House committee weighs proposal to limit pandemic orders of local health boards

House Bill 671 also prevents local health boards from punishing businesses that continue to operate amid a pandemic.

COLUMBUS — Some House are continuing their push to limit pandemic orders in Ohio — and meeting resistance.

The House State and Local Government Committee is weighing House Bill 671. The bill would, in part, bar a local board of health from issuing an order aimed at preventing the spread of a disease when the Department of Health has issued one for the same epidemic.

However, the board could seek approval from the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) to issue such an order. It also prevents local health boards from punishing businesses that continue to operate amid a pandemic.

The proposal has drawn opposition from local health departments.

HB 671 “curbs the ability of local boards of health to protect the citizens within its jurisdiction in an emergency caused by an epidemic of a contagious disease like the current COVID-19 crisis,” Todd Supeck, chairman of the Medina County Board of Health, said in prepared testimony.

“We fail to see how taking our local interests and placing them before a panel of legislators from other parts of the state is a better form of decision making during an emergency,” Supeck added. “In this current crisis our health commissioner and department have been repeatedly praised for working with local entities and having a thoughtful, measured approach to all matters.”

— Courtesy of the Center Square

 

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