DeWine announces statewide mask mandate, HB6 repeal developments and broadband updates
On July 23, 2020, Governor DeWine addressed the arrest of Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, the movement to repeal H.B. 6 (the legislation regarding Ohio’s two nuclear power plants at the heart of the allegations against Speaker Householder) and the state’s ongoing efforts to address COVID-19.
DeWine comments on Speaker Householder and House leadership
Governor DeWine opened his press conference commenting further on the arrest of Speaker Householder.
Speaker Householder has said he will not resign. The Governor has not ruled out calling a special session of the House to decide the House leadership question.
On July 24, 2020, Representative Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) told reporters, during a press conference regarding efforts to repeal House Bill 6 (see below), that he’s been approached by colleagues to consider putting his name in nomination to be the next Speaker. The current Speaker Pro Tempore, the second highest ranking member of leadership, Representative Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) is term limited at the end of 2020.
House Bill 6 repeal developments
In a reversal, Governor DeWine said he now supports repealing the controversial law. He elaborated that he still supports the underlying policy, but the process that led to its passage, “forever tainted the bill and now the law itself.” The Governor said he prefers a repeal of the law and would like to replace it with a bill that goes through an “open process that the public can have full confidence in.”
Lieutenant Governor Husted added “the public trust was violated.”
On July 24, 2020, a group of legislators from both chambers held a press conference and announced a bipartisan effort to repeal the law. Representative Carfagna said the house bill has up to 33 bipartisan co-sponsors. He was joined at the press conference by Representative Laura Lanese (R-Grove City), a member of House Leadership. Senator Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) is working on a Senate version with Senator Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta).
Lieutenant Governor Husted announced several broadband access announcements.
- The Department of Administrative Services will issue a Request for Information (RFI) to assist school districts for a central location on pricing for hotspots, laptops and tablets.
- The Ohio Controlling Board is requesting $50 million in CARES Act appropriations in dollar for dollar matching grants to school districts to assist students in need with broadband technology.
- The Ohio Department of Transportation is allowing E-Permitting for the installation of broadband in highway right of ways.
Statewide mask mandate and Ohio Public Health Advisory System
On July 23, 2020, Ohio was placed under a statewide mask mandate. The order requires the use of facial coverings in indoor locations that are not residential, outdoors (when unable to maintain a six-foot social distance from people who are not household members) and while waiting for, riding, driving or operating public transportation (e.g., taxi, car service, ride-sharing).
The order requires those 10-years or older to wear a mask. Additional exclusions include:
- Those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability.
- Those who are actively exercising or playing sports.
- Those who are officiants at religious services.
- Those who are actively involved in public safety.
- Those who are actively eating or drinking.
Bricker attorneys will continue to monitor local facial covering mandates that may have additional requirements or that could remain in effect after the state facial covering order is lifted.
Governor DeWine also posted the latest updates to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. Ohio’s Level 3 Counties include: