Governor Holcomb vetoes a bill that limits the actions of the local health department

Governor Holcomb vetoes a bill that limits the actions of the local health department

The bill also required local legislative bodies to approve the appointment of health officers, and enabled them to remove them for good cause. Senate Bill 5 also would have allowed people to appeal local health department actions during an emergency to the local legislative body. Likewise, a health officer would need approval from a legislative body to go to court to enforce an order if needed, another step opponents worried could slow the process. Because lawmakers only recessed and did not officially adjourn when they finished their business last month in order to redistrict in the fall, they could come back at any time and override Holcomb’s veto. They would only need a simple majority to override it. 

More:Four months into office, Spartz announces reelection campaign in 5th Congressional District Holcomb argued this act would “restrict necessarily flexibility in the law, and further undermine local responses to future public health emergencies.”

“(Local health officers) and their departments must frequently make urgent, complex decisions to safeguard public health where time is of the essence and expertise is critical,” Holcomb said in his letter to Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray.  Senate Bill 5 would have required any local health orders more stringent than Holcomb’s during an emergency to be approved by the local legislative bodies and, in the case of local cities, by the mayor. 

This story will be updated.  Call IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange at 317-432-9270. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange. The former veto was overridden before lawmakers left the Statehouse last month. 

Holcomb had already vetoed two measures this year: one that would allow the General Assembly to call itself into a special session and another that would have increased labeling for ethanol fuel at gas stations The final version of Senate Bill 5 passed the House by a 65-29 vote, and passed the Senate by a 37-12 vote.

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