FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Health officials across Indiana are happy with Holcomb’s decision to veto Senate Enrolled Act 5.
However, now there’s the possibility legislators could override it.
That could happen as early as next week.
“This would’ve, put a lot more bureaucracy into how one would do local restrictions,” Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter said.
Sutter said Governor Holcomb’s veto was the right decision, especially after going through a national pandemic.
The bill would potentially strip powers from local health officers and put it in the hands of legislators.
Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter said, “I’m concerned that adding these extra layers to things that are happening in emergency situations is just not the right way to go.”
Co-author of the bill, Republican Senator Liz Brown, told us last month that some local health orders in response to the pandemic were draconian, and that this bill would act as a checks and balance.
But Dr. Jeremy Adler, president of Indiana’s State Association of City and County Health Officials says this would slow down the decision-making process.
“During a public health emergency like this, quick action is often needed to prevent disease and save lives,” Adler said.
Holcomb says in his veto letter that it’s critical to maintain the local health expertise and flexibility needed to make these decisions.
“Most people would say if you had a choice between a doctor and a politician, you’d rather have the doctor make the decision about medical things,” Sutter said.
Future restrictions, if needed during this pandemic, could be impacted if this veto is overridden.
Sutter is hopeful that won’t be necessary based on the current numbers.
“So far cases have looked relatively good despite the fact that there are no local restrictions and really very minimal state restrictions,” he said.
Adler says this next week will be critical.
“Let this be an opportunity for legislators and everyone involved in these matters to take a step back and collaborate on a process to address public health concerns and public health matters in an appropriate manner,” Adler said.
The legislation passed 37-12 in the Senate and 65-29 in the House a couple of weeks ago.
To override the veto, legislators only need a simple majority vote in each chamber.