Nineteen state representatives signed on to support a law that would effectively put an end to COVID restrictions, the bill’s author, State Representative Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland) told The Ohio Star Wednesday.
“Government cannot protect us from every single one of life’s risks,” Grendell said.
Last week, Grendell announced the legislation after it was reviewed by the Legislative Service Commission.
On Tuesday, September 23, Grendell posted on Facebook that she officially filed the “Restore Ohio Now” bill.
The fate of the bill will rely on Ohio Speaker of the House Bob Cupp (R-Lima). As of Wednesday, September 23 the proposal has not yet been assigned to a committee – a task that falls on the speaker and the Rules and Reference Committee.
Without a committee assignment and subsequent release from the committee for a vote – “Restore Ohio Now” will not see the floor for a vote from the chamber’s 99 lawmakers.
The Rules and Reference Committee is comprised of: Bob Cupp (Chair); Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg); Emilia Sykes (D-Akron); Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus); Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester); Jamie Callender (R-Concord); Timothy Ginter (R-Salem); Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo); Laura Lanese (R-Grove City); Phil Plummer (R-Lima); Gary Scherer (R-Circleville).
If passed, the law would strip from the governor and Ohio Department of Health authority to regulate businesses, mandate masks, limit gatherings and other restrictions the executive branch has placed on Ohioans since March 9.
Grendell told The Star Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.) is the bill’s joint sponsor and cosponsors are as follows:
- Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason)
- Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster)
- Jon Cross (R-Kenton)
- Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander)
- Craig Riedel (R-Defiance)
- John Becker (R-Union Township, Clermont County)
- Bill Dean (R-Xenia)
- Jena Powell (R-Arcanum)
- Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario)
- George Lang (R-West Chester)
- Dick Stein (R-Napoleon)
- Candice Keller (R-Middletown)
- Don Jones (R-Freeport)
- Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky)
- Jim Butler, Speaker Pro Tempore (R-Dayton)
- Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison)
- Sarah Carruthers (R-Hamilton)
- Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville)
“The factual reality is there is no emergency. Originally, there was a threat to hospital capacity; it never came to fruition, our hospital capacity for COVID was never more than 15%. Currently, it is de minimus,” Grendell told The Star.
She continued, “More importantly, studies are showing that we are being irreparably harmed as a state by these restrictions based off the so-called emergency. There have been sharp increases in drug use, mental health issues, unemployment, and severe loss of businesses. Daily, I speak with individuals that are affected negatively by the current restrictions. Even more concerning is that over 40% of individuals with complicating conditions (heart issues, cancers, etc.) are fearful to receive care from hospitals due to their fear of COVID: They too are being irreparably harmed.”
“Restore Ohio Now” will need to pass both the House and the Senate by a two-thirds approval because DeWine’s spokesperson told The Star the governor would veto the bill if it passed the General Assembly, saying “the pandemic emergency is not over. We oppose this bill at this time.”
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