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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb sues state legislature over emergency powers bill

Posted at 1:56 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 13:58:00-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb filed a lawsuit against the state legislature Tuesday over his ability to declare a state of emergency and enforce mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit is over House Bill 1123, which would limit the powers of the governor's office during a statewide emergency.

House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, and Senate President Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, are both named in the complaint, along with the the 16-member Legislative Council and the Indiana General Assembly.

“I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the State of Indiana and I have an obligation do so. This filing is about the future of the executive branch and all the Governors who will serve long after I’m gone,” Holcomb said in a statement.

The bill passed in the General Assembly because some Republicans were upset about the length of the statewide mask mandate and restrictions on business capacity during the pandemic.

Holcomb, a Republican, said the state's constitution gives him those powers and he vetoed the bill two weeks ago. However, the Republican supermajority voted to override the veto before their session ended.

"This controversy must be resolved as soon as possible or the consequences could be severe, including disruption to Indiana and the proper functioning of state government — something that concerns every Hoosier," the lawsuit said.