desires to talk with the General Assembly – Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-22) and Ohio Speaker of the House Bob Cupp (R-Lima).
DeWine’s comments struck a nerve with Ohioans who share the same concern as Ohio State Senator Andrew Brenner – that a vaccine mandate is coming.
“I am concerned that COVID19 vaccines will eventually become required. Because of this, I’m working on legislation that would make vaccinations for adults in Ohio voluntary,” Senator Brenner told The Star.
The Star reached out to Senate President Obhof to take his temperature on Brenner’s legislation. Obhof’s Press Secretary John Fortney responded by text message, writing: “members are free to bring up ideas for our caucus to discuss.”
Ohio State Representative Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) told The Star he, too, is drafting legislation that would outlaw vaccine mandates for adults and will include language for children.
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