(The Center Square) – Indiana State Rep. Curt Nisly, R- Milford, introduced a resolution last week in the Indiana General Assembly to end the state of emergency.
Indiana has been under a public health emergency since March 6, 2020, when Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order declaring the emergency under the state’s Emergency Management and Disaster Law. The order was set to expire after 30 days, but the governor has extended it 18 times.
“Tomorrow, we could take a vote to declare the state of emergency to be ended. It doesn’t even have to go to committee. It could go directly to the floor,” Nisly said Sunday the Rally for Medical Freedom on the lawn of the Indiana Statehouse.
His resolution, HCR 48, is the fourth one he’s introduced this year to end the emergency.
The Indiana House of Representatives met last week, but Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, did not call Nisly’s resolution to the floor for a vote. Instead, he referred it to the Rules Committee.
As of Friday, six other legislators have signed on to the resolution as co-authors – Rep. John Jacob, R-Indianapolis; Rep. Zach Payne, R-Charlestown; Rep. Bruce Borders, R-Jasonville; J.D. Prescott, R-Union City; Rep. Matt Hostettler, R-Patoka; and Rep. Chris Jeter, R-Fishers.
Under the public health emergency, Holcomb has issued more than 60 executive orders, including the “Hunker Down Hoosiers” two-week stay-at-home order in March 2020 and the statewide mask mandate in July 2020. The governor rescinded the mask mandate in April, but said he was extending the public health emergency so Indiana could continue to receive federal pandemic-related funds, and so COVID-19 vaccines can be administered by a greater range of people.
On Aug. 30, Holcomb announced he was extending the public health emergency through the end of September. In the order, he cited the increase in cases.
“Throughout the Hoosier state, we are seeing a significant and serious increase in new confirmed cases and hospitalizations,” the order reads, “and tragically, continued deaths daily from COVID-19 that is based on a surge driven by the delta variant which is much more transmissible, demonstrated by a 7-day average positivity rate of 2.1% two months ago, 6.3% a month ago and is 10.9% now.”
The order also noted for the week of Aug. 15 that 981 of the 1,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital were reported to be unvaccinated; 189 of 195 COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) were reportedly unvaccinated; and 67 of 71 COVID-19 deaths were reportedly people who were unvaccinated.
More than 14,000 people in Indiana are reported to have died of COVID-19 since the virus first appeared in the state in March 2020.
Nisly’s resolution would immediately terminate the governor’s public health emergency and end the governor’s ability to take any action under the emergency declaration.
In stating the reason for the resolution, it says Hoosiers “have been educated and informed on how to properly protect themselves and their families from COVID-19” and that state agency actions and restrictions “are no longer necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Indiana.”