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Franklin Co. House Dems React to Passage of SB 311 as County Reaches "Purple" designation

Blast House GOP for ignoring health experts' advice and passing dangerous bill that undermines health director's power as pandemic reaches dangerous peak
November 19, 2020
David Leland News

COLUMBUS— Today, Franklin County representatives Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), Assistant Minority Whip Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) and State Reps. Adam Miller (D-Columbus), Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville), David Leland (D-Columbus), Dr. Beth Liston (D-Dublin), Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington), and Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) reacted to House passage of a bill (Senate Bill 311) to undermine the director of health’s authority at a time when the state has reached a dangerous peak, with Franklin County being the first county designated purple status. Announced by Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday, Franklin County is the first in the state to be elevated to purple status since the state began using this alert system.

“In the last 24 hours, Franklin County has been elevated to ‘purple status,’ our schools are returning to remote learning, our hospitals are now unable to do elective surgeries due to lack of resources, and a Republican House staffer has tested positive for COVID-19. Yet, none of these events has elevated the concerns of many in the Majority caucus enough to mask up while in the Statehouse and pass bills that help to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“SB 311 is dangerous. We will never be able to get a handle on this pandemic if we keep politicizing masks and urging noncompliance in ODH’s orders. This bill is opposed by medical experts throughout this state and those are the voices lawmakers should be listening to on this issue.

“This is not about checks and balances. This bill, plain and simple, makes Ohioans less safe.”

Today, House Republicans also voted down a resolution that would require them to wear masks inside the Ohio Statehouse. On May 7, Republican lawmakers rejected a similar measure sponsored by Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) that would have required members and staff to follow best health practices by wearing a mask during committees or while on the House floor.

Franklin County’s “purple” status comes on the heels of the City of Columbus and Franklin County issuing a stay-at-home advisory Wednesday, urging residents to only leave home for essential purposes. Earlier this week, nationwide guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) urged Americans to avoid traveling for Thanksgiving and to take precautions if gathering with individuals who don’t live in the same household.