Local News

Legislation Proposed to Curb Power of Local Health Departments

(Indianapolis, IN) - Efforts of state lawmakers to limit executive powers are now trickling down to the local level.


Many legislators in Indiana’s General Assembly set their aim early this session on checking the governor’s use of executive orders.  Now a bill is on the move to limit the powers of local health officials to impose mandates without oversight. 


Senate Bill 5, which has passed the Senate, would prevent orders and fines from health officials unless they are approved by a county or city legislative body.  38 state senators have co-sponsored the bill, including local Republican Mike Bohacek.


Even if it becomes law, the measure would currently be a moot point for COVID restrictions locally.  Both the La Porte City Council and County Commissioners have pledged to maintain mask requirements and gathering restrictions for at least another month.


In St. Joseph County, however, consensus on the mask topic is eroding.  Reports indicate some elected officials feel the mask mandate has run its course.  The health department there has already extended the mask order through May.

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