Ohio State Representative Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland) announced Wednesday the introduction of a bill to “terminate the COVID-19 state of emergency in Ohio.”
The representative lauded Governor Mike DeWine for his swift response to COVID saying that he “responded appropriately.” However, Grendell said the administration “continues to use the state of emergency to restrict businesses and all Ohioans.”
The legislation, being referred to as the “Restore Ohio Now” bill, has an emergency provision which would make the bill immediately enforceable upon passage – effectively striking down DeWine’s Executive Order 2020-01D that declared a state of emergency on March 9.
“It’s crucial, for the sake of our people and our Constitution, that one branch of government cannot solely supersede on our entire state with overwhelming and unchecked authority,” Grendell says in her Facebook statement; adding, “This is not only an issue of getting our state and Ohioans back on track, it’s also about protecting the foundation of how our government is supposed to constitutionally function for the people.”
Ohio state Representative Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) agreed with Grendell’s sentiment. “We need to get back to normal, not a new normal,” he said in an interview with The Ohio Star.
The bill states that terminating the order is “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety.”
Continuing to live under restrictions imposed and made possible by the state of emergency “harms the well-being of Ohio’s citizens and businesses,” according to the legislation.
Jordan said he co-sponsored the bill because “people are losing their mental health and businesses due to the shutdown – we cannot continue to let the cure be worse than the virus.”
The Star contacted Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof but had not received a response before this article published. Also contacted for comment but non-responsive was Minority Leader Emilia Sykes.
DeWine’s Press Secretary Dan Tierney exchanged text messages with The Ohio Star and was asked whether the governor would approve or veto the bill if it passed the General Assembly. Tierney’s response: “The pandemic emergency is not over. We oppose this bill at this time.”
Grendell stated in the commentary accompanying her announcement on Facebook that the continued state of emergency violated the constitutional protection of separation of powers – that each branch should be free from the encroachment of the other.
“Government cannot protect us from every single one of life’s risks,” said Grendell.
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