House GOP again tries to expedite bill to limit vaccine mandates, will hold hearing on Dec. 16

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Indiana Statehouse (IBJ file photo)

Efforts to advance state legislation that would restrict employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates took another unusual turn Friday as Republican leaders scheduled a House committee hearing on the bill for later this month, more than two weeks before the formal legislative session kicks off.

House Bill 1001, which was filed on Monday, is scheduled for a 9 a.m. public hearing on Dec. 16 in the House chamber before the House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The timing of the hearing is unusual because it will occur before the legislative session officially begins on Jan. 4. The December hearing will be the second attempt by Republican leadership to expedite the legislation.

The controversial bill would force employers that require COVID-19 vaccinations for employees to allow medical or religious exemptions without question. It also would  put in place administrative actions to maintain certain federal emergency funding, giving Gov. Eric Holcomb the leeway he says he needs to meet GOP lawmakers’ desire to end the public health emergency that has been in effect since March 2020.

GOP leaders tried and failed last month to fast-track this same bill in two days, holding one public hearing on a draft with plans to send the legislation straight to the Republican-dominated House and Senate for final votes in a one-day session. Those plans were scrapped soon after the bill received backlash and slim support during a seven-hour public hearing before the House and Senate Rules Committees.

Rep. Heath VanNatter, R-Kokomo, chair of the House Employment Labor and Pensions Committee, told IBJ that lawmakers expect another long public hearing on Dec. 16. Holding the hearing weeks before session will give them a head start to pass the bill quickly once session begins.

“We’re prepared for that. We want everyone to have a chance to have their opinions heard,” VanNatter said.

The committee will meet Dec. 16  just to hear public comments. No votes or action will be taken before the session officially begins Jan. 4, VanNatter said.

HB 1001 is  being billed as a top priority for House GOP leadership and was the first legislation filed for the session. It was authored by House Majority Leader Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, and has 55 other Republican co-authors, including House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers.

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49 thoughts on “House GOP again tries to expedite bill to limit vaccine mandates, will hold hearing on Dec. 16

  1. I have often wondered why, what should be sensible people, be doing this? Here is what I have suspected, but Paul Crugman of the the NY Times says it better than I could:

    What’s that about? As many observers have pointed out, claims that opposition to vaccine mandates (and similar opposition to mask mandates) is about maintaining personal freedom don’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny. No reasonable definition of freedom includes the right to endanger other people’s health and lives because you don’t feel like taking basic precautions.

    Furthermore, actions by Republican-controlled state governments, for example in Florida and Texas, show a party that isn’t so much pro-freedom as it is pro-Covid. How else can you explain attempts to prevent private businesses — whose freedom to choose was supposed to be sacrosanct — from requiring that their workers be vaccinated, or offers of special unemployment benefits for the unvaccinated?

    In other words, the G.O.P. doesn’t look like a party trying to defend liberty; it looks like a party trying to block any effective response to a deadly disease. Why is it doing this?

    To some extent it surely reflects a coldly cynical political calculation. Voters tend to blame whichever party holds the White House for anything bad that happens on its watch, which creates an incentive for a sufficiently ruthless party to engage in outright sabotage.

    1. Democrats seem not to comprehend the conservative value of personal freedom and general freedom from government coercion. People LOSING THEIR JOBS over a personal decision to not get vaccinated is senseless/ludicrous.

      Converting private business owners into COVID enforcement police is not a good solution.

    2. This has nothing to do with converting businesses. Read the bill. You don’t have a clue what’s happening.

      It has EVERYTHING to do with businesses being unable to mandate COVID vaccinations of their own free will.

      But don’t worry, there’s nothing in the bill stopping businesses from charging the unvaccinated WAY more for health care.

      Enjoy your freedom to pay $1000 more a month for health insurance. See how that works for ya.

    3. Donnie W. – Equating someone losing their LIFE because someone loses their job – by a choice THEY made is ludicrous. One is permanent and one is temporary. Just when I didn’t think Indiana legislators could make us look anymore like ” hicks from the sticks”, there they go again. What I don’t understand is how they keep getting reelected.

