(Rep. Cross will be the guest on WKTN’s Public Eye program, which airs Saturday May 9 at 7:30am and Sunday May 10 at noon on 95.3 FM WKTN)
COLUMBUS – State Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) has been taking several steps to fight for all Ohioans and placing the power back in the hands of the people. Cross joint-sponsored legislation today with Rep. Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro) that creates the Ohio Business Fairness Act. The act creates competitive fairness by allowing small businesses to operate as an essential business if they sell the same or similar products as large retail stores that were deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An example: Big Box store is deemed essential and allowed to remain open during a state of emergency. With Mother’s Day approaching, an individual could go to Big Box store with hundreds, if not thousands of people per day, yet they cannot go to a locally owned jewelry store that serves a fraction of the people on a daily basis, but still depend heavily on those clients. This legislation allows them to stay open provided they meet the proper guidelines and safety standards.
“Government should not be picking winners and losers, as to which business can be opened or closed during this pandemic,” said Cross. “As a member of the Ohio House Economic Recovery Task Force, I’ve heard from many small business owners asking for common sense solutions. And I’m honoring their request by introducing legislation to get the government’s foot off the throat of small businesses and giving them a fighting chance to safely reopen and fairly compete.”
Additionally, Cross joined his House colleagues in passing Senate Bill 1, legislation that reforms regulations and provides legislative oversight to state health department orders. The Ohio Department of Health Director can issue the same orders but must be approved by the legislative Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), a 10-member panel consisting of five House and Senate members from both parties, to extend beyond 14 days.
“The purpose of the bill is to simply provide checks-and-balances to an outdated 1908 health law,” said Cross. “It’s time we give the power back to the people in making sure there is proper legislative oversight during a pandemic. No unelected bureaucrat should have the powers to shut down schools, business, elections and the economy, let alone any additional time outside of 14 days without proper oversight.”
The House also passed Senate Bill 55, which included an amendment that decreases the penalty for violation of public health orders. Cross voted in favor of the legislation.
S.B. 1 and S.B. 55 both head to the Senate for a concurrence vote.
“These bills are the first of many steps to a responsible reopening of Ohio and restoring our livelihood and economy,” said Rep. Cross