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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Efforts to combat vaccine requirements in Ohio are moving forward at the Ohio Statehouse.

House Bill 218 received a hearing Tuesday in the Ohio Senate.

The bill would create broad exceptions for those who don’t want to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s not the first attempt by lawmakers to change how a business or school could require the vaccine.

The bill’s sponsor said this is about strengthening Ohio’s workforce and getting people back to work, but the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturers Association were just a few of the groups who stood against the legislation.

“Frankly, what I’m most concerned about is our work shortage,” said bill sponsor Rep. Al Cutrona (R-Canfield). “This piece of legislation addresses the work shortage.”

“House Bill 218 would limit employers’ freedom to operate their businesses,” said Keith Lake of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. 

This week, a group of Ohioans submitted a ballot initiative to the state’s Attorney General’s office that would ban all vaccine mandates. This is the first step of what is normally a lengthy process to place an issue on the ballot.