INDIANAPOLIS (WFFT) -- Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill issued an advisory opinion Wednesday night saying Gov. Eric Holcomb doesn't have the authority to include a criminal penalty as part of his statewide mask mandate.
Holcomb announced earlier in the day he is signing an executive order that will make it a Class B misdemeanor if people are cited for not wearing a mask.
In his advisory opinion, Hill says the legislature did not clearly delegate that authority to the governor.
Hill says Holcomb should call a special legislative session instead.
“The wisdom of wearing masks — or of laws requiring such measures — is not the issue here," Hill wrote in a statement. "Rather, the issue is whether we are following the proper and constitutional processes for enacting laws and whether we are respecting the distinct roles of each branch of state government.”
Gov. Eric Holcomb does not have the authority to criminalize violations of the mask mandate he issued today.
He should call a special legislative session to debate whether or not failing to wear a mask should be subject to criminal penalty. ⤵️https://t.co/ISL08dUqFr
— Curtis T. Hill, Jr. (@AGCurtisHill) July 23, 2020