Local lawmakers react to facemasks not be required at the statehouse

Lawmakers will not be required to wear masks at the ceremonial start of the session next week and possibly for all of the upcoming session which starts in January.

Posted: Nov 13, 2020 10:40 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI)- Lawmakers will not be required to wear masks at the ceremonial start of the session next week and possibly for all of the upcoming session which starts in January. This comes as COVID-19 continues to ravage through the state of Indiana.

"Let me be perfectly clear, I am a republican senator that absolutely believes in the wearing of masks and also social distancing," said state Senator Ron Alting who represents the 22nd district of Indiana.

However, many of senator Alting's Republican colleagues do not feel the same. The Republican-dominated joint House-Senate committee voted Thursday against a proposal from a Democratic lawmaker for rules enforcing a facemask policy.

"I did suspect that there would be some push back. I've seen a lot of legislators that have been very combative when it comes to the mandates that the governor has put forth," said State Representative Chris Campbell who represents district 26.

While masks will not be required, lawmakers say there will be other COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

"The gallery which is up above the chambers is usually where citizens sit in, we will be moving senators up in the gallery to make sure that we have social distancing on the floor,” added Senator Alting. “There will be nobody sitting next to each other."

"When the session starts we do plan to meet in the government center next door which has a larger room area we will all have our own individual 5-foot tables," said Representative Campbell.

Even with those safety protocols in place both these local lawmakers agree, they would feel more comfortable if masks were required.

"It's really irresponsible of for them to put forth this kind of recommendation especially since we should be better role models for the state, said Representative Campbell.

"It certainly would not have been my vote for a choice,” said Senator Alting. “Obviously a lot of Americans and a lot of Hoosiers still believe that they should have a choice in doing so."

Both the House and Senate plan to meet Tuesday inside the Statehouse chambers. Many members will sit in the public balconies to provide greater distancing. Legislators will be sworn into office and they will formally elect leaders.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1118335

Reported Deaths: 17712
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1455892240
Lake724831254
Allen67063882
Hamilton51060487
St. Joseph49820649
Elkhart40268546
Vanderburgh34714497
Tippecanoe30808276
Johnson27696467
Hendricks26313385
Porter25657386
Madison21131455
Clark20238279
Vigo19059309
LaPorte17192261
Howard16770314
Delaware16761303
Monroe16628220
Kosciusko14293167
Hancock13113186
Bartholomew12983190
Warrick12210190
Wayne12090269
Floyd12011226
Grant11998245
Morgan10409192
Boone9869124
Noble9316122
Henry9177169
Marshall9152147
Dearborn8970100
Dubois8835140
Shelby8281130
Cass8167128
Lawrence8057185
DeKalb7817109
Jackson770793
Huntington7661115
Gibson7102118
Montgomery7101123
Harrison6954100
Knox6915116
Steuben669089
Whitley659660
Miami6595113
Putnam645085
Clinton627179
Wabash6221111
Jasper613192
Jefferson5856105
Ripley557294
Adams542281
Daviess5076117
Scott491580
Wells4836105
White478469
Greene4701101
Clay464662
Decatur4611110
Fayette452496
Jennings452067
LaGrange427491
Posey410044
Randolph3944107
Washington390956
Fountain375964
Fulton364874
Spencer362247
Starke355574
Owen353577
Sullivan348555
Orange331372
Jay331050
Rush309533
Carroll296239
Franklin292744
Perry290553
Vermillion283658
Tipton251167
Parke250130
Pike248644
Blackford222144
Pulaski210359
Newton182452
Brown177550
Crawford169129
Benton168417
Martin152120
Switzerland147612
Warren135816
Union122616
Ohio92413
Unassigned0595

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