June 4, 2021

Hearing Set On Whether Indiana Governor May Sue Legislature

FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2021 file photo, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb delivers his State of the State address virtually, in Indianapolis.  Holcomb is attempting to block a new law giving state legislators more authority to intervene during public emergencies declared by the governor. - AP Photo/Darron Cummings File

FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2021 file photo, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb delivers his State of the State address virtually, in Indianapolis. Holcomb is attempting to block a new law giving state legislators more authority to intervene during public emergencies declared by the governor.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings File

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A judge will hear arguments later this month over whether Indiana’s governor can go ahead with a lawsuit challenging the power state legislators have given themselves to intervene during public emergencies.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb asked a judge in April to block the new law passed by the GOP-dominated Legislature following criticism from many conservatives over COVID-19 restrictions that Holcomb imposed.

Attorney General Todd Rokita, also a Republican, has argued he has the authority to stop Holcomb from taking the dispute to court after the Legislature overrode the governor’s veto of the new law. His office’s court filings have called the private lawyers working for Holcomb as “unauthorized counsel” in asking for them to be removed from the case.

Marion County Judge Patrick Dietrick on Thursday set a hearing about that dispute for June 16.

Holcomb and some legal experts maintain the state constitution only allows the governor to call the Legislature into special session after its annual session ends. They argue the constitution doesn’t allow the new process under which legislative leaders could call the General Assembly into what it calls an “emergency session.”

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