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House Democratic leadership 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 10, 2021
Emilia Strong Sykes News

House Democrat leaders, led by Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) 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. 

“Scientific, factually-based evidence should lead us through this crisis. Under Senate Bill 22, misinformation would lead us further into crisis. We understand people are frustrated and fatigued with the ongoing pandemic. However, the answer to getting our economy back on track, kids back in school, and our social lives vibrant relies on our ability to quickly respond to variants and outbreaks,” wrote House Democratic leaders in their letter to the governor.

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