State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township) plans to introduce a bill when the Ohio General Assembly opens up again next week that would make all public health orders issued by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton advisory measures rather than mandatory measures, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
For an Acton prescribed public health order to be considered mandatory, the Ohio legislation would need to approve of it, Becker told The Enquirer.
On Friday, the ODH extended the state’s stay-at-home order till May 29. The new “Stay Safe Ohio Order,” which replaced the current stay-at-home order that ended Friday night, incorporates the business and service openings announced as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan, according to the Gov. Mike DeWine’s press release.
Becker has been a vocal critic of DeWine and Acton closing Ohio’s economy down. In the latest issue of The Becker Report, which acts as a newsletter for the House member, he called for Ohio to reopen businesses.
“We could have discussions about the legal authority, if any, of the governor’s decision to shut down Ohio’s economy. Without regard to that, we are clearly on the downside of the curve. The risk of overwhelming the healthcare system is no longer there (and perhaps never was),” Becker wrote.
“I fully support businesses and individuals being made whole,” he added, “Their plight is no fault of their own. It is a direct result of state government policy and the state bears full responsibility for it.”
Ohio’s economy has been reeling since the state went into a stay-at-home order on March 23. Over the last six weeks, more than 1 million people have asked the government for assistance. The Buckeye State has accounted for almost four percent of America’s 30.3 million jobless claims.
Becker told The Enquirer that he doesn’t know how many other Republicans will support his bill.
This week other Republican House members issued a letter to DeWine asking him to reopen the state’s economy. Thirty-three Republican House members penned a plan called the “Open Ohio Responsibly Framework.” This plan advised that businesses be opened on Friday.
“Many businesses have already modified their operating protocols to safely function in this current environment. Businesses/organizations recognize if they do not make it safe for their employees and customers, they will not come back,” the plan states. “We believe it is time to trust Ohioans. They have respectfully followed the guidelines and NOW is the time to responsibly open all businesses.”
Healthcare industry businesses opened on Friday.
Despite DeWine’s high approval rating amongst Ohioans, Becker predicts that he will be a one-term governor.
“His reckless decision to shut down Ohio’s economy and keep it shut down will have long-term negative consequences,” The Becker Report published on April 30 said. “The voters will rebel in November and Republicans across the state will suffer at the polls. Should Governor DeWine run for re-election in 2022, he will either be defeated in a primary or in November of that year.”
As of Saturday, Ohio has 18,537 cases and 1,021 deaths, according to ODH numbers.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]
Background Photo “Ohio House of Representatives Chamber” by Joshua Rothaas. CC BY 2.0.