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Ohio Republicans draft articles of impeachment against GOP governor over COVID-19 orders

Gov. Mike DeWine reacts to the news by saying, 'It's a free country ... have at it.'

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R)/(Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

A handful of Republican Ohio state lawmakers have signed on to legislation calling for the impeachment of GOP Gov. Mike DeWine, saying he violated the law and stomped on citizens' civil liberties with his executive orders aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19.

What are the details?

Cleveland.com reported Monday that state Rep. John Becker (R) introduced a resolution containing 10 articles of impeachment against DeWine, claiming the governor — among other things — "violated the separation of powers by having the Ohio Department of Health issue orders outside the scope of its authority that are 'tantamount to creating new laws.'"

The impeachment documents also accuse DeWine of violating citizens' civil liberties by issuing a stay-at-home order for Ohioans and violating the First Amendment by mandating that masks be worn in houses of worship.

The outlet pointed to a website set up to promote the group and track which lawmakers are in the support of the measure. GOP Reps. Candice Keller, A. Nino Vitale, and Paul Zeltwanger had signed on as co-sponsors as of this writing.

According to The Hill, "The resolution also claims that 'people are more likely to infect themselves with COVID-19' if they're wearing a mask, something that experts have disputed as 'dangerous nonsense.'"

But the Republicans calling for DeWine to be impeached are facing an uphill battle. WYSO-FM noted that "A Quinnipiac poll in June showed DeWine's approval rating at an all-time high of 75%."

A DeWine spokesman said of the lawmakers' initiative, "Governor DeWine is focused on saving lives during the pandemic. He is focused on helping the economy and getting Ohioans back to work. That is what he is focused on. Not this."

What did the governor say?

The governor reacted to the legislators' actions on Tuesday, saying, "I have a great deal of respect for the four leaders," while reminding members of the General Assembly that "every legislator has my cell phone [number]" and can reach out directly when they have concerns.

"If there are others in the legislature who want to spend their time on drawing up resolutions and filing articles," DeWine added, "Ya know, look, it's a free country. If that's how they want to spend their time, I would just say to them: Have at it."

One last thing…
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