At 7:00 pm (EST) on March 3, 2022, Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb ended Indiana’s state of emergency by signing Executive Order 22-09. The Governor’s signing of the Executive Order was conditional upon the state legislature passing House Bill 1001. That bill provided certain protections for workers in the employment context, while also maintaining the enhanced federal funding the state can receive for healthcare and food assistance. The bill had bipartisan support with a House vote of 78-10.
The Executive Order instituting the state of emergency was initially signed by Governor Holcomb on March 6, 2020. After lasting 728 days, or 23 months, the legislature took the requisite steps for the governor to end the emergency. This action was initially proposed in November 2021 and provided broad exemptions from vaccines, but the legislature failed to pass anything. This action was also opposed by some health officials. Some pundits have argued that the move was simply to avoid public opprobrium, while others have argued this is appropriate given recent state COVID-19 statistics.
The Executive Order noted the toll that Hoosiers have paid for COVID-19, citing Indiana case numbers and deaths, along with their subsequent decline. Additionally, the Order provides a pathway for continued federal assistance for families in need. The Order concludes by ending the state of disaster emergency, pursuant to Indiana’s Emergency Management and Disaster Law, Ind. Code 10-14-3, et. seq. This action rescinded Executive Order 22-01, along with directives in Executive Order 22-02 excluding the temporary licensing requirement of certain healthcare workers.
This measure runs in conjunction to other institutional changes regarding COVID-19. Many employers and educational institutions (K-12 through collegiate) have dropped their mask mandates. Amongst these institutions are Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Pike Township, Perry Township, Warren Township, Lawrence Township, Wayne Township, Washington Township, Franklin Community Schools, Beech Grove City Schools, Indiana University, Ball State, and more. Although still required in healthcare settings, these sweeping changes reflect an evolution of the consensus on COVID-19. Judges have also begun issuing limited injunctions halting vaccine mandates in various jurisdictions/ settings, indicating a change in approach of the judiciary. These changes and gestures make it evident that the legal perspective of COVID-19 continues to develop with the public’s understanding.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.