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Indiana attorney general argues state mask mandate illegal

Indiana’s attorney general believes the governor has overstepped his authority in issuing a statewide face mask mandate and that only the Legislature can make violations a criminal offense.

Posted: Jul 23, 2020 1:57 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2020 9:27 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s attorney general believes the governor has overstepped his authority in issuing a statewide face mask mandate and that only the Legislature can make violations a criminal offense.

Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill issued an advisory opinion Wednesday night, just hours after GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the mask order taking effect Monday to help slow the coronavirus spread.

Hill’s opinion responded to a request from state Senate majority leader Mark Messmer of Jasper and four other Republican senators about Holcomb’s legal authority to impose a mask mandate.

The opinion, which does not block the governor's action, said the state’s emergency law doesn’t give Holcomb authority for the mask mandate without the consent of the Legislature. Hill said the governor should call the Legislature back into session.

“By this point in the pandemic — more than four months since the emergency declaration — it’s time to show some deference to the branch of government actually charged by our state constitution with the responsibility for enacting laws,” Hill said in a statement.

Holcomb said Thursday he believed he had the necessary authority and wasn’t worried about the mask order being challenged in court.

“I don’t live under the threat of lawsuit,” Holcomb said. “We do our research before we speak.”

Hill is on his way out of office after failing to win the Republican nomination for reelection earlier this month. Holcomb opposed Hill’s bid and had called for him to resign over allegations that he drunkenly groped a state lawmaker and three other women during a party.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 69975

Reported Deaths: 3007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15152724
Lake7222273
Elkhart468079
Allen3695160
St. Joseph322479
Hamilton2572104
Vanderburgh180013
Hendricks1796105
Cass17609
Johnson1674118
Porter121339
Clark112646
Tippecanoe112311
Madison87265
LaPorte85029
Howard82965
Kosciusko82412
Marshall75222
Bartholomew74947
Floyd72945
Monroe69930
Delaware66552
Dubois65512
Boone64946
Noble63829
Hancock63438
Jackson5564
LaGrange54910
Warrick54030
Shelby53027
Vigo52810
Grant51129
Dearborn47728
Morgan44034
Clinton3883
Henry36519
White34910
Montgomery34321
Wayne33710
Lawrence33227
Decatur32232
Harrison30422
Miami2602
Scott25210
Daviess25119
Greene24034
Putnam2348
Franklin23113
DeKalb2224
Jasper2162
Jennings21412
Gibson2044
Steuben2033
Ripley1947
Perry17212
Starke1707
Orange16424
Fayette1637
Posey1610
Wabash1613
Jefferson1532
Carroll1522
Fulton1502
Whitley1496
Wells1442
Knox1400
Tipton1266
Huntington1193
Washington1171
Spencer1163
Newton11410
Randolph1094
Clay1025
Adams842
Sullivan831
Jay820
Owen821
Rush804
Pulaski751
Brown701
Fountain642
Benton600
Blackford562
Ohio564
Pike500
Parke491
Vermillion470
Crawford440
Switzerland430
Martin420
Union330
Warren191
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