Crain Editorial: A Bad Change
The rush to meet the state’s June 30 budget deadline often leads to bad legislation. And so it is, once again, as the Ohio House on Thursday, June 24, passed an anti-vaccination amendment in a spending bill.
The amendment was added to Senate Bill 111, which allocates $ 422 million in federal COVID-19 stimulus funds to local governments. Fifty-seven House Republicans voted for the amendment, with three GOP members joining Democrats in opposition.
The stakes are high. As the Columbus Dispatch noted, the change “would prevent employers, both public and private, from requiring employees to be vaccinated if the vaccine did not receive full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. United “. (This would apply to all three COVID-19 vaccines, which have received emergency use authorization.) It would also “prevent employers from treating employees differently based on vaccine status.”
The amendment marks a renewal of elements of a previous House bill that appeared to be dead. Last Tuesday, June 22, representatives from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association testified against the GOP’s anti-vax bill. Keith Lake, vice president of government affairs for the Ohio Chamber, told lawmakers that “employers should have the freedom to operate their businesses, to make decisions about protecting their workforce and develop health and safety policies and practices that meet the needs of their individual workplaces. He compared it to the decisions companies make about whether or not to allow concealed weapons on their property.
Springfield manufacturing company owner Ross McGregor, a former Republican state official, made this point: “I’m offering a job. I do not give it. It is up to an individual to decide whether they wish to accept my job offer.
Republicans in Columbus continue to push through laws that bow to anti-vaccination groups, to the detriment of human health and safety, while simultaneously undermining companies’ ability to manage their workforce with minimal government interference.
The House approved Senate Bill 111 by 60 to 34 votes, sending the bill to the Senate to consider the changes. If passed, Gov. Mike DeWine could – and should – veto the amendment.