Huffman, others support bill limiting director authority, urge prompt passage


COLUMBUS — State Senator Steve Huffman announced his support of Senate Bill 311, sponsored by Senators Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), which would limit any order issued by the Ohio Director of Health to be effective for 14 days unless an extension is approved through a vote by the legislative Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR).

JCARR is made up of 10 members, five from the House and five from the Senate. Both chambers of the legislature have three members from the majority and two from the minority serving on the committee. Requiring JCARR approval for an extension of any order helps maintain a balance of power between the executive and legislative branch, supporters say. Senator Huffman is one of nine total co-sponsors of Senate Bill 311, which was introduced yesterday.

“I am proud to be a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 311,” Huffman said. “It is imperative that we as a legislating body maintain our authority granted through the separate but equal branches of government. I am hopeful that this legislation moves swiftly through the committee and is voted on by the entire Senate as soon as possible.”

Many legislators have expressed growing concerns regarding the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many calling for the earlier opening of businesses and allowing certain regions to open before others, particularly in rural areas with many small businesses and fewer viral cases. Senator Huffman has advocated for more individual autonomy amidst the existing orders; specifically, he has fought on behalf of schools wishing to host more traditional, in-person graduation ceremonies for outgoing high school seniors.

“People have to be able to make choices that are right for themselves and their families, and those circumstances will not be the same for everyone,” he said.

Senate Bill 311 will now await referral to a committee before it can be brought to the entire Senate for consideration. Senator Huffman said he will work meticulously for the bill’s quick passage through the Senate.