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Hill Argues Holcomb Doesn't Have Authority To Issue Mask Mandate

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Attorney General Curtis Hill, in a non-binding opinion, says Gov. Eric Holcomb doesn’t have the authority to mandate Hoosiers wear masks in public or attach a criminal penalty to that order.

Holcomb announced his order Wednesday, which takes effect next week.

Five state senators asked Hill to weigh in on the mandate’s legitimacy – Sen. Jim Buck (R-Kokomo), Sen. Blake Doriot (R-Goshen), Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) and Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville).

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In an advisory opinion – which carries no force of law – Hill says the broad emergency powers given to the governor do not include the authority to make everyone in the state wear a mask in public or to make violation of that order a class B misdemeanor.

Hill opines “it is outside the scope of the General Assembly’s authority to delegate to the governor the limitless ability to create laws.” The attorney general says the governor should call a special session of the legislature to impose such a mandate.

Holcomb and Hill – both Republicans – have clashed before.

Hill recently lost his re-election bid after the Supreme Court temporarily suspended his law license for criminally battering four women.

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

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