April 27, 2021

Gov. Eric Holcomb Sues Legislature Over Emergency Powers

Gov. Eric Holcomb, shown here speaking during a press conference in March, is asking a court to block a new law passed by state legislators giving themselves more authority to intervene when the state’s chief executive declares an emergency. - Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Gov. Eric Holcomb, shown here speaking during a press conference in March, is asking a court to block a new law passed by state legislators giving themselves more authority to intervene when the state’s chief executive declares an emergency.

Doug Jaggers/WFYI

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor is asking a court to block a new law passed by state legislators giving themselves more authority to intervene when the state’s chief executive declares an emergency.

Lawyers for Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb filed a lawsuit Tuesday in a Marion County court challenging the law that the Republican-dominated Legislature enacted 12 days ago over his veto.

The lawsuit argues that the Legislature is “usurping a power given exclusively to the governor” under the state constitution to call lawmakers into a special session.

Republican legislators pushed the bill after months of criticism from some conservatives over the mask mandate and other COVID-19 restrictions that Holcomb imposed by executive order during the public health emergency with the General Assembly not meeting for about nine months.

Republican legislative leaders have said they expected a court challenge to the emergency session plan. They’ve maintained that the measure wasn’t “anti-governor” and have praised Holcomb’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which health officials say has killed more than 13,000 people in the state.

Holcomb’s lawsuit argues that any use of the new law would be disruptive to the state and causes “uncertainty and confusion over the constitutional powers of the Executive and Legislative Branches.”

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