Fleming frustrated by vote to override veto

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INDIANAPOLIS — State Representative Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville), a retired obstetrician, released the statement below following the General Assembly’s vote to override the governor’s veto on Senate Bill 5:

“We have witnessed the largest exit of public health officials nationwide since the start of the pandemic, and it’s easy to see why,” Fleming said. “They have been threatened, worked overtime for low pay and frightened of exposing their loved ones to this fatal disease. We call them heroes, but then we turn our backs on them and undermine their decisions during a public health emergency.

“House Republicans said over and over on the floor that this was about checks and balances. My concern is not with the appeal process; my problem is the potential delay that this could create during a health emergency when action is needed right away, not two months later. My district is right next to Louisville. There could be — and there has been in the past — a state of emergency in Kentucky that Clark County public health officials need to act upon, but may not be able to because of this new law. Diseases don’t care about a government’s timetable or state borders.

“The next health emergency won’t be exactly like the one we’re in right now, and already, state legislators are restricting the decisions that could be made in response to an unforeseen emergency. The bill and override may have been acted on in good faith, but now we can only pray that we’re able to change the path we’re on before the next health emergency occurs.”

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