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Indiana lawmakers override Gov. Holcomb's veto on local health rules

The Republican-dominated House and Senate both easily approved the new law requiring elected county commissioners or city councils to approve any local health orders that are more stringent than statewide directives if the local measures are to take effect.

Posted: May 10, 2021 4:41 PM
Updated: May 11, 2021 10:56 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers voted Monday to override the governor’s veto of a bill giving local elected officials power over county or city public health orders issued during emergencies.

The Republican-dominated House and Senate both easily approved the new law requiring elected county commissioners or city councils to approve any local health orders that are more stringent than statewide directives if the local measures are to take effect.

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That would include mask mandates now in place for cities including Indianapolis, South Bend, Elkhart and Bloomington since the statewide mask order expired in early April.

The action to override last week’s veto by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb makes the new law effective immediately.

Holcomb said he didn’t want to jeopardize the flexibility of local health officials as work continues to vaccinate more people against COVID-19.

Republican legislators say the proposal is meant to provide a “check and balance” protecting the rights of business owners following complaints about COVID-19 orders closing or limiting businesses that have been imposed over the past year.

Gov. Holcomb Statement on the General Assembly's vote to override the veto of Senate Enrolled Act 5:
“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.
"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.
"My administration will do just that over the coming months to supply the legislature with up-to-date data before the next regular session.”

The Indiana Public Health Association also issued a statement voicing their displeasure with the override:

“We are extremely disappointed in the Indiana Legislature’s decision to override Gov. Holcomb’s veto of Senate Enrolled Act No. 005. This legislation is a dangerous overreaction to life-saving measures taken by local health departments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Indiana’s local public health officials must now face even more hurdles to protect the health and safety of their communities. The impact will be immediate and unnecessary lives will be lost. We simply cannot understand why our own legislators would choose to put more Hoosiers in harm’s way.

"Our state’s primary problems regarding public health have little to do with decision-making authority. At a foundational level, Indiana lacks the infrastructure necessary to properly carry out its public health functions.

"We rank 48th in state funding for public health, which leads to a lack of resources, insufficient staffing and less desirable health outcomes for our population.

"We hope that this legislation will be reconsidered in the future. Our 1,300+ local health department employees, as well as thousands of other doctors, nurses, public health professionals and hospital leaders are more than willing to collaborate on meaningful efforts to improve public health in Indiana.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 752108

Reported Deaths: 13816
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033831790
Lake558431013
Allen41736693
St. Joseph37007565
Hamilton36617417
Elkhart29425461
Tippecanoe22938228
Vanderburgh22565400
Porter19369327
Johnson18486389
Hendricks17696317
Clark13233195
Madison13176344
Vigo12631253
LaPorte12429221
Monroe12226176
Delaware10970198
Howard10349224
Kosciusko9643121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8174157
Warrick7864156
Floyd7815180
Grant7248179
Wayne7164201
Boone6979103
Morgan6768141
Dubois6224118
Marshall6214116
Cass6024110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502396
Lawrence4753122
Gibson445595
Clinton443555
Harrison441775
DeKalb440385
Montgomery439890
Whitley406744
Huntington403381
Steuben400859
Miami395769
Jasper389155
Knox377691
Putnam373461
Wabash362383
Ripley347370
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332753
Daviess3035100
Wells295481
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey274335
LaGrange273272
Scott270356
Clay267148
Washington246336
Randolph245183
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228159
Fountain222048
Sullivan214843
Owen212358
Fulton204043
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175344
Franklin170435
Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120847
Newton114936
Brown104443
Benton102614
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84115
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0424

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109697

Reported Deaths: 20213
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1289521469
Cuyahoga1158802216
Hamilton814201251
Montgomery525861049
Summit484551006
Lucas43384824
Butler39098606
Stark33355930
Lorain25689506
Warren24612305
Mahoning22388602
Lake21219389
Clermont20138253
Delaware18892136
Licking16671225
Fairfield16589204
Trumbull16560483
Medina15618273
Greene15292248
Clark14244306
Wood13296200
Portage13254216
Allen11919239
Richland11611211
Miami10857225
Wayne9153225
Columbiana9039230
Muskingum8909135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8654251
Marion8649139
Erie8058165
Ashtabula7171179
Hancock6999133
Ross6948163
Geauga6850151
Scioto6540106
Belmont6159174
Union585049
Lawrence5741102
Jefferson5683159
Huron5554122
Sandusky5444126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5321109
Athens524460
Auglaize502487
Mercer487785
Shelby477095
Knox4573112
Madison444566
Ashland435997
Putnam4336104
Defiance432399
Fulton432274
Crawford4046110
Brown402761
Logan387678
Preble3859105
Clinton379266
Ottawa373581
Highland360266
Williams348578
Champaign344959
Guernsey325254
Jackson318454
Perry297350
Morrow291940
Fayette285750
Hardin275765
Henry273867
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269360
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220663
Carroll197548
Paulding176642
Meigs148540
Monroe136345
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan110124
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 84°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 82°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 80°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 84°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
83° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 82°
Daily rounds of showers and thunderstorms will increase the flood threat across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.
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