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Republicans hold federal benefits for Hoosiers hostage in order to advance partisan agenda, risk lives

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INDIANAPOLIS – Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) commented on General Assembly Republicans’ unprecedented move to reconvene later this month in hopes of passing legislation that would restrict the ability of employers to keep their workplaces safe:

“A week ago today in his Organization Day speech, Speaker Huston preached bipartisan cooperation,” GiaQuinta said. “Ambivalence toward transparency and public input instills distrust in our democratic processes. House Democrats support legislation needed to protect critical federal funding in the event Governor Holcomb declines to renew the public health emergency. Unfortunately, an additional proposal added to the legislation aims to prevent businesses from keeping their workers and customers safe and undermines the good intentions of the legislation.  

“Indiana has worked hard to present itself as a 'business-friendly' state, but this legislation hamstrings local businesses from making personalized decisions about what is right for their companies. Legislative actions like this risk the state's economic future by creating a volatile and confusing environment for employers, employees and contractors. I’ve heard from numerous employers about the rushed nature of this process with never before considered legislation potentially becoming law only 10 days after its introduction. The reckless insertion of the vaccine exemptions clause not only endangers the lives of Hoosier families, but puts our state at risk of losing significant federal funding.

“After 20 declared public health emergencies since the beginning of the pandemic, Republicans could have waited another month until the General Assembly returned and filed a bill subjected to the proper processes and scrutiny.”

Lawmakers will meet on Monday, Nov. 29 for a one-day session. Governor Eric Holcomb’s issuance of his 20th public health emergency expires on Dec. 1.

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