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Local Representatives want more than one ultimate decision-maker in Ohio

Published By WTOV 9 on March 19, 2021
Don Jones In The News

Republicans in Ohio are trying to make changes to the state's emergency powers.

It's a system that hasn't been debated in more than 100 years.

Republicans say Senate Bill 22 is all about establishing reasonable checks and balances and creating a process for transparency, so that one person isn't making all the orders and declarations.

The bill has passed through both the Ohio House and Senate.

 The bill would allow Ohio's General Assembly to vote on whether to extend or end states of emergency, modify public health orders and limit the role of local boards of health during a pandemic.

Governor Mike DeWine has called the bill unconstitutional and plans to veto the proposed legislation when it crosses his desk next week.

The vast majority of Republicans disagree.

"There is no process in place right now for the legislative body who represents the people to have any say in what the governor does," State Representative Don Jones said.

He says there is a plan to override the governor's veto, should it happen.

“Yes, and I want to make sure everyone understands this: We are not trying to say the governor has been wrong. We were just disappointed we’re not part of the conversation. I mean our constituents were disappointed, and we heard it from a lot of people, why aren't you doing something? Well there really wasn't anything we could do.”

State Representative Ron Ferguson was one of just two Republicans to vote against the bill.

"There was a bill in the House that, in my opinion, is better than Senate Bill 22, and I think that's the bill we should be voting on,” Ferguson said. “Unfortunately, we got Senate Bill 22, that's good, but it's not good enough. And so I voted no on the bill so that people in Columbus can have a signal that we need to do better.

“But now it is going to come back to the Chamber and I'm actually going to be the 60th vote to push it over the top. We were short of the votes last week for a veto override, and I'm going to override because I think the people of the Ohio Valley need somebody to reign in the Executive Branch."

"We're not saying that we know everything,” Jones said. “We just want to be able to have a voice and a seat at the table to be able to make those decisions."

Ohio health experts and Democrats have sided with DeWine in opposition to the bill -- and others like it that have cropped up during the pandemic.

If the override is successful, the bill would not go into effect until later this summer.

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