The Republican-controlled Ohio legislature handed a invoice defending small companies towards well being orders on Tuesday, sending it to the governor’s desk.
It handed the Home 77 votes for to 17 towards in Might, and handed the Senate unanimously on Tuesday.
House Bill 215, sponsored by Reps. Shane Wilkin, R-Lynchburg, and Jon Cross, R-Kenton, would nullify well being orders issued by the Ohio Division of Well being that “unfairly” impression one set of companies however not others.
Particularly, the intent behind the Enterprise Equity Act goals to stop small companies from being shut down or restricted when larger companies aren’t. The invoice is being pushed by the Ohio chapter of the Nationwide Federation of Impartial Companies, which lobbies for small companies, and different small enterprise teams.
It is in response to shutdown orders issued by Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration throughout the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Frustration quickly started to mount as a few of our members needed to stay closed whereas different ‘important’ companies, promoting a few of the similar or related merchandise, may preserve their doorways open,” mentioned Chris Ferruso, legislative director for Ohio NFIB, in testimony.
Whereas such well being orders have been endorsed by well being teams to restrict the unfold of an unknown virus, in addition they upset some Republicans over their financial harms.
Below HB 215, so long as a enterprise obliges by the identical protocols ordered to one other firm to stay open or function usually, the enterprise also can keep open or have regular operations.
The proposed legislation does not apply if well being orders are being utilized to particularly one enterprise or location.
“It permits all companies in Ohio, from huge chains to small mother and pop shops, to compete equally for patrons throughout the tough financial occasions corresponding to we face proper now,” mentioned Wilkin beforehand. “We’re merely leveling the taking part in discipline.”
The invoice has acquired no public opposition, and plenty of Democrats have voted in favor of it. One other version of the invoice had unanimous help within the Ohio Senate in Might.
The governor’s workplace mentioned via a spokesperson that DeWine helps the invoice, including that the possibilities of having to enact the identical kinds of well being orders sooner or later are low.
Titus Wu is a reporter for the USA TODAY Community Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 different affiliated information organizations throughout Ohio.