    4. I can’t speak for the motivations of all politicians. Its a lousy job where any few words you utter can be taken out of context and twisted. Even good intentioned people feel the need to “craft” what they say.

      But rather than assume evil intentions, try thinking about what legitimate argument they might make. On one side are those who view this as an extremely dangerous health crisis killing many people. At least some on the other side, including myself, look at history and how we’ve had to to fight for freedoms and the opportunity to build an economy that has benefited every American (even if historic discrimination didn’t allow for equal benefit). The damage we are doing in response to COVID is likely going to harm the American economy into future generations. And before you say that lives matter more than money, consider that an ailing economy translates into lost live and human suffering. It is the poor who generally suffer the most during economic downturns, and simply trying to appropriate money from the rich has never worked but has generally accelerated the downward spiral. It is appropriate to debate fair tax policy, but rich people don’t generally get rich by magic, it is generally because they are more capable and are the ones who generate wealth and jobs not just for themselves but for many others. You can certainly find anecdotal evidence of predatory people who got rich at the expense of others, but believing a narrative that this is the norm rather than the exception leads to foolish policy. The problem with this virus is that it is both too deadly and not deadly enough. That is, it rides the line between where a strong consensus can be achieved. The bubonic plague in the Middle Ages are estimated to have killed at least 40% of people in Europe, higher in many cities of the time. If that were the case now, we’d have more agreement on quarantines, etc. But COVID kills few enough that reasonable people weigh those deaths against the larger harm to society. The same sort of calculus has gone into wars like WW1 and 2 where the U.S. didn’t need to send soldiers to die, but we did so for a higher goal. At least consider that some who oppose forced mandates that erode personal freedom and harm the economy might be doing so from a principled position, even if you disagree with it. People died to ensure you could disagree.

    5. William, you are welcome to not get vaccinated. You just have to get tested and wear a mask. What’d the big deal? Countries in Europe are banning the unvaccinated from dining out or participating in many common activities.

      Those employees with workplaces who require vaccination can go work elsewhere, at an employer that doesn’t require vaccination. If businesses mandate vaccination and can’t find workers, or find themselves losing business from those who protest them, they’ll change their minds and drop the requirement.

      Why is the free market not being allowed to work here? Why must the heavy hand of government come in and mandate to businesses how to operate?

      The Indiana bill has everything to do with stopping the free market from working and kowtowing to those who want to take actions to the detriment of society. They don’t want to pay for the tests to prove that they’re healthy, they want their employer to face that cost to deter the test from taking place. They want the ability to lie about their religious beliefs and refuse vaccination, since no major religion actually tells people to not get vaccinated. They don’t want to wear masks, a simple measure that reduces the spread of the virus.

      They want the freedom to infect others with no consequences, then for the government to be there and save them from their personal choices.

    6. You bring up some good issues Joe. I am generally of the view that businesses should be allowed to choose who they serve as you suggest. However, in this case, there is outside coercion on this point. Many businesses feel threatened by government statements and that they will be attacked in one way or another if they don’t put a mandate in place. Thus I contest it isn’t truly a “free” market. I’m not going to argue for the particular elements of this legislation since I have some ambivalence myself, but generally helping to alleviate the pressure on some businesses who don’t really want to institute a mandate by giving them some countervailing law to point to arguably allows for more freedom. As someone who has helped grow a business, albeit not based here in Indiana (though in a location that wants to mandate vaccines), I feel the pressure. I don’t believe I should have to tell our people “you must inject yourself with a vaccine to stay employed here”. The fact that there is evidence that natural immunity is at least as good as vaccines not being recognized is part of the problem. I can show a vaccine card and be okay, but a test showing natural immunity? Not good enough, you have to keep getting tested even though evidence shows many “fully vaccinated” people contracting the virus.

      On one of your other points, pointing to Europe won’t get you far with most conservatives. Historically, America has been populated by immigrants wanting to enjoy the broader freedoms here than elsewhere. It is that we wish to protect. Here is a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville for you to chew on. I like it in part because it both supports my position as well as other civil rights discussions going on:
      “It is above all in the present democratic age that the true friends of liberty and human grandeur must remain constantly vigilant and ready to prevent the social power from lightly sacrificing the particular rights of a few individuals to the general execution of its designs. In such times there is no citizen so obscure that it is not very dangerous to allow him to be oppressed, and there are no individual rights so unimportant that they can be sacrificed to arbitrariness with impunity.”

