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Ohio Business Groups Push Back Against Bill To Ban Vaccine Mandates

A nurse prepares a Moderna vaccination at a Columbus vaccine clinic.
Dan Konik
Ohio Public Radio
A nurse prepares a Moderna vaccination at a Columbus vaccine clinic.

The controversial bill (HB 248) in the Ohio House that would ban businesses and schools from requiring vaccines was thought to be ready for a possible vote in committee. Instead, it’s been put on hold while lawmakers make some changes.

Business groups that often back Republicans have come out against the bill. So has former GOP lawmaker Ross McGregor, testifying against it on behalf of the Ohio Manufacturers Association. He said business owners like him need to be able to require vaccines to protect their employees and customers. 

“This employee can decide ‘I would rather work here than there.' It is their choice. But inside the four walls of my factory, I believe I have the right to require a vaccinated employee if I so choose," McGregor said.

McGregor said if many employees become ill at the same time, it can cost businesses a lot of money and even cause supply chain disruptions. For example, he said there was a meat shortage last year after a COVID-19 outbreak at a major meat processing company.

The bill also requires schools to tell parents vaccines are not mandatory. Bill sponsor Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester) said the legislation allows schools to continue to require students to get vaccines for childhood illnesses but those schools must let the parents know there are religious and medical exceptions available if they choose not to vaccinate their children.

Rep. Scott Lipps (R-Franklin), the chair of the Ohio House Committee said there are not enough votes to pass the bill right now. He said the bill will likely be changed before it comes up for a vote.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.