Indiana lawmakers have overridden another veto issued by Governor Eric Holcomb.
The legislation does not allow local governments to have tougher rules than the state, unless approved by a city or county board.
In addition, it gives those impacted by local COVID-19 rules the right to appeal,
The Senate voted to override Holcomb 36-10, the House voted 59-30.
“Senate Enrolled Act 5 simply requires locals to adhere to the same approach in regards to issuing public health orders as what currently happens on the state level. Our elected governor takes recommendations from appointed state public health officials and ultimately decides the appropriate course via an executive order,” said Speaker Todd Huston. “Through this new law, the local legislative body must approve any appointed public health official’s orders when they are more restrictive than the state’s orders.”
The Governor issued a statement disagreeing with lawmakers,
“As I said last week, Indiana is in an economically enviable position due in large part to the heroic local response to the pandemic that was permitted by a system rewarding speed, collaboration, and medical expertise in a time of health emergency. In most cases, the cooperation between local elected officials and local health officials was superb, noted Governor Holcomb. “I would have hoped that such sweeping change could wait until we gathered all the relevant experts and stakeholders to strike the right balance regarding local health authority during emergencies and avoid discouraging laudable service in the field of public health, especially knowing that it’s locally elected officials who appoint the local department of health board that hires the local health director in the first place.
“Hoosiers have made it clear that they want an opportunity for their voices to be heard through their elected officials when restrictions can have significant and long-lasting impacts on individuals, businesses and communities, said Senate President Pro Temp Rod Bray. “This law brings better balance to the local process while continuing to prioritize public health and safety.”
The Indianapolis City-County Council took up at its meeting this evening. The Council voted 19-5 to restore current COVID-19 guidelines.