As expected, Governor DeWine recently vetoed Senate Bill 311. There has been some misinformation as to
what this piece of legislation actually does, and I would like to provide some clarification as to the true intent of S.B. 311.
This bill does not change the governor’s ability to create health orders. The legislature is a deliberative body
and was not intended to make fast, reactive decisions. Therefore, I fully support the executive branch’s
authority to make such orders to act quickly in times of emergency, such as the current pandemic.
The purpose of the legislative branch of government is to represent the will of the people. For far too long, the people’s voice has not been included in the conversation. S.B. 311 simply allows legislative oversight on state health orders during a public health emergency.
As I mentioned before, the legislature is a deliberative body. Providing legislative oversight on health orders
would implement a process in which the public could provide feedback to COVID-19 mandates. State Senators and Representatives would have the chance to hear from a variety of interested parties and medical
professionals regarding the impacts of the health orders. This process would properly evaluate the effectiveness of these mandates and help determine the right path forward for Ohio.
S.B. 311 also requires the Ohio Department of Health to only issue quarantine and isolation orders to Ohioans
who are sick or who have been directly exposed to the disease during public health crises like the current
pandemic. This is a common-sense provision that prevents a government overreach of forcing people to isolate or quarantine when they have had no contact with the virus.
I do not support unchecked power for one branch of government, which is why I will vote yes on overriding the veto of S.B. 311.
Ohioans have been hearing “we’re all in this together” for nearly nine months now. It’s long past time the
General Assembly gets to have a seat at the table when making important decisions regarding the public’s
Representative Craig S. Riedel, R-Defiance, is currently serving his second term as state representative to the 82nd Ohio House District, which includes Defiance, Paulding and Van Wert counties, as well as part of Auglaize County.