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INDIANAPOLIS — A spokesperson for Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has confirmed the bill that limits vaccine mandates by private employers and allows the state government to end the public health emergency has been signed into law.

The public health emergency was set to expire late tomorrow night unless renewed. Holcomb’s office confirmed, however, that the governor will not be renewing the public health emergency and that it will officially come to an end. The public health emergency has been in effect since March of 2020.

Recently, Indiana House members voted by a wide margin of 79-9 in favor of the bill even though the state Senate had removed provisions sought by House Republicans that would have forced businesses to give requested religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine requirements “without further inquiry.”

Holcomb and Senate Republican leaders had sided with major business groups in opposing broad limitations on workplace vaccine requirements sought by many conservatives upset over President Joe Biden’s failed attempt to require large employers to have their workers be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19.

The bill includes legal changes sought by Holcomb that would enable the state to keep receiving about $40 million each month in enhanced federal funding for Medicaid and for about 200,000 households to continue receiving an additional $95 a month in federal food assistance. Another step would let the state health commissioner continue issuing a standing doctor’s order for the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages 5 to 11.

Some organizations, however, have been critical of ending the public health emergency stating low-income Hoosiers will miss out on millions of dollars in federal benefits due to a provision ending the SNAP Emergency Allotments.

“Now is not the time to roll back this important program to help Hoosier families access food. Hoosiers are still being squeezed from all sides. Inflation, particularly in food, gas, rent, plus utilities and other costs are greatly impacting Hoosiers and our food banks.”

Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “

The Senate passage today of HB 1001 with a devastating provision to end SNAP Emergency Allotments at the end of the current health emergency on April 16, 2022 could not have come at a worse time for our neighbors facing food insecurity. The passage of this bill comes at a time when lines are growing longer due to higher food, fuel and other consumer prices.

Inflation also affects Gleaners as we are still coping with longer food lines, disrupted supply chain, higher food and operating costs, difficulty hiring employees, and a significant shortage of volunteers. This decision makes the work of Gleaners and our hundreds of local partners much harder – and the lives of our food insecure neighbors even more challenging. In addition, SNAP sales are critical to food retailers, and can sometimes be the difference between a store closing and creating a food desert, or remaining open to serve the community.

John Elliott, President/CEO of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana

“The Senate took a more pragmatic approach and seemed to strike a better balance between keeping workplaces and communities safe while respecting religious and medical exemptions. This version of House Bill 1001 would allow Indiana’s current public health emergency to expire in a way that ensures Governor Holcomb and the Hoosier people still get the help they need to end COVID-19.”

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne)