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Rep. Russo urges governor to veto GOP bill that would slow pandemic response and make Ohioans less safe

Says GOP bill propped up by misinformation will do real harm to public health and safety
March 11, 2021
C. Allison Russo News

Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today sent a letter to Governor DeWine urging his veto of Senate Bill (SB) 22, controversial legislation that would threaten the health and safety of Ohioans by curbing authority from the governor and health director during public health crises. Democrats voted in unison against the measure during House session Wednesday. It passed on party lines. 

“Senate Bill 22 is reckless, dangerous, and nothing more than a power grab by an extreme Republican super-majority,” said Rep. Russo.  “Experts have already testified that this bill would severely impact the ability for public health officials to rapidly respond to a crisis.  It also puts Ohio in danger of losing federal and regional assistance during an emergency.  This is not a well-thought-out piece of legislation and puts politics before the health of Ohioans.”

Proponents of SB 22 made a number of false, inaccurate and misleading claims about the virus and the state’s response. Similarly, YouTube pulled down a recording of testimony from a Feb. 17 House committee hearing on House Bill (HB) 90, legislation that mirrors many of the same provisions of SB 22, for violating the site’s terms of service for spreading COVID-19 misinformation.

Opponents of both SB 22 and HB 90 include top state public health officials, who said the effort to roll back health orders would slow the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Statehouse researchers also called into question the constitutionality of the effort to strip executive authority from the governor.