The List: Predicting upcoming COVID-19 bills from the Ohio legislature
Dr. Tenpenny Day, 'No Vax No Tax' and a state-sponsored performance by none other than Mumpsford & Sons
Earlier this week, lawmakers moved up the debate on House Bill 248, also dubbed the Vaccine Choice and Anti-Discrimination Act, a sweeping piece of legislation that could have a range of catastrophic side effects if it were to pass. The bill would prohibit virtually anyone from requiring a vaccine, even employers such as hospitals, and it would prohibit (cough) “discriminatory” treatment based on vaccination status. It would also require schools to notify parents that students can be exempted from vaccinations. The kicker? The legislation applies to all vaccines, not just COVID-19 shots.
While the bill reads as if it could have been dreamed up by polio, it’s actually the work of Ohio Republicans, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Gross, who invited Dr. Sherri Tenpenny to testify during a June hearing, an appearance that went viral for all of the wrong reasons after Tenpenny falsely said the coronavirus vaccine caused people to become magnetized.
The bill is just the latest undertaken by Republican politicians both here in Ohio (witness the legislation passed that has prevented local governments from reinstating mask mandates even as the delta variant causes a spike in coronavirus infections) and in states such as Texas, Arkansas and Florida — sometimes with later regret. In Arkansas, for example, Gov. Asa Hutchinson now says he wishes he hadn’t signed legislation banning mask mandates, asking the law to be reversed so that schools have the option to require face coverings when classes resume.
Ohio, like Florida, a state that appears to be governed by a barely sentient mass of coronavirus particles in a business suit, has expressed no such regret about the legislative direction it has taken amid the pandemic, a trend that has us wondering just what other bills might be on the horizon. Here’s our best guess.
Establish July 4 as Dr. Tenpenny Day in Ohio
Complete with commemorative magnets.
The Medical Freedom of Information Act
This bill dissolves the Ohio Department of Health and replaces it with a panel of Facebook accounts, all of which have large public followings and zero medical experience or education.
Make Corona Ohio’s state beer
Show your I’m-not-afraid-of-coronavirus pride by serving this aptly named beer at all your anti-vax house parties going forward. Bonus points for swapping unfinished bottles with others.
Ban businesses from posting “employees must wash hands” signs in the bathroom
It’s a personal choice.
Spin the bottle in schools
Not only will the state forbid mandatory masking in schools, the legislature will also require all students to participate in spin the bottle — an even more effective health measure than those chicken pox parties of the past. Time to spread the virus and move on, Ohio.
Mandatory Mask-burning Mondays
Led by Dave Yost and Josh Mandel, of course.
Change the state seal to the image of Mel Gibson as William Wallace screaming “freeeeeedom!” in the moments before he is beheaded
No further explanation needed.
No Vax, No Tax
A tax-free weekend for the unvaccinated.
The expansion of “Stand Your Ground” to include the masked
You say that you’re trying to protect yourself and others by wearing that facial covering, but what this bill posits is… what if you’re actually the threat?
Ban the phrase “Fauci ouchie” in Ohio
This wouldn’t be all bad, honestly.
Run for the 'Rona
A state-sponsored 5K to raise funds for Ohioans affected by mandatory vaccinations before legislation went into effect. Leftover dollars will be donated to Larry Householder’s GoFundMe.
Make George Michael’s “Freedom” the official state song
It means we’re free from the tyranny of the state. Why, what do you think it means?
Enact social minimizing standards
Social distancing is now a thing of the past. Get up in there. Pretend this public space is a small elevator.
An honorary decree celebrating the return of the mumps
Complete with a free public performance from Mumpsford & Sons, America’s favorite mumps-themed Mumford & Sons cover band.