Indiana governor sues over legislature’s move to limit his power
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is suing the state legislature over its move to limit his power.
House Speaker Todd Huston (R) and Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray (R) are named in the lawsuit after the state Senate and House overruled Holcomb’s veto of the bill, the Indy Star reported.
The bill gives the General Assembly the right to call themselves into an emergency session for 40 days and they would decide where to distribute discretionary federal funds.
The lawsuit says the bill violates Indiana’s constitution by trying to take the governor’s exclusive power to call special sessions and violates the separation of powers.
“I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the State of Indiana and I have an obligation to 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 obtained by The Hill.
Holcomb and his party have been at odds over the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with many in the legislature disagreeing with Holcomb having a mandatory mask mandate, limiting business capacities and continuing the state health public emergency.
Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) has objected to the governor taking this to court and is not going to represent him, according to the Indy Star.
“The Indiana Supreme Court has also held that no state agency or office holder may file a declaratory judgment action,” Rokita said. “Allowing state agencies to resort to the judicial system for review of every statute passed would foster legislative irresponsibility and unnecessarily overburden the courts into issuing, essentially, advisory opinions.”
Democrats opposed the bill and said it was just an example of Republican infighting.
Huston said that legislators “are in consultation with the Indiana Attorney General’s office on what the next steps will be in this matter.”