Background: Tuesday, Nov. 23, the Indiana House and Senate rules committees met for a joint hearing to discuss legislation that would provide Gov. Holcomb the previously agreed-upon tools he needs to end Indiana's state of emergency. The draft legislation would also provide clarity and uniformity for Hoosiers and businesses with regard to COVID-19 vaccine exemptions. During the meeting, lawmakers heard seven hours of passionate testimony on the difficult issues facing hardworking Hoosiers and the Indiana business community in light of the ongoing pandemic.
Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) made the following statement today regarding plans for the General Assembly to reconvene Nov. 29:
STATEHOUSE (Nov. 24, 2021) – "Yesterday, lawmakers heard heartfelt input from employees with medical or religious objections who are being asked to choose between complying with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate and losing their jobs, and testimony from employers striving to provide safe work places while navigating the imposition of an overreaching federal mandate.
"Two especially concerning issues raised that deserve particular attention are the reports of some employers callously disregarding or denying without due consideration the legitimate medical or religious exemption requests of employees, as well as some businesses reportedly informing employees that noncompliance will be considered a voluntary resignation, rather than a termination. If true, this last item not only forces some employees to choose between their health or religion and their job, but also completely mischaracterizes the end of the employee/employer relationship and puts the employee's ability to claim unemployment at risk.
"Due to the urgency of these matters, a plan was in place to reconvene the legislature Monday, Nov. 29 to address these issues in a single day if consensus on action items existed. The ongoing complexities of the issues raised and the potential unintended consequences, the logistics of moving legislation to the floor during a time when the General Assembly is not typically in session, and the need for the public and members of the General Assembly to fully vet the legislation have led to the conclusion that the efforts to gather input and better solutions should continue until the legislature reconvenes in January. These matters will be taken up in earnest at the outset of the coming legislative session."
For a high-resolution photo of Sen. Bray, click here.
Contact: Molly Fishell, Communications Director