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Gov. Mike DeWine Promises Veto Of Bill Limiting Public Health Orders

Gov. Mike DeWine inside the Governor's Residence in Columbus on Dec. 13, 2019.
John Minchillo
Associated Press
Gov. Mike DeWine inside the Governor's Residence in Columbus on Dec. 13, 2019.

Gov. Mike DeWine says he will veto a bill from his fellow Republicans that would limit public health orders or states of emergency, setting up a battle between DeWine and the legislature.

DeWine says that SB22, which would allow Ohio lawmakers to rescind states of emergency or health orders, is unconstitutional and violates separation of powers. And he says limiting the governor's authority hampers a statewide response to a health crisis. 

"I will have to veto the bill, there's no governor that I can think of in Ohio who would not veto this bill," DeWine says. "I'm very concerned about the future and health departments around the state not having the tools they need to keep the people in this state, safe."

The bill would make a state of emergency issued by the governor expire after 90 days. The Ohio General Assembly would be able to revoke that state of emergency after being in effect for 30 days.

Health orders created under that state of emergency could be rescinded by the legislature after 11 days. If a state of emergency expires or is terminated, the governor would not be able to reissue a similar state of emergency for 60 days.

Supporters of the measure say it allows lawmakers to represent their constituents, especially in controversial decisions like last March's statewide shutdown of businesses.

Although the bill passed both the Ohio House and Senate without a single Democratic vote, Republican leaders say they have the votes to override DeWine's veto.

The Legislative Service Commission, which researches and drafts bills for lawmakers, said in its analysis that there are constitutional questions about rescinding a governor’s order by concurrent resolution. It added that the bill could violate separation of powers if it is attempting to give the General Assembly a legislative veto authority.

DeWine has said that Ohio's coronavirus-related health orders, including the face mask mandate and mass gathering ban, will be lifted when the statewide infection rate drops to 50 cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period. Currently, the infection rate is at 155 cases.

What questions do you have about COVID-19 and Ohio's Response? Ask below and WOSU may answer as part of our series A Year Of COVID.


Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.