INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill says Gov. Eric Holcomb should call a special session legislative session to consider a mask mandate instead of issuing an executive order.
The opinion was issued after several legislatures and constituents asked the attorney general's office about the executive order Holcomb announced Wednesday, according to a press release.
During a press conference Wednesday, Holcomb announced a statewide mask mandate would go into effect Monday.
“Scientists tell us that wearing face masks is an effective means of helping prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” Hill said in a press release. “The wisdom of wearing masks — or of laws requiring such measures — is not the issue here. 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.”
Not wearing a mask will be a Class B Misdemeanor, Holcomb said.
Before something is determined to be a criminal penalty, Hill said it should be debated by the legislative body representing the people.
Holcomb lacks the authority to criminalize mask-order violations, Hill said in the release.
When asked about this by a reporter Thursday, Holcomb said he wouldn't have issued the mandate if he didn't think he could, a spokesperson for the governor's office said.
"I don't live under the threat of lawsuit," Holcomb said. "We do our research before we speak."
You can read the full opinion below: