COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hundreds of people from across Ohio marched around the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday with signs saying “Freedom To Choose” and “No Mandate” to put pressure on lawmakers to vote for House Bill 248 known as the vaccination choice and anti-discrimination act.
The hope of passing the bill out of the House Health Committee was dashed Monday when House Speaker Bob Cupp issued a press release saying there “would be no vote, nor amendments."
That didn’t stop supporters from packing the Statehouse atrium which became an overflow room to watch the hearings on two television sets.
More than a hundred supporters sat inside and would often boo or yell over testimony when they heard someone speak about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.
House Bill 248 would do more than prevent a government mandate of the vaccine, under the bill, hospitals would not be allowed to require workers to get vaccinated.
The bill would also repeal state law requiring college students to get immunized against hepatitis B and meningitis to live on-campus and would block schools and child care providers from requiring or asking someone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or any other infectious diseases.
State Representative Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester) said she was “disappointed” her bill didn’t get voted on Tuesday.
“I believe I’m on the right side of this issue, just look at all these people,” she said.
Supporters outside said mandating the vaccine is nothing more than government intrusion into their lives.
“What's next you can't have a Pepsi or Coke anymore because it's bad for your health,” said Holly Snyder of Clyde, Ohio.
Others said they came to stand for workers who could lose their jobs if they refuse to get the vaccine.
“It's not going to affect my job. I’m not going to get fired what I do, but it's heartbreaking to see all these other people that are going to be effective by it,” said Jason Miller.
Ohio has no vaccine mandate, but more employers are requiring workers to get them.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce issued a statement in opposition to HB 248:
“It’s time for lawmakers to stop trying to dictate workplace policies that interfere with the ability of employers to ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees and others who enter places of business."