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Indiana General Assembly votes to override Holcomb veto on health order limits

Lawmakers back at Statehouse on Monday
Indiana Statehouse.jpg
Posted at 6:25 AM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 22:07:36-04

The Indiana Senate voted 36-10 to override Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto of Indiana Senate Bill 5.

The Indiana House will now have to vote. The House's session is scheduled to start around 4 p.m. Monday.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's state lawmakers will be back at the Statehouse on Monday, and they could take action that could take away powers from local health officials.

The General Assembly is officially at the state capitol to make technical corrections to other bills that were passed during this year's session. However, they are also likely to override one of Gov. Eric Holcomb's vetoes.

Senate Bill 5 has to do with pandemic restrictions at the local level that the legislature passed to target local health departments.

It was part of a push by some Republican lawmakers who were upset that mask mandates and restrictions on businesses lasted so long during the pandemic. They were especially upset at restrictions on houses of worship. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The bill would allow city councils or county commissions to override any pandemic restrictions that are imposed on local health departments that are more strict than restrictions from the state.

Last week, Holcomb explained that he vetoed the bill because he didn't want to jeopardize the flexibility of local health officials as the state continues to recover and more Hoosiers get vaccinated.

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Chris Garten, R-Charlestown, said the measure would ensure local elected officials have a say in restrictions imposed on their communities.

The Senate voted 37-12, while House members voted 65-29 in favor of the bill two weeks ago.

In Indiana, it only takes a simple majority of lawmakers to override a governor's veto. If lawmakers do vote to override, the measure would go into effect immediately.