Holcomb advises “careful” wording in bills to revise Emergency Powers Law

(Supplied/Gov. Eric Holcomb)

INDIANAPOLIS (Network Indiana): Governor Holcomb’s not signing on just yet to a bill that would modify his emergency powers.

Holcomb says he and legislative leaders have the same goal of keeping legislators in the loop. He says it’s important for a governor to have their input, and to be able to give them the rationale for the actions he takes. But Holcomb says the existing law works, and says any changes mustn’t interfere with the ability to respond quickly to an emergency. He says that’ll come down to specific wording on issues like how and how often legislators need to convene, and what happens once they do.

Holcomb says he’s not sure summaries of the bill match what he and leaders have discussed.

House Majority Leader Matt Lehman’s (R-Berne) bill would require the legislature to come into session at some point if an emergency lasts longer than a month. The bill doesn’t require legislators to vote yes or no on continuing the declaration but instead seeks to avoid a situation like last year, when the coronavirus pandemic hit Indiana days after legislators had adjourned for eight months.

While Lehman’s bill would require a governor to call a special session if legislators weren’t
already meeting, a separate bill authored by Representative Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton) would allow a majority of the House and Senate, with approval from the House speaker and Senate president pro tem, to call the legislature into session.

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