      I’m guessing you might argue that a health crisis is not an arbitrary design of social power. I see evidence to the contrary even as I acknowledge there are those, like yourself I presume, who are sincere in the belief that this situation warrants infringing on personal liberties for the good of the whole. And when you are branded with a modern equivalent of requiring leper’s to announce “unclean” when in public, you are indeed impacting personal liberty. Again, it comes down in my few with whether or not you think the cure is worse than the disease in aggregate.

    7. William, I’d put forth you’re making a false argument here. And, no, I’m not talking about the natural immunity misinformation , as the data I’m seeing shows that the unvaccinated with previous infections are more likely to get reinfected than both the previously infected then vaccinated or those who have vaccinated and boosted alone. But I digress.

      Explain where this external pressure to be the vaccine police is coming from for businesses in the state of Indiana. Point me to these statements. News stories would be swell.

      The federal government and what they’re trying to do with OSHA? OK. That’s the problem of Jim Banks and Greg Pence and Todd Young … it’s their job to get a law passed to stop Biden. That’s why Hoosiers sent them to Washington. Best I could tell, they couldn’t even get Sinema or Manchin to go with them on such an effort… and they’re practically Republicans.

      Pretend there is no federal requirement, that whatever Biden wants to do is stopped in the courts. (A reminder this bill is moot if that OSHA rule goes into effect.) This is the state of Indiana going against the will of the local business community (all of whom came out against this bill, it should be noted) and saying that … if you’d like to mandate vaccinations of your own free will, you must offer significant loopholes that cannot be verified and bear all testing costs yourself. So, if you’re a local hospital system that already mandates the flu vaccine amongst a bevy of other vaccinations as a condition of employment … nope, you can’t also mandate the COVID vaccine because … um, that’s a bridge too far?

      No one has explained to me yet why the Indiana House, with all of the challenges that the state of Indiana faces, has made this bill their #1 priority for the upcoming legislative session. Nothing about increasing wages for workers, nothing about educating our workforce to shift them from a manufacturing economy to a high-tech economy, nothing about better roads. This bill was numbered HB 1001.

      Again, in regards to that federal mandate that can’t be tolerated, people don’t have to get vaccinated. They don’t even have to wear a mask. They just get tested once a week, a simple 15 minute process. Why is that too much of an imposition when weighed against the greater good during a pandemic?

      I personally think this is all somewhat moot … I suspect that those who refuse vaccination from businesses prevented from requiring vaccinations will instead impose a considerably higher healthcare premium on those workers who willfully refuse vaccination. Many already do it for the obese and smokers. And those businesses that don’t want to mandate vaccinations, who don’t want to get involved? The large businesses that provide their healthcare like Anthem or Aetna will, I suspect, also be factoring in the number of vaccinated workers when it comes to how much a company has to pay for their workers health care benefits.

    8. Thanks for a great debate, and you have both made good points, but you are still looking at the trees and you need to step back and look at the forest. The big question here, why has this gotten so politicized?

      I still believe that now that we have a safe and effective vaccines, the best motivation for politicians keep harping on this point is that one unscrupulous political party, for the sake of gaining ground in the next election is purposely trying to sabotage the country for political gain. They cannot be blamed for the fact the virus exists, but they can be cheered on in the name of “Freedom”, even if is to the detriment of their constituency.

      People want normal, and without normal, people are going to look to blame a politician. In the next election cycle they are going to take it out on the party in power. In addition to the deaths from unvaccinated people, there are all kinds of economic disruptions and the result is things are far from normal.

      I have no clue what the end game might be, but I know in the short term, the issues over COVID are being used to manipulate people and it is evil. If this were a metaphor; mask and vaccine requirements would be the trees and SABOTAGE is the name of the forest.

