INDIANA (WEHT) – A new Indiana senate law approved in April aims to restrict the ability of local health departments to issue mandates. Now, local health officials are weighing in.
Senate Bill 5 comes as Indiana started ending statewide restrictions due to COVID-19 and leaving it up to local governments to decide on any mandates. In May, lawmakers voted to override Governor Eric Holcomb’s veto of the bill.
Vanderburgh County health officials say the new law won’t change much for what they have already been doing.
“When a law is passed like this, that requires us maybe to get approval from the county commissioners or from local leadership government leadership, we are going to have those relationships in place, we are going to work with them,” said Vanderburgh County Health Administrator Joe Gries. “we’re going to explain the situation, we are going to provide information so everyone can make the best decision. So we are just going to see how that plays out, but we feel like if another emergency would occur, we’re ready, we are able to work with local leadership to ensure we did the best job we can.”
Senate Bill 5 also lets local businesses appeal shutdown orders in response to public health emergencies.