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Indiana lawmakers to reconvene, look to end COVID-19 orders

Lawmakers plan to return to the Statehouse on Nov. 29 to take up measures that would allow Indiana's public health state of emergency to expire.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's Republican-dominated Legislature will reconvene late this month to consider legislation that would end the statewide COVID-19 public health emergency order that's been in place since March 2020. 

Legislative leaders announced Saturday that lawmakers would return to the Statehouse for a one-day session on Nov. 29 to take up measures that would allow Indiana's current public health state of emergency to expire. 

Indiana's statewide mask mandate and business or crowd restrictions were lifted months ago. But many conservatives have criticized Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb for continuing to extend the monthly health order, which has been renewed 20 times since it was put into place.

Earlier this week Holcomb said he's willing to lift the public health emergency, but a few things need to be done first. 

“When extending the last state public health emergency for another 30 days, I asked my team to bring me a plan that would allow us to wind it down responsibly. They have presented me a plan that identifies three key items that must be preserved if I am to responsibly allow the state public health emergency to expire," Holcomb said in a statement released Tuesday.

Holcomb said he is working with Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) and Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) on passing three statutory changes. Holcomb said those changes would protect 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.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Bray told 13News that Bray is continuing to "work with the governor and Speaker Huston on a way to end the emergency, but no details have been finalized at this time."

13News reached out to the governor's office for details on what would need to be included in those three areas and is waiting on a response.


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