    9. Thanks Joe. Again, you make some good arguments. However, I don’t think you can easily separate the local and federal and say they don’t impact each other. When Jen Psaki keeps reiterating that the White House believes that businesses should enforce mandates and states that the administration is still targeting the January 4 mandate implementation based on their assertion that the requirement should survive the court challenges that have currently stayed its implementation, I don’t think you can reasonably say that that doesn’t put pressure on companies to at the very least spend resources preparing for that possibility if not actually implementing.

      I’ve admitted that I’m ambivalent about this particular IN legislation, but I do view it in the larger context of various states signaling that continued attempts to enforce mandates will face stiff opposition.

      I think you are correct that the “best” protection probably is natural immunity plus a booster. My best friend has a PhD in Immunology and works in a university lab. He concluded, having contract CoVID prior to the vaccines being available, that taking just the first shot of the Moderna vaccine as a “booster” would provide sufficient protection (though the university later required him to get the second, which he viewed as unnecessary but grudgingly went along with). But just because it is “best” doesn’t mean that not doing so isn’t adequate. It is “best” to get the flu shot every year. I’ve been inconsistent in part because I’ve not gotten noticeably sicker in the years that I’ve not gotten around to it. What I’ve read suggests that the primary person impacted is the unvaccinated person if they get sick. You correctly note that this might cause healthcare costs to go up for others, but as you correctly note that is already the case for the obese and smokers and other lifestyle induced health issues. That, in my mind, is a separate issue of contention around to what degree insurance providers should be forced to insure everyone and socialize the health cost of bad lifestyle choices to others.

      You asked for article backing natural immunity, here are a few (though I acknowledge that one study is not yet peer reviewed) including the Washington Post article that provides links to others: (long article, but this caught my attention: “Another interesting finding of this investigation is the remarkably stable antibody responses among the pre-pandemic and COVID-19 patients to the common human coronaviruses that are acquired in children and adults. These data are most consistent with the generation of long-lived plasma cells and refute the current notion that these antibody responses to human coronaviruses are short lived.”

      I found many others. Problem is, you can probably find plenty more arguing your point. To be clear, I think that if in doubt, people should get vaccinated. But, I don’t agree with coercing it. I generally don’t think businesses should be told what conditions they can and can’t put on employment, but at what point does it become discrimination? It comes back to the lack of consensus on whether this pandemic is severe enough to justify the loss of individual liberties and what level of discrimination we will tolerate as lawful. And forcing people to test weekly when the vaccinated, who have also been show to be able to transmit don’t have to, will perpetuate a feeling of arbitrariness.

    10. Dan M. I think there are cynical opportunists on both sides of the aisle with regard to this. However, the main point I’m trying to make if nothing else is that honest people can disagree on this and that there is “science” to support both sides. There are those of us who genuinely fear the encroachment of government power. I encounter too many people who seem to think that government can solve so much without considering what can go wrong. Almost anything can be justified as being for the “good of society”. Communist China makes that argument for everything they do that strips away personal freedoms. We’re not China, but I think there can be honest debate about where the line is that takes us too far.

      Here is another De Tocqueville quote for you: “Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

    11. State laws will not supersede federal ones. The only statement being made by those passing laws such as those like Indiana is that the benefit of a healthy society must be made subservient to those who believe that it’s me before we and their “rights” come without responsibilities. The Indiana law is awful and is a waste of tax dollars.

      I’d be much more inclined to buy into any of the natural immunity literature if a) if it wasn’t several months old, especially since South Africa is seeing a surge in reinfections among the previously infected, and b) many of those same folks hadn’t also been peddling other such nonsense like ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine as magic cures and also fighting masking. It feels like they’re emptying out the kitchen junk drawer to find something, anything, just to be contrary.

      We got a magic cure, a vaccine that not just eliminates a lot of cases, it dramatically reduces the number of hospitalizations, ICU stays, or deaths. That time showed a booster was needed doesn’t negate the miracle that the vaccine is.

      Has the science been changing as time has gone on? Of course, it was going to the entire time. But those same forces that Dan spoke to have willfully ignored the reality of science and used it to manipulate people.

      I would disagree that those who choose to not get vaccinated to are being discriminated against and deserve government protection or compensation. Those born non-white or female or gay or with disabilities don’t have a choice they can make to change their skin color or gender or sexual persuasion or just become whole.

      And, yes, protecting individual liberty is important. But freedom comes with responsibility, and that responsibility has been lost. Driving a car doesn’t give you the freedom to rear-end that bozo who had been clogging the fast lane at 5mph under the speed limit for 10 miles. One can famously not yell fire in a crowded theatre. And we’ve already decided as a society that the liberty of smokers to smoke where they please is subservient to the health of others.

      Yes, there are some people who, yes, truthfully have religious exemptions to vaccines and have for a long period of time. But the vast majority of those claiming religious exemptions sure seem to have “found the light” pretty recently, and I suspect a large chunk of them got all their shots growing up. Why those vaccinations are “good” but the COVID vaccine is “bad” still isn’t clear to me.

    12. One last thing. I’m vaccinated and boosted and would gladly get tested weekly. Last time I had this discussion with someone, they tried to tell me that we should only test the vaccinated, because they were already more compliant and it’s their fault that COVID is still around.

      As though the unvaccinated are the ones taking things seriously, wearing masks in public and social distancing and seeking immediate medical care – like antibody treatments – at the first sign of COVID.

      So I’m all for testing everyone. Just explain to me how you’re going to get the unvaccinated to comply.

    13. Thanks Joe. Ironically, and perhaps surprising to some, most conservatives would actually consider people with your views to be the “me before we” people. We look at historical views such as Patrick Henry’s famous “give me liberty, or give me death!” and don’t just see some quaint thinking from olden times, but a statement proclaiming that there are higher ideals to aspire to than merely just staying physically alive. We look at a U.S. death rate from COVID of around 0.26% of the population, far lower in recent months, and we say to ourselves that, tragic as every lost life is, is it right to burden our economy and accumulate debt that will burden future generations because of so few? As you have correctly noted, vaccinations are now readily available and will generally protect almost everyone from getting sick, or if they do they are unlikely to die from it. Those who choose to not get vaccinated are generally only putting themselves at great risk (assuming they don’t already have natural immunity). I don’t look for death, but I don’t fear it, and I don’t think many should suffer the real-world consequences of high inflation, etc. just because of the fear of a few. Crippling the entire society for a few is, to me, putting “me before we”. I’ve been eating out more regularly at sit-down restaurants for lunch in part as an opportunity to leave bigger tips for those who are impacted far more than I am by the state of the economy, among other charitable giving, etc. But such efforts are negligible against the magnitude of the problem. A healthy economy allows people to make healthier life decisions, send themselves or their kids to better schools, and generally uplifts everyone.

    14. I’d agree with you that the unvaccinated are only hurting themselves if they vowed to not seek any medical attention, or if the unvaccinated had to fight over a limited number of beds while the vaccinated still had access to health care.

      But the unvaccinated are soaking up excess capacity and society is running out of not just hospital beds, but also workers. This is all very well documented in the news, and what is being faced now is worse than last year. Which, given the access to vaccines, is astounding. And until we get past that, either via a lot of people getting sick and dying and/or a lot of people getting vaccinated, this is the current state.

      So it might be their bodies and their choices, but it’s still shared consequences. There’s nothing conservative about counting on the government to bail you out for your poor life choices, but here we are with the unvaccinated.

      And that’s just the hospitals. The virus numbers are scaring a lot of people out of resuming participation in the workforce or the economy. Another way to get those people back, besides telling people to suck it up and just assume it won’t happen to you, is to increase the number of vaccinated people to drive down the number of people WITH the virus.

      However, at the end of the day with your last post, you’ve made yourself clear. You’re another of the “conservatives” who would be right at home in the John Birch Society of yesteryear, banished to the fringes for the extreme views. You’re just better able to construct a sentence than most of them, to hide the nonsense.

      Eisenhower? Reagan? Lugar? These are just RINO’s to you, instead of conservatives to be emulated. That’s the type of conservative I emulate, not Trump or MTG or Gaetz. But there’s no room for diversity among today’s conservatives, so you slag anyone who isn’t sufficiently nuts as “not being conservative”.

    15. I’m sorry, Joe, that you felt that you needed to resort to ad hominem attacks. I’ve tried to be carefully respectful of your views as being generally logical even I think you may be starting from a wrong premise and/or I disagree with your conclusions. I’m surprised you would accuse me of “slagging” anyone. Perilous to speak for the dead, but I don’t think that anything I’ve said is inconsistent with what a great conservative like Reagan might have thought.

      I agree that the pressure on the health care system by the sick is the best argument for encouraging people to get vaccinated, I simply don’t think it is a strong enough reason to infringe on liberty. Government by nature tends to accrete more power and is very reluctant to surrender it once it has it. I don’t think that is “nonsense”. There are many social safety net type policies where honest people can debate when we are doing too much to shield people from their own bad choices versus applying an appropriate level of compassion. If someone hasn’t already had and recovered from the disease, I think it wise for them to get vaccinated, and maybe to do even if they have recovered. As I suggested above, if this were something on the order of the bubonic plague, I’d be in line arguing for people to be forcibly quarantined and maybe even forcibly vaccinated. Night Wardens employed during WW2 to infringe on people’s liberty by forcing them to turn off their lights might be a close equivalent of the current situation. Given uncertainty at the time about what capabilities the Nazis or Japanese might have, I think it was an appropriate infringement on liberty. We know enough now about this virus and its variants that I fall instead on the side of protecting liberty. You think this justifies the equivalent of Night Wardens. I can respect that, even if I disagree.

      Anyway, I think we’ve both said enough to clearly lay out our positions should anyone stumble on this now getting old article and be interested. For that reason, and since you’ve chosen at this point to dismiss me as a “nut” who is simply “better able to construct a sentence than most”, I’ll stop monitoring this forum/article since there probably is no productive reason to do so any longer.

    16. Let’s cut back to where you wrote, direct quote:

      “Ironically, and perhaps surprising to some, most conservatives would actually consider people with your views to be the “me before we” people.”

      So, spare me the fainting couch. I let a lot of the usual anti-vax slide, mistake on my part.

      Just remember … “conservatives” now believe that it’s appropriate for people who refuse the COVID vaccine to receive unemployment checks. I think you could replace a lot of coal plants with the dead conservatives spinning in their graves…

  2. Or, they calculate (rightly or wrongly) who it is that will be most severely impacted and think it benefits them for that group/groups to be impacted (with death). Call me cynical. It’s possible.

    1. There are about 170 deaths per day in Indiana. The current average deaths per day from COVID in Indiana is 27.

      Many of the 27 are folks who were likely very unhealthy in some other way or are just old. Let’s be honest – this whole thing is blown WAY out of proportion in terms of risk/reward for our society’s reaction the a virus. Mental health has been terribly affected by shut downs.

      To the benefit of big pharma, the media, and those who like exerting control over others’ behaviors.

    2. Donnie, I suspect you never took a medical ethics class. What I hear you saying, is “so what if a few extra people die”.

  3. Why are Indiana Republican legislators so intent of shrinking their political base? Research shows that GOP voters are more likely to eschew vaccinations that any other political demographic. Other research also shows that the unvaccinated are more likely to get infected by Covid, and that serious illness is more likely with an increased chance of death. If there is any group that the Republicans ought to want to see vaccinated (i.e., “saved”) one would think it would be your own voters. But, if they end up killing off their supporters, who are we to argue?

    1. 9/10 Dems are vaccinated. 6/10 GOP are vaccinated. GOP is 5 times more likely to get COVID. It’s not rocket science. Vaccines and masks work.

      If you don’t want to get vaccinated then social distance and wear masks. By not following these guidelines you’re taking freedom away from the rest of us.

      Covid is a National health crisis. Almost 800k have died plus countless others with long term effects. Covid is not the flu.

      Quit listening to pumpkin heads lies and protect yourself and others.

    2. “ To some extent it surely reflects a coldly cynical political calculation. Voters tend to blame whichever party holds the White House for anything bad that happens on its watch, which creates an incentive for a sufficiently ruthless party to engage in outright sabotage.”

    3. Brent – if you make it to where Democrats can’t vote, Republicans can overcome the death of a lot of supporters. That’s been a long-term goal for Republicans, COVID has just sped up the needed timeline for implementation…

  4. Indiana lawmakers have been incompetent for years. Now they are downright reckless and bloodthirsty. Going out of their way to limit vaccinations in the midst of a pandemic that is worsening again, right here in Indiana. They are crazy and dangerous, and most certainly not “pro-life.”

  5. You know, I’ve been giving the state GOP credit for not going off the deep end like the Republicans at the Federal level. So much for that. As a longtime Repub who still can’t believe this party has lost its mind, just can’t grasp the justification. The Founders made it clear that with liberty comes responsibility; this country wasn’t created with a mindset of, “I’ll do whatever I want.” Even the State GOP is blind to this? Good thinking, gang: The two demographics most likely to get killed by Omicron are the elderly and your “I’ll do whatever I want” anti-vax constituents. You may literally kill off your base.

    1. Holcomb is the only sane one left and his time is short. Look at the candidates for governor in 2024 and weep… Todd Rokita? Mike Braun?

      The GOP these days is a party much happier with Don Rainwater than Eric Holcomb. If you want to vote for someone sane, you have to hold your nose and vote Democrat. You may not agree with them on much, but they at least believe in free elections and competent governance.

  6. At some point in time , when sanity returns, the Republicans will be held responsible for the excess COVID-19 infections and deaths that should not have happened had the Republicans supported medical science based public health policies . Instead the Republicans are all out for obstruction of those policies at every level claiming freedom of choice over a force of nature. Don’t they understand that the COVID-19 virus sees humans as warm bags of meat to infest feed on and multiply in .

    1. “To some extent it surely reflects a coldly cynical political calculation. Voters tend to blame whichever party holds the White House for anything bad that happens on its watch, which creates an incentive for a sufficiently ruthless party to engage in outright sabotage.”

  7. Anything to pander to the cult like MAGA right. More and more sensible Republicans are leaving the party. This pandering may work for 2022, but I don’t think this is good for the GOP long term.

    1. Is it good the GOP won’t even state what they stand for any more? Mitch is downright refusing to state what the GOP platform is for the forthcoming election.

    2. The GOP no longer has any cognizant platform outside of whatever Donald Trump happens to mutter. They are no longer a political party, they’re a personality cult that also doesn’t believe in free and fair elections. The “democracy” they want is the same as the “democracy” that Putin has in Russia or Orban has in Hungary… because they know they can’t win free and fair elections.

      Look at how refusal to go along with the Big Lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” is mandatory. No matter the lack of evidence, no matter the facts, if you don’t lie, you’re out.

    1. They aren’t losing their jobs over a mandate – a mandate is an order. They’re being given a choice. Perhaps not a choice they relish, but it is a choice.

    2. They don’t HAVE
      to lose their jobs. It’s their choice. You know, my body my choice an’ all that – well, unless it’s women, of course…

    3. @Jolf – they also have the choice of lying — claiming a medical or religious exemption. It’s funny how they *don’t* have the smarts to lie, *don’t* have the smarts to get the vaccine, however, when they’re being wheeled into the ICU – *then* they beg for the vaccine. And back when they had a chance to get the vaccine, their reasoning is that there isn’t enough tests, but you know now that the capsules are available, they’re going to be screaming bloody murder for the capsules…and those things have a small fraction of the testing that the vaccine does.

    4. Phillip – it’s always odd how the people who fight the vaccine due to the lack of long-term data … don’t hold the actual virus tone same standard.

      And, just wait until the same Indiana legislature that screamed so hard about the need to stop unemployment assistance to get people back to work just a few months ago … decides at one point during this upcoming session to extend unemployment to folks who lose their jobs due to vaccine mandates. It’s happened in other states, I see no reason that Indiana wouldn’t follow to help out those poor “freedom fighters” who refuse vaccination.

      Would be an amazing turn by the GOP to pay people to not work … not that the party has any actual conservatives remaining who’d be appalled at the concept.

  8. Mandating a blood side vaccine for a respiratory side virus is the wrong answer to the question. The common cold is a Corona virus and they have not been able to find a cure or an effective respiratory treatment.

    1. Listening to people who don’t have a clue what they’re talking about due to misinformation is the wrong answer to the question.