House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, answers questions from the media on Organization Day. Legislators were back at the Indiana Statehouse for the day Nov. 16. Photo by Whitney Downard | CNHI Statehouse Reporter
House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, answers questions from the media on Organization Day. Legislators were back at the Indiana Statehouse for the day Nov. 16. Photo by Whitney Downard | CNHI Statehouse Reporter
INDIANAPOLIS — Just one day after Sine Die, the official end, of the 2021 session, legislators started the 2022 session Tuesday by introducing a resolution to terminate the statewide public health emergency declared on March 6, 2020, by executive order.

The ongoing provisions of the original order, introduced to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus, allow for certain licensing exemptions and has been renewed, with changes, 21 times. Previous versions of the order enforced diversion tactics for hospitals as emergency rooms were flooded with patients and placed capacity restrictions on businesses and places of worship.

House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, said the emergency order was now unnecessary because of progress made in the last 19 months.

“I think (the General Assembly feels) like we’re reaching that point where we’ve had vaccinations available, we have boosters available, we’ve got much better therapies available,” Huston said. “At some point, we move from a government response to an individual responsibility.”

Authors of the resolution include more than 30 Republican House representatives.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signaled his support for curtailing the public health emergency in a statement Tuesday, saying his team identified three “key items that must be preserved” before allowing the executive order to expire.

“I am working with (leaders of both chambers) … to consider passing three key statutory changes to continue protecting Hoosiers by allowing for the continuation of enhanced federal matching funds for Medicaid expenditures, the continuation of the enhanced benefit for those receiving federal food assistance and extend the ability to efficiently vaccinate our 5- to 11-year-olds,” Holcomb said in a statement.

Huston said that committee meetings could begin before the traditional early January start, and lawmakers could reconvene to pass the resolution sometime in December.
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