COLUMBUS—State Senators Kristina Roegner
(R-Hudson) and Tim Schaffer
(R-Lancaster) today announced legislation that will significantly update local boards of health. Senate Bill 348 will allow local boards of health to reject certain orders from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) or the Ohio Director of Health during periods of emergency including pandemics, epidemics, and bio-terrorism events. If the local board of health chooses to reject the state order, they must do so with at least a two-thirds majority vote, after consulting with ODH.
“This legislation ensures that local boards of health have the final say on health restrictions and quarantine measures,” Roegner said. “Ohio has always been a local control state, recognizing that each community understands its own needs best. This principle should apply here as well.”
Additionally, the bill will make changes to the current membership requirement of local boards to require that a majority of its members be licensed healthcare professionals with at least one physician, specialized doctor, and registered nurse. The bill also adds local business leaders so the local board has input into local economic conditions and ramifications related to any health order.
“I am proud to introduce this piece of legislation,” said Schaffer. “The past few months have highlighted inconsistencies and concerns with the way our current local boards of health operate during periods of emergency. This bill looks to modernize and reinforce these boards with local healthcare professionals who know what is best to address the needs of their community and business leaders who understand the local economy and the critical role it plays in keeping Ohioans healthy.”
To learn more about Senate Bill 348, click here