COLUMBUS — Texas did it. Mississippi did it. Now, an Ohio lawmaker who returned to the General Assembly after an eight-year break wants Ohio to follow their lead.

Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Township, marked the one-year anniversary of the state’s first COVID-19 emergency order by calling on Gov. Mike DeWine to end all orders and mandates and return the state to normal.

“It has also been one year since the first coronavirus cases reached Ohio. Over the past year, Ohioans have bonded together to beat the virus and we have found ways to live out our lives despite the overbearing health orders placed upon us by unelected bureaucrats. Since March 2020, Ohio has made extensive progress,” Schmidt said Tuesday.

Schmidt has co-sponsored legislation in the House that limits the governor’s powers health order and also supports a bill that ends the state’s mask mandate.

“I have faith that Ohioans are responsible enough to carry on with our daily lives while also protecting our most vulnerable. I would like to thank Ohio’s dedicated health professionals for their extraordinary work over the past year,” Schmidt said. “Because of their tireless efforts, I believe that we are now in a place to lift Ohio’s mask mandate, end burdensome orders and allow Ohio’s businesses to open up safely.”

DeWine, who has eased restrictions in recent weeks, vetoed an attempt to limit his emergency authority late last year. He recently established a goal of 50 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period for removing all orders and mandates. The most-recent data shows the state at 179 cases per 100,000.

DeWine announced earlier this week Ohioans age 50 and older will be eligible for the vaccine beginning Thursday.

Along with Texas and Mississippi, mask mandates have been dropped in Iowa, Montana and North Dakota.

“I will continue to fight for more legislative oversight of the governor, but [Tuesday], on the one-year anniversary of his declaration of a public health emergency, I am calling upon him to take immediate steps to lift these mandates and orders,” Schmidt said. “As more Ohioans receive the vaccine, I believe we should end these measurers as soon as possible.”

By J.D. Davidson

The Center Square