COLUMBUS, Ohio — Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill last month banning public and private entities from mandating certain vaccines, but that does not mean it's getting to the governor's desk anytime soon.
As we continue to break state records for coronavirus cases, the Ohio Senate is looking into a house bill that would help people who do not want to get the vaccine. But Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, recently said that could be a tall order to pass.
"There's opposition from folks who think it's not strong enough in our caucus and lots of folks on the outside who think it's a bad bill. Because of that, there's also opposition from business groups who think we shouldn't be doing this at all," said Huffman.
House Bill 218 does not allow businesses and schools to force their employees and students to get shots not fully authorized by the FDA. That includes some of the COVID-19 vaccines. It would also ban so-called vaccine passports.
"It does put prohibitions on private religious institutions, particularly schools, and that's a particular constitutional concern that I have," Huffman said.
The Senate's General Government Budget Committee has held two hearings on the bill.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Vaccine Coalition, which represents more than 100 businesses and healthcare organizations, has said the bill "falls short of what our state needs as we work toward pandemic recovery."
Also, Gov. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, has said he is not on board.
"It's significant that the governor said that he would veto it in its current form. There'd have to be 60 votes in favor of whatever came over (from the House) in order to override that and 20 in the Senate. So I think there's still a lot of work to be done," said Huffman.