July 12, 2021

Rokita Loses In Court Again In An Emergency Powers Case

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Indiana legislators passed a law in 2021 that allows them to call themselves into special session during a public emergency. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana legislators passed a law in 2021 that allows them to call themselves into special session during a public emergency.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita lost in court again over a controversial emergency powers law recently created by the General Assembly.

The new law, HB 1123, allows legislators to call themselves into special session during a public emergency (like COVID-19). The measure stems from lawmakers’ frustration over many of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive orders during the pandemic.

A Hoosier citizen, John Whitaker, sued the General Assembly over the law, arguing it violates the Indiana Constitution.

Rokita, representing the legislature, tried to delay the suit. He argued the state constitution doesn’t allow lawmakers to be sued while they’re in session. And this year, because of delays in redistricting, the session never technically ended and could go all the way to November.

READ MORE: Hoosier Citizen Sues Indiana Lawmakers Over Emergency Powers Measure

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But a Marion County judge denied Rokita’s motion, potentially setting the stage for the lawsuit to continue. Rokita could try to appeal the decision.

Whitaker's lawsuit is one of two dealing with the emergency powers law. Gov. Holcomb also sued the General Assembly over the measure. A different Marion County judge dealt Rokita a loss in that suit recently.

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

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