Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoes agency oversight bill HB 1211
Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill Wednesday, citing concerns about its effect on broadband projects and state agency emergency rules.
In his veto letter, Holcomb said the “entirely new and unvetted” broadband language in HB 1211 could jeopardize $154 million of projects across 28 counties.
A portion of the bill adds one sentence to existing law: “All broadband infrastructure projects that are funded in whole or in part by a grant or loan from the fund must satisfy the criteria and requirements described in IC-4-4-38.5 [Rural broadband fund].”
“Most regions have prioritized these broadband projects and did so under a very different expectation about how this money could be used,” Holcomb said in his veto letter. "It is neither fair nor appropriate to jeopardize or delay this type of transformation and concentrated investments in broadband."
He also cited concerns about language to make it harder for Indiana state agencies to create new rules. That language comes from a different bill, HB 1100.
A Senate committee halted HB 1100, promising to return to the issue next year. State agencies each year pass dozens of administrative rules – they’re often the nuts and bolts to keep the state running.
The language from HB 1100 also requires state agencies to submit emergency rules for approval to the attorney general’s office. In his veto letter, Holcomb said he was concerned about the delay the review could cause and said “[a]lternative language could have solved this problem.”
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Both portions of HB 1211 were added to the bill on the last day of the legislative session.
“While the legislative process can frustrate at times, it has often been stated that, to some extent, it was designed that way. Topics of such gravity like those highlighted in this letter, always benefit from a full review and discussion,” Holcomb said in his veto letter.
This is the sixth time the governor has used his veto power. The General Assembly can override vetoes with a simple majority in each chamber.
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