Ohio lawmakers aim to limit reach of Health Department director whose restrictions have been compared to Nazis


(JTA) — The director of the Health Department in Ohio has taken heat for her stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic, with comparisons to Nazi Germany and protests at her home referencing a New Testament passage about the Jews plotting Jesus’ death.

Now the state’s House of Representatives has passed a bill that limits the powers of Amy Acton, who is Jewish. She has come under fire from many state Republicans for extending a stay-at-home order until May 29 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The legislation would limit Health Department orders to 14 days and is retroactive to orders issued since April 29, which includes the state’s most recent stay-at-home mandate, according to Cleveland.com.

An order could only be extended with approval from the state’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. One of the committee members is State Sen. Andrew Brenner, whose wife compared Acton’s orders to those under Nazi Germany. Brenner responded positively to his wife’s social media post.

A Republican state representative called Acton a “globalist,” which invokes anti-Semitic stereotypes. Protesters have targeted Acton with pickets in front of her suburban Columbus home, including the New Testament message, the Cleveland Jewish News reported.

The legislation proposed by House Republicans still must be passed by the state Senate. Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, has said he would veto the legislation.

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