Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) in a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday attacked Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina), who adjourned the chamber Tuesday night without holding a vote to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s Dec. 3 veto of a bill that would have severely limited the executive’s powers to implement certain public health orders.
“I think it’s fair to show this man single handily (sic) kept this bill from being overrode, made excuses, blamed others, and lied,” Edwards said. “The truth is, he did not want to upset the Governor in hopes the Governor helps him get hired or appointed to his next gig … President Obhof, quit telling LIES about us and maybe we’ll quit telling the TRUTH about you.”
Edwards, who joined more than 50 of his Republican colleagues in the Ohio House of Representatives in signing a petition saying they wanted the SB311 veto overridden, said Obhof claimed that the House wouldn’t have enough votes as an “excuse,” despite many members clamoring for a vote.
SB311, if overridden, would have prohibited DeWine from implementing stay-at-home orders. DeWine emphatically opposed the bill, arguing it would be dangerous to strip him and future governors of the authority to control public health crises by mandating Ohioans into quarantine.
It’s unclear whether the House would have had enough votes to override DeWine’s veto since several lawmakers were out of the Statehouse after contracting COVID-19 or coming into contact with somebody who did, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. House Republicans only had 55 members present on Tuesday, short of the 60 needed for an override, according to Columbus’ ABC6 news.
House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) claimed his chamber had enough votes to override the veto.
“The Senate President is not a member of the House of Representatives,” Edwards said. “He has no idea how many votes we have nor should the House be any of his concern. Even if the House did not have the votes, it is of no concern to him whatsoever.”
Instead of overriding DeWine’s veto of SB311, the Senate passed a bill Tuesday that was amended to prevent the governor from closing small businesses amid the pandemic while simultaneously allowing big box stores to stay open, according to Cleveland.com. “The House had fewer than the 60 votes necessary at their session,” Obhof said in a statement to The Athens NEWS. “Nonetheless, the Senate passed very strong protections for small businesses in House Bill 609, which would effectively prevent future shutdowns. They should consider coming back to Columbus to concur on that bill.”
Since SB311 originated in the Senate, that chamber is required to initiate an override before the House is able to vote on the matter.