To be clear, the coronavirus pandemic is serious and anyone who believes otherwise is wrong. Equally wrong are people who use this pandemic to attack others, score cheap political points or spread misinformation. We need to work together to get through this, not tear down each other.

I haven’t said this publicly, but now is the time. I recently lost a beloved family member to COVID-19. Recently, several other family members contracted the virus, and I have watched others struggle, both because of the actual virus and the effect on the economy.

There is some misreporting across the state of what SB 311 actually does. It does not prevent or limit this governor or future governors from making health orders. I, and the majority of my colleagues, believe that creating health orders is an exclusive right of the governor. We also believe the governor should have that right, particularly in times of emergency, because the legislature was not designed to make quick decisions — it is a deliberative body.

Should SB 311 become law, it would allow the General Assembly to thoroughly vet any existing health orders through the legislature’s detailed committee and public input processes, which includes any interested party, such as medical professionals. A big reason for my support of SB 311 is because of the thoughts of two co-sponsors of the bill, Senators Stephen Huffman and Terry Johnson, who are physicians.

If state legislators feel an order goes too far or not far enough we would have the ability to rescind it. We trust that Ohioans understand the CDC recommendations, and believe they should have the ability to protect and provide for their families.

Why would anyone would be against the legislature and governor working together to solve a problem as important as a global pandemic? I pride myself on working together with anyone to get things done.

As an elected official I accept fair criticism. What is not acceptable are fabrications, misleading statements, or lies being delivered to Ohioans during an unprecedented time.

Again, we will get through this by working together. People who use divisiveness during this time should be called out for their recklessness, and remembered for the future.

Please stay safe, Ohio.

(Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, is an Ohio senator serving the 2nd District, which includes Wood, Erie, Ottawa and parts of Lucas and Fulton counties.)

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