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Gov. Mike DeWine vetoes Senate Bill 311, which would limit his power over a pandemic

Posted at 5:11 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 17:11:23-05

COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed Senate Bill 311, which would limit the authority of the governor and the Ohio Department of Health.

DeWine said that "it is not in the best interest of protecting the health and safety of all Ohioans."

Health experts throughout Ohio sided with the governor and opposed the bill.

"One of the most concerning aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability of an individual to infect another person unknowingly during the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic phase of the infection. If the ability of the Ohio Department of Health to only issue executive orders related to those already diagnosed with the infection or exposed to someone who is diagnosed, we fear that there will be millions of Ohioans put at risk given the risk of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread," said Dr. Andrew M. Thomas, Ohio State Medical Association Council member.

"The legislation takes away public health’s ability to be nimble in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will limit the ability of public health officials to respond to future infectious disease outbreaks and potential acts of bioterrorism," said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer of the Ohio Department of Health.

The bill would have blocked state health official's mandatory quarantine orders for people who have not been directly exposed to the virus. It would also have allowed state lawmakers to rescind the Ohio Department of Health’s orders.

The Ohio House of Representatives needs 60 votes to override DeWine’s veto, and the State Senate needs 20 votes for an override.

RELATED: Gov. DeWine said Senate Bill 311 is a 'disaster,' but proponents say it’s to restore a balance of power to Ohio