Veto of Indiana health order limits faces new vote next week

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana legislators will return to the Statehouse next week for a possible vote to override the governor’s veto of a bill giving local elected officials the power to block county or city public health orders issued during emergencies.

Senate and House leaders announced Wednesday that the one-day meeting will be held Monday. The announcements said that lawmakers could take up the bill vetoed Tuesday by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb that would require any local public health orders more stringent than one issued by the governor go before elected county commissioners or city councils for approval.

Holcomb said the time wasn’t right to jeopardize the flexibility of local health officials as the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and work continues to vaccinate more people.

Legislative Republican supporters said the step was meant to provide a “check and balance” following complaints about COVID-19 orders closing or limiting businesses. Indiana legislators can override Holcomb’s veto by a simple majority vote in each chamber, which would put the measure into effect immediately.