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Holcomb not yet backing proposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate restrictions for businesses

Brandon Smith
IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb Monday wouldn’t throw his support behind proposed legislation that would effectively stop private businesses from imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Holcomb said he wants to talk with lawmakers about the issue.

The proposed measure would force employers to accept their employees' medical or religious exemptions to getting the vaccine, while allowing them to include a weekly COVID-19 testing requirement. And it would bar businesses from firing employees for anything having to do with a vaccine mandate.

READ MORE: How Is Indiana Distributing COVID-19 Vaccines? Here's What You Need To Know

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Holcomb has long said he thinks businesses should be able to decide whether to mandate the vaccine.

"Hopefully Hoosiers show up tomorrow and express their concerns, just like I will, with the legislature – members and leaders – during this whole process," Holcomb said.

But "this whole process" is an extremely limited one. Lawmakers will hold one committee hearing on the bill Tuesday and then plan a one-day session to pass the measure on Nov. 29.

Asked whether he would veto a bill that includes the current vaccine mandate restrictions, Holcomb said he wants to talk to lawmakers about the issue first.

The governor said he's "thrilled" that lawmakers included in the bill three requests he made for changes to state law that will allow him to end the ongoing public health emergency.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.