Following veto override, DeWine says it’s time for Ohio to move on

By J.D. Davidson - The Center Square

COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday it’s time to move on after the Ohio Legislature voted to override his veto, resulting in legislative oversight of the governor’s emergency orders.

DeWine reiterated his concerns for the future Thursday at a news conference, saying the law eliminates opportunities for state and local officials to respond to issues such as tainted lettuce or a person entering the state with Ebola.

“This bill is really about the future. My passion in describing the problems of this bill does not come from what it will do with me or this pandemic,” DeWine said. “My passion comes from a deep concern and belief that this will not be the only crisis we will face. I believe that we move on. It’s time for us to come together. We all want to see this virus gone, so let’s work together.”

DeWine, who received large amounts of support from the state’s health care organizations and businesses to veto the bill, also said lawmakers he spoke with who voted to override also said there were issues with the law.

“I was happy to see that on the floor yesterday, at least one member talked about some of the problems with the bill,” DeWine said. “In calls that I’ve made, there were members who told me they were going to vote to override my veto but acknowledged there were real problems with the bill.”

The Ohio Senate and House voted Wednesday to override the veto, allowing Senate Bill 22 to become law in 90 days. It was the second time in four months lawmakers attempted to limit DeWine’s authority. The first came in December with similar legislation that also was vetoed, but neither chamber scheduled on override vote.

This time, override votes came a day after the veto.

“In this case, strong majorities in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate passed thoughtful, balanced and constitutional legislation to provide appropriate and measured oversight and to ensure Ohioans’ voices are heard,” said House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima. “The legislation approved [Wednesday] ensures officials are able to respond to emergencies and protect Ohioans in times of crisis, but it also makes clear that the authority is not limited and ensures the voices of Ohioans are heard on these matters.”

Cupp said disagreements between governors and lawmakers aren’t unusual and each used their power this week.

“This week, co-equal branches of government – the legislature and the governor – disagreed on Senate Bill 22. Each exercised their respective authority under our Constitution,” Cupp said in a statement. “Just as our Constitution allows a governor to veto legislation, it also allows the legislature to override that veto. These checks and balances between co-equal branches of government are a key aspect of our representative democracy and help protect the rights of Ohioans.”

The law limits the governor’s ability to create ongoing orders and creates an Ohio Health Oversight Advisory Committee made up of members of House and Senate to review health orders.

The bipartisan committee would have the authority to rescind an executive order issued by the governor or a special standing order or rule issued by the Department of Health for preventing the spread of a contagious disease.

It also allows the General Assembly to rescind health orders by resolution, allows individuals to sue to the state over orders and stops local health departments from closing schools on its own, putting the decision into the hands of school boards.

By J.D. Davidson

The Center Square