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Indiana Senate backs narrower bill on vaccine limitations

FILE - State Sen. Mark Messmer, center, R-Jasper, talks with Sen. Eddie Melton, left, D-Gary, and Sen. Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen, following a session at the Statehouse, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Indianapolis. An Indiana Senate panel on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, endorsed rolling back a proposal that aimed to severely limit workplace COVID-19 vaccine requirements, setting up weeks of negotiations with House members on how far the Republican-dominated Legislature will go toward inserting itself on the issue. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Senate has endorsed a bill allowing administrative steps sought by Gov. Eric Holcomb that could result in the nearly two-year-old statewide COVID-19 public health emergency declaration ending later this week.

Senators voted 32-18 on Tuesday in favor of the proposal that doesn’t include provisions pushed by Republican House members that would force businesses to give requested religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine requirements “without further inquiry.”

Holcomb and Senate GOP leaders have sided with major business groups opposing broad limitations.

The House and Senate must still agree on a single version of the proposal before it could go to Holcomb for his consideration.

Holcomb’s current public health order expires Friday.