COLUMBUS—After a federal judge in Texas ruled the CDC eviction moratorium unconstitutional yesterday, the sponsors of House Bill 20, which would institute a statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, issued statements in response to the ruling:
“The CDC eviction moratorium offered critical protection for at-risk families, but now we know it may not be enough,” said Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus). “It’s time for Ohio to step up and protect its most vulnerable citizens from the economic fallout of the pandemic. It’s time to pass House Bill 20.”
Ohio is one of the few states that failed to implement a state specific eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 crisis. Reps. Leland and Crossman first introduced their eviction and foreclosure moratorium as House Bill 562 in March of 2020 during the 133rd General Assembly. They reintroduced the bill (HB 20) in January once the 134th General Assembly started.
“We proposed this state specific moratorium because we knew the federal moratorium was insufficient for many reasons. Now, people’s homes are threatened by a group of business interests in Texas who could not care less about the people of Ohio. It’s clear that we cannot delay this important legislation any longer if we aim to keep individuals and families in their homes amid a pandemic that has wreaked significant hardships on the people of Ohio,” said Rep. Jeffrey Crossman (D-Parma).
The judge who made the ruling did not issue an injunction and, as a result, the moratorium remains in effect pending appeal. Nevertheless, the ruling has cast doubt on whether judges across the country will honor the CDC’s moratorium to delay evictions or whether judges will disregard the CDC’s moratorium due to the prospect of additional litigation that will likely result from this recent Texas ruling. A statewide moratorium, as proposed by HB 20, could clarify this now unsettled area of law.