Roegner, McColley Introduce Legislation to Immediately Open Ohio
May 13, 2020
COLUMBUS—State Senators Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) today announced introduction of Senate Bill 311, legislation that will immediately end the shutdown of the state. This legislation includes language similar to what was adopted last week by the Ohio House as an amendment to Roegner and McColley’s legislation, Senate Bill 1.
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.
Senate Bill 311 takes the additional steps of opening Ohio now. The bill strengthens the language that was adopted by the House by requiring that the governor personally sign any such order restricting the freedom of Ohio businesses and families for purposes of a health emergency. Additionally, the bill ensures that local input will be considered by JCARR when reviewing an extension of a stay-at-home or business closure order. The bill further improves on the House language by adding an emergency clause, ensuring that it will go into effect upon passage rather than after 90 days.
Beyond the provisions added by the House to Senate Bill 1, this legislation takes the additional steps of opening Ohio now. 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.
“Our government was not set up for one branch to have the authority to disrupt the general public’s lives and businesses for this long without some form of check or balance. The time has come to reflect the will of many Ohioans by restoring balance to our government,” added McColley. “It is imperative we reopen our state now to try and limit any further societal damage this virus has caused to our state.”
“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 Roegner. “I believe that Ohioans, if given the freedom, will rise to the occasion and take the necessary steps to keep their families, employees and customers safe, while conducting the commerce that is so critical to our economy.”