AG Hill: Gov. Holcomb doesn’t have authority to issue state mask mandate

Local News

Ind. (WEHT) — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill says Governor Eric Holcomb doesn’t have the authority to issue a state mandate on wearing masks.

Holcomb announced on Wednesday that masks will be mandated across the state of Indiana beginning Monday, July 27th.

Hill released an opinion Wednesday following a request from five lawmakers, including Jim Tomes and Mark Messmer, regarding whether Governor Eric Holcomb could issue an executive order mandating masks and make it a criminal offense to not wear one.

“I encourage the use of masks, but we are bound by the Indiana Constitution and the laws of our state,” Hill said in the opinion.

Hill says under the emergency management and disaster law, it is up to the General Assembly to make a mask mandate law. Hill says the governor should call a special legislative session.

“Before a certain conduct is determined to be subject to criminal penalty, it should receive considerable debate by the legislative body that represents the people of the state,” Hill said in a statement.

Eyewitness News contacted Senator Tomes Wednesday evening. He tells us his phone has been ringing off the hook since Holcomb announced the mandate.

We asked what the next step will be – Tomes says he expects “the leadership in the statehouse to look at the AG’s opinion, make a determination and consult with the governor.”

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(This story was originally published on July 22, 2020)


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