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Senate Bill 48 would limit mandates a local health board or officer could make without approval from elected official

Capacity restrictions and closures of businesses have been a hot topic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now state legislators are crafting a policy to restrict mandates health officers can put in place. One local legislator taking on this topic in the upcoming session is Senator Ron Alting.

Posted: Jan 1, 2021 3:31 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI)- Capacity restrictions and closures of businesses have been a hot topic during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Now state legislators are crafting a policy to restrict mandates health officers can put in place. One local legislator taking on this topic in the upcoming session is Senator Ron Alting. While he has filed a bill to restrict what mandates health officers can put in place he says health officers have played a vital role in keeping the community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Their role will not change in terms of their advisement their recommendations for public safety because that is what all elected officials want to look at," said Senator Alting.

However, he thinks that local health authorities shouldn't be able to invoke mandates on local businesses without the approval of elected officials.

"A mayor or a commissioner usually has a little better feel and handle on the businesses particularly the small businesses that they represent in their areas," said Alting.

Senate Bill 48 would limit the time in which an order or mandate by a local health board or local health officer may be in effect unless approved by elected officials. Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler says this policy could make public health officials' jobs more difficult.

"This bill could potentially present some hurdles for health departments in their efforts to get their communities through this pandemic safely," said Dr. Adler.

Alting says that isn't the case. He feels that mandates that will affect local economies, need to be handled by people elected by the community.

"Nothing changes with with exception of when you do a press conference and you are going to close down all retail shops or no inside dining the health officer will be standing next to the elected official and the elected official will be announcing those regulations, " added Senator Alting.

Dr. Adler hopes that lawmakers will understand the decisions health officers have made throughout the pandemic are for the greater good.

"Trust that they are going to make decisions that are in the best interest of the public health of the community they serve," said Dr. Adler.  "Trust that their decisions are going to be fair and reasonable and based on science and data."

Adler says any mandates or restrictions that have been in effect in Tippecanoe County have been discussed with elected officials before being put in to place. The first day of the 2021 legislative session is Monday, January 4th. 

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 611039

Reported Deaths: 9716
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion844351336
Lake45508685
Allen32891552
Hamilton29546315
St. Joseph27449381
Elkhart24440345
Vanderburgh19513250
Tippecanoe18043140
Johnson15140295
Porter14865169
Hendricks14440248
Madison11009222
Vigo10769181
Clark10731144
Monroe9424113
Delaware9152134
LaPorte9103164
Howard8268144
Kosciusko808983
Warrick676599
Hancock6741104
Bartholomew6523100
Floyd6469110
Wayne6157162
Grant6011116
Dubois556980
Boone554668
Morgan545795
Henry509764
Marshall505384
Cass485264
Dearborn483245
Noble474059
Jackson426747
Shelby419581
Lawrence392980
Clinton374243
Gibson372559
Harrison350945
DeKalb348264
Montgomery346554
Knox335839
Miami323044
Steuben314545
Whitley309726
Wabash304551
Adams302136
Ripley300046
Putnam297850
Huntington293159
Jasper290534
White274143
Daviess271274
Jefferson264738
Decatur248983
Fayette247848
Greene241162
Posey240328
Wells236451
LaGrange229662
Scott225739
Clay223532
Randolph214948
Jennings199336
Sullivan192933
Spencer192422
Washington187523
Fountain184627
Starke175643
Jay168223
Owen166837
Fulton164230
Orange160835
Carroll159115
Rush155818
Perry155229
Vermillion149334
Franklin149033
Tipton133033
Parke13088
Pike118226
Blackford111422
Pulaski97337
Newton91721
Brown88235
Benton86910
Crawford8069
Martin74413
Warren6857
Switzerland6665
Union6287
Ohio4957
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