February 16, 2021

Senate Bill Would Severely Limit Governor's Power To Declare Emergencies

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Several bills on the move during the 2021 legislative session are reactions to executive orders issued by Gov. Eric Holcomb during the COVID-19 pandemic. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Several bills on the move during the 2021 legislative session are reactions to executive orders issued by Gov. Eric Holcomb during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The governor’s authority to declare disaster emergencies would be severely restricted under legislation unanimously approved by a Senate committee Tuesday.

The measure – one of several this legislative session – is a reaction to executive orders issued by Gov. Eric Holcomb during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Sue Glick’s (R-LaGrange) bill would only allow the governor to declare a widespread emergency, affecting at least 10 counties, for 45 days without the General Assembly getting to weigh in.

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If the legislature is in session – or gets called into special session by the governor – the emergency could go for 60 days. But after that, Glick said only lawmakers could extend the emergency declaration further.

“So that people don’t feel like they were left out or don’t feel that they had any input into the orders that affected so many people,” Glick said.

The bill also gives the legislature more authority on how to spend federal dollars that come to the state during an emergency.

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

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