DeWine Vetoes Ohio Bill That Would Let Lawmakers Retain Own Attorneys

by J.D. Davidson


Calling the language too broad, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a bill that would allow the governor and General Assembly to retain special counsel and moved the venue for an appeal from an agency order.

The move came in a Tuesday afternoon announcement that included details of three bills signed into law. Since Sunday, DeWine has signed 23 new laws.

House Bill 286, passed in late December by the General Assembly, would have allowed challenges to government agencies’ orders to take place in the county where the business or individual resides. Currently, all challenges must be heard in Columbus.

It also would give the General Assembly the ability to hire its own lawyers to defend state laws, rather than rely on the attorney general.

“Amended Substitute House Bill 286 (HB286) is very similar to provisions that I vetoed previously. The language as drafted in HB286 is simply too broad. For the reasons set forth above, this veto is in the public interest,” DeWine said in his veto message.

As previously reported by The Center Square, DeWine vetoed a similar provision in July 2021, saying the state constitution gives the governor and the attorney general the power to enforce and defend laws in the state.

At the time, Attorney General Dave Yost wrote a letter encouraging that veto.

Signed into law was Senate Bill 16 that, among other things, bans police from stopping gun sales or guns being carried in areas where a riot is taking place or might take place. It also designates gun stores as essential businesses that cannot be shut down during an emergency declaration, similar to what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Sunday and Monday, DeWine signed 20 other bills into law, as previously reported by The Center Square.

One of those was the state’s new distracted driving law, which takes effect in 90 days and designates the use of cellphones and other electronic communications devices while driving as a primary traffic offense for all drivers and allows law enforcement to immediately pull over a distracted driver upon witnessing a violation.

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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square. 




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