Indiana lawmakers look for ways to help with coronavirus crisis

Coronavirus
Data pix.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — As the number of coronavirus cases rise in Indiana, some lawmakers say they are looking for more guidance on how to move forward.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane wrote a letter to the governor demanding answers Wednesday.

It asks specific questions about testing, funding and potential state policies regarding the coronavirus.

Lawmakers are starting to wonder how they might be able to help.

“We need to know, is there any possibility whatsoever that we will be called upon to take further action?” asked Lanane. “I have not been briefed as the minority leader of the Indiana Senate upon this matter and I know things are rapidly occurring in this situation but I really sort of feel like enough time has gone by that we really need to be fully versed, all the leaders and maybe all the legislators in terms of what is the plan of the state of Indiana to deal with this crisis?”

However, after the Indiana Senate adjourned for the session, Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray said he had talked to the governor about coronavirus and had full faith in his actions.

Sen. Lanane wonders if the governor might call a special session in the coming days or months due to this crisis.

“I’m sure that my fellow leaders stand ready at any time to answer and do what we need to do as a legislature to help with this situation,” said Lanane.

He said the state might want to look into funding for this crisis in the coming days or maybe next session, depending on how severe the coronavirus gets in Indiana.

Republican State Sen. Jim Merritt said he thinks the governor and the State Department of Health have done a good job informing the public during this time.

“Everybody in central Indiana I know of, knows of the do’s and the don’ts and I think that’s a great start,” said Merritt.

We asked him how state lawmakers could help.

“We will have to see," said Merritt. "The federal government is looking at a package, we will have to see what the federal government does with the taxation, with the sick days.”

Merritt said he thinks information about the coronavirus has been plentiful so far.

“It’s wonderful that we have ways to contact people over the internet, there are apps, our hospitals are ready,” said Merritt.

There is a state website you can access for up-to-date state information on the coronavirus.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's Press Secretary Rachel Hoffmeyer said the governor has yet to read Lanane's letter because he has been in meetings.

However, she said he has been consulting lawmakers and his door is always open to legislators.

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