INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that would limit COVID-19 vaccine mandates by private employers in Indiana was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
House Bill 1001 sought to force businesses with vaccine mandates to grant an employee's medical or religious exemption.
GOP lawmakers said the bill would protect employees' rights, while opponents argued it would add to businesses' staffing issues by posing a risk to employers.
The bill was authored by Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne).
On the federal level, vaccine and testing requirements for large businesses were blocked in January by the Supreme Court.
A statewide health emergency currently in effect in Indiana is set to expire Friday.
The Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana released the following statement in response to the bill's passage:
“The Senate passage today of HB 1001 with a devastating provision to end SNAP Emergency Allotments at the end of the current health emergency on April 16, 2022 could not have come at a worse time for our neighbors facing food insecurity. The passage of this bill comes at a time when lines are growing longer due to higher food, fuel and other consumer prices.
Inflation also affects Gleaners as we are still coping with longer food lines, disrupted supply chain, higher food and operating costs, difficulty hiring employees, and a significant shortage of volunteers. This decision makes the work of Gleaners and our hundreds of local partners much harder – and the lives of our food-insecure neighbors even more challenging. In addition, SNAP sales are critical to food retailers, and can sometimes be the difference between a store closing and creating a food desert, or remaining open to serve the community.”
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