Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) and House Democratic lawmakers Wednesday voted in opposition to Senate Bill (SB) 22, controversial Republican legislation that would threaten the health and safety of Ohioans by curbing authority from the governor and health director during public health crises.
“This pandemic is far from over, but we are on a steady pace to get all Ohioans vaccinated in the coming months thanks to the hard work of President Biden, Governor DeWine, and our healthcare workers. Contrarily, the Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives have been pure obstructionists every step of the way.
“They deny science, have instigated anti-mask rallies at the statehouse which led to damage of the capital, and inspired harassment of our former Director of the State Department of Health, Dr. Amy Acton. Further, they continue to pass unconstitutional bills which strip away the Governor’s ability to keep Ohioans safe and replace sound medical science with partisan politics.
“Senate Bill 22 illustrates that the Republican Party is not the party of small government but rather a party of bureaucracy and conspiracy theories. We owe the people of Ohio so much more, but the Republican supermajority continues to let all of us down when they pass such dangerous bills,” said Rep. Boyd.
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.
Democrats offered several amendments to SB 22 during Wednesday’s floor session, including:
· Requiring members of the General Assembly appointed to the Committee be a physician or have public health experience;
· Raising the threshold of votes needed to overturn health orders;
· Removing the severability clause in the bill.
Republicans rejected the amendments along party lines.