Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said this week that his chamber has the 20 votes needed and could hold an override vote before the two-year legislative session ends later this month. He added that he has been in discussion with the DeWine administration about finding common ground.
Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, said he is uncertain whether there are the necessary 60 votes to override a gubernatorial veto since the bill passed the House by 58 votes but several lawmakers were absent.
DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health have aggressively used statewide orders to mandate masks, limit gatherings, close schools and shut nonessential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic this year. Those moves triggered pushback from conservatives who view it as government overreach and an infringement on individual rights.
In July, DeWine vetoed another bill that sought to curtail public health authority. Lawmakers have until the end of December to hold override votes on that veto.
Lawmakers have debated other bills that seek to curtail public health measures, including House Bill 621, which passed the House 77-11 last month. It would allow businesses shut down by a state order to reopen if they follow the same safety protocols as essential businesses that are allowed to remain operating.
Obhof is the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 374, which seeks to reinstate the 2 a.m. last call for bars. DeWine had ordered a 10 p.m. last call rule, which has since expired and been replaced by a mandate that bars and restaurants close by 10 p.m.
Ohio has 23,000 bars and restaurants that employ 585,000 workers, according to the Ohio Restaurant Association.