Lawmakers overturn governor’s veto over health department authority | Clark County
INDIANAPOLIS – Barely two weeks after the 2021 legislative session was suspended, lawmakers returned to Indianapolis on Monday to override Governor Eric Holcomb’s veto of Enlisted Senate Bill 5, which restricts the powers of unelected health workers .
Sen. Chris Garten, R-Charlestown, described the ‘unprecedented authority’ of local health workers passing out masks, non-compliant bargains and shutting down places of worship in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID -19.
“There must be structural control and balance in place … (this) ensures that local government, the government closest to the people, plays a central role in shaping policies that affect the lives of our communities.” , did he declare.
Under the new law, locally elected officials can overturn city or county health department orders requiring masks, shutting down “non-essential” businesses, or imposing capacity limits.
Garten said he couldn’t speak to which health officials had made a mistake in their law enforcement measures or say if this was widespread, adding that dozens of Indiana residents had contacted him. about the actions of health workers.
Senator Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, expressed surprise at the swift return of lawmakers, who can veto until the next legislative session before taking action. Using the day of technical corrections to simultaneously overturn the veto, lawmakers only spent two weeks in suspension.
“We left it up to the experts to decide exactly what (were) the right actions to take… to strike a balance between protecting lives and livelihoods,” Lanane said. “They had to make decisions on the spot, for the moment, to contain this deadly pandemic.
“So I don’t think it’s a good idea that we are now going to allow non-expert local politicians to override these urgent and complex decisions,” he said.
The veto waiver was passed by the Senate 36-10 and 59-30 in the House.
Discussion of the bill has often plunged into yet another veto on the House Enrolled Act 1123, which gives the legislature the power to meet without governor intervention. Holcomb vetoed the law in early April, and lawmakers overturned that veto almost a week later.
In response, Holcomb filed a lawsuit in Marion County asking a judge to block the law, claiming it violated Indiana’s constitution. The trial is ongoing.