Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) today issued a statement as House GOP lawmakers voted to fast track Senate Bill (SB) 311, which would curb executive authority from the state health director to issue orders during public health emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic.
“Stripping the State Health Director from being able to take action during public health crises will only lead to more deaths and further destabilize our economy. We all want to get through this crisis and reopen our economy, but that can’t happen unless we do it right, and that means listening to the health experts to implement strategies to control the virus, protect workers and restore consumer confidence,” said Rep. Kelly. “Fast tracking dangerous fantasies when we should be prioritizing what we know works isn’t just bad policy, it threatens the lives and livelihoods of thousands of our fellow Ohioans. This bill will only slow our response, cost more lives and force more businesses into financial ruin. We can’t have a healthy economy without healthy Ohioans to power it.”
Republican lawmakers Thursday also rejected a Democratic motion to require facial coverings in the Statehouse to protect the public, legislative staff, members of the press and elected officials amid the worst spike in cases in Ohio since the onset of the pandemic.
Franklin County, home to the Ohio Statehouse, Thursday became the first Ohio county to enter Level 4, the state’s highest-level rating which indicates severe spread and exposure of COVID-19. In anticipation of the rating, the City of Columbus and Franklin County Wednesday issued a stay-at-home advisory beginning Friday, urging residents to only leave home for essential purposes.