Gov. Mike DeWine vetoes Senate Bill 311, bill that would limit ODH’s power

The governor’s veto served as a sigh of relief for some health experts, who worry about the potential of one person spreading the virus on a large scale.

Governor Mike DeWine | Ohio Statehouse (The Ohio Channel)

TOLEDO, Ohio — Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine vetoed Senate Bill 311, a bill that would have limited the Ohio Department of Health’s power to order a mandatory quarantine for an individual that was exposed to a deadly virus or disease, such as COVID-19.

“Obviously, my statement about it [Senate Bill 311] is based upon what facts, medical experts have told us. In fact, in the veto message itself we quote some of the people that testified and some of the people who have talked about this,” said Governor Mike DeWine during a Thursday COVID-19 update.

As the governor stated, experts agree that Senate Bill 311, if enacted, could have proved dangerous.

Dr. Andrew Thomas, Chief Clinical Officer and Associate Professor of Clinical Internal

Medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, testified:

“One of the most concerning aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability of an individual to infect another person unknowingly during the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic phase of the infection. If the ability of the Ohio Department of Health to only issue executive orders related to those already diagnosed with the infection or exposed to someone who is diagnosed, we fear that there will be millions of Ohioans put at risk given the risk of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread.”

But Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp R-Lima isn’t pleased with the governor’s veto and views Senate Bill 311 as oversight, rather than a matter of public health and safety.

“This is a balanced and reasonable plan that would provide appropriate legislative oversight of these health orders, and ensure Ohioans’ voices are heard and their rights protected,” Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp R-Lima said in a statement.

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