Senate Bill 311 includes language similar to Senate Bill 1.
That bill was passed last week by the Ohio House of Representatives, restricting the authority of Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton.
According to Senate Bill 1, any orders issued by her would expire after 14 days unless approved for an extension from a bi-partisan committee, which is made up of members from the House and Senate. The committee would then decide how long it would last.
“Like Senate Bill 1, the legislation establishes common-sense limitations on the Director of Health’s discretion to issue orders such as stay-at-home or stay-safe directives during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. While current law prescribes no limit to the length of such directives, the amendment caps the duration at 14 days. If necessary to protect the public safety, the Director of Health can request that the legislature, through the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, extend the order as needed,” a news release states.
Senate Bill 311 takes the additional steps of “opening Ohio now.” It also strengthens language that was adopted by the House by requiring Gov. DeWine to sign any “order restricting the freedom of Ohio businesses and families for purposes of a health emergency.”
“The bill rescinds any existing order closing state businesses and directing Ohioans to stay at home directly upon passage. Additionally, the bill enables local school districts, in consultation with local health experts, to determine whether or not in-person graduations can be safely conducted on a case-by-case manner that is tailored to the individual circumstances of each district, rather than on a one-size-fits-all statewide basis,” according to the release.
“This has gone on long enough. Ohioans came together to flatten the curve of this pandemic and we did it successfully. Now we need to open our state before the damage is irreparable,” said Sen. Kristina Roegner.