Indiana’s Republican-dominated legislature will meet again later this month to consider ending the statewide COVID-19 public health emergency ordinance, which has been in place since March 2020, the legislature said on Saturday.
Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, and House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, said lawmakers will return to the statehouse for a one-day session on Nov. 29, enacting laws that would allow the emergency ordinance to expire.
The announcement comes despite a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospital stays in Indiana and other Midwestern states, after those stats improved in Indiana since the state’s last spike peaked in mid-September.
Indiana’s statewide mask mandate and business or crowd restrictions were lifted months ago.
But many Conservatives have criticized Republican Governor Eric Holcomb for continuing to extend the monthly public health order, which he has renewed 20 times. Holcomb has signaled that the 30-day extension, which it signed in late October, could be the last.
The governor has a deadline of December 1 to extend the Emergency Health Ordinance and an accompanying implementing ordinance that has enabled the State Health Commissioner, in addition to a handful of provisions, to issue a permanent medical order that allows pharmacists to obtain COVID-19 vaccinations Administer to children 5 to 11 years old.
Holcomb said Tuesday he will speak to lawmakers about phasing out the public health emergency if lawmakers approve steps that would allow the state to continue receiving increased federal funding for Medicaid spending and food aid programs, and that too Maintain approval for vaccinations in children.
Holcomb said such measures would “allow us to handle it responsibly”.
Bray and Huston said in a joint statement that lawmakers will consider these concerns during their one-day session, which will take place more than a month before the scheduled start of the new January 4th session of the Legislature.
“There are few key components of the Implementing Regulation that remain in place, including measures to help vulnerable Hoosiers. Before the emergency expires, we will return to a one-day session to pass laws on these issues, “Huston said in the statement.
Public testimony to the law will be heard in the House of Representatives Chamber from 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday