House Republicans on Wednesday moved to strip Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton’s authority to issue lasting state orders, a direct attack on Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
House Republicans amended and passed a 2019 regulatory reform bill that would limit health department orders to 14 days. Under the amended Senate Bill 1, an order could only be extended if it receives approval from the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.
If JCARR, a 10-member panel of five House and Senate members from both political parties, declines to approve the order – or even act on it – it would be rescinded immediately. It gives anybody the ability to sue to rescind a health order without having to show they were harmed by the health order.
The bill passed mostly along party lines with 58 in favor and 37 against, less than the three-fifths majority need to override a veto. A spokesman for Gov. Mike DeWine said the governor would veto the bill if it reached his desk.
No Democrats voted in favor of the bill.