INDIANAPOLIS—Today, the Indiana Senate voted to override Governor Holcomb’s veto of Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 5, legislation that strips local health officials of their power to implement health protections during an emergency. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Eddie Melton (D-Gary) released the following statement on his opposition to the the override:

“This legislation is yet another example of the supermajority taking away local control,” Sen. Melton said. “When we’re dealing with a pandemic or other health emergency, local health officials are the best and most knowledgeable among us when it comes to recognizing the best approach to combat that crisis.

“Health experts have the training and expertise to make decisions in the best interest of public health during emergencies, and they shouldn’t be restricted or delayed by the General Assembly from doing what they know is best. Putting up bureaucratic red tape, requiring health professionals to go through a legislative body before they can move forward with safety measures, is a dangerous roadblock that will likely result in a delay in action and lives lost.

“It’s disappointing to see the supermajority take such a regressive and harmful step—even as we continue dealing with a pandemic that has killed thousands of Hoosiers. Political games like this are not beneficial to anyone, and it’s unfortunate that the residents of our state will be the ones to pay for bad public policy like SEA 5. The public health and safety of Hoosiers is a top priority for my caucus, and we will continue to fight against the insertion of big government and politics in health decisions.”