Indiana lawmakers override veto on local health rules
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers have voted 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 easily passed 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.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb issued the veto last week, saying he didn’t want to jeopardize the flexibility of local health officials as work continues to vaccinate more people against COVID-19.
Gov. Holcomb issued the following statement in response to the override.
“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.”