As Ohio Legislature meets this week, will reopening the state sooner be discussed?


The effort to reopen Ohio will likely start in the House, but may have trouble getting through the Senate

(WKBN) – The Ohio House of Representatives is scheduled to meet this Tuesday and the Ohio Senate will meet on Wednesday. There are lawmakers in both chambers who want the state open for all businesses immediately.

The effort to reopen Ohio will likely start in the House, but may have trouble getting through the Senate.

The last time the Ohio Legislature met was in late March, when lawmakers passed a plan to deal with the coronavirus. At that time, mainly everyone was supportive.

“This is very important as many business owners and workers are under financial stress,” Rep. Derek Merrin said at that meeting.

Forty-one days later, Merrin was one of 35 House Republicans who signed a document demanding Gov. Mike DeWine to open all of Ohio. The document states all businesses are essential and Ohioans can make their own choices of whether they want to go out.

Rep. Diane Grendell, who represents Portage and Geauga counties, also signed it.

“You know, big businesses and grocery stores and Target and Costco and Walmart get to be open, but the little guy who’s desperately trying to survive and doing everything on his own can’t have his business? There’s not a lot of logic to some of these things,” she said.

“I think opening it slowly, and we’re seeing the steps being taken, I think are appropriate,” said Trumbull County Sen. Sean O’Brien.

O’Brien said it has not been announced if the House will consider a bill to shift the powers of opening and closing the state from the governor to the state legislature. Even if it passes the House, O’Brien doesn’t see it moving quickly through the Senate.

“Talking with President [Larry] Obhof, he has indicated that he is in agreement with how the governor has been handling it and agrees that we should do the slow approach that the governor has put forth,” O’Brien said.

During his daily briefing on Monday, Gov. DeWine was asked about the possibility of legislation taking away his power to open and close Ohio — he declined to comment until he saw the legislation.

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