Ohio Republican lawmakers move to impeach GOP Gov. DeWine over restrictive coronavirus regulations

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A trio of Ohio Republican lawmakers have prepared articles of impeachment against GOP Gov. Mike DeWine over the COVID-related restrictions that he has imposed on the state.

According to these conservative officeholders, “Mike DeWine is destroying our state through fiat mask decrees, COVID-19 regulations that are crushing small businesses, empowering bureaucrats with pandemic powers, destroying local control of schools, dismantling the power of the people vested in the General Assembly, and eroding the fundamental liberties that make America great.”

The impeachment resolution introduced by lead sponsor Rep. John Becker and co-sponsored by colleagues Nino Vitale and Paul Zeltwanger finds DeWine wanting in 10 categories. They claim that he, among other things, “[u]nconstitutionally ordered the closure of businesses because of coronavirus fears, which ‘resulted in record-high unemployment, causing not only increased poverty, increased depression, increased despair, and increased suicides, but also the necessity for state budget cuts impacting schools and social programs when they are needed most.'”

The resolution also claims that DeWine bypassed the state board of education when he shut down the public schools and then violated the civil liberties of students by making them wear face masks when schools reopened. They also claim that DeWine’s across-the-board, stay-at-home order and face mask decree similarly violate the due process rights of Ohioans.

The state has also failed to keep up with the processing of unemployment claims that have resulted from the governor’s policies, they assert.

The lawmakers also slam DeWine for his alleged incompetence for putting forth “wildly inaccurate and misleading COVID-19 data.” In addition, they fundamentally disagree with DeWine’s decision to postpone and then reschedule the March 17 presidential primary election without getting approval from the state legislature first.

Most of the most draconian, economy-killing executive orders during the pandemic have occurred in states run by Democrats rather than Republicans, however.

According to the Impeach Mike DeWine website, state Rep. Candice Keller is apparently the fourth co-sponsor.

The impeachment effort is unlikely to gain traction in the Republican-controlled legislature, however, and could be more of a symbolic gesture.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Ohio — including Jane Timken, the chair of the state GOP who called it a “feeble attempt” at grandstanding — have thrown shade on the impeachment effort.

Recent polling suggests that Gov. DeWine enjoys a high approval rating among state voters.

“In an interview, Becker acknowledged his move was likely ‘political suicide,’ but also said as a term-limited lawmaker not on the ballot for another position, his political future was already uncertain,” The Courier reported.

A spokesman for Gov. DeWine expressed disdain for the impeachment effort, noting that the governor is “focused on saving lives during the pandemic…and getting Ohioans back to work.”

For DeWine to be removed from office, a majority of the statehouse would have to vote in favor of the resolution, followed by two-thirds of the state senate.

 

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Robert Jonathan

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