'It would be chaos': DeWine explains why he'd veto legislation aimed at limiting Acton's power

FILE - In this March 5, 2019 file photo, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine speaks during the Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Despite protesters and legislation going through the Ohio House to limit the power of the state’s health director, Gov. Mike DeWine said he doesn’t believe it’s been tough week.

Wednesday, members of the Republican governor's party voted to pass legislation that would limit Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton's power. Amended Senate Bill 1 now goes back to the Senate.

DeWine has also told protestors Acton is not fair game for their protests over state health orders, though they still engaged in protests against her.

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"I don't think it's been a tough week, we've made tough decisions," he said during Thursday's news conference.

The governor elaborated on why he felt Senate Bill 1 was a bad idea and would veto it.

"Any bill or any attempt that gets in the way of our ability to protect the people of Ohio is a bill that I will be forced to veto to protect the people of Ohio," he said.

He said he didn't understand how lawmakers could attempt to get a bill like that passed in the middle of the worst health emergency in 102 years.

"Under this bill; if it ever became law, it would be nothing but chaos, It's just I don't quite understand it," he said.

The governor pointed to several areas of concern.

He said the health orders that Acton signed have been highly successful and has helped Ohio reopen the economy,

He said changing the law would limit the state's ability to make quick decisions in cases when there would be other emergencies like a radiation accident, or and E. coli outbreak at a restaurant, to name a few.

DeWine says lawsuits could be filed to stop an order.

SB1 would allow a group of legislatures to re-asses the Health Director's order after 14 days and decide if it was necessary to extend it.

While the House passed it, there is no timetable when the Senate will hear it.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

There are now 34,208 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio; 2,080 people have died from the virus and 6,205 were hospitalized, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Breakdown of Ohio cases by county >>

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