On behalf of the Franklin County Board of Health and the 480,000 residents we serve, Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) extends its thanks to Governor DeWine for the courage to veto Senate Bill 22 (SB 22).
Local health departments have strong concerns with the impacts this legislation will have on the ability of local boards of health to protect the health of our community. While originally portrayed as an attempt to “balance” legislative and executive powers during times of emergency, the bill took on last-minute amendments that expand the scope well beyond that description.
Specifically, SB 22 limits the ability of local boards of health to issue board orders to businesses and to issue orders of quarantine or isolation without a medical diagnosis. Without this authority, local health departments will not be able to respond to any number of outbreaks or emergencies including:
- Communicable disease (Ebola, COVID-19, Measles)
- Bioterrorist attacks (Anthrax)
- Vector control (West Nile virus, Rabies)
- Foodborne illnesses (Hepatitis A, E. coli)
- Septic system regulations and Legionnaires’ disease
- Lead abatement
Board of health orders are crucial tools to mitigate a situation, allowing time for a full investigation of a situation before it becomes urgent or worsens. Orders like these are utilized sparingly and almost always involve guidance and expertise from the CDC or the Ohio Department of Health.
FCPH is asking members of the General Assembly to oppose any efforts designed to override the veto. Instead of adopting SB 22 we ask members of the Ohio House of Representatives, Ohio Senate, Governor DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health and local health departments to have extensive and constructive dialogue about how to modernize our state’s public health system.
Like the state, local health departments will continue to provide regular updates and opportunities for feedback from our state elected officials. When this pandemic is over, local health departments look forward to a full after-action report to identify what we should do in the future to increase our capabilities and emergency planning to ensure Ohio’s public health system remains prepared for the next public health emergency.