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DeWine won’t challenge health order restrictions in court

Though Gov. Mike DeWine calls a legislative bill that restricts his authority to issue health orders “unconstitutional,” he says he won’t challenge it in court.

DeWine said filing a court case over Senate Bill 22, which he vetoed March 23 and was followed a day later by a legislative override, “would end up in a long, protracted litigation that would take up a long period of time.”

The bill, backed by DeWine’s fellow Republicans in the state Legislature, gave them the authority to cancel any health orders issued by the governor that last longer than 30 days, allowed residents to sue over the constitutionality of a state emergency order and limited the ability of local health officials to require people to quarantine without a specific medical diagnosis.

It was the only override of a DeWine veto in his three-plus years as governor and was a rebuke of his COVID-19 pandemic health orders.

In his veto message, DeWine wrote: “We believe that significant portions of SB 22 are unconstitutional. Parts of the bill violate the separation of powers doctrine in our Ohio Constitution, others violate sections of the state constitution proscribing how laws must be made and even other parts of the bill likely violate the state constitution by exercising power reserved to the judiciary.”

While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations declined when the override occurred, both have hit record highs in recent weeks.

Read more from DeWine’s interview with political reporter David Skolnick in Sunday’s Tribune Chronicle.

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