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Science & Medicine

Holcomb, Rokita, Lawmakers Set To Square Off In Court Again Over Emergency Powers

Gov. Eric Holcomb sued the legislature over a new law that allows lawmakers to call themselves into special session during a public emergency. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Gov. Eric Holcomb, Attorney General Todd Rokita and the General Assembly will square off in court again Friday, the latest hearing in an ongoing lawsuit over a new emergency powers law.

Republican lawmakers felt like they didn’t have enough of a voice in policymaking last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. And, frankly, they didn’t like some of the governor’s actions – notably, the mask mandate. So, they passed a new law – HEA 1123 – allowing them to call themselves into session during a public emergency.

Holcomb objected. He argues the Indiana Constitution gives the power to call a special session solely to the governor. And he sued to get an answer to that dispute.

The attorney general, who sides with the legislature on this issue, tried to intervene and stop the lawsuit. He argued the governor can’t sue anyone without the attorney general’s say-so. But the courts disagreed.

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So now, the case moves forward with a hearing in Marion County court on the fundamental question: is the new law unconstitutional?

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