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Articles of impeachment filed against GOP Ohio governor over coronavirus orders

A group of Ohio Republicans has officially filed articles of impeachment against Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineBiden taps ex-consumer bureau chief to oversee student loans The Hill's Morning Report - Census winners and losers; House GOP huddles Ohio sets special election to replace retiring Rep. Steve Stivers MORE (R) in response to his coronavirus orders.

GOP state Rep. John Becker of Clermont County led a group including fellow Republican state Reps. Nino Vitale, Candice Keller and Paul Zeltwanger in filing 12 articles of impeachment against DeWine, calling it an "effort to restore the rule of law."

The allegations claim DeWine’s administration implemented unconstitutional orders in response to the pandemic. 

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In a statement shared with local news outlets, Becker's office blasted DeWine, alleging "mismanagement, malfeasance, misfeasance, abuse of power, and other crimes include, but are not limited to, meddling in the conduct of a presidential primary election, arbitrarily closing and placing curfews on certain businesses, while allowing other businesses to remain open."

The group of state Republican lawmakers argues that DeWine violated Ohioans' civil liberties by issuing a stay-at-home order and requiring them to wear masks. They have argued that the face covering rule “promotes fear, turns neighbors against neighbors, and contracts the economy by making people fearful to leave their homes.” 

The lawmakers first threatened the articles of impeachment in August, announcing they were being drafted. 

A majority of the Ohio House of Representatives would need to approve the resolution, and then two-thirds of the Ohio Senate would have to vote to convict the governor.  

In August, when Becker and others suggested 10 articles, DeWine brushed off the effort.

"As governor, my priorities are to keep people safe and to get our economy moving faster," DeWine said at the time. "If there are others in the legislature who want to spend their time drawing up resolutions and filing articles ... I'd just say to them, 'Have at it.'"

The impeachment effort comes a week after a county in Michigan approved approved a resolution to support the impeachment of Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerMore than half of Michigan adults have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose Michigan Senate votes to exempt high school graduations from crowd restrictions White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states MORE (D), who has faced criticism for her coronavirus